Tips for Scoring


So I started a starter from scratch at the beginning of quarantine and have been pretty successfully baking bread every week for almost 2 months now. I was struggling to get white bread flour but was able to get Spelt flour earlier on so tired a recipe with about 1/3 spelt flour to 2/3 white bread flour and for weeks now have been subtly tweaking that formula and the bread is super tasty with a nice crispy crust and what I think is a nice crumb. 

One thing that I am really struggling with is scoring and getting the result that I see in instructional videos. My blade always sticks in the dough, the score doesn't pop open when I cut it and often it sort of cooks back together as it bakes. The nicely open scores in part of the box pattern on the loave on the right are sort of the exception and that took careful working with a razor blade to get a deep cut by passing over the slash several times. The other thing that might help someone diagnose the problem is that when I dump my loaves out after proofing over night in the fridge they aren't fantastic at holding their shape. This has improved a little since I've gotten better at shaping but I'm combatting this by putting them straight into the dutch oven I bake in as soon as I have dumped them out onto parchment paper. I then score while the loaf is sitting in the dutch oven before I pop the lid on and stick it in the oven. I am preheating my dutch oven, just pulling it out and setting it on a big trivet just before I start this process. 

Any thoughts on whether this is a sign of overproofing or some other thing I might be missing would be fantastic. I'm pretty happy overall with the bread it would just be nice to take it a little further and be able to score some really crisp designs in the loaves. 

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jeronimogc's picture
jeronimogc 2020 May 12

Hello J,

It's great got into baking sourdough bread, I have been baking for over 8 years. For what I see here, you're off to a great start.

Try scoring deep and at an angle, this helps to form a nice ear and sprinkle some rice flour with a strainer right after, so it does not stick back.

Make sure your starter is rising 2-3 times it's size, try feeding it 2 times a day for afew days to make it stronger.

When making your levain, it's very important to use young and strong starter, feed the starter 2-3 hours prior. Dont use mature starter.

I hope this helps, if you have any questions, please contact me at any time.



Wiggins 2020 July 20


I'm diving into this post and your response becuasde I have the same issue and I am hoping you can more directly address it along with the advice you already offered. 

I uunderstnd the need for the angled score, but my (and the OP's) question seemed to be more on how to get that deep score without snagging. I have tried everything I know -- muiltiple cuts, lubricating the blade with flour, oil or water, type of blade, angle of attack...still snags. I see some pictures of loafs where the dough is almost exploding out of those scored areas. I never get that. 


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