Slashed Breads Bake-off

We don't celebrate Halloween in Malaysia but its influences must have rubbed off on me, because I really feel like doing some wicked slashing. *slash* *slash* Or, maybe, I've been inspired by lamp's blog where I see him effortlessly perfecting his scoring skills (tying flies for the right people helps ;)  :P ).

The reasons for slashing (most) breads are not only aesthetic and functional, but, in ages past, they were also used to identify a family's bread since bread were baked in communal ovens. I don't know, but, for me, it's so incredible. Breadmakers are such a creative lot.

So, let's see lots of slashed breads. Who knows...perhaps, we'd like some particular slashes so much, we'll come to be identified by it. (Hey, that bread must be TP's?....the cuts are so....so..........rustic!)

Go and release the artist in you...or, at least, some aggression. What's good for your bread is good for you.

TP


72 comments

I've really enjoyed looking at all the inspired and fab breads.  My slashes are mostly the result of shaping with a slight nudge from a blade.

is very persuasive in encouraging your bread to burst freestyle. Great breads, Tony!

TP


Thanks TP.

Cheers,

Tony

....and ordered a glut of razor blades from Graham.  Then I couldn't find a way to order Bill's lame, so I asked Pete to make me one.  It's superb, and made from Tassie Oak.



Then I read someone's suggestion that the end of a pair of glasses would make a good lame.  So I tried some deformed beading bookmarks I had lying around.  That worked brilliantly too.



I bulk proved a batch of 75% 50/50 spelt/white sourdough overnight, and had a go with the new Tassie Oak lame this morning.  All the excitement hasn't really helped, because I'm STILL A CRAP SLASHER.  :)  But an enthusiastic one!



I know, I know, I should use a lower hydration dough, and I will next time.  It's just that the overnight spelt seems to work so well with the wetter dough.  And because I'm so busy at the moment, bulk proving overnight and baking early in the morning is a really easy way to keep on top of the half a dozen loaves a week that the boys eat.  It means the kitchen's not messed up all day, and I don't have to fret about the dough while I'm at work.  :)

I asked Pete to carve my initials on the lame for me (I told him it was your idea, TP, he said to thank you ;) ).  He is quite concerned that it's a bit of a deadly weapon - and quite hard to store - we have it in an small cardboard box at the moment.  In that respect, the bent bookmark is easier, because I take the blade off each time, and store it in an empty Tic Tac box!




Oh, and I should also mention that the Bordelaise lame I bought from Graham was gorgeous too.  Probably the most sensible option of all, since it came with a safety guard to keep it in.  And it probably works the best of the three, since the blade is supported in the middle.  Damn, I've done all this research, but I still can't slash for toffee...  ;)



...and more! Girl, you'll be so intuned with your 'weapons' that very soon you'll know which one to use for what bread.

The week is getting very busy for me...so, no breads from me till next week. Maybe.

TP

p.s. Still think you did a better job at slashing than me.


When I made dinner rolls I slashed a bunch of them.  Here is a picture of one.

Slashed Roll

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

 

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Looks good Danubian. I especially adore the cuts on the bottom loaf.
Tony, you posted the picture below a while ago, and everytime I open this thread I admire the bloom on the crust. Well done! A well fermented dough with a great crust character.



I'm sure they're eaten with pleasure.

Thanks, Maedi, but I can't take credit for those entirely, apprentices leraning how to slash sometimes make an impression, though, they could have been baked a little longer.....



I actually baked and slashed a lot of breads during the month but I was having difficulty getting good enough pictures.  Many though delicious were not very pretty.  So I borrowed my sons camera...his is a lot better than mine.  But then couldn't get him to download them to my computer.  So this morning I finally figured out how to get them out of his camera.  So there will be more in my album shortly, but for now...

This is a Sourdough Sprouted Wheat Berry made with local home grown wheat it had a wonderful natural sweetness and a moist crumb.  Probably about 55 to 60 percent whole wheat.

You really are what you eat, so eat wisely...

I could just hug you!!! What great pix and bread!

TP


That looks really delicious.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

 

I baked some more loaves this weekend and to try to stop my white "exploding", this loaf was made with a high hydration, 5 hour bulk ferment, 9 hour retard in the frigde, 4 hour prove and lightly sprayed with water before baking. It really collaped when slashed but sprung back in the oven. The interesting thing is that the slashes ended up having no depth when baked, the lines from the baneton dissapeared and it only "exploded" a small amount. :-)




I also baked a 25% rye and tried a different slashing pattern...sorry about the quality of the second photo...






I aim for the no-depth look, but, have yet to 'make' it happen as and when I want to. So...it's a mix of high hydration, and overnight proving? Must try that. I also really love the way all your coils show up so well. What do you sprinkle (and press) into your baskets? Forgive my laziness to look it up, I think you've mentioned it before.

Ta!
TP


TP, do not forget the long bulk ferment, long prove and misting spray on the surface I think they all combined to produce the effect on the white...I liked the look of the loaf in real life. :)

I use a coarse ground rye to flour my bannetons these days. It seems to work well to prevent them sticking and gives the loaves a real "rustic" look. That is the second round rye loaf I have slashed that way and I think they look pretty good...better than the photos indicate. I gave those loaves to my old boss and is wife on Sunday afternoon and we ate the rye....I was extremely happy with the taste and crumb. When I was leaving, Judy decided to give me a nice bottle of french Cote de Rhone as an exchange for the bread...I'll take that exchange any time! ;)


I can see your breads are not shortchanged! I think they look fabulous, these spirally slashes. Well done!

TP


The slashes are not cut in any particular design; I'm functioning on near panic mode now, with christmas around the corner and having a ton of stuff to bake and do. This 1 kg potato yogurt (I'm making yogurt on a regular basis now) bread was made over 2 days based on this marvellous recipe. The 2nd part I did according to Pete's method, and, I think I've got it! The slashes are not distinct but you can see they are almost 'no-depth'. I proved the bread on its own - don't have such a big basket - and, absent-mindedly covered it with an unfloured tea towel....so, it wasn't pretty when I unveiled it.

OK...it's a bread only its baker would love. 



My long bread knife has gone dull, and, this knife is short, so I've to cut half slices. Duh. Delicate and moist crumb.


TP


TP - Wouldn't it be cool if you could teleport bread...the crumb shot makes it look really great.  Oh well the process would probably ruin it anyway...make it sterile and tasteless.  Don't forget to drop the right hints to your family about the new bread knife you need for Christmas!!! ;)


Lamp... I am taking notes my loaves still mostly loose depth by accident.  I think I used an upside down pot on my sprouted wheat so it had more steam than normal.  Your bread always looks great to me!  I have been using more than one type of starter on my rye with pretty interesting results.  I recently found white rye flour but haven't found much use for it except for dusting.  Somewhere they said rye is even more sour tasting without the bran/germ.  

Terri

You really are what you eat, so eat wisely...

That is a nice crumb TP, and as Terri said I would love to have a slice. :-) I think you managed the "Rustic look" too, I think it looks good. :wink:

Thanks Terri, My brother has some "white rye" but does not like it, he prefers all the coarse bran bits in the flour for a bit of texture, he makes a great white/wholemeal/rye blended loaf...I have to get some wholemeal flour one of these days and try to re-create one of his loaves.

I'm going salt water fly fishing out from Geelong with a couple of mates on the weekend before one of them moves to the other side of the country. I will make a sponge on Friday so I can show his him and his wife how to make SD on Saturday between fishing....this was a special request after he had some of my bread on a previous fishing trip, I hope it turns out OK! :wink:


What a relaxing. idyllic weekend that sounds! Terri, let's teleport ourselves there and gatecrash. Thanks, y'all...you're too kind. We must have a rye bake-off one of these days.

TP


Hi Celia,

I'm new to this forum.  I was wondering if your husband makes the kind of wooden-handled lame you show above and would be willing to sell me one?  It is a thing of beauty.

 

Thanks so much.