To Lame or not to lame the dough....or its just plainly lame


To lame or not to lame?.or just plainly lame?

In relation to the post by Bill ( it just came to my mind about past experience with the dough blades )about his homemade lame did anybody have used other kinds of blades to slash the dough and were you able to get the right grigne?

I have used different blades including the barbers old razor, kitchen knife, paring knife, surgeon scalpel, box cutter, even sharpened sides of the broken hacksaw blade .

As long as they are really sharp and you know how to use it the cut all satisfactorily.

The other missed factor for dough slashing is the dexterity of the hand doing the slashing? takes some practice to be an expert in it,,

Even if the knife is sharp if you don?t know to how to use it properly you will end up dragging the dough creating an unsightly gash?
Some apprentice bakers have done this mistake to the consternation of their head bakers

This is critical with French sticks where the slashing is an art by itself and many bakers argue that its not the kind of blade that counts but how you do it!

I also agree with it?partially
In the past I have purchased lames from a French company IIRC MATFER but it did not improve my slashing skills during that time?. Rather I was able to get it properly done with the razor blade?.and only later was I able to simulate the slash with that French lame?

Therefore I would like to ask if lame is really a necessity or just an artifice ?for a baker?.
I have traveled in many parts of the world and found out that bakers use whatever blades they could find(sharpen it ) to cut the dough?.

BTW I am not trying to destroy Bills business,,,,,,

355 users have voted.


Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 May 18

I agree with Chembake, its not what you've got but how you use it. Now where have I heard that before.
However, speaking as one who has graduated from a hand held razor blade to a blade on a stick, and then to my current incarnation I must say that my current Lame gives easy controll of the slash, both angle and depth.
Others must think they are worth a try, Graham has ordered 4, and Dan Lepard has ordered one, as well as many other people worldwide.
Sorry if this comes across as a commercial but I'll put my money where my mouth is. Chembake, if you are resident in Australia I will send you one free of charge for your apraisal and revue.

chembake 2006 May 19

I agree with Chembake, its not what you've got but how you use it. Now where have I heard that before.

Hi Bill?..Sorry if my post may have affected your sales but I did not mean any malice on this subject ?this had been a contentious issue in the past across many bakeries I visited around the world and this is also reflected by personal experiences with different( available) blades for baker?s use.

I started slashing the dough with the disposable razor blade as that was what my mentor taught me when I was still an apprentice?He would bite the blade between his teeth while he moved the dough from the cloths to the peel then taking the blade with his fingers then deftly slashing it before loading into the oven sole. The same also with dough placed on pans.
As I become qualified in my trade and transferred from bakery to bakery while at the same time taking university courses in chemistry and food technology. I met many people in the trade that have different ideas what is the best blade to use for dough slashing?.That is where I came to use different types of knives that I mentioned above?.

I met bakers that insist that putting a disposable razor blade between slit bamboo sticks( barbecue skewers) and fixed in place with wires in the same principle as Bill's invention

Yes I did find the ?razor implanted bamboo stick" a convenient instrument and got used to it for some time. This is indeed a useful tool especially for beginners in dough making as they can control the slash better than grasping the thin blade between their finger tips which needs more time to be deft with it.

One time a retired barber gave me his old razor with a plastic handle and have an opportunity to use it which I realize it good to use?.but the hassle of sharpening the blades and making me look like a barber earned me jeers as a barber baker!

One sarcastic baker said that I should have a barber chair in the bakery so the workers can have their haircut/shaving done while awaiting for the fermenting or proofing dough. Another guy promise to lend me his apron which he says can be used to drape over my ?customer? when they want a shave or a hair cut and he will extract percent of my barbers income as a rental fee for his apron?!
Funny People..indeed!

As I become well versed in using the old razor blade and even carried it in my travels, I met bakers from other places that circumcision is a practiced in their cultures and suggested in good humor that I can have a good sideline aside from my baking trade?
He will put a shingle/notice outside the bakery advertising that I also do circumcision ?much to their amusement and my consternation.

.Yes, the old razor blade has many uses aside from hair cut and recently for dough slashing?also for introducing the boys to manhood..

In the Philippines i(n particular in the country side ) the barbers razor is used to circumcise the penises of the kids before they reach puberty?the boy have to sit in front of the ? barber doctor? with his trousers below his knees and he place the kid?s limp dick on a wooden stick and then stretch the foreskin and place the barber's razor above it and tap the other end with mallet to slit it. While this is being done t he kid has to chew some guava leaves( to partially relieve the stress and fear and ) then use it to dab the wound?as they old timers believe it has antiseptic properties ? what is surprising is it works and nobody got tetanus from that crude practice !

Anyway aside from that unique cultural practice, I have come to use also surgical knives and yes it also a nice instrument but I happen to get cut by it a number of times so I avoided it earlier?

A sharpened broken hacksaw blade also is a good tool with the same efficiency as the box cutter .I prefer it instead with a paring knife?

.I also managed to use the kitchen knife, boning and filleting knife but as those cutting tools were heavy/bulky I easily get tired using it than the feather light disposable razor blade?.

BTW, Billl I am overseas right now, and thanks for the offer! There is no need to give me one as my past experience with a similar implement has understood the benefit of that tool already

There are many blades( for dough slashing) that the bakers can improvise to use in the bakery?. I agree having a blade on a light stick is a convenient and SAFE TOOL to use and I think that is the main selling point of Bill?s invention?.
You can get cut easily by the bare razor blade but seldom with the elongated implement? .

therefore I have only praises for Bills creation

Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2006 May 19

Some of that story sounds like a David Kronenburg movie! I actually use these French lames that are supposed to slash, they don't so I added the straight razor to them! it's posted in the tool section of the beginners forum!


chembake 2006 May 20

Yes, other people whom I relate that story find it unbelievable....specially the circumcision issue...but try to ask a Filipino oldtimer about it and see their reaction... ..
Life in a bakery( specially overseas) is never dull as there are always jokers around that make fun of any situations

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