Is a best bread lame an essential kitchen tool that you must absolutely have or else your loaves won’t come out perfectly?
Of course not.
We can not compare the importance of a very good loaf pan with the importance of a bread lame. They’re not on the same plane of importance.
Shopping for a fantastic dough scraper can be considered a priority over shopping for the best bread lame. For me, bread lames are on the same plane of importance as flour sifters because both can be replaced with other tools that we have in the kitchen. You’ll see in a moment why I’m saying that.
Even with all that,
This is an interesting tool to be talking about. One I wasn’t even aware that existed a few years ago. I’m pretty sure that most of the planet still doesn’t know that these things exist.
Top 3 Picks
1. Top Recommendation: INST Hand Crafted Bread Lame
This is the basic bread lame that’s also one of the cheapest options. But it does what it’s supposed to, it’s great for bread scoring, working wonderfully for beginners and more experienced bakers. The blade is easily attachable and you also get 5 blades for the price. It has a normal wooden handle, nothing fancy but functional.
2. Just as Good: SAINT GERMAIN Premium Hand Crafted Bread Lame
This one is very similar to the one above, it comes instead with 6 blades instead of 5. It’s also almost double the price but I don’t see the point of choosing this one over the one from INST.
3. Expensive: Bread Bosses Bread Bakers Lame Slashing Tool
It’s another bread lame that resembles the above two bread lames. There are a lot of similarities when it comes to features and even design but the price is a lot higher for this set. It also comes with 10 blades and a nice box for storage. Overall, it’s another good choice.
What Is a Bread Lame?
First of all the word lame is French for blade. It will make things a lot easier to explain if I start off with that tiny bit of information.
It’s something that you would expect to find in the grooming section for men not on a shelf with tools for baking.
A bread lame is similar to a safety razor only that the handle is completely different, the blade is in continuation of the handle, the blade is curved and totally exposed because you need to really slice through the dough.
The curve of the blade enables bakers to create that flap in the dough that will rise and then peel back during baking, just like you find in baguettes. That flap in the dough that peels back during baking is also called an ear.
A bread lame is used in two ways: with the blade curved and with a straight blade.
Slice Dough Like Experts Do
Both ways of using it serve the same main purpose: slicing the dough like expert bakers do. That’s the main purpose of a bread lame.
Which is why I told you that it’s definitely not an essential baking tool at all.
You can also use it to score meat, especially when you think that the blade is too worn off for scoring the dough.
It gets dull pretty fast, you can only use the same blade a few times for dough scoring, after you will feel it drag a bit instead of slashing quickly without resistance.
It’s still something that people are curious about or are interested in owning one, which is why I’m going to review a few options for the best bread lame.
If you’re interested in carving nice patterns into your bread, this is the tool for you.
Those slices and patterns will become beautiful once the bread starts baking. The comparison that I like to make is that the slashes that looked like nothing but some lines into a dough will bloom like a flower once the baking is complete.
My Top 3 Best Bread Lames
While I did my research, it was interesting to discover that there are quite a few amazing options when it comes to picking out the best bread lame.
I was not expecting to find so many intriguing models.
I tried to limit the number of products that I was going to review and recommend as the best options for a best bread lame because it’s never good to overwhelm ourselves with too many choices.
You have better things to do than agonizing over something like this tiny very sharp kitchen tool for dough slicing.
That’s where I come in.
I’ve spent a lot of hours selecting the best bread lames so you don’t have to. I hope you find what you are looking for in my list.
Regarding how much a bread lame costs, there are some under $10 and they’re very good, they even come with extra blades, while most are between $10 and $15.
Therefore, there’s not a big difference in terms of cost and this scoring dough tool is not particularly expensive. They’re pretty much at the same price level as measuring spoons since we’re talking about baking tools, the exception being that measuring spoons are indeed an essential kitchen tool.
That’s good to know and since that’s out of the way, let’s review some actual models and see what you can get for the money with this scoring dough tool.
1. INST Hand Crafted Bread Lame
This one from INST is definitely one of the most affordable best bread lames that you can get.
It’s very basic very simple.
The quintessential traditional tool for bread scoring.
If this is your first time buying a specifically designed kitchen tool for scoring dough, this can be the perfect choice.
You won’t spend much on it and you can see if this is what you’re looking for.
The blade is easily attachable, the steps are simple.
It comes with 5 blades. After all are used up, simply buy razor blades to replace them. They’re very cheap.
It’s a good thing that they’re cheap because the blade gets dull pretty quickly.
You can turn each blade around until you’ve used up all 4 corners but I’m pretty sure you’ll lose sight of which corner has been used and which hasn’t.
The wooden handle is nothing special but it’s easy to handle and that’s all that matters.
It’s definitely not the prettiest best bread lame but that price makes you forget about appearances. It’s what does that matters and the good price.
There’s also a small leather case to cover the blade so you can store it without risk of future accidents.
All in all,
I suggest checking out the INST Hand Crafted Bread Lame first because it does its job perfectly while not costing much at all.
2. SAINT GERMAIN Premium Hand Crafted Bread Lame
This is a bit more expensive than the above model so, let’s see what you get for the extra price and if it’s worth it.
It doesn’t look much different.
The wooden handle is almost identical.
It comes with 6 blades instead of 5.
It also has the same small leather covering for the blade.
My conclusion is that it’s not worth the extra price but it’s a good alternative if you want to pay extra for getting something almost identical.
I still prefer the above one, for sure.
3. Bread Bosses Bread Bakers Lame Slashing Tool
And we’ve reached my final choice, which is also the most expensive.
The looks are similar to the above two.
The exception is that the handle is prettier, it has a more refined look.
It also comes with an impressive 10 blades, it has to justify the price somehow.
Besides the small leather case, it includes a pretty nice box for storage.
These are the extra details that should justify the higher price. I’ll leave it to you to decide if it’s worth it or not.
The functional part, the attaching the blade and cutting the dough parts are the same.
Bread Lame Replacements
A simple very sharp knife is a good enough replacement if you’re just interested in scoring the dough for the practical purpose and you’re not interested in creating fascinating patterns.
Just remember: it must be really sharp, that’s all that matters.
If you want to get into a bit of DIY, you can get a wooden stick, one from an ice cream is good enough, get a normal razor blade, and paste it to the wooden stick.
And that’s how you get your own best bread lame without paying for one.
Why You Should Score the Dough
Besides aesthetics, the dough is scored to allow the bread to expand where you want it too, instead of cracking in unexpected places because the air is trying to get out.
It will also prevent large pockets of air from forming in the bread. It’s the same motive for using a pizza dough docker, another kitchen tool that I’m pretty sure you weren’t aware of its existence.
You can read more about dough scoring here.
How to Properly Score the Dough
The easiest way to learn how to score bread is to watch a video about how it’s done. You will find plenty of tutorials on bread scoring on YouTube.
There are just a few pointers about bread scoring that I’d like to add:
- score the dough just before baking – the dough will start to deflate if it’s not baked immediately after slicing it
- the blade, whether you’re using a knife or a bread lame, must be really sharp – that’s why the blades must be changed often, the same principle applies to shaving, too
- the slashes must be made in one swift movement, no hesitation – the bread will still taste delicious even if your pattern is not exactly what you envisioned
- if the dough is sticky, you can wet the blade with oil to prevent the lame or the knife from getting stuck
In the end, is a best bread lame the kitchen tool that you were missing for making beautiful delicious bread or you’ll just stick to using a knife?