How to Slash Dough and Make Bread Ears

Slashing or “scoring” is the act of cutting dough, just before proofing (typical of some rye breads) or before loading the dough into the heated oven. The primary purposes of scoring is to:

The “ear”, sometimes mistakenly called “grigne” or “gringe” (a French word referring to the bloom or scored opening of the bread), is an overhang of crust, formed by properly fermenting, mixing, kneading, shaping, scoring, steaming, and baking the dough. These crusty protrusions are common on baguettes and bâtards (oval-shaped breads) but also possible to achieve on boules (ball-shaped breads).

Bread loaf with a raised crust (ear)

I heard you gasp (photo courtesy of David)


To achieve bread ears, your scoring utensil must be held at about 30 degrees to the surface of the dough and slashed with a shallow cut, about 0.6 to 1.3 centimeters or ¼ to ½ inches deep—without hesitation. If the slash is too deep, the flap may collapse from its own weight. If you hesitate, you risk dragging and tearing the skin of the dough.

Further, to increase your chances of forming ears, it’s advised to use a curved razor, preferably with a handle. Slash the dough with the corner of the razor, not the length of the blade. And use swift motions with your arm to score, not your wrist.

Curved razor on a handle, known as a lame

Lame… No, it’s pronounced LAHM—a scoring utensil that’s fitted with a razor
(Photo courtesy of the Razor Blade Company)


Other tips and suggestions to ease scoring:


1: Bread Scoring with Confidence.
2: Getting Ears (Not “Grigne”): An Observation. The Fresh Loaf.
3: La Grigne.
4: Scoring Bread. The Fresh Loaf.
5: To Ear Or Not to Ear. The Fresh Loaf.

Author: Zita (bakingbadly)
Published: October 10th, 2013

2 Responses to “How to Slash Dough and Make Bread Ears”

  1. […] angle to the surface of the loaf. This will ensure that you get the desired “ear”, or gringe, the crusty flap on the upper side of the […]

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