Make distinct patterns possible by storing the shaped dough cold and open to air.
How the dough will bloom when put into a hot steamy oven is a sum of all things that have happened so far in the process. It’s not all about how the blade cuts the surface of what’s to become the crust.
With all thing being equal up to the point of the loaf being shaped and ready for the second rise, there are some details that (to me) makes a huge difference. This is what this tip is all about. Storing the shaped loaf in a way that it can be exposed to a moderate amount of circulating air, for an extended period of time. This gives you a surface that holds a little less water. A sharp blade will have an easier time getting distinct cuts.
I’ve experimented with a lot of different materials and timings here and I find cane baskets a good alternative for letting air come in contact with the dough. Using a cloth of cotton or linen (or a mix) with a light weaving also helps (too tight and thick and the moist will stay at the surface). By storing it cold in the fridge the dough will be exposed longer and the surface will dry more.
Please note that how the dough then rises in the oven after the scoring could be dramatically affected by other variables then the cuts on the surface, such as fermentation, structure, tension, heat, steam and more (on danlarn.com I have an extensive 2-part scoring guide if you want to learn more).
Let’s talk a little bit about the loaf featured in this video too. I would say that the surface could have been a bit drier, and that it would be better to score less if the goal was a higher rise. The jagged fallen leaf still turned out very nice if you ask me! Had this dough been stored in a sealed bag, it might have been too difficult to score cleanly.
I’ve basically been having a dough rising every day during the last years. Most often in a bowl or a box, and if not; in my thoughts.
Along with the coming week’s posts I will share 10 of the most valuable insights I’ve had that’s lead to more consistent result in baking high quality, beautiful goods from home (in no particular order).
Would love it if you comment or DM with questions, I always do my best to answer!