Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my friends in the greatest Bread Community in many, many countries around the world! It’s early Christmas Eve morning here in Chicago, and it’s almost Christmas Day for some of you in other parts of the world.

I’ve been thinking about scoring. A lot. I thought, “Let’s try and use this Bread Community for some Crowd Learning.” I’ll write about what I’m thinking. About how I’m going to apply the knowledge that I’ve gained after two years of baking to really learn about how to score. I’m hoping that the great bakers can comment about ideas and tips to improve all our knowledge. And the rest of us can comment and ask questions in order to improve their knowledge when it comes to scoring. My hope is that we’ll all expand our knowledge and improve our scoring together.

The three pictures here are of a decent score that I made recently. The first picture shows how it looks at the end of baking. The second shows what it looks like half way through when I took the cover off my pan. And the final one is just after I scored it in the pan.

Scoring looks simple. It’s quite deceptive because it’s not really that simple. To do it well, you need muscle memory right? So, I started thinking, “What muscles am I using?” I used to use too many wrist and elbow muscles. This score was made with my arm muscles, really my shoulder muscles. I held my lame so the blade was more horizontal than vertical, and I thought to keep my wrist and elbow from moving. At all. I wanted to use my shoulder to move the blade through the loaf. I did a few practice “swings.” I wanted to start the blade just off the center line and a little past the very top of the loaf. I wanted to inscribe a crescent shape across the top of my loaf and end in the same place on the other side of the loaf. Sounds complex, right? It’s probably somewhere between simple and complex.

I’m not a natural when it comes to things like this. I’m a slow learner really, and I need to get down into the details if I’m going to develop my scoring muscle memory. So, tell me what you think, and we’ll do some Crowd Learning together.