Planeguy 2011-06-20 14:05:18
I currently have a loaf on the rising on the bench – should be good to bake
in about 15 min.
Anyway, I slashed the top of the loaf at the start of the second rise. Now,
I did this just because I could experiment, and had seen bakers loaves
slashed before. Question for all of you, is when do you slash the top of the
loaf – before the second rise, or just before it goes into the oven?
Barry 2011-06-20 14:05:20
It all depends on how active the yeast/rising is. If the thing just sits
there and looks dumbly at you, slash it at will, it won’t fight back.
However, if the thing seems to have at least two lives of its own, slash it
whenever you can and good riddance. Get rid of that thing. Barry
just before putting it in the oven.
D*** margulis 2011-06-20 14:05:24
I’d concur with Barry that the usual time to dock a loaf (the general
name for making decorative/practical cuts in a loaf before it is baked)
is right before it goes in the oven. However, the exact sequence with
respect to any washing or spraying varies with the kind of bread and the
effect you are trying to achieve.
For example, if you are making something that has a cornstarch wash or
egg wash, you may specifically be looking for a color contrast, in the
baked loaf, between the slashes and the rest of the crust. In this case
(quite common), you would first wash the loaf with a brush and then dock
it. If you don’t want the color contrast but just want the visual
pattern (and the practical side effect of preventing cracking), then you
can wash after docking. In either case you would immediately put it in
the oven after completing these two steps. All this is done quite
quickly and, if you are baking bread on the hearth (on a stone in the
oven, in other words), you would do the washing and docking after you
had already transferred the loaf to the peel.
On the other hand, if you are making a pan bread (sandwich bread), you
might want to make a “butter top”-style bread. To do this, you first
dock the loaf (single longitudinal slash), then drizzle melted butter
into the cut. Again, this is done immediately before the bread goes in
So, as I said, the sequence varies depending on the effect you are
trying to achieve.
Planeguy 2011-06-20 14:05:26
Thanks for that guys – I actually worked that out myself with the loaf that
was on the bench, waiting to go in the oven. By the time, I had returned to
the bench, the loaf had grown substantially, but the slashes hadn’t openned,
in fact they seemed to have grown more closed. The result of this, was that
the top crust, had a rough surface (ie where the slashes were), but no deep
As for the information, on when to make the slashes to get the contrast in
colour – well, that is what my next web search, and next experiemnt – was
meant to be: how to get the contrasting colours in the crust.
As a beginner in the baking world, I do value this group. Thanks.