An addendum to the ‘Weekly Sourdough Post” with slash pattern info

Carla asked me how to do the slash pattern on the loaf in the ‘Weekly Sourdough‘ post so I thought I would put it on here for anyone else who was interested too.

15th Jan 2012 And today Carla tweeted :

@Zeb_Bakes “by george…i think i did it.” thanks Joanna…xxxx

makes it all worthwhile !

19 thoughts on “An addendum to the ‘Weekly Sourdough Post” with slash pattern info

  1. Pingback: Weekly Sourdough Bread « Zeb Bakes

    1. Joanna Post author

      You slash beautifully :) Where are your loaves exploding, on the tops through the slashes or on the sides… tell me more one day xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      Mal, I looked again and I think I was using a ‘bordelaise’ Mure et Peyrot lame here. I swap and change all the time. The last few loaves I have been using a Kuhn Rikon serrated paring knife and I also used a regular bread knife the other day.

  2. ceciliag

    OK. I keep meaning to ask you this, as the dough rises in its last rise, it makes a kind of crust, I mean the dough is standing up proudly as it should and then I slash ihrough this crust so gently and it kind of sighs down.. and spreads out.. is that right?.. i hate the slashing thing! c

    1. Joanna Post author

      I think to answer your question I will need to get forensic, is that OK? Does the loaf jump up again once you bake it or does it stay down and spread out? Are we talking about a sourdough here? or a yeasted loaf? Is it a very wet dough, or quite a firm dough to start with? You don’t have to slash, that’s the first thing. If your dough is at the point of perfect prove, it won’t expand in the oven because it’s perfect so it won’t need slashing. However, it’s very hard to judge that point and if it goes beyond then it is over proved and not so good. So…. the advice that I follow these days (Dan Lepard’s) is to bake when your dough has grown by 50%, not doubled, doubled is too much. Then it still has plenty of oomph to spring in the oven and that is when you need to slash it.

      One other question : Do you prove it on a tray, in a cloth, or in some sort of container and how do you move it into the oven?

      If you hate it, try a hedgehog top, that means you take a pair of scissors and snip little 1/4 inch v shapes in the top, hold the scissors at an angle. I will do it on the next loaf I bake to show you, and that looks very cute and is not so stressful as the full on slashy thing. Or even dock the top, with a skewer, German style and make little holes in the top. Anyway, tell me more about what you do and what happens before and after and I can make other suggestions if you like xx

  3. Misk Cooks

    I reckon that this is the definitive post that a lot of people waited to read. “How the heck does Jo do that!?”

    A question, please: This docking thingy — should I use a toothpick or skewerer or what? And how deep should I plunge the implement?

    1. Joanna Post author

      I am not being falsely modest here, but nearly all this is learnt from other people! It’s all out there in books, on the internet etc…

      There are only so many classical slash patterns and this is one of them. I did the little drawing in Pages very quickly last night to give Carla some clues! There are many, many bakers much better than me at slashing and shaping and all the rest of it. As to docking, I have only done it on a big German rye bread when I was trying to make Paderborner style for my German friends who had asked for it. I used a £2 pickle fork from the kitchen shop. Looks like this.

          1. Joanna Post author

            joking apart there is a huge variety of dough dockers that you can find in bakery catalogues and on ebay if you do a quick search. I don’t have one but I did have a pickle fork so that”s what I used.

            1. Mal

              To great effect!

              I am reminded that I have a (as yet unused) pointing tool (like a mini pickaxe) that would be ideal for this task. I must rummage it out from the shed…

  4. Joanna Post author

    Mal I have dug out a picture to show you the bread I refer to above in my reply to Misk, hope this helps.

    Paderborner style Landbrot and other rye breads

  5. Misk Cooks

    Yikes! Is that how docking is done? Perhaps me and my skewer got a tad carried away. I remember seeing a loaf in a Danish bakery that was riddled with puncture marks, and I just assumed that was ‘docking’. How far down do your holes go?

    1. Joanna Post author

      Darling Misk, I have no idea! This is the only time I tried it, this is the result. As you can see it was two years ago and my memory just isn’t that good. Google dough dockers and you will see loads of rolling spiky gadgets and you can see that the spikes aren’t that deep, I was probably doing something like half an inch or so, but I’m guessing xx

      1. Misk Cooks

        Well, the good news is that P says my attempt at proper Danish rye bread, which is a weighty monster and colour of dark chocolate, is the perfect partner with strong cheese. He ate 3 slices with Stilton last night. I ate an apple. There’s no hidden meaning or message there; I just fancied an apple.

        Ho ho ho! (doing a pirouette) My new upright freezer arrives today!

  6. Sincerely, Emily

    I am laughing away (at myself) again. Docking…I know how to dock a boat. I have heard about people docking their iPods. Wasn’t there docking station in Star Trek? Know I have just learned a bit about docking for bread.

    I do love how you go all forensic on us also. I do learn a lot from you, I just never seem to apply it. I just file it away. When I go to dock the boat next summer, I will just have to bring up my new found knowledge on bread docking to throw everyone off.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I would love to be more forensic, (LOL) but my commenters conspire to leave me in the dark, so all I can do is don my Sarah Lund sweater and make it up as I go along… the most realistic description of my ‘house style of baking’ was in a post I wrote about making bread for Toast. I rarely follow my own advice, but the bread still comes out ok most of the time.

      Yesterday’s forgotten dough, left in the fridge all day, flat as a pancake when it went in the oven, achieved this ginormous spring. Don’t ask me how or why….

      Semolina bread

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