Scoring (slashing) bread dough

Scoring (slashing) bread dough

Ready to Get Cooking?

Welcome to Fast2eat! If you’re looking for easy-to-prepare, nutritious, delicious, and Fast-2-eat recipes, then you’re in the right place.

Scoring (slashing) bread dough

Scoring (slashing) the loavesScoring is when you create an incision on the proofed dough before baking it with a blade or a sharp knife to allow it to expand during baking.

The purpose is primarily to control the direction in which the bread will expand during “oven spring.”

Most pan-baked bread is not scored. The pan guides the bread’s growth, while scoring is done mainly on bread considered ‘free form’ or ‘hearth’ bread.

Scoring may or may not affect the texture, but it will always impact the bread’s appearance. When a loaf of bread is scored, your chosen pattern can make a pleasing visual on the top of your bread. There are many patterns to choose from. Some bakers use a unique scoring to identify the bread they’ve baked or to create their signature. Scoring will give your bread a professional look.

It adds more than a decorative touch. The scored areas expand more, allowing gas to escape without bursting open the seam. The scoring will create a weak spot on the top of the loaf to stop it from bursting, breaking and disfiguring the bread.

On the flip side, incorrectly scoring bread can cause it to dry out or come out less than perfect. This is why you want to do it right.

How to score (slash) the dough

Scoring (slashing) the loaves

With a blade or a sharp knife, make lengthwise or diagonal (at a 10 to 30-degree angle) cuts 6-12 mm (¼- ½ inch) deep across the top of each loaf, leaving about 2.5 cm / 1″ uncut on each end. Never cut it entirely across the top of the loaf.

Attention: The process is done just before the loaf is put into the oven. Don’t try to change its shape or rise once the cuts are made.

Tips for successful scoring

Use a very sharp knife

The first tip for successful scoring is to use a very sharp knife. You can use a very sharp paring knife, a serrated knife, or a razor blade, or if you’re fancy, a baker’s lame to cut diagonal slashes.

Note: A lame is a special bread-baking tool, a sharp blade that gets under the dough as you cut, giving you the right shape for expansion.

The scoring is affected by the blade you use. Using the edge of sharp kitchen scissors may be better than a dull scoring blade. You want to let the knife do the scoring work and not press down on the dough with any pressure. Use the knife to make confident and swift slashes while being gentle.

It may help to wet the knife blade between the slashes, especially if your dough is sticky. Some bakers like to create an ‘ear’ with their scoring. Other tips for successful scoring include spraying your knife with oil or cooking spray before you start. This tip will make scoring easier through your dough.

The ideal angle

The angle at which the score is made and the pattern you use will influence how the loaf will expand and how the ‘ear’ will form.

The cuts on long-shaped loaves should be shallower than those on round ones so that you don’t dry them out. It is usually done parallel to the long sides of the bread though it shouldn’t be precisely perpendicular. Score it at a 10 to 30-degree angle, and never cut it entirely across the top of the loaf. Parallel cuts will create a flatter cross-section. It is more easily done with a curved blade.

The cuts should be equally spaced across the loaf if you have a round loaf. Hold the knife at a ninety-degree angle to the bread as you cut. These are called transversal cuts, best done with a straight-bladed knife.

The ideal scoring depth

Shallow cuts will result in the cut surface of the bread rising much more than a deeper cut. A very deep cut could collapse under its weight. This is why shallow cuts are used to get significant rises in the bread, especially if the cuts themselves are small.

The ideal scoring depth also depends on the dough’s condition.

The scores should be shallow for an over-proofed dough, so the bread doesn’t deflate. For the wet, sticky dough, a cut of a quarter inch (0.5cm) is better.

In under-proofed dough, deeper scoring can help it expand better. That will make up for the relative lack of volume. For the dry dough, a half-inch (1.25cm) cut is better.

The cold, firm dough is easier to score

Warm dough may be harder to score than cold, firm dough. However, the dough’s temperature doesn’t affect how deeply you should cut for the type of dough and the desired impact of the cuts. If you need to improve at scoring, this is probably because you are trying your luck on a warm piece of dough. The complicated patterns you usually see on the bread are made on the cold dough. The best thing you can do is to put it in the fridge and let it be cold. The cold dough is firm. You can score it creatively and in any specific way you want.

Draw patterns on paper

If you are trying to make patterns, draw them on paper before trying them on the dough. This will facilitate you in scoring it perfectly.

Score with confidence and without hesitation

When a baker scores their loaf, it is done with confidence and without hesitation. The scoring stroke should be decisive, smooth, firm, and quick. Slowly scoring the bread will only devastate its whole appearance.

If you are trying to score for the first time, you should perform a few practice swings to get an idea of what movements are involved because you don’t want to cut too deep. Otherwise, you’ll end up with dried-out bread or, worse, an unplanned batch of rolls.

Keep practising

As you bake more bread, you will learn. Scoring is not as simple as it sounds; it takes some time to master this. The real skill of scoring comes with lots of practice.

Attention: The process is done just before the loaf is put into the oven. Don’t try to change its shape or rise once the cuts are made.

Also check:

Did You Make a Fast2eat Recipe?

I love seeing your take on my recipe!

Comment below with your experience, snap a pic, use #fast2eat and tag us on

Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube.

Thank you so much for reading, commenting, following and sharing.

go to top

Check out what I’ve been busy cooking!

Latest Recipes

Want More? Check Out My Cookbooks!

Did you know you could make more than bread in the bread machine? My cookbooks will walk you through how you can make pizza dough, pasta, cake, and of course, bread in a bread machine. With over 130 recipes, there is something for everyone!

Don’t have a bread machine? No problem! The book contains a guide to convert all bread machine recipes to manual recipes. The guide also allows you to convert manual recipes you may already have to bread machine recipes.

Check out “Bread Machine Foolproof Recipes” and “Bread Machine Tips and Tricks” on Amazon!



Disclosure: “As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.”

go to top

Hungry for more? Follow us on Social Media!

We post new recipes every Friday! Stay up to date by following us on

Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube

All Your Favourite Recipes in One Place!

Become a member of Fast2eat and get these benefits:

  • Save, upload, and track all of your favourite recipes.
  • Plan your meal for the week with the Fast2eat Meal Calendar.
  • Create a full course menu for special events.
  • Personalize and create as many recipe collections as you want.
  • Generate shopping lists.

Join us for free by following us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube!

go to top

Got a question or feedback? Please comment below! That way, other readers will be able to see the answers to your question and will benefit from your feedback.

Get in Touch!

I look forward to hearing from you in the comments.

go to top

Are you the master of your home kitchen? And, most importantly, do you love to cook?

If the answer is yes, and YES, then Fast2eat would love to feature you!

Learn More


No comments yet.


Since you are here, can I ask a favour? It would be really nice if you could please share this recipe (or article) on your social media. It's just a couple of clicks for you… but it means the world to me. Please follow Fast2eat on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Thank you so much!!!