The Art Of Sourdough Scoring Design

by Violet
The Art Of Sourdough Scoring Design

Think you need a bakery degree to score a loaf of sourdough? Think again. This easy guide will help you create beautiful, rustic loaves with just a few simple steps. Sourdough scoring design is all about creating attractive designs on the surface of your bread – it’s like art for your mouth! Not sure where to start? Keep reading for tips and tricks from the pros.

Why Score Sourdough Bread?

The purpose of scoring a loaf is to create a more even rise in the oven. By cutting slashes into the dough before baking, you can control how and where your bread expands – no more misshapen lumps! It’s also surprisingly fun, and it gives you the chance to express your creativity with your food.

Types Of Sourdough Scoring

Expansion Score: The most common type of scoring is an expansion score. This typically involves two or three slashes across the top of the loaf that let steam escape evenly during baking.

Decorative (Artistic) Score: If you’re feeling creative, try a decorative score! This type of scoring uses shapes and patterns to create a beautiful design on the surface of your bread. It’s a great way to make your loaves stand out –  plus, the added bonus of creating an attractive rise.

Tools For Scoring Sourdough

Scoring dough requires a sharp tool. The most popular choice is a razor blade or an X-acto knife, but you can also use a serrated knife or even kitchen shears. Make sure the tool is clean and dry to avoid sticking. There are also various tools for you to try:

  • Lame (Bread Scoring Tool): If you’re serious about scoring, invest in a lame. This is a curved tool with a sharp blade specifically designed for scoring bread. It allows more precise cuts that create beautiful patterns on the surface of your loaves.
  • Banneton Basket: In case you are using a banneton basket for your sourdough, you can use the ridges in the bottom of the basket as a guide for scoring. This will give you consistent slashes on your loaf that look neat and professional.
  • Scissors: If you don’t have a lame or kitchen shears, scissors can be used to create curved designs on your loaf. Be sure to use sharp scissors and make sure the dough is dry before cutting.
The Art Of Sourdough Scoring Design

The Art Of Sourdough Scoring Design – Tools For Scoring Sourdough

How To Score Sourdough Bread?

Now that you have the tools and knowledge, it is time to get scoring! Here are some tips for creating beautiful loaves:

  • Start with a cold loaf: The dough should be chilled before scoring. This will make slashing easier and create more even designs.
  • Keep your cuts shallow: You don’t want to cut too deep into your dough, as this can cause it to collapse during baking. Aim for slashes that are about ½ inch deep.
  • Work with a wet blade: Dip the tip of your tool in water before making each cut. This will help the blade glide more easily across the surface of the dough and create cleaner lines.
  • Let your creativity flow: Have fun with it! Get creative and come up with unique designs that showcase your personality.

Preparing The Dough

Before you can start scoring, you need to prepare your dough. This should include kneading and shaping the dough into a round or rectangular loaf. To do this, gently roll the dough between your hands until it forms a ball then tuck the edges underneath for an even shape.

Once you’ve got your dough shaped, lightly dust the top with flour and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. This will help relax the gluten and make scoring easier.

Scoring Your Sourdough

Since your dough is ready, you can start scoring! Work slowly and carefully to create slashes that are about ½ inch deep. Make sure the blade is wet before each cut to ensure a clean cut.

You can create simple expansion scores or get creative with decorative designs. Just keep in mind that the slashes will expand during baking, so be sure to leave enough space between them for an even rise.

After you have completed the scoring, transfer your loaf to a proofing basket and let it rise for 1-2 hours before baking.

The Art Of Sourdough Scoring Design

The Art Of Sourdough Scoring Design – Scoring Your Sourdough

Depth And Speed In Bread Scoring Techniques

The depth of your score affects the shape and size of your loaf. A shallow score (about ½ inch deep) will create a larger, flatter loaf with less rise.

On the other hand, a deeper slash (closer to 1 inch deep) will result in more dramatic expansion and large air pockets inside the bread.

When scoring, it is important to be consistent in your cuts. Quick, shallow strokes will create even lines that look neat and professional. If you press too hard or drag the blade, the dough may collapse and ruin your design.

The Art Of Sourdough Scoring Design

How To Score Sourdough Bread? – Liliana Kitchen

Sourdough Scoring Design

With creativity in mind and a careful hand, there is nothing that can stop you from scoring the most beautiful and elegant design for your sourdough. Here are some of the most well-known scoring designs for you to check your handy skills:

Many Small Cuts

Create a pattern of multiple small cuts in the same direction. This is a classic design that works particularly well with rustic breads like sourdough.

Wheat Pattern With Half Moon Expansion

This is one of the most popular scoring patterns. To create this, simply make a single slash down the center of your loaf and then two half-moon cuts at either side.

Wheat Pattern With Square (Box Top With Design)

This intricate design looks like a cross between a wheat pattern and a box top. To make this, start with two vertical slashes down the center of the loaf. Then, cut four lines from side to side in a box-like pattern. Finally, make small cuts along each of these lines to complete the design.

Simple Cross Pattern

Create a cross pattern by making four evenly spaced slashes around the circumference of the loaf. This type of design looks great on round loaves and adds a touch of sophistication.

Batard With Double Slash

This design can be used to give your batard a classic, rustic look. To create it, make two deep slashes down the center of the loaf. Then, add a few shallow cuts on either side of the double slash for added texture.

>> Want to test out your skills with the scoring techniques you just have learned? Well, this video here is a perfect guide for you:

Pre-Baking And Sourdough Scoring Tips To Achieve Success

Note that there are some scoring tips for you to jot down for a successful baking experience the next time:

  • Have An Active Starter: To get the perfect rise, you need to make sure your starter is active and proofed.
  • Refrigerate The Dough Overnight: Chilling the dough overnight will help give it an extra boost of flavor.
  • Preheat The Baking Dish Before Scoring Sourdough: Before baking, preheat the baking dish in the oven. This will help give your loaf a nice crisp crust.
  • Use A Sharp Tool: For best results, use a sharp tool such as a lame or razor blade to score your dough.
  • Add Flour To The Top Of The Loaf: Before slashing your loaf, dust it with a light layer of flour to reduce sticking.

A Few Mistakes When Making And Scoring Sourdough Bread

Side to side with the tips for a perfect sourdough scoring designs, there are also some mistakes that I notice that people often deal with all the time:

  • Over Fermentation: Over-proofing your dough can cause it to collapse when you score it. Be sure not to let it proof for too long.
  • Under Fermentation: Not letting your dough rise long enough will result in a dense, heavy loaf.
  • Oven Temperature Is Too High: If your oven is too hot, the outer crust will burn before the inside of the loaf is fully cooked.
  • Oven Temperature Is Too Cool: If your oven is too cool, the bread won’t rise properly and won’t develop a crunchy crust.
  • Too Much Water Or Flour: Too much water or flour can cause your dough to be too wet or dry, which will affect the texture and rise of your loaf.
  • Poor Scoring: Poorly scored dough can collapse and ruin your design. Make sure to use shallow, even strokes with a sharp tool.
The Art Of Sourdough Scoring Design

A Few Mistakes When Making And Scoring Sourdough Bread

Some Sourdough Bread Recipes To Practice Your Scoring Technique

In case you want to preserve your sourdough bread in the best state, Liliana Kitchen also recommended you read this helpful blog on How To Store Sourdough Bread?

FAQs For “The Art Of Sourdough Score Design”

How do you score designs on sourdough?

Scoring designs on sourdough is best done with a sharp tool such as a lame or razor blade. Make sure to use shallow, even strokes to create the desired design.

How deep should you score sourdough?

The depth of the score should be shallow and even, usually around 1/8” to 1/4”.

How do you score bread designs?

The best way to score bread designs is by using a sharp object like a razor blade or knife. Be sure to use light, consistent strokes for the best results. You can also use a fork or knife to make simpler designs.

Do you score bread before or after the second rise?

The best time to score bread is after the second rise. This will ensure that your design comes out crisp and defined.

What should you score sourdough with?

Use a sharp object like a lame, razor blade, or knife to score your sourdough for the best results. To create simpler designs, use a fork or knife instead and apply light, consistent strokes.

When should I score my sourdough?

You should score your sourdough once it has finished its second rise. This will ensure that the design comes out crisp and defined.


Sourdough scoring designs are a great way to add an elegant, rustic touch to your breads. With the right techniques and tips, you can easily create beautiful designs that will impress your family and friends.

Remember to have an active starter, preheat the baking dish, use a sharp tool, add flour to the top of the loaf, and refrigerate the dough overnight for added flavor. Lastly, make sure to pay attention to the depth of the score, oven temperatures, and the amount of water or flour used to ensure the best possible results.

With a bit of patience and practice, Liliana Kitchen hopes that you will be able to create amazing sourdough designs in no time! And don’t forget to enjoy the deliciousness of your freshly-baked sourdough loaf. Bon appétit!

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