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While many home bakers may not start out using a bread lame—which is, essentially, a long tool that holds a razor blade—the addition of this relatively inexpensive tool to your bread making kit will immediately pay off with cleaner scoring, higher rises, and more refined results.
Bread lames (“lame” means “blade” in French) were once difficult to find on the consumer market, which often left home bakers to score their bread using blades by hand or fashion their own tools out of skewers or chopsticks. Professional-quality bread lames are now available to anyone interested in stepping up their bread game, and they come in a variety of choices for your ultimate comfort and bread-making style.
Here are the best bread lames on the market right now.
Best Overall: Baker of Seville Bread Lame
This is what you get when a bread baker sets out to make their own equipment. Designed and tested by bakers and baking enthusiasts alike, the Baker of Seville bread lame is versatile, sturdy, and streamlined.
The biggest advantage of this lame is its ability to alternate between a straight-edge or curved-blade lame, meaning you can make a variety of cuts without having to purchase two different tools. Additionally, the blade is stabilized with a sturdy screw and two stabilizing knobs to keep the blade from slipping under pressure.
Unlike most other bread lames on the market that are constructed with wood or plastic components, this lame is entirely stainless steel, making it both sturdy and easy to clean. The stainless steel design makes for a slightly heavier-weight lame, which most reviewers find beneficial, allowing for greater control while scoring. After removing the blade and securing the screw, it can be washed in the utensils section of the dishwasher.
The lame comes with a hard plastic storage case for safekeeping and storage in your kitchen drawers.
Blade Style: Curved or Straight | Includes: Hard plastic storage case, additional blades | Material: Stainless steel
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Breadtopia Bread Lame
For bakers looking for a dependable, and admittedly cute, lame for scoring homemade bread, the Breadtopia lame is an easy tool to use, change, and maintain. Blades slide onto the stainless steel razor strip for a gently curved fit, and the strip is bendable enough to mold into a more pronounced curve if desired.
The long, textured resin handle is non-slip and allows for a looser and gentler pressure for soft doughs. For thicker doughs, there’s plenty of room to choke up on the handle without being directly on top of the blade. It comes with five blade replacements and a padded box for safe storage.
Blade Style: Curved | Includes: Paper storage box, 5 additional blades | Material: Plastic and Metal
Best Budget: XoYo Bread Lame
If you’re just starting out or don’t know how committed you are to making bread for the long haul, the XoYo Bread Lame is a safe and reusable lower-priced option. Instead of buying a single-use plastic lame for the same amount, XoYo offers a lame design like the higher-end models at half the price. It’s designed with a longer 6.3-inch wooden handle and stainless steel razor stick to hold a double-sided safety razor.
Reviewers give the lame high marks for durability, comfortable weight, and ease of use, making this tool a bargain. Unfortunately, the XoYo Bread Lame doesn’t come with a protective box but does include a leather blade cover to protect you and the blade while not in use.
Blade Style: Curved | Includes: 5 additional blades, 1 leather blade cover, 1 dough whisk, 1 bowl scraper | Material: Wood and Metal
Best for Sourdough: UPKOCH Bread Lame
Many bakers like to score their sourdoughs and yeasted doughs with a head-on perpendicular slice, in either the classic X or square pattern. A straight blade lame helps achieve a clean direct cut, as well as many of the popular decorative cuts often seen on larger artisan loaves.
The UPKOCH bread lame has an attractive artisan wooden handle, which is especially safe and secure. The blade is held in place by two screws, with the back of the double-sided blade sunk into the handle itself to avoid any accidental cuts while using the lame. The screws can be removed to rotate or replace the blade with a small key included in the set.
Five blades are included, as well as a plastic blade cover for safe storage, and a key to tighten the screws. Unlike other models, the UPKOCH bread lame also has a small hole drilled in the handle for hanging.
Blade Style: Straight | Includes: 5 additional blades, 1 Plastic blade cover, 1 Screw key | Material: Wood
Best for Gifting: Williams Sonoma Black Walnut Handle Bread Lame
This lame takes the utilitarian straight blade up a notch with a beautiful black walnut handle, embellished with brass accents and stainless steel fittings. The screws that secure the blade in the handle can be tightened by hand without the need for a key. A pre-drilled hole in the handle makes it easy to hang and display in your kitchen.
The whole package includes additional razor blades and a small wooden box for storage, making this lame a lovely and thoughtful gift for the bread enthusiast in your life.
Blade Style: Straight | Includes: Paper storage box, 5 additional blades | Material: Black walnut wood and Metal
Best for Baguettes: Saint Germain Premium Bread Lame
The curved blade of the Saint Germain lame makes scoring baguettes for that beautiful arched expansion and delicate crisp flap (referred to as the “ear”) a breeze. Similar to other models, the lame is designed with a wooden handle and stainless steel stick to hold the blade.
The shorter handle of this lame is popular among bakers who like to hold the tool closer to the blade for more control, or bakers with smaller hands. Since baguette dough is typically a little denser than a high-hydration sourdough, the extra control for scoring comes in handy.
The whole package includes five replaceable blades for multiple uses, a blade cover, and a cardboard box to store it all in.
Blade Style: Curved | Includes: Paper storage box, 6 additional blades, 1 Leather blade cover | Material: Wood and Metal
Best with Case: Bread Bosses Bread Bakers Lame Slashing Tool
Bread Bosses has set out to make serious tools for serious bread bakers. The Bread Bosses lame comes with a solid wooden handle, ten replacement blades, a blade cover, and a rugged wooden box to store it all in. The handle is smooth, without any carvings to prevent flour or dough buildup that may be difficult to clean out over time.
Additionally, Bread Bosses has a 365 day return policy if for any reason your lame doesn’t stand up to regular use within the first year.
Blade Style: Curved | Includes: Wooden storage box, 10 additional blades, 1 Leather blade cover | Material: Wood and Metal
The Baker of Seville Bread Lame is designed with serious bakers in mind, providing a heavy-duty stainless steel handle and versatile scoring options, all at a reasonable price. Popular, easy to handle, and cute, the Breadtopia Bread Lame comes in second as a less expensive, but reliable, quality baker’s tool.
Is a bread lame necessary?
You don’t absolutely need a bread lame to score your dough, although you’ll need a very sharp blade that’s thin and easy to handle. Unless you sharpen your knives regularly, there’s a good chance that they’ll be duller than a lame’s razor-sharp edge, making rough cuts that drag and pull your raw dough as you slice it. Having a dedicated bread lame for your doughs will ensure that the razor stays sharp longer, and you’ll be able to make precise and professional-looking cuts in your bread.
How deep should you score bread?
When scoring your dough, you’ll want to make sure that the cut reaches through the “skin” of the dough and down to the moist dough. Whether you’re scoring straight down or at an angle, you’ll only need to cut about ¼ to ½-inch deep. If you’re making a loaf with just a few cuts, aim for slightly deeper cuts that will produce more dramatic openings. If you’re making a decorative loaf with smaller cuts, aim for shallower cuts that are less likely to tear open into large vents while baking, preserving your design.
What happens if you don't score bread before baking it?
The purpose of scoring bread is to create places where the bread can intentionally expand while rising, creating a consistent and professional look with every loaf you make. If you don’t score your bread before baking it, it will still rise and expand but will tear at random places around the bread, often creating uneven and unappealing jagged shapes.
How often should you change the blade on your bread lame?
The best cuts you’ll make with your bread lame are with a fresh razor. You can usually get quality cuts for several loaves of bread, depending on the number of cuts made in each loaf, before the blade begins to dull. While the exact number of cuts varies greatly depending on the bread you're making and the types of slices, you can judge when to change the blade by paying attention to how it’s slicing. If you notice that the blade feels like it's dragging through the dough instead of cutting smoothly and quickly, it may be time to clean or replace it. If a clean blade begins to stick to or pull the dough, it’s time for a change. Also, if it takes several slices to create a single vent, it’s probably time to change the blade.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Jenny Kellerhals has been a professional pastry chef in NYC for over a decade, developing an appreciation of professional-grade and high-quality home baking equipment through rigorous use. Her New York apartment kitchen cabinets are tiny, so only the most reliable equipment makes the cut.