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What to Use Instead of a Bread Lame

No bread lame in your drawer but eager to score your loaf? We’re kneading in some handy alternatives to help you out.

There’s no tool more adept at scoring bread than the bread lame (pronounced “lahm”).

These specialized baking tools let you position a double-edged razor blade in a concave shape for cuts considerably thinner than those made with a straight edge. The result is bread with a perfectly split top.

But bread lames aren’t for everyone. Some lack protective caps, making storage a challenge and posing a risk of accidental cuts. Others are just flimsy or uncomfortable to handle.

The Best Bread Lame Alternatives

If you’re searching for alternatives to the bread lame for scoring your loaves, we’ve put together this guide. Read on to see your options and decide which one’s best for your situation.

Double-Edged Razor Blade

A bread lame is a fancy tool for holding a double-edged razor blade at a curved angle. If you don’t like the tool, consider using just the razor blade itself.

A cautionary note: Double-edged razor blades are extremely sharp. Mere contact with the skin can lead to a deep cut. One of the main reasons to use a bread lame that it keeps the blade’s edge at a safe distance from your fingers. Exercise caution—a lot of it—if you choose to use the blade directly.

Paring Knife

A paring knife, with its short blade—typically between 3 and 3.5 inches (approximately 7.5 to 9 cm)—and sharp edge, is ideal for peeling fruits and vegetables. If you have one tucked away in your kitchen drawer, it can conveniently double as a tool for scoring bread.

The key to scoring bread with a paring knife is to make sure the knife is exceptionally sharp. Before you begin, sharpen the knife with a good knife sharpener—for the home kitchen, we recommend the IKEA Skärande. The blade should be sharp enough to effortlessly slice through paper.

Kitchen Shears

Kitchen shears, when sharp, can be an alternative tool for scoring bread. Simply give the bread’s surface a quick snip. However, a word to the wise: always opt for kitchen shears over ordinary scissors.

The reason? Kitchen shears have blades made from food-grade stainless steel. Unlike kitchen shears, regular scissors might have rust or be coated with industrial lubricants, neither of which have any place in a homemade loaf of bread.

What to Avoid

Steer clear of hobby knives and ordinary scissors.

Firstly, their blades aren’t made from food-grade stainless steel. Secondly, to prevent rusting, these blades are often coated with industrial wax—and that’s not necessarily something you want on your food.

Moreover, considering that hobby knives and regular scissors are used for a myriad of tasks beyond cutting bread, it’s best to keep them separate from anything you’d eat.

Making the Choice

A double-edged razor blade offers thin and precise cuts. But it doesn’t provide the safety inherent in the rest of the options on our list. If you trust your dexterity and are fully aware of the risks, it can be a viable option for scoring your bread.

The paring knife is your second-best option. Just how good of an option it is hinges on its sharpness; a dull blade will struggle with scoring the dough. When properly honed and sharpened, it can serve home bakers quite well.

Lastly, consider kitchen shears. Different from regular scissors, these shears have food-grade stainless-steel blades. They are adept at scoring slender and round breads, such as baguettes, provided they have sharp edges.

Know your author

Written by

Dim is a food writer, cookbook author, and the editor of Home Cook World. His first book, Cooking Methods & Techniques, was published in 2022. He is a certified food handler with Level 1 and Level 2 Certificates in Food Hygiene and Safety for Catering, and a trained cook with a Level 3 Professional Chef Diploma.