For those of us who are self-appointed galley-slaves, we've long realized that the right tools can be critical to producing results that prevent a good keel-hauling! (Have you ever been keel-hauled? In the suburbs? It's easier on you if there's a crawl space, but my house has a basement. Keel hauling is best to be avoided. Good tools are critical to my efforts in this regard...)
Bread is an essential component of the munchable supply in any well-appointed, land-faring galley.Good tasting bread, with good crust and crumb will keep your crew salivating - and will keep you off the haul lines - but a good LOOKING, good tasting bread will have them eyeing you as a viable replacement for the Cap'n.
Without slashing, a dough CAN have a nice smooth crust, but usually at the sacrifice of volume - "oven spring". Many simple, small loaves - like pepperoni rolls, for instance - get away with this. More often than not, though, the bread will have its way - it will spring (rise) in the oven, both due to the results of the dying food-orgy of the yeast, and, after their demise, the steam generated by the water trapped inside the forming crust. Once that crust loses its elasticity (usually pretty early within the bake), but before it becomes hard and crusty, all that pressure will likely cause an ugly blow-out in some random place. The crew's hunger may be sated by the bread, but they might not find it very aesthetically pleasing. Aaarrrrr.
Though most home galley-slaves find a good, sharp knife equal to this purpose, there's nary a knife-wielding dough slasher that doesn't spend some time pining dreamily away over the concept of the razor sharp lame (no, no, no: not LAIM; it's pronounce lahm) that every boulanger worth his or her salt employs in their boulangerie! But - What ho! And avast! - the scurvy dogs want a hook and a peg for even the cheapest one! So le's go off to the toolroom to save a buck or thirty...
Step 1: So, What Does It Mean Be a Lame
Commercial examples can be curved or straight; platinum-blade thin, or utility-blade thick. Some have very simple plastic handles and common razor blades; others have elaborate handles and custom blades. Some have replaceable blades, some do not.
And not one that I could find was much less that $7USD. The Home Brewed Lame is about $0.76 in materials, plus a few moments of your time.
Step 2: The Stuff of Lames
Step 3: Chop, Chop! (Or Saw, Saw?)
Sand the ends, if you like - makes it easier to keep it clean, but I rarely see any dough on the ends of my lame.