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Choosing a Lame

baking lame picture

There are lots of lames (or grignettes) for making slashes in your dough just before it is put into the oven. As well as being used for making decorative patterns in the baked loaf, the cuts allow the baker to control how the bread expands while rising in the oven, avoiding random tears in the skin as it bursts.

Beginners to bread baking and those wanting no more than a simple cross in their loaf can simply use a very sharp knife (see our knives). Lames allow for curves and more detailed patterns in the finished loaf. What the curved bladed lames are really good at too is to create a deep undercut in the dough so that the splitting of the skin in the baked loaf is even greater. This is especially desired in French breads such as baguettes – or any crusty loaf.

There are two types of lame: those with a scalpel-style blade and those with a razor-type blade.

The scalpel-style ones are best for simple, quick cuts in straight lines or slight curves. They are less good for under-cuts. They come in two styles, disposable with a fixed blade and with a replaceable and retractable blade. If you are unsure which you need then maybe go for the disposable first one to see how you get on with them.

The razor-blade style ones also come in two types: disposable ones with a permanent, fixed blade and those with a replaceable razor blade. The disposable ones are cheaper but once the blade is blunt, its life is over. There is a yellow one with a blade fixed in place and a red one where the blade can be rotated. This allows for all four corners of the blade to be used before throwing away.

Those with a razor blade are for the professional baker. The razor blade can be replaced and switched around so that the blade can be used on all four corners before it needs to be replaced. The Landaise holds the razor blade straight whereas the Boulange holds the blade curved and the Bordelaise contains spring steel allowing the baker to bend or straighten the blade depending on what they want to do.


Domestic Use?

Professional Use?

Replaceable Blade?

Curved blade?

Safety Cover / retractable?

Detectable (for production bakeries)

Dough Scoring Knife




Fixed Yellow lame


Rotatable Red lame








As required