You know how scoring bread is not my favorite thing? If this is something you also struggle with, I have a solution for you. Take a crash course on scoring bread by baking crispy bread rolls on a baguette pan. The more often you bake or the smaller your loaves are, the steeper your learning curve is in making your own signature score.
Sure, I know how to achieve a minimalistic ear. I am capable of baking decent looking baguettes even though I don’t have a curved lame. Still, scoring bread has been and still is out of my comfort zone.
Last winter I decided to pay attention to why I found this area of bread baking a challenge. I started to intentionally focus on scoring despite my sweating. I studied different kinds of hydration levels, different grains, and different patterns. I tried to plan ahead as much as possible.
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But the challenge is in a household of two is that your journey of learning is kind of slow when you bake one loaf in a week. I mainly bake for two of us and sometimes give loaves as a casual gift. So I decided to bake smaller loaves.
And that was all good for a couple of weeks until it hit me: why not study scoring with tiny bread rolls! So every now and then I take a crash course on scoring with a good piece of dough.
What kind of dough is good for scoring bread rolls?
Any type of dough basically. A strong dough. A dough with which you feel comfortable with.
I keep the hydration above 70ish %, depending on the chosen flour balance of course. If you’ve baked with my bread recipes before, you know how I like to bake healthy bread with a great taste. And with whole grains, the scoring is a bit more challenging in comparison to pure white doughs.
While I’d love to bake and score rolls all week long, what I noticed is that bread rolls are best when fresh. I rarely freeze them. And I do love soft bread rolls and they have their moment, but I don’t want to every week.
Because here’s the deal: the crust is the tastiest bit of the bread. I like a crispy crust! So it occurred to me bake bread rolls on a baguette tray to achieve that while keeping the size of the bread optimal for the scoring studies. With a baguette tray, you get crispiest bread rolls ever. Trust me. If you don’t have a *baguette tray, you can check mine here for comparison.
It’s a good idea to rehearse with the same basic dough a few times (ingredients and process). Then you can vamp up the hydration level.
How to bake bread rolls on a baguette tray?
My favorite process is as follows. I make the dough during the day and shape the bread rolls in the evening. I tuck them nice and tight into the fridge for a good night’s sleep. And the next morning, I bake the rolls. It’s nicer to score cold dough and the oven spring is more effective.
The size of the rolls is something to consider. I use *Chicago Metallic Non-Stick Perforated Baguette Pan and with this baguette tray, I keep the dough roll’s weight at 50-ish grams. This way I get a nice rise and form.
The pan is 16″ x 9″ (40,5cm x 22,8cm), and it’s ideal for baking 9 bread rolls at the same time. That is if you’re busy. But if you want to study scoring, you can bake the rolls one at the time.
When I’m on a scoring challenge, I bake a maximum of four at the time. Remember, all the other rolls are waiting in the fridge. There’s no hurry. Have another cup of coffee and let the baguette pan cool.
I only take the number of bread rolls out I’m baking each time. I score the rolls, place them on the pan, and bake them with steam. When baking a small batch at a time, you can analyze how different baking temperatures and the amount of steaming affect the oven spring.
You may notice that the oven is too hot for your dough and the scoring tears up ugly. You may notice that the ear will form differently at different temperatures. It’s really fun, you should try it.
Tips for scoring and baking
The better one takes care of the basics, the better the scoring and oven spring will be.
- make good strong dough and use the starter as it peaks
- shape the rolls patiently (sloppy form will be more difficult to score)
- a sharp blade is the only way to score tiny bread rolls
And if the scoring sucks, don’t worry. The bread roll will still be the crispiest and freshest breakfast roll ever! You may even question yourself why to see all the trouble for baguettes when bread rolls are so much more relaxed.