A New Approach to a Lame: The Wire Monkey Lame

Though I haven’t been doing artisan bread making for very long, I’ve come to understand that scoring is a really important step in the process to control the nature of the oven spring. And having a good tool for scoring is super-important. To that effect, I’ve made my own lame and even purchased a gorgeous stainless steel “professional” lame. I’ve been getting better at scoring, but in the back of my mind, I’ve felt the traditional lame is a bit unwieldy.

One of the main issues I’ve had with the traditional lame is that I have a natural tendency to lay the lame down, parallel to the surface of the bread. This causes the side of the blade to catch on the skin of the bread, sometimes tearing it – eek! And though I’m much better at it than I was in the beginning, there have been times where I’ve just ended up removing the razor blade and slashing with the blade. It’s not safe, but I have much more confidence slashing with the blade held closer.

Enter the Wire Monkey Lame.

I first found out about this lame from a couple of Proof Bread videos on YouTube. The owners, Jon and Amanda, made a point of calling out this particular lame, so I checked out the Wire Monkey web site and got the UFO Corbeau. One of the cool things about Wire Monkey lames is that they’re all made from sustainable materials. The Corbeau that I got is made from 100% recycled paper and food-safe resin. I think it’s what’s known as RichliteTM which is a fantastic material. One of my guitar’s fretboards is made of the material and it feels like ebony! So cool!

The shape of the lame is – in a word – perfect. Its diameter is the same as the length of a razor blade, so when you’re not using it the razor blade tucks right into the lame. It is SO easy to hold and I feel as if I have so much more control over slashing while holding it!

Update 8/1/2020: When I first received the lame the other day, I was right in the middle of a poolish ferment, and didn’t get to use it till this morning because I also did a 16-hour proof on the same dough.

So what’s the verdict? Okay… THIS LAME IS AN ABSOLUTE GAME-CHANGER! I love that I don’t have to worry about my attack angle as with a traditional lame, where I’d often catch the side of the razor blade because I laid the lame too parallel to the dough. With this lame, I feel incredibly confident in scoring my bread! Look at the results:

What an ear! That was scored just this morning with the Corbeau lame! It’s a thing of beauty!

They’re not cheap, starting at $27.95 (I paid $35.95 for mine). But they’re totally worth it! If you’ve struggled with scoring, I can guarantee that you won’t struggle with this lame!

For more information go to the Wire Monkey website. They’ve got some really cool designs!

Wire Monkey lames are the original, made in the USA lames. There are lots of cheaper alternatives that do the same thing. And though I’m not one of those “Buy Only American” types of folks, I do want to support artisans where I can and not the companies that rip off designs.


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