While all homemade bread is good bread, tools like a bread lame (pronounced "lahm") — the thing you use to score the top of a loaf before it goes into the oven — can take it from good to great. The best bread lames have comfortable handles and sharp razor blades that can be easily replaced and safely stored.
Most bread lames are simply razor blades attached to handles, so you can score your dough before it goes into the oven, ensuring an even rise. As bread rises in the oven, it will break through the weakest part of the dough. By scoring your dough, you control where that weak area is, so you can bake a beautiful and even loaf. Bread lames with elongated handles are easy to grip and highly versatile, while those with rounded handles offer a little more precision, since you're holding them closer to the blade.
Bread lames are usually made with stainless steel blades, which are super sharp and durable. The best lames have easy to replace razors, often because they are compatible with standard razor blades. The handles can be made from a variety of materials, including stainless steel, plastic, or wood. Note that while wood handles offer a good grip, they are rarely dishwasher-friendly.
The lame blade comes in two varieties: straight and curved. Curved lames are great for beginners because they make the deep cuts needed for an even rise. Straight razors are used to make shallow cuts for more decorative designs. Whichever type of lame you choose, the blade will be incredibly sharp, so it's important to get one that comes with a case or cover for secure storage.
If you're ready to score the perfect bread score, check out our list of the best bread lames below.
1. The Best Overall
Recommended by Bon Appetit, this 100% stainless steel bread lame from Baker of Seville is versatile, affordable, and easy to use. The blade is secured with a large, easy-to-turn screw, and you also get two replacement blades. The handle is compatible with any standard double-edged razor blades. This one can be used as both a straight and curved lame, making it one of the most versatile options on our list. When the screw is tightened, it forces the razor to curve, and when the screw is slightly loosened, the blade straightens again. This lame is dishwasher-safe, and comes with a storage box for safe keeping.
One fan raved: “I have gone through several Bread Lames over the years. Most are crap so I came to amazon not expecting to find anything I would like. As I was searching I came across this product that is designed by bakers for bakers. And I thought, ‘this has got to be a quality product.’ So I took a chance and ordered it. This is a lovely lame. It does not look cheap and is perfectly weighted. Why do I mention weight? Because it's important. You want a product that has enough weight so that it stays in your hand as you are slicing through the dough. [...]”
2. The Runner-Up
Made by the popular food blog Breadtopia, this lame has a double-edged stainless steel blade with a curved design. The handle is made from hard resin and has a fun baguette shape, which is easy to grip. It includes a safe storage box and five replacement blades, as well as photo instructions showing how to change the blade. An additional five razor blades can be purchased from the brand's website for only a dollar, but reviewers noted that it's also compatible with standard razor blades. This lame is also recommended by America's Test Kitchen, which rated it as the number-one bread lame for baguettes.
One fan raved: “I make homemade bread and had been using different types of knives to make cuts across the top of my dough before baking and nothing worked....but this lame works...it works great. It does take a few times using it to master it. A helpful tip when using this: Dip it in flour before you cut...it won't stick to the dough and get caught on it. If you make bread, then I recommend this product. Please keep it away from children. It is very sharp!”
3. The Budget Pick
If you're baking on a budget, this simple but effective bread lame is a great choice. It has a wood handle with an easy-to-grip shape, and a stainless steel end for durability. This lame comes with five replacement stainless steel blades, and can be used with any standard double-edged razor blade. It also includes a simple leather cover, so you won't have to worry about cutting yourself while fishing around in your kitchen drawer for it.
One fan raved “I'm new to sourdough and had been scoring with a knife until I decided to purchase a lame- and I am so glad I did! This was a game changer! So easy to use and my breads have been coming out seriously professional looking since I started using this! Couldn't be more excited!!”
4. The Best For Precision Scoring
With a unique rounded design, this small bread lame from Virotee makes precision scoring easy. The two wood pieces are handmade from solid American black walnut and screwed together to secure the razor blade within. This lame comes with five blades, and it can be used with any standard razor blade. It also comes with a blue snap-on case for easy storage.
One fan raved “I didn't realize how much I needed this before I got it. This is really easy to use and allows for excellent precision in scoring your dough. The carrying case makes it so that the blade doesn't get dull and you don't accidentally nick yourself when looking for it. Really an excellent and essential bakers tool. Highly Recommended!”
Also Great: An 11-Piece Bread Baking Set
If you're ready to dive into bread baking, this well-stocked kit has all the essential tools you need. In addition to a curved lame with a wooden handle, a leather case, and five blades, it also includes two banneton baskets, two covers, a plastic scraper, and a metal scraper. The natural rattan banneton baskets help your dough keep a classic textured oval shape while proofing, and the scrapers make it easy to transfer and divide your dough without jostling it too much.
One fan raved “I have been baking sourdough for 6 months. This kit has been the best thing for me. The price is the best I have seen. The packaging was very nice and easy to open. All the items came in perfect condition. The bench scraper is easy to hold and of great quality. The bannetons are sturdy and a breeze to use. The lame is easy to use and gave me great oven spring. I recommend this to any home baker, both first time and long time bakers.”