One common question is how I get that straight line split down the middle of my loaves instead of a random burst? This is known as an ear - when you cut your loaf in half (properly, see previous episode) you will see that it looks a little like a bunny with an ear.
This is created by scoring the fully proofed loaf with a sharp as hell knife or razor blade - known as a lame. For batard-shaped loaves (like the Country Blonde) it is best to score in an arc shape down one long side or straight down the middle. Hold your blade at no more than a 40-45 degree angle to the loaf so that the top of the slice effectively shelters the dough underneath as it emerges during the oven spring caused by baking. With boules (like the Seeded Boule) these are best scored at a 90 degree angle to the loaf so that the round shaping is maintained. In both cases, score in one confident movement and then get your loaf straight in the oven.
Scoring your loaf like this is not essential. A random burst can also look very rustic and attractive. However, it does ensure that the loaf rises to its fullest capability in the oven and has a crumb that is as airy as possible.