How to slice crusty breads (professional bakers agree)

Homemade bread is always in style, but this baked good is really hitting these days.

Aren’t we all suddenly cooped up and left with nothing to think about but soothing carbs?

Bread-baking is increasing in popularity in certain circles - the rest of us quickly still buying loaves at the grocery store or local bakery. Something had changed, however. Those oddly stretchy pieces of pre-sliced white bread hit different after months, and our palates had been introduced to something better: Fresh home baked bread.

We know the challenges this includes, one of the main ones being cutting that fresh bread. With a thicker crust and big loaves of bread, it can be confusing where to even place your knife to start digging in.

That's why we asked a professional - Cem, Co-Founder of The Brot Box and professional baker - to weigh in. His answer? 

“The proper technique is to place the bread on your cutting board and open your hand as if you're about to give someone a high-five. Place your hand on top of the bread to keep it horizontal, and cut at a 45-degree angle using your serrated bread knife. The angle is very important here, as many people will begin cutting the end of the bread where it is very hard and crusty, causing the knife to slide off onto their hand."

Use the right knife.

A serrated bread knife is extremely important when cutting into bread. 

“You want to cut a loaf of bread like you're cutting a tree. What I mean by this is when you're using a saw-like motion going side to side, you aren't putting pressure on the bread, like you would with a non-serrated knife. This way, you're less likely to squish the bread - which is really what we're after here."

Cut on a stable surface.

Cutting boards sliding around can create potential danger, so be sure to secure them properly. This is true of any cutting, but especially true for breads. So create a no-skid surface to keep your board from moving around.

Prepare the bread.

Since the bread has a tendency to crumble, it is important that we are able to prepare and cut the bread properly. Preferably, the bread would be cut into ½ inch slices so that they can be consumed elegantly. You first want to place your bread onto your cutting board and begin to slice your bread using clean motions. You should take a few back and forth strokes and place as little force as possible.

Step by step:

  1. Choose a suitable bread knife.
  2. Place your loaf of bread on a large, wooden cutting board
  3. Consider slicing large, round loaves in half
  4. Place your hand over the crust and gently grip the loaf by the sides.
  5. Go into the crust at a slight angle.
  6. Saw downwards once the knife pierces the crust.

I should probably add that slicing homemade bread takes some practice, just like making bread does, so don’t despair if you can’t manage to turn out perfectly thin slices right away.

Hopefully that answers your questions! However, if I missed something or if you’re having a bread/slicing problem that I didn’t address here, ask away, and I’ll try to help.

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