The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

bread knife and matters slicing

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Nim's picture
Nim

bread knife and matters slicing

How can we slice bread so that in the end we are not left with a piece that is too wide on one side and just enough for a single slice on the other. All of my loafs almost invariable end like that, at which point, I just cut it into squares and share it with my 3 yr old who doesn't care that it is not a slice anymore.


Also, what do people here recommend for buying a good bread knife? Till now, I have just been using the serrated knife from my very ordinary set of knifes on a wooden block. I think after three years of never buying bread from a store and baking at least once a week, I should buy a good bread knife. (I tend to be a minimalist in the kitchen!) Don't want to spend a fortune though...

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I use a Victorinox 10-1/4-Inch Bread Knife with Curved Blade and Fibrox Handle. You can purchase it on Amazon here.


Victorinox bread knife


--Pamela

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

CooksIllustrated.com tested 12 serrated knives in March '08 and the Victorinox Forschner 10.25" Curved Blade Bread Knife (in Pam's post above), currently selling on Amazon.com for $18, came in second after the Wüsthof Classic Bread Knife ($80) and ahead of the Viking 10-inch Serrated Slicer ($108 [!!!]).


If I could find it at an equally decent price up here in Canada, I'd get it too.


Update: I did! Well, most decent anyway. Looking on the internet, this knife ($18 at Amazon) was floating in the $50 - 60 range, plus $12-20 shipping. Can anyone say "rip off"?  However, I found it (in Canada) at Hubert.com it was $33.88 (yes, still nearly double) but the shipping was acceptable ($5.45), so I added a peel and a bowl scraper - impossible to find up here.


NICE knife! Compared to what I was using before, it's a dream.

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

Nim,


My bread knife is from Pampered Chef.  It's one my wife bought at a party (the type of peer pressure purchase that I usually mock), but I really like it.


As far as cutting the bread, I use a herringbone patter, which is easier to show than tell, so here's a picture:



You basically rotate the bread back and forth about a quarter turn with each slice.

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

Since posting this reply, I have acquired a Wusthof bread knife, which blows my Pampered Chef knife out of the water. It cuts even the softest bread perfectly.


I still use -- and advocate -- the herringbone cutting pattern for boules. Here's a recent blog post I did with pictures which show the technique pretty well:


http://wp.me/pwL3l-be

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I use a Quikut ultra sharp bread knife.  I've probably been using it for twenty years and it still cuts well.  The handle is plastic and the knife doesn't offer much in the way of visual appeal, as some of he more modern varieties do, but I don't select my knives for their appearance.  Balance, weight, durability and the ability to hold an edge are my criteria.  I have recently been considering finding a cordless electric knife for bread slicing, only because I find them easier to control.  The provide the forward and reverse motion and all I have to do is focus on the width and eveness of the slice.  But I haven't made that decision yet.


I think your three year old has the best answer.  Bread that is sliced doesn't taste any better than bread that is torn from the loaf.  Rip off a piece and enjoy.  Sandwiches?  Put the sandwich ingredients on a plate and let the consumer combine a bite of this and that.  It'll help them develop their creativity.

MisterB1949's picture
MisterB1949

It is always necessary to have a good knife - a serrated or scalloped blade is essential in my view, although some folks prefer a plain blade. The Victorinox mentioned above is good, but I prefer Wusthof. The main thin is that you need one long enough to be able to "saw". Typical knife sets include an 8" and I prefer 9" or even 10" for the extra length of the blade when cutting a large loaf. You can also use the same knife for roasts.


As far as accuracy of cutting is concerned, that is a skill. You need to line the blade up parallel to the end of the loaf that you are cutting and keep it straight at all times as you cut. That takes a good eye and practice.

BvN's picture
BvN

I have an old bread knife - at least 80 years old. Works wonderfully. Looks like a reject. Last year somebody was looking at it and suggested that I could sell it on Ebay. Then I would have to buy a replacement.  The blade is quite thin and can twist while slicing, but its been in the family for at least 5 generations. So it remains.


I covet those odd-ball ends. Not having a 3 year old, I cube them. They either go into a soup (especially French onion) or get transformed into croutons. I've also been known to dunk them into peanut butter. I really like "flournwater's" suggestions.

Nim's picture
Nim

Thanks, all of you. I will start roving my shopping eyes for one of the Knives suggested. Will update you when I finally get one. Which may take a while given my tardiness in shopping!

dlt123's picture
dlt123

Hello, I use the following to slicing guide to slice my loaves...


Presto Bread Slicing Guide / Loaf Slicer

Presto Bread Slicing Guide / Loaf Slicer


It does a good job of making my slices consistant, is solid and easy to clean.  I also use a Victorinox knife as well.  


You can find them pretty cheap in thrift stores or can get them from eBay.


Hope this helps,


Dennis
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
Belief has no affect on reality.
My Website: http://www.roadtobetterliving.com


 

This Day's picture
This Day

I also use a slicing guide, but newer bread knives are too thick for the knife guides, and they shave off plastic.  I use my oldest serrated knife, which is thin enough to slice bread without shaving the plastic.


"Affect" is usually a verb; "effect" is usually a noun.  Rather than "Belief has no affect on reality", how about "Belief does not affect reality" or "Belief has no effect on reality."

dlt123's picture
dlt123

You're right about the slicing guides getting sliced with wide knives.  This is what I found with the one that I am using.  It already had some knicks in it when I bought it from the Thrift store, but my electric knife didn't do any more knicking but would get caught up in areas that had slivers of plastic sticking out into the slicing channel.


I am now going to buy a new slicing guide and the West Bend slicer that leanna mentions in this thread sounds like it has wider slicing guides.  Thanks Leanna for sharing. :)


Also, I deliberated for some time about which word to use, i.e. effect v.s. affect, but decided to use affect since I believe it makes a clearer point...


---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----


Webster's New World Dictionary:


af-fect (e fekt'; for n. 2, af'ekt)
vt.
[ME affecten < L affectare, to strive after < affectus, pp. of afficere, to influence, attack < ad-, to + facere, DO]


to have an effect on; influence; produce a change in !bright light affects the eyes"


---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----


But thanks for your suggestions... and also identifying that some knives will 'shave' off plastic from the slicers.    :)


Happy loafing,


Dennis
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
Belief has no affect on reality.
My Website: http://www.roadtobetterliving.com

Moriah's picture
Moriah

Belief has no affect on reality.
My Website: http://www.roadtobetterliving.com


 Is this kind of prosletyzing really necessary on a bread baking website? I suggest you leave it off. It's totally off topic.

MisterB1949's picture
MisterB1949

It is a real pity that the world is such an ungraceful place that people have to get their pants in a twist with every suggestion that God is in control. The lady (or gentleman) doth protest too much, methinks.

Ford's picture
Ford

MisterB1948 is right on target.  It has gotten so that no one can make any statement without someone else feeling offended, AND letting everyone know he IS OFFENDED.


A person's belief may not be pertinent in this forum, but Dennis was not pushing his belief, only listing his URL.  I would not have even noticed it, had Moriah not made such a point of it.


Now I have said more than enough.


Ford


 

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

I, too, said more than enough in my orignal reply.  So here is a generic, unoffensive replacement.

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

I like the Rada bread knife. It doesn't crush a warm loaf. Yeah- I know we are supposed to wait until it is cooled but some days I can't help myself!

leanna's picture
leanna

As for sandwich loaves, I prefer my electric knife and a bread slicing guide similar but not same as the one shown by Dennis.  I only wish I could find a good, cordless electric knife.

dlt123's picture
dlt123

I have used two electric knives and got tired of them not performing as I thought it they should.  Some bread I've made has had really tough crust and the electric knives I used would push the bread down during cutting since they could barely cut into the crust.  It would take me a long time to slice a whole loaf of bread.


After getting frustrated with my seemingly dull electric knives, I decided to search here for a good bread knife and found the knife I referrenced earlier in this thread.  It is 14 inches long, rather long I know, but boy it cuts my loaves like they're made of butter.  No comparison to my old electric knives.


 


BTW: Here is the knife I bought accept I bought it off eBay.  It's a really sharp knife, so be careful!  :)


http://www.surfasonline.com/products/10165.cfm


 


Definitely consider getting a good serrated knife to cut your bread if you're using an electric knife.


Just my 2 cents,


Dennis
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
Belief has no affect on reality.
My Website: http://www.roadtobetterliving.com

leanna's picture
leanna

My slicing guide actually allows the dual blades of my electric knife to slide ride in.  Below is a pic of my slicing guide.  It also folds up for storage, but only saves about half the size of the item itself, so it's kind of a non-issue.


dlt123's picture
dlt123

Thanks leanna, this is going to be my next slicer.  Like ThisDay mentioned earlier, my current slicer is getting cut with my bread knife because the guides are too narrow.


It sounds like the slicer you're using will fit the bill.  Thanks... and see this is just another reason why this site is so great... we get to spend money on new toys.  :)


Dennis
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
Belief has no affect on reality.
My Website: http://www.roadtobetterliving.com

Moriah's picture
Moriah

As a practicing Orthodox Jew I have no problem acknowleging that G-d is in charge. 

leanna's picture
leanna

I forgot to mention that I got my slicing guide at a thrift store for a couple of bucks.  I've seen many there, along with the bread machines people don't use anymore.  (I use mine all the time.  I love both of them.)

louiscohen's picture
louiscohen

Any inexpensive serrated knife long enough to go all the way across your loaves will be just fine.  The Victorinox knife suggested by others is great - I've used one for 30+ years.


It's probably worthwhile paying up for a good chef's knife, paring knife, and boning knife, but a cheap serrated knife works just as well as an expensive one.  

asicign's picture
asicign

I'll have to disagree with the cheap serrated knife comment.  That's what I've used for the past 30 years or so.  I just got a Victorinox 10" blade, and it does a much better job.  I can slice as thin as I want with minimal problems. .. and it was real cheap.

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

We have a complete set of Henckels that comes with a bread knife.  It does a pretty good job if I have to slice bread with it.  But my husband can't cut a slice of bread to save his life.  If he tried to use a knife to slice a loaf the bread would look more like pizza afterward.   I ended up buying an electric slicer which turned out to be a wonderful tool.  It's a cheap plastic model with a metal rotary blade but it does the job just fine.  I make four or five loaves each week and a little plastic electric slicer saves my breads from my husband and makes my life a lot easier! :-)



photojess's picture
photojess

second the Pampered Chef knife.  I used to be a consultant, and absolutely love all PC items that I own.  I don't have anything to compare it to, except old cheap knives I used to own.  But it does a nice job,and is very sharp.

dlt123's picture
dlt123

Well, I have finally given up on bread slicing equipment such as seen in this post.  I finally bit the bullet and bought a Meat Slicer.  Here is a link to the thread I started some time ago...


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/15902/ultimate-bread-slicer


It may seem expensive, but with all the money I spent on different bread slicing contraptions and knives I could have purchased this slicer and saved me the frustrations.  If you can stretch the budget, it will be one of the best kitchen gadgets you can buy.


Check out the link and you'll see what I think is the ultimiate bread slicer.


Dennis
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
Belief has no affect on reality.
My Website: http://www.roadtobetterliving.com
Coronal Winds Radio is on the Air - Listen Now: http://www.coronalwinds.com

aba13's picture
aba13

Fiddle Bow Bread KnifeHow about a Fiddle Bow Bread Knife? I have not used one myself yet, but it seems to be an interesting concept. Anybody here using one and could give some feedback?

gene wild's picture
gene wild

I use a fiddle bow bread knife from betterbreadknife.com and love it.


gene wild

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

I've been given two bow knives.  I also have several serated knives, and until my recent move I had a Rada bread knife.  When I ran a bakery, we had two Oliver bread slicers, and an Oliver bun slicer.  Oh, yeah, and a few wlectric carving knives.


In the end, with exception of the commercial units, what is important is the person wielding the knife.  It isn't the knive that cuts crooked, it is the knife wielder.


 


The answer is to practice.


As to the bow knives, they're cute but I haven't seen that they really confer any advantage over any other hand held knife.  If you know how to cut bread, you'll cut nice slices.  If you don't, you won't.


-Mike