The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Please help! How to slice a Borodinsky loaf without harming wrist or electric knife?

Yippee's picture

Please help! How to slice a Borodinsky loaf without harming wrist or electric knife?

Hi, all,

I'm slicing my first Borodinsky, which was shaped like a bullet.  It has cooled for 12 hours. If I slice it manually, the cut is clean but my wrists hurt. If I use an electric knife, the cut is messy and the knife gets overheated. How do you slice your Borodinsky loaf?  Please share your tips.  Thanks.


Vishnut's picture

Is the loaf unusually tough/hard? It could be a result of the 12 hour cool period, was the bread cut open before cooling? Did it have any openings that allowed it to dry out?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

plastic wrap or foil and let the moisture travel from the crumb to the outside crust to soften.  Let stay wrapped until tomorrow  and then try cutting.

Yippee's picture

Why didn't I think of that?!! Last night should've foreseen the hardship!

My electric knife is broken from slicing the 1st loaf.  Now I need to buy a new knife and freeze the second loaf until the new one comes. 

At which point should I have wrapped the loaf? Immediately after it has cooled to room temperature? Thanks. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Wrap when the loaf has cooled to room temp. And then perhaps an hour after that as sometimes the surface temp can fool you.  

Don't freeze right away but let the loaf stand at least 24 hours, perhaps 36 hrs or 48 even better before freezing after the moisture in the loaf has equalized.  Otherwise upon thawing you will have slices with a dense core crumb in the middle surrounded by a dry crumb nearer to the crust and a great deal of crumbling while cutting.  

If your loaf is extremely hard, even after a few days of being wrapped.  Dunk it quickly into a large pot of boiled but cooled water, wrap it up tight with oiled plastic wrap and give it a day before slicing.  Then think about changing your baking methods to prevent having another hard crust.  Or run the hot loaf under clean water right after the next repeat bake and let the loaf cool down before wrapping.  

If you want a more organic way to add moisture: peel, core and slice up a juicy apple or pear into thin sheets and stick onto the loaf covering completely and wrap tightly.  Allow the fruit moisture to go into the loaf and eat the apple the next day when you check the loaf.  Repeat or slice the loaf.  

Broke the knife, wow!  Thank goodness it wasn't your teeth.  The loaf should be sliced with a straight blade, straight down without using any sawing action.


edit:  If you can't morph the brick into bread, don't throw it away, you can still soak it (perhaps overnight in the fridge if tropical) mash or crumble it up and use into more loaves for incredible flavour additions or feed a levain and/or starter with it.  It just gets better (if it doesn't mold.)

Yippee's picture

Thank you, Mini!💋💋💋

dabrownman's picture

for a minimum of 24 hours and usually 48 to soften the crust.. Plastic works better than cloth in my book.  Slice then freeze in plastic wrap.

pmccool's picture

Brush the crust with boiling water immediately after removing the bread from the oven.  Then let the bread cool as Mini and the others have described. 

This step provides moisture for the crust, kind of like Mini's suggestion of dunking the loaf or holding it under running water briefly.  It doesn't add a significant amount of water to the loaf but allows the crust to begin softening immediately.  It won't be soft immediately, mind you, but it will be softer sooner than it would have been.

You can use the same technique on other hard-shelled rye breads, too.


Yippee's picture




Thank you everyone for your helpful tips.  


Rus Brot posted the formula and procedures of this 85% rye loaf on Youtube


Because this was my first time making a Borodinsky loaf, it would be appreciated if you could answer my following questions.  



Here's the loaf that broke my electric knife:







I might have used excessive flour during shaping which dried the dough and caused the cracks. Will  use water to shape next time. 



What's causing the "ombre" effect and how to avoid it? 



What's the best ratio of second-grade wheat flour : water to make the paste shown at 9:31 in the video? What is second-grade wheat flour?  



What's the best ratio of potato starch : water to make the mixture shown at 11:20 in the video? 










Taken from a better angle






During bulk fermentation and final proof I looked for bubbles on the surface of the dough to judge readiness. But then my final proof took much longer than the one hour period recommended in the video at 9:14.  How do you determine when final proof is complete and the dough is not overproved?  



Thank you!!!