The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread too difficult to cut

TheBrickLayer's picture

Bread too difficult to cut

I'm coming to realize that bread doesn't have to be as difficult to cut as mine is. The crust is just really hard for my knife to bite into. My bread knife is quite sharp, and in any event I've tried other bread knives and it's no different. 

My baking routine is: Preheat oven with combo cooker to 500º; drop temp down to 425º and bake in combo cooker for 23 mins; bake uncovered for another 21 minutes. 

I've tried to adjust times a few minutes on either side, but it doesn't seem to make much of a difference. Any advice?

Abe's picture

Over fermented dough can produce a thick hard crust. Without more to go on and taking into consideration your recipe with timings I'm thinking it's not in the baking but the fermentation time. 

gary.turner's picture

It has been my experience that high baking temperature leads to hard crusts. I'd go to 375°F instead of 425°F


Old Baker's picture
Old Baker

I have a Wusthof 9" double serrated knife that my wife bought for me.  Pricey, but I think I could cut small tree limbs with it.  Cuts easily through the toughest crust.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

how big is the loaf?

how big is the combo cooker?

what flour is in the bread, water, heck...recipe?

how is the loaf cooled and for how long before cutting?  Details please.

Picture of crumb/crust if possible.

TheBrickLayer's picture

Whoops, sorry, forgot to post the recipe: 

Overnight leaven: 119g water, 96g flour, 20g mature starter

Dough: Leaven + 447g APF, 142g whole wheat, 390g water, 2tsp salt

Bulk ferment: 5-6 hours, give or take. S&F every thirty minutes for first hour and a half; S&F every hour after that. 

Final proof in the fridge ranges from 14-16 hours.


As I've noted elsewhere in the forum, I'm actually having a problem with the dough rising way too much in the fridge. So maybe the problem IS overfermentation. I guess I'll try dialing that back a bit, scheduling my leaven and bulk fermentation so I can get maybe an eight-or-nine hour final proof overnight. Unless anyone has any other suggestions after reading the recipe.

TheBrickLayer's picture

Combo cooker is, well, I dunno, regular combo cooker size? 

I let the loaf cool 90 minutes to two hours before cutting. Loaf is about 2lb or so. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

the loaf after it is cold?  That gives the inside loaf moisture time to find its way to the crust to soften it.  Covering with a large bowl works too if still warm and on the rack.