The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Slicing bread - manual or electric?

alan856's picture

Slicing bread - manual or electric?

I have a VERY good bread-slicing knife, but I can never seem to get a uniform cut.  It always seems to drift down to the bottom where it gets very thin.  My crust is a bit tough and the crumb is a bit light - which makes the cutting a real challenge!

I was wondering if an electric knife would provide better results than trying to steer the manual knife.

tpassin's picture

It's a skill, all right.  What I do is to raise the handle up so the knife is going to start cutting partway down the far side.  This give you a line of sight that makes it easier to judge if your slice is starting vertically.  Start out with short quick strokes until the cut reaches near the far bottom.  Now start lowering the handle with each stroke.  The groove you have already made helps keep the knife aligned as you finish cutting.

You may find that you are getting the slice vertical but it's tilted towards you instead of being perpendicular to the loaf's axis.  That's OK.  Just go with it and allow the next slices to be angled the same way. It's just the way your arm likes to work.

It's best if the loaf has had some time to cool down and firm up.


rondayvous's picture

Personally, I like the slightly non-uniform hand-sliced bread over machine precision. Sometimes I feel like super thin slices, and sometimes (like for soup) I want thick dunking slices. If you cut with a machine, they are all the same. There is also something satisfying about the nonuniformity of hand-sliced bread, not to mention the benefit of keeping the loaf intact until you need a slice.

tony's picture

Makes me think of moments in European movies, from decades gone by, where someone holds a large loaf of bread against their body and cuts a slice moving the knife, perhaps not a serrated one, towards them. No uniformity of size or shape to the result. Possibly this is how it was done in the old days.

Precaud's picture

I have two bread knives. One is an older serrated knife. I bought it years ago because the width of it's serrations matches the radius of a round file I have, which I use to sharpen it. The other is a new-style, smaller serrations and some pointy tangs mixed in that really rip through crust.

The latter is more effortless and I almost always get a straighter slice because I'm just guiding it and not having to apply force. The knife does all the work. The older knife requires some pressure, cuts smoother, but results in an uneven slice more often.

They're both good. My hand automatically reaches for the older knife more often.

Dave Cee's picture
Dave Cee


Many models available, many for less that $100USD. 12 inch loaf? About 90 seconds to slice up. No more raggedy cuts.  😎

alan856's picture

Thanks for that confirmation of what I thought might be the case. The "manual' slider I have IS great, but I still get crappy slices.  My bread-baking skills are not up to making thin, crispy crusts that do cut cleanly - so think I'll give the electric a try.  Your picture is DEF an inspiration!   :-)