Assortment of crusty bread
Why are so many things “the best thing since sliced bread?” According to The History Channel, bread has existed for around 30,000 years. But it wasn’t until 1928, when a Missouri jeweler named Otto Rohwedder designed a multi-blade machine, that pre-sliced loaves were commercially available. Bakers were skeptical with concerns that their wares would become stale and fall apart, but the public took to the tidy, evenly-separated bread such that it quickly became the industry standard.
Bread remains a staple that most folks purchase bagged and sliced, ready to assemble a sandwich or slide into a toaster at a moment’s notice. But during the pandemic, with so many folks bereft of things to occupy their time and confined to their homes, baking at home experienced a renaissance. As HuffPost points out, people scurried out to stores to purchase — and, in many cases, hoard — groceries and other items. Bread went quickly. So, the industrious took to buying flour and making their own bread. In fact, so popular was baking bread that flour mills couldn’t keep up with the demand.
Freshly baked loaves can be a thing of beauty, unparalleled in aroma and flavor. But fancy bread knife or not, slicing bread can be tricky. From keeping the slices even to avoiding a squashed loaf, there are a few tricks that can be employed to keep a homemade masterpiece from becoming a horror show.
Tilting The Loaf Before Slicing Allows For Greater Control
slicing bread on its side
The first step to getting a beautiful slice every time is to understand that not every type of bread is created equal. For crustier loaves like a baguette, for example, Henk Drakulich, expert baker and executive chef of La Brea Bakery Cafés, says to tilt it on to its side (via Real Simple). This, he notes, will allow you to maintain greater control of the bread while carefully slicing through it.
While this may seem madness to some, it’s a technique that is touted by more than a few sources. Food52 explains that no less than King Arthur Baking Company advises a tilt to the side in their publication “Sift Magazine.” Further, the writer mentions that she employs the method at a restaurant where she moonlights, adding that she also uses a ruler to score the bread in order to achieve perfectly even slices. Tilting the loaf before slicing works great with crusty breads, but also with more delicate loaves that have a tendency to squash when heavy downward pressure is applied.
Now that you know how to better slice a fresh loaf of bread, you may want to start adding it to your repertoire of homemade foods, and with endless variations, bread is perfect for experimentation. Our list of 13 ways to improve a loaf gives you the tools needed to turn out a tasty and personalized bread every time you bake.