The Bread Cutting Hack You Never Knew You Kneaded

Perfect your weekend brunch by cutting your sourdough the right way.
Struggling to cut through your sourdough – this might help?
Natasha Hinde
Struggling to cut through your sourdough – this might help?

There’s nothing better than sawing into a freshly-baked loaf on a Saturday morning ready for the mother of all brunches.

Whether you toast it, slather it with butter, team it with avocado and poached eggs, or grab a couple of slices to make a bacon sarnie; there’s one thing for certain: you’re going to have to cut into it.

Many of us have grown up thinking you cut bread from the top to the bottom, which seems like obvious way. But it’s always pretty tricky to saw through the thickest part of the crust on the base, right?

Well, apparently we’ve been cutting our French and crusty loaves all wrong – and there are two alternatives that work even better.

The first option is to tip it. This, say experts, is best for French loaves where the bread centre is very soft. Simply turn your loaf upside down and cut from the thick base through to the top.

This tip was originally shared on the ever-popular Reddit food hacks thread from someone who used to “smush” their loaf when they sliced it from top to bottom.

They discovered – much to their amazement – that when they turned it upside down and sliced through the crusty base first, there was none of that dreaded “smushing”. In short: it’s easier to cut and keeps your loaf in shape.

Henk Drakulich, executive chef of La Brea Bakery Cafés, told Real Simple the hack definitely works, but the efficacy depends on the type of bread. “While this hack might work for a very soft bread, like a French loaf, this isn’t the best technique for every type of bread,” he said.

So what about a more artisanal, crusty loaf? He recommends tilting the bread to the side and cutting that way, which gives you more control.

This is a technique preferred by chefs the world over. Kevin Chun, executive chef at The Williamsburg Hotel and Brooklyn Bread Lab, previously told Reader’s Digest: “It’s easier to slice bread on its side because the crust tends to be harder on the bottom. You want to keep the slice intact, so by carving from the crispier end, it allows for a cleaner cut.”

The knife you use is also important. No carving knives or butter knives will do – you need a proper bread knife with a serrated edge.

And that’s all you need to know. Enjoy your breakfast.

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