For most professional bakers, the hardest part is waiting till your sourdough loaves have achieved optimum texture before slicing and serving. This can take anywhere between 2 to 4 hours, depending on the size of your loaf. If you’re wondering how to achieve the perfect even slices, check out some of the tips for how to cut sourdough bread below!
How Long Should You Wait To Slice Sourdough Bread?
The main thing that sets sourdough bread apart from others is that it needs a longer cooling time, compared to conventional bread before slicing.
While, an average sized conventional loaf, requires 2 hours to cool before slicing, the same sized loaf of sourdough will require 4 hours to cool before slicing in to.
Additionally, if rye flour was used in the sourdough bread baking recipe, it would require a longer setting or cooling time before it can be sliced an eaten. Rye sourdough bread would need 24 to 48 hours to cool before slicing.
Why Wait For Sourdough to Cool Before Slicing
The main reason why you must resist the urge to cut into your hot sourdough loaf, is because the bread continues to cook whilst cooling down.
While the bread cools, the water trapped inside needs to move towards the crust, slowly enabling the bread to dry and become crisp.
If you cut the loaf too early, you’ll have a loaf with an unpleasant gummy, doughy texture. This will result in a difficult cut, as the sticky bread will stick to the knife. Once you cut your loaf open, the trapped moisture escapes at once, resulting in a very dry, and stale loaf.
What Happens If I Cut Sourdough Bread Before it Has Cooled?
There’s something about fresh baked loaves of sourdough bread, that I find particularly addicting. The delightful aroma wafting from the kitchen counter and wrapping around your nostrils, is almost undeniably comforting.
And while these sensations are perfectly fine, it’s important to not give into the temptations!
If you cut into a fresh baked sourdough bread, you’ll find that the structure has not settled yet. The center of the dough will be gooey and dense, because of the moisture trapped in the loaf.
The bread continues to cook once it has been removed from the oven, which is why it’s important to allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.
Tips to Slicing Sourdough Bread
Before you attempt to cut sourdough bread perfectly, without damaging the crust or crumb, you’ll need to:
- Allow the sourdough to cool down to room temperature before slicing.
- Find the perfect bread knife for sourdough, preferably a serrated bread knife.
- Use a simple bread slicing guide to make bread slicing neat
- Let the bread knife do the work.
- Resist temptation, and do not cut into the hot sourdough bread!
How to Slice Sourdough Bread Perfectly
Before diving into the arbitrary task of slicing fresh bread, it’s important to adopt a correct technique to making bread slicing neat. The easiest way to do this, is by handling your bread knife as if it were a saw.
Let the do the work for you. Don’t put pressure on the bread when cutting as you will end up damaging the crust, and squish the center.
Pressing down, will also result in jagged, uneven slices, simply cut or slice in a swift back and forth motion, until the base of the bread is cut.
Here’s how to slice it:
- Place your sourdough bread onto a wooden bread board, with a dish towel spread beneath the loaf.
- Place your non-dominant hand on the loaf to secure it in place, and don’t push down on the bread.
- Use a sawing motion to start cutting a slice.
- If the bread is very hard use a sharp knife to make a small groove in the bread to give you a starting point.
- Cut back and forth, remembering not to push down on the bread.
- Repeat the process till you have produced a bunch of delicious consistent slices.
The Best Way to Slice Bread
First time bakers may find it harder to find the right rhythm when attempting to slice a freshly baked sourdough loaf. What is the best way to slice bread, actually?
For better crusty bread, here’s what you need to do:
- Use the right knife
- Use a bread sliding guide
- Use a manual or electric bread slicer
Use The Right Knife
To create the perfect even slices, you’ll need to choose the appropriate knife for the job. Preferably a bread slicing knife that has a long serrated knife slicing edge, designed to cut through the crust in one swift motion, whilst keeping the fluffy center intact.
Use a Bread Sliding Guide
If you find your hands shaking at the thought of slicing baked bread by yourself, then you can buy a bread slicing guide to help you. They’re super helpful, and can be used for all sorts of breads.
Use a Manual or Electric Bread Slicer
If you don’t want to risk creating messy slices, and want the perfect sliced bread that is both delicious and aesthetically pleasing, then consider getting a manual or electric bread slicer.
Slicing Homemade Bread
For professional bakers, slicing bread is nothing but a piece of cake. If you’re having trouble finding the right rhythm, just treat your knife like a saw, and carefully slice back and forth to achieve the perfect slices.
Should I Slice Sourdough?
You should definitely slice your sourdough bread, before eating.
How Long Should I Wait to Cut the Sourdough Bread?
You should aim to wait 4 to 6 hours before slicing, to avoid a gummy wet bread.
Should You Let Sourdough Cool Before Cutting?
To ensure even slices with the perfect crumb, it’s best to wait until the bread has cooled completely before slicing.