You must be wondering what's gone into my head to write such a post. I mean what's there to learn or know about how to slice a bread? Just take a sharp knife and cut it like you would slice any other thing, Right? Wrong. Getting evenly cut slices from a loaf of bread can be quite challenging if you are not aware of the prerequisites. You put hard work and a lot of time to try and make a perfect loaf of bread and everything gets ruined when you can only cut out chunks of bread rather than slices. Uhhh..how frustrating that can be.
Based on my goof ups and my experiences, I have listed down few pointers that you should take care of before you even attempt at slicing a freshly baked loaf.
First, ensure that the bread is completely and I mean completely cool. After a couple of failed attempts, when I was finally able to bake a worth eating looking bread, I ran out of patience after half an hour getting the bread out of the oven. I bravely attempted to slice it and well what a disaster that turned out to be. I could not even get one slice out of it and I ruined the whole bread. I realized that I should have controlled my impatience and let the bread cool down. So the second time, I tried at slicing the bread only after it had cooled down to room temperature about 3 -4 hrs. I was pretty confident that this time I would get a nicely cut slice. But no, my fate did not change and I again ended up with a mess. I decided that I had enough and sat down to search over the net for a solution. After going through a couple of sites which did not help, I cam e across an article that suggested to cool the bread for 6 to 8 hrs.
So the third time, I baked the bread in the later part of the evening and left it to cool overnight. After having a sleepless night, I attempted again to slice the bread and yeahhhhh......success finally. What a relief! So the moral of the story is..Let the bread cool for at least 8 hours before you attempt to slice it.
Second, use only a serrated knife to slice a bread.
Third, while slicing, place your left hand on the bread to hold it gently so it does not move, but do not press it down. Holding the knife in your right hand, move the knife in a back and forth motion(and not up and down) using the entire length of the knife(for right-handed and vice versa for left-handed). The key thing here is that you do not apply pressure downwards with your knife else you will end up with distorted slices.
Hope these tips prove useful to you.