In reply to someone's recent questions about slicing warm bread, the type of
knife you use and the means by which you wield it are important. I have tried
for two years to teach this to my teenagers.
All you need is a good bread knife, by which I mean one with a
serrated edge and rounded tip. Mine comes from Chicago Cutlery and
has a blade that is about twelve inches long, but there are many
others available. It is not necessary to purchase the most expensive
one, but there is one cardinal rule: This Knife Is ONLY For Cutting
Bread. Threaten to use the knife on anyone caught applying it for any
My loaves generally have a crusty top, so I turn the loaf on its side
to slice. It's easier to start the slice here. The most important
part is this: Let the weight of the knife's blade draw the knife
downward. Most people feel compelled to press down with their wrist
and forearm, but this ISN'T NECESSARY, and generally results in a
smashed loaf, particularly if the bread is tender or warm.
Just slide the blade back and forth smoothly, and let gravity take
care of the downward pressure. As I said before, my kids just don't
get it. They think that applying more force on the knife will get the
food in their mouths faster, I suppose. Anyway, it takes a little
patience and practice, but once you get the hang of it, it's easy.
Beverly Bradley (Beverly_Bradley@psislidell.com)