hello dear members of the kkf i have a question for you regrading to cutting bread with very thick crust

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MarcelNL

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agree with the above...when slicing the sourdough bread (thick crust) from a famous Dutch baker (because the bread is still too hot to machine slice) I usually resort to a cheapish) Aogami Super Gyoto in 240mm, works far better than the dirt cheap serrated knife my GF prefers (that knife typically mostly creates an explosion of crumbs).
 

boblob

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'Very similar' might end up having very different performance.
yes it if forsure made in china .... an unknown brand but it works decently with any bread that does not have a a very thick crust ...
 

Benuser

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If it still has its factory edge — nobody sharpens a bread knife for fun, I guess — it probably wasn't very well deburred and the burr rolled over the edge. That would explain an almost new knife to be blunt.
 

boblob

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If it still has its factory edge — nobody sharpens a bread knife for fun, I guess — it probably wasn't very well deburred and the burr rolled over the edge. That would explain an almost new knife to be blunt.
no that is not the case this bread knife performs decently with all non very hard crust (tbh i have 2 other bread knifes that perform the same)
perhaps i should have opened a new thread to avoid the confusion i was just wondering in general what is the method one may sharpen a bread knife not to imply that my bread knife is dull
 
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They didn't say "sharpening stone" … I'm considering the possibility OP might go out and start wibbling their bread knife against one of these …

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This may sound like I'm joking, but I'm serious:
I use my bandsaw.
If you're baking alot of bread, and you have the space for a power tool, check your local craigslist/facebook market place or pawn shop or whatever for a cheap, used tabletop bandsaw. You can probably find one for like $75 (cheaper than a good knife). Added bonus, the slices will always be dead even, and it's super fast.
Or use a handsaw of some sort, like your pruning saw.

But... when I'm using a knife, I don't use a claw grip, I grab the loaf. If you're worried about cutting yourself, start the cut with a pull stroke so the knife will be less likely to slip, and definitely apply some pressure.
 

boblob

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This may sound like I'm joking, but I'm serious:
I use my bandsaw.
If you're baking alot of bread, and you have the space for a power tool, check your local craigslist/facebook market place or pawn shop or whatever for a cheap, used tabletop bandsaw. You can probably find one for like $75 (cheaper than a good knife). Added bonus, the slices will always be dead even, and it's super fast.
Or use a handsaw of some sort, like your pruning saw.

But... when I'm using a knife, I don't use a claw grip, I grab the loaf. If you're worried about cutting yourself, start the cut with a pull stroke so the knife will be less likely to slip, and definitely apply some pressure.
everytime i use a knife i am used to holding the product with a claw grip if i do not hold it like that i get very concerned for some reason i guess "If you're worried about cutting yourself" because of this
 

btbyrd

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Just buy a cheap kevlar glove. Or a Güde bread sword.
 

boblob

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Try holding the bread with a kitchen cloth in your hand to act as a "glove"… if your knife slips, it'll hit the cloth first.
i think i will do a differant approach i will use the claw until the knife is embedded in the bread and then no danger and i can hold the bread firmly by laying my hand flat on it
 

boblob

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To answer the other questions, I do claw grip. I don't use excessive downwards pressure. I cut the bread in half, then put it crumb side down and cut slices. This does not mangle the bread. I'm usually cutting crusty sourdough boules.
i will try this method
 

Jovidah

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yes it if forsure made in china .... an unknown brand but it works decently with any bread that does not have a a very thick crust ...
Not to rain on your parade but I think this is your problem. I've used some of these cheap made in China knockoffs before and while they looked the part they'd cut like crap on harder breads. I don't really know why - visually they all looked close enough' . But if you have a good functioning bread knife (and this doesn't have to be expensive; the Victorinox pastry knife is like 30 bucks) this is a complete non-issue. I never had to pay any attention or thought to how I cut my bread with those until they got dull after a few years.
no that is not the case this bread knife performs decently with all non very hard crust (tbh i have 2 other bread knifes that perform the same)
perhaps i should have opened a new thread to avoid the confusion i was just wondering in general what is the method one may sharpen a bread knife not to imply that my bread knife is dull
Because when bread isn't crusty you can cut it with just about anything...that's not a challenge. Just like there are plenty of crap bread knives on the market....and what makes it difficulty the good ones don't look all that different from the bad ones.
 

boblob

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Not to rain on your parade but I think this is your problem. I've used some of these cheap made in China knockoffs before and while they looked the part they'd cut like crap on harder breads. I don't really know why - visually they all looked close enough' . But if you have a good functioning bread knife (and this doesn't have to be expensive; the Victorinox pastry knife is like 30 bucks) this is a complete non-issue. I never had to pay any attention or thought to how I cut my bread with those until they got dull after a few years.

Because when bread isn't crusty you can cut it with just about anything...that's not a challenge. Just like there are plenty of crap bread knives on the market....and what makes it difficulty the good ones don't look all that different from the bad ones.
i guess you are right
can you send a link to the exact model of the victorinox knife you are referring to ?
 

boblob

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an update i went and cut a new boule if i try to only saw with the bread knife it does not do anything if i use alot of pressure then it cuts many times better
the problem i have is that if i apply a lot of pressure trying to hold the bread with a claw grip is not good enough.... and if i lay my hand flat on the boule then i cringe
 

Jovidah

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i guess you are right
can you send a link to the exact model of the victorinox knife you are referring to ?
The specific model I'm talking about is Victorinox 5.2933.26
Usually found under the name of bread knife, pastry knife, or in German speaking countries 'konditorsäge'. The most common affrodable version is the one with the ugly but very functional Fibrox handle. Versions with fancier handles like wood exist but they cost more.
This is by no means the only good affordable bread knife, but it is one I actually have experience with; considering how hard it is to distinguish a good from a bad bread knife without actually using it I'm very reluctant to recommend any I haven't personally used (for example Wüsthof has models too in all price ranges but since I haven't used them I don't know whether I should or shouldn't recommend them).
Also if you're cutting whole breads, bigger knife is more better!
an update i went and cut a new boule if i try to only saw with the bread knife it does not do anything if i use alot of pressure then it cuts many times better
the problem i have is that if i apply a lot of pressure trying to hold the bread with a claw grip is not good enough.... and if i lay my hand flat on the boule then i cringe
If you need a lot of pressure that's an indication that sharpness is a problem. With a good sharp bread knife you don't need to put a lot of pressure so the problem of 'how to hold the bread' completely dissapears. In this case your problem is the knife, not your technique. Crappy bread knives that won't cut without a lot of pressure are IMO just an accident waiting to happen.
 

mpier

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I sharpen my serrated knives with tapered round files wrapped with sand paper, I hit them once with 400 only a couple of strokes and then 800 and then remove the burr on the back side with stones. To be honest it’s tedious but works if you take your time.
 

coxhaus

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I was kind of looking at the Wüsthof super slicer classic not the one shown above. It looks nice to me, but I have not used one. It is different than my other 2 bread knives.
 

daveb

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I've both. Kinda stupid that way.

The 210 is about the same size as the MAC Pro and the Tojiro ITK. The 320 is called the "Bread Sword" for a reason.
 

ian

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I have something like this. Works better than sandpaper wrapped around a dowel, imo, but for me it’s such a pain to sharpen bread knives and it’s never the night and day difference that I get with nonserrated knives. Probably I need more practice… I’ve only done it maybe 10-15 times? Smh.

I have one of the Mercer $15 bread knives now. Works like a charm. I’ll probably never again spend more than that on a bread knife.
 
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I have something like this. Works better than sandpaper wrapped around a dowel, imo, but for me it’s such a pain to sharpen bread knives and it’s never the night and day difference that I get with nonserrated knives. Probably I need more practice… I’ve only done it maybe 10-15 times? Smh.

I have one of the Mercer $15 bread knives now. Works like a charm. I’ll probably never again spend more than that on a bread knife.
Maybe I'm not creative enough but how do you use this? Just spin it around at the part with the correct diameter?
 
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the Victorinox 10. inch big sandwich knife. used to be 35 bucks now over 50 with Fibrox handle, but the rosewood handle is beautiful. we bake professionally, hard crusty bread from King Arthur Sir Lancelot flour. 14.2% protein, with a quarter inch of crust.
we bake to 210 degrees internal temp for max Maillard caramelization.
the knife is super stiff, great rosewood handle, ss blade that will go years for a home baker w/o sharpening. Just a great knife for the money!
here:
 

rmrf

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I bake bread with thick, hard crust and often eat bread over a week old so the crust is extra dry and hard. Here are some tips:

1) You need a serrated knife. Making the initial cut into the crust without squishing a soft loaf or if the crust is very dry can be challenging, especially if you have a bad knife. If you're having a lot of problems, try a new knife. I had this Fujiro that was highly recommended to me. I don't recommend it at all. The blade is too thin and floppy. I used it for about 8 years before getting tired of it. Now I have a mercer that I like a lot better. At ~$20/knife, I don't see the point sharpening it. I also like pounding the knife into week old bread so a hard steel is probably not the best choice... I've had many bread knives before, including a wustof and a collection of cheap ones from Ikea and other discount stores. Wustof is barely usuable in my opinion and most of the other ones are pretty bad as well. Of course, good technique will overcome crappy knives, but if you're having problems, I would get a new knife. Remember, mediocre knives will cut soft bread so just because your knife works for some breads doesn't mean that a different knife won't help. Straight edges work for cakes or german rye bread but are abysmal for a crusty loaf. For cutting a sandwich in half, they are fine, but they have trouble going through shiny hard outer crusts without compressing the loaf.

2) I too generally use the claw grip to cut bread that is not baguette. I've cut myself too many times with serrated knives. I use a very large claw to try and grip the bread over a large area to avoid damaging it.

3) Their are two hard parts of cutting bread. The beginning and the end. Also, you should remember that motion along the length of the knife is very important when cutting the bread. You should think of the knife like a saw. I often like going at an angle to the bread, like 30 degrees from the horizontal, pulling cut downward. I find this helps avoid compressing the crumb.

When you get to the end of the bread, and you don't want to put marks into your cutting board, rotate the bread slightly so the bottom of the bread doesn't rest on the board.

4) Regarding pressure, I a fair bit of pressure on the bread at the beginning on the draw cut to pierce the surface of the crust. This isn't a draw cut through raw fish or potato. Too little pressure and the knife will slide on the crust and not bind. Too much pressure will squish the bread if its fresh. If you're squishing the bread, you're probably putting too much pressure and should change the bread orientation or knife orientation. If the bread is very fresh, I go at an angle and move the knife fairly fast (but over a very short distance) along the length of the blade to try and cut instead of compress to get started. The exact pressure will be different depending on what kind of bread you're cutting and what the shape of the bread takes.

5) If you are baking round loaves, it is very helpful to cut them in half, then put the cut edges on the board and cut down. Cutting long straight pieces is harder.

Finally, if you are really having too hard of a time cutting the bread, you might consider baking at higher temperature for less time or using a lower gluten flour. Too much gluten with improper gluten development can lead to hard but rubbery crusts which are even harder to cut through.
 
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