How long do you wait to cut into a loaf?

Cloud Swift

Today I made my first 100% whole wheat sour dough loaf. I think I may have made 100% whole wheat yeast raised loaves before with white whole wheat, but this is definitely the first one I've done with hard red whole wheat and the first done with sour dough.


The site I got the recipe (really more a process than a recipe) from says it is best to wait 12 to 24 hours before cutting into the loaf. I'm so impatient - I want to see how the crumb came out as well as the taste. I baked it this morning to finish cooking in the morning cool to not heat up the house so it's been more than 8 hours now and the loaf has been cool for a while.


It has been interesting making this bread. The whole wheat sure soaks up the water and it rises fast. It's about 95% hydration but the dough didn't feel any wetter than 75% hydration with white bread flour. I used Central Milling whole wheat hi-pro for the loaf. The medium grind for feeding the starter and the pre-ferment, fine grind for the rest of the flour to reduce issues with a coarser bran interfering with the gluten formation.

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Comments (26)
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plllog

It takes a long time past when it's cool to the touch for the bread to fully steam out. I know your impatience! It'll probably be okay if you cut into it, but if you don't need it to be bread, and just want to see the crumb, wait until tomorrow. Cutting into it early can affect the crumb if it isn't fully steamed out. (Major envy--I'm not allowed to eat whole wheat anymore :( )

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Jasdip

I make bread every 2 weeks. I make it in the morning and cut it at night. Or even put it in a plastic bag overnight and cut the next morning, then freeze.

The longer you wait, the easier it is to slice.

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

I wait until it's completely cooled to room temp. so it doesn't get squashed when I cut it, but that's not 12-24 hours, only a few hours at the most. Fresh bread is so yummy!

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Lars

I don't wait more than an hour, but then I only cut off a thin piece of heel and save the rest for later. It's difficult to cut when it is still warm, and so you need a good knife.

People eat dinner rolls when they are warm, and so I think it is fine to eat the heel of a loaf when it is warm. The heel is pretty stable, but the next slice is not and requires more cooling.

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aziline

Tomorrow! It might be out of the oven but it isn't done yet. The flavor is better the next day. Best thing to do might be to bake 2 next time. That way you won't have to resist and can see for yourself :)

I used to be one that would wait 30 mins and then slice into a loaf. Now I just can't with any type of loaf.

Rolls are made to eat warm. Extra butter and other add ins along with the smaller size I'm sure helps.

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Lars

Flavor for me is best the first day. If the bread measures an internal temperature of over 200°F when you take it out of the oven, it is done.

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plllog

It's not about being done baking, but being done cooling down and releasing moisture. When you cut before it's fully steamed out, the remaining moisture escapes too fast and can make the texture of the crumb go off. That's what affects the flavor as well. Some breads don't really suffer from being cut early. Some just go stale instantly. Rolls are eaten up when they're cut. If your loaf isn't supposed to last and is going to be eaten all up, no biggie.

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lindac92

I cut and eat a slice or 2 as soon as it's out of the oven and cool enough to handle. bread is never better than when it's warm and the butter melts into the slice. I immediately put the cut end down on the cutting board so it doesn't lose any more moisture.
Before this quarantine thing, and when I had family home, I baked about 10 small loaves every week, and wrapped and froze what we didn't eat that day. Wrapped in foil and them put the loaves in a plastic bag in the freezer. There was usually an assortment or whole wheat, rye, white or an herbed bread. Every evening I would get a foil wrapped loaf and put it into a 300 oven for about 30 minutes...or if there was another dish cooking, at whatever temperature, for a shorter time. We had a warm loaf of bread every evening and enough left for toast in the morning. Never noticed any deterioration of the loaf. and yes I have a good bread knife...or 2 or 3...or 4!! LOL!

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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

As long as it takes to get out the butter and a knife, a little off the end doesn't squish much!

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shirl36

For the last 22 years I have made all our bread, rolls and buns. Also make for 3 kids and families, not on a regular bases tho. I like to start in morning, bake about noon, cool 2 to 3 hours and then slice, ready for evening. I guess a simple answer is I only wait 2-3 hours and it seems to slice well. I slice with an electric knife.

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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

I like to take the fresh baked loaf out of the pan, wrap it in a tea towel, and return to the pan to cool overnight. I always make bread in the afternoon. Mornings are too full of other things.

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Cloud Swift

The work was almost all the afternoon before. It is a sourdough recipe where the loaf is formed and put into a banneton then refrigerated for 12 or more hours. So if it is made in the afternoon the only thing left for the next morning is to preheat the oven, flip the loaf onto a peel and put it in the oven to bake. This time of year, I either want to bake in the early morning or in the evening when our weather cools to keep from heating the house up.

From what I've read, for "artisan" sourdough loaves, it isn't just the cooling. Supposedly the starch undergoes some changes even after the loaf has cooled which is why they say to wait 12 to 24 hours. I don't entirely understand why slicing a bit off the end would affect that in the rest of the loaf far from the slice. Sometime I'll make two smaller loaves, cut into one sooner and wait with the other to see if I can detect any difference.

I waited about 10 hours before giving in to temptation:

Pretty happy with the results though it is slightly over-baked.

BTW, the cutting board in the pic is partly my husband's work. We had a cutting board that was not end grain, very thick and very heavy but made with very nice hardwood. I mentioned to my husband that I'd like something end grain and lighter to handle. He sliced the ~2" thick board into 3/4" thick slices across the grain and glued them together to make a couple of end grain boards.

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plllog

I look forward to your experiment!

I haven't done side by side, just the same recipe cut too soon and not, not necessarily high hydration/"artisan". Linda's solution is simple and brilliant. The rest of the loaf finishes doing its thing normally, and the cut end is protected with a porous and absorbent surface (one assumes a wood board).

Excellent board! My compliments to the reimagineer. :)


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petalique

What does wait mean?

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lindac92

As I have said....since the quarantine I have been baking 5 small loaves of bread daily and giving it away. Some people tell me it's gone almost before I am out of the driveway, others wait to cut it for the next morning and many eat it warm with their dinner that evening.
My father taught me many many years ago how to cut fresh bread....you saw, slowly and it doesn't squish. And a good serrated blade helps even more. I cringe when I see people take a fresh warm loaf and squash it cutting a slice.
More than a few times, as I was taking a couple of loaves out of the oven (I never bake just one) to have for dinner.....the bread piggies would come into the kitchen and beg a slice, and I would find the whole loaf was gone as a "cocktail snack".

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sheilajoyce_gw

My mother baked our bread, as did her mother. So if we wanted some bread fresh from the oven, we had what she called "pulley bread." You can't cut bread when it is fresh from the oven or the lovely bread will mash back into dough. So you pull strips of bread off the loaf with your fingers, slather it with butter, and enjoy.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

Not so much bread baking here. About every three weeks a couple boules. In between those weeks maybe some burger/sandwich buns or a pullman loaf.

Our flour for the boules is 1,000grams. About 4 cups. When the second one comes out of the oven, we cut a 1/4 or third off the first. About an hour wait time. That chunk is enjoyed torn with butter and/or olive oil infused with herbs, fresh garlic, and anchovies. We always bake in the cooler morning hours. So sometimes with eggs.

No way do we wait. I just stand the cut end edge down on a tea towel. No way is it better day two even un-cut. That includes Lahey's no-knead, Forkish pinch, and sourdough. (JMHO). Day two we prefer toasted under the broiler just the one top side. Then butter or rubbed with raw garlic and topped with tomato salad, (bruschetta). Or grilled pesto/mozzarella. (panini). Soup or stew, or to carry a dip.

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plllog

Stood on a tea towel is another good idea for preserving the slow steam out. I can attest that just wrapped in a towel is insufficient. I never thought of stood on the cut side.

Agreed with Linda. It is possible to cut fresh from the over bread, without squishing it, if you have a good bread knife and let the knife do the work, back and forth, rather than pushing down.

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Lars

Good to know about standing it on its end. I always learn something from LindaC❤️

I already knew about the sawing motion for cutting bread - I use the same technique when cutting upholstery foam.

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linda campbell

Well...I do try to keep my bread from having the texture of upholstery foam....but....(wink)

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Lars

^🤣🤣🤣 I guess I really set myself up for that one, Linda, but there was a post somewhere about how to cut upholstery foam, and that's what reminded me of it🙃

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fawnridge (Ricky)

As soon as I can touch it without burning my fingers.

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hallngarden

Made loaf yesterday, we could hardly wait until it was cool enough to touch. Also made banana bread, directions said to wait two days for flavor to develop. We waited maybe, two minutes.

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linda campbell

Well, I kept one loaf of today's bake for me.....the ugly one of course. Somehow it got a little bend in it, and when I cut the end off I had an awful time getting it to stand upright....so I had to cut another slice!

And Lars, I sure have used a bread knife to cut upholstery foam....and styrofoam and oasis foam used in flower arrangements.

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petalique

Lars, good giggle. Been there. Just don’t waste any good jam on foam.

I got this modest bread knife ($16) and really like it. It is very sharp, so heads up.

https://www.knifemerchant.com/product.asp?productID=5783&network=g&device=c&keyword=&campaign=2058576925&adgroup=pla-297490921425&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI-MXvo-Ki6gIVGrbICh1ZKQF1EAQYEiABEgJ0NvD_BwE



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artemis_ma

I don't bake bread often. But once when I stopped by an authentic bakery, the loaf I bought was still warm from the oven. When I got into the car, the aroma overwhelmed me so much that I simply tore off a hunk and ate it then and there!

Soooooo good!

I really don't think what this means for the rest of the loaf is that important to me... I just want (need?) to enjoy at least some of its very fresh warmness!

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