An all too common question we get from our customers is why we choose not to slice our sourdough bread before selling our loaves. We understand that we live in an era where everyone prioritizes convenience. Big supermarkets and corner store chains sell sliced bread by the bag, making it easy to pull out a slice and toast it without much effort. The few seconds it takes to slice through sourdough bread before eating might appear like an unnecessary task. But what if we told you that it benefits you and puts the sourdough at a quality level above the seemingly convenient pre-sliced sourdough?
Making high-quality sourdough bread requires a unique degree of mastery that takes several hours and even days (yes, days). We are exceedingly proud of the work that goes on in our bakery to produce the perfect crusty sourdough with a chewy interior and noticeable zest. Thus, we make sure to leave our sourdough still in one piece so that our customers can experience the joy of cutting through the crust and eating the still-fresh bread.
Preserving the quality of sourdough bread is tricky, yet essential to the enjoyment of the experience. From the point you cut into it, the quality and freshness of the sourdough start to change. This means that the longer artisanal bread stays unconsumed after being cut, the less enjoyable the bread is.
Generally though, sourdough bread is able to maintain its integrity for longer periods of time because of its high acidic content. Also, the lactobacillus bacteria that emit antifungal compounds help slow down the degradation and fermentation processes, which cause the bread to remain fresher for longer in comparison to other bread types.
But despite this advantage, immediately when you cut into the sourdough and it’s exposed to air, it loses zest very quickly, and the quality starts to drop. Therefore, we prefer that our customers get the bread in its original form so they can slice into it just before eating.
To slice bread manually seems like an arduous and time-consuming activity that can easily be done by a machine. If we wanted to cut the sourdough before sending it out, that would mean employing the use of machines rather than people, but we have no interest in replacing our human hands with bolts and nuts anytime soon.
We believe that sourdough baking is an art that requires hands-on expertise and tenderness. Baking sourdough can take up to 36 hours, and it cannot be mass-produced on the same scale as everyday bread without having to financially undercut the hardworking employees, and force them into extended working hours in a bid to meet production and sales demands.
The beauty of artisanal products comes from their hand-craftsmanship and the fact that they are made one piece at a time. Mass production undervalues the art. It can only be artisanal if the quality and quantity are perfectly balanced.
There are many different types of sourdough bread, but they all have one thing in common. Sourdough bread needs to cool for more extended periods before being sliced. This is unlike other homemade and commercially made loaves of bread, which you can slice shortly after baking.
With many homemade bread types, a 1.5 lb loaf may need only a couple of hours to cool. A similar size of sourdough will require at least double that time to be ready to cut. The time period can even extend beyond that, as sourdough bread will still be cooking even as it cools to room temperature. Therefore, making the premature cut of the sourdough is, in essence, a way to ruin the integrity of the bread, causing it to appear jelly-like and not completely done because, well, it isn’t.
As mentioned earlier, while the minimum time required to cool is four hours, it may still not be enough for all types of sourdough. Bread recipes made with wholegrains, like rye flour, retain moisture at a higher rate than regular flour. When making sourdough bread with rye flour, it could take at least 24, and possibly up to 48 hours for the bread to be cool enough to slice.
Unfortunately, due to commercialization, it is not uncommon to see the sliced sourdough bread in many supermarket aisles being sold pre-cut and bagged. Despite the popularity of this option, its quality pales in comparison to the fresh uncut sourdough that you can buy from a local bakery.
To a local bakery like ours, sourdough is more than just another sale or one more item to get out of inventory. Instead, it is an important piece of art that we have hand-crafted to perfection. The quality of our artisanal products is the currency with which we buy our reputation among locals and industry experts alike. So you can rest assured that we are very invested in ensuring our consumers have the best possible experience with our sourdough. And you can understand why with all the quality problems that come with pre-slicing sourdough, we are more than reluctant to do it.
We pride ourselves in knowing that the quality of our sourdough far exceeds the knockoff options that you can pick up from supermarket shelves, and we understand the craftsmanship that must go into our processes to ensure that we retain our standards.
Now that we’ve explained the reasons why we’ve chosen to sell our sourdough unsliced, we hope that this will help you appreciate our commitment to quality, taste, and the longevity of our sourdough bread. We also hope that this makes the time and effort taken to slice the sourdough at home feel less like a waste and more like the final act in producing a masterpiece.