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Oct 14, 2011 02:58 AM

Forming bread slices

I want to try to recreate something I've seen in a magazine, but there are no instructions for technique (no recipe for that matter, but I can improvise there)--not sure if I can add a link, but will give it a shot since it's only the cover of a magazine.

What I am trying to figure out is how to make the bread slice. This is traditional Danish rye bread, which I can make or buy. Do I freeze it and slice with a meat slice to get it that thin? I am wondering what characteristics the bread should have to make this work (denser, wetter, etc?). Then, if I am able to get the very thin slices, how do I shape them? I'm thinking they should be brushed with butter or oil to get them a bit soft, then baking them on/over something to give the desired shape, like metal bowls or something for them to rest on as they bake.

Any ideas? I'm a good cook but technique gets me every time.

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  1. The traditional northern and central European Volkornbrot type breads are dense and hold up better than loftier breads that tend to deform when sliced thinly. The traditional Danish rye bread should work. You don't need to freeze the bread. The most important thing is a very sharp knife. Let the knife do the cutting--apply only minimal pressure until you know how much you can press down without tearing or deforming the bread. A meat slicer may help you to get uniform slices. I have used one to slice less dense bread for making thin melba toast. I don't understand the part of the question about shaping the slices--are you turning the slices into bowls for food?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Father Kitchen

      Thanks! I'm going to test drive the slicing this weekend.

      About the shaping--the slice they have in this picture (on the front cover if you click the link) looks like waves, and they have placed small pieces of food (eel, capers, rose hips) in the dips (low points of the waves). I wanted to do something similar, so not a flat thin piece of bread.

      1. re: Transplant_DK

        I looked at the picture and it simply seems to me that they had laid the bread over some of other ingredients, just to get everything in the picture, so the bread naturally tended to bend. I don't think you need to do anything to shape it. Some bread will be stiffer than others. The Volkornbrot I'd have eaten in Germany at breakfast is very dense. It is made with dark rye, rye chops, sometimes leftover crumbs, a rye starter, and put into the pan after mixing, allowed to rise, and then steam baked slowly for hours. After baking, it is left to cure for a day before slicing. However, Daniel Leader's recipe in in "Local Breads" gives the method of baking for about two hours in a 325 oven. Jeff Hamelman's "Bread" gives a slightly more compex recipe and a slightly higher temperature with steam. He notes the bread should be wrapped in baker's linen after it cools and left for at least 24 to 48 hours before slicing, and adds that a 72-hour wait is not excessive. It's a fun bread to bake, though make sure you oil the pan and coat it with rye meal or flour, or the dough may stick, as I learned the hard way the first time. Other permutations on rye may be less dense, such as RIchard Bertinet's dark rye breads in his books "Crust" and "Dough."