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Presliced breads are everywhere

From where I lived, presliced breads are everywhere including many artistic breads. Sometime they are very convenient, but sometime they are not what I want. I don't mean there is intact breads cannot be found, but they are definitely the minority here. People say a bread knife is the most important knife after the Chef's knife and the paring knife, but is it? Or is it on its way to obsolescence?

This must means the demand for presliced breads are very high. Why is this? Maybe because people don't want to spend time to slice their bread, or maybe because they don't have a bread knife (though you can use a regular Chef's knife to slice most bread anyway).

Do you see sliced artistic breads everywhere like I do? If so, what is your thought on this?

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  1. I think it's part of marketing mantra 'uniform, convenience & fast'
    I personally find the bread gets dry quicker pre-sliced which I avoid when possible. However, some artisan breads never come as non-sliced which is really unfortunate (annoying rather).
    I won't give up my bread knife yet.

    1 Reply
    1. re: knusprig

      "I personally find the bread gets dry quicker pre-sliced"

      I noticed that too, but I guess that makes sense.

      "some artisan breads never come as non-sliced which is really unfortunate"

      Very similar to my case too. I do see the nonsliced (intact) version as well, but there are so many more presliced version.

    2. I like to slice bread myself wherever possible so unless I am making a lot of sandwiches I always buy it unsliced. I still have my breadknife from college days (1976) and it works just great.

      1 Reply
      1. re: smartie

        :) I guess I am not really arguing against presliced breads. I think they are great for many people and can be good for even you and me from time to time. I just hope that are more intact bread around. I can see intact breads getting more and more difficult to find in the future.

      2. In Northern New Jersey, there are a few supermarkets that carry whole Panella, or round breads *intact* and sliced....though most are pre-sliced. Whenever I go directly to source,i.e. the Bakery for bread, finding whole Panella or Ciabatta in different sizes has never been a problem for me anywhere as long as it it not sold out for the day......and I can also asked for it sliced there on premise.

        1. Do you mean artisan (as opposed to "artistic") breads?

          I've never had a problem finding unsliced breads -- artisan, artistic, generic, or whatever.

          Where do you live?

          Even my local Costco has unsliced artisan french baguettes, for example

          1 Reply
          1. If I buy bread at Panera, I exercise the option to have it sliced, almost always. I was looking with longing at some artisan bread at WF yesterday, which I suppose I would have bought (if I didn't have to watch my carbs) and brought home to be sliced by me with my bread slicing knife. I would also do that with a baguette.

            One of my children asked for knives when setting up the first apartment. I bought a chef's knife, a paring knife and a bread knife. You can use the serrated blade for other things too.

            1. I am an unashamed avoider of presliced bread. Given the looks I receive from the counter staff at bakeries or markets when I decline to have my loaves sliced, however, I must be in a minority. Personally, I think most people choose presliced bread for three reasons.* First, that is simply what they are used to - "bread comes sliced, always has." Second, they have trouble cutting uniform slices (I find it hard to accept that most of my neighbors, driving to the store in $50,000 cars from their $800,000 homes, don't have bread knives in their kitchens. Using them effectively, on the other hand . . . ). Third, presliced bread is kid friendly.

              As an aside, I note that since sliced bread "turns" more quickly than unsliced, it results in greater sales for purveyors. It's like the unnecessarily large pour holes used on ketchup or shampoo bottles - the more the consumer wastes, the more the manufacturer sells.

              As a further aside, I believe that there are three stages to a loaf of bread. Day one when its good for eating "as is." Day two when it can be used for bread salads, bread pudding, French toast, etc. Day three and after when it's good for bread crumbs.

              *OK, there's a fourth reason too, but it's not nice - most people have bad taste.

              3 Replies
              1. re: MGZ

                "Second, they have trouble cutting uniform slices"

                Yes, but how uniform do they have to be. They don't have to be exactly the same. One advantage of unsliced (intact) bread is that you can have thick slice now, and thin slice 5 minutes later, and you can rip the bread by hands... whatever you like.

                Again, I am not against presliced breads, but just curious if people really need them as much as they think, or like you said, they are just "used to" them.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  just curious if people really need them as much as they think, or like you said, they are just "used to" them.

                  For the most part I get better slices when I buy bread pre sliced.

                  Yes, but how uniform do they have to be. They don't have to be exactly the same.

                  Yes, but they should be close. I have trouble cutting a slice evenly from top to bottom. It is not unusual for me to end up with slices that are considerably thinner in the lower right quadrant.

                  1. re: al b. darned

                    "slice evenly from top to bottom"

                    Ah, I see.

              2. I think it is a result of rampant carb phobia. People can measure more easily if pre sliced. I find it bizarre.

                1. Long before there was carbphobia, the move toward sliced bread was afoot. It's tidier and faster. That said, I'm not arguing for it. I prefer to slice my own unless I'm making sandwiches for 50. (It's happened. Believe me, but that's another story.)

                  Here in St. Louis, even the supermarkets have more unsliced "artisan" (quotes because most of it really isn't) bread than sliced. I'm not sure our most radical bakery, the anarchist one, even owns a slicer. (But mmmmm, the bread.)

                  1 Reply
                  1. I'm glad. Give me the choice and I'll take pre-sliced bread any day - unless it's a very thin loaf and I want to cut it up into 'rolls'. I've always had a great deal of trouble slicing bread anywhere near evenly, especially if I try to go thin.

                    PS. We hand out bread from Panera at our feeding program every week. We used to bag up whole or half loaves and they went nowhere because hardly any of our low-income and homeless clients had the ability to use them... so we started pre-slicing them, and they walk off the table in minutes. Sliced bread is WAY more convenient for many people.

                    3 Replies
                      1. re: Kajikit

                        That boggles my mind. If you're not hungry enough to figure out how to eat unsliced bread, how hungry are you?

                        1. re: Kajikit

                          Actually, I was cooking and then it hit me. Just like babette said, the real hungry and homeless people won't mind if the breads are sliced or not. I really cannot imagine if I haven't eaten for a day or two, that I would care if the breads have not been sliced for me.

                          Now, I am thinking that you are just having more high school kids and college kids grabbing free foods.

                          Nonetheless, your main point is well taken. That is "Sliced bread is WAY more convenient for many people."

                        2. Well, sliced bread is, after all, the standard of all things that are great.

                          2 Replies