Eezi-Slice Bread Slicer Board Review

 

Just before Christmas, I received a beautifully presented package from Eezi-Slice, a company centered around its founder’s invention; the Eezi-Slice bread slicer. I agreed to review the bread board so here are my thoughts after having used the board for a month.

Eezi-Slice Bread Board

How does the Eezi-Slice bread board work?

The Eezi-Slice bread board is unique in what it does, the design is simple yet effective. The board has two sides which allows you to either cut a “thick” (19 mm) or a “thin” (12 mm) slice of bread (the maximum slice width is 127 mm). That’s the simple premise. If you follow the instructions (see image below), it works perfectly every single time. It’s easy to use and unexpectedly addictive! 

Eezi-Slice Bread Board Instructions

Tip: To avoid the board from sliding while cutting just put a moist sponge cloth (or other non-slip material) underneath.

See a demonstration video (by the inventor!) over on the Eezi-Slice website.

How has it performed in my test kitchen?

Having used the Eezi-Slice bread slicer and bread knife for just over a month, slicing breads of varying sizes (tin-baked, freestyle, banneton-raised) and textures (sourdough with big holes, close-textured yeast-raised breads, breads with thick crusts, breads filled with nuts and fruit, … even Pumpernickel), it absolutely delivers on all of its promises and is now the only way I cut bread. 

Having uneven, sometimes broken-up slices of bread had not particularly bothered me in the past. After all, it was always predominantly about the taste for me. However, having the bread board in use has made me less anxious (who knew I was?!) about cutting up my homemade breads. The breakfast serving of bread is now completely predictable. My guests get to taste good bread which is now also impeccably presented.

It’s also great for getting those unstable and shaky ends of bread loaves sliced up without the usual hassle. Just watch your fingers and lay your hand flat on the top of the bread to slice safely.

Eezi-Slice Bread Board and Knife

The lack of crumb catching (a feature pointed out as a must-have in this previous post on bread cutting boards) is not a huge issue as the crumbs are mostly contained by the sides (cutting guides) of the board. 

The sturdy wooden board is made from sustainable sources. The website states it’s made from woods ‘such as bamboo’, so I’m not sure if the whole board is bamboo or if other kinds of wood are used as well.

I also love the bread knife which can be acquired with the board. It’s absolutely perfect for the board and cuts superbly – even through very hard crusts and stale bread loaves.

In terms of alternative bread slicing tools, I can compare it only to the electric slicer my parents have in use. The electric bread slicer does win when it comes to versatility. The bread board offers a thick and a thin slice, but my ideal slice would perhaps be somewhere in between. However, the Eezi-Slice wins on style, it saves space and is obviously specifically designed with bread in mind (always a winner in my books).

So if you are considering buying a board, rest assured it’s a high-quality, well designed and highly useful utensil for the perfectionist baker, bread lover and/or host.

Guide to bannetons (bread proofing baskets)

 

Bannetons are baskets for bread proofing, used to hold shaped loaves as they proof and undergo their final rise. These dough rising containers are also referred to as Brotform in German and Gärkörbchen in Austria and come in various shapes and materials. There is plenty of variety out there, so here is my quick guide to bannetons to get you started.

Round banneton
Round banneton

Why use a banneton?

Bannetons are great for doughs that are too sloppy to proof as free standing loaf without flowing into a flat bread. Bread proofed in a basket can therefore be wetter as the dough is held in shape during the proofing process. Once proofed, the loaf is flipped or rolled out of the banneton basket and goes straight into the hot oven, giving it little chance to relax into a puddle before the bake.

You’ll find that, as the proportion of rye in bread recipes increases, bannetons become more useful, providing lateral support for fragile loaves. For a higher and prettier result, loose doughs are therefore best supported by proofing baskets in order to rise upwards, not outwards.

Great lightness and a very open structure are possible with such (wetter) dough, but only if it can be held in a reasonably coherent shape before being fixed by the heat of baking.”

Andrew Whitley, Bread Matters

How to use a proofing basket

Using a proofing basket is simple:

  1. Put your loaf into the basket upside down (seam-side up).
  2. Cover the basket with a polythene bag to keep the moisture in i.e. to prevent the dehydration of the surface and to prevent a surface skin from forming
  3. Let the bread rise.
  4. Turn out the loaf onto your baking tray lined with baking paper or La Cloche baking dome or your baking peel, depositing the bread gently on to the surface, before transferring it into the hot oven.

A problem I faced when using my round wicker banneton for the first time was that my dough got stuck in the basket. This is because new cane bannetons need to be conditioned prior to their first use.

Before its first use, lightly mist your cane banneton with water and dust it with a layer flour. For any future uses, lightly flour your basket before you put in the dough and dip your dough in flour before you put it in the basket.

However, be careful, as too much flour results in a thick, floury crust and will diminish the cane’s spiral pattern, so you may have to experiment before you get it exactly right.

I like using white or brown rice flour to dust my banneton and to bathe the loaf in before it enters the basket. It will give your loaf a beautifully clean finish.

After use, leave it to dry out for a day, don’t place it back into the cupboard straight away.

How to clean a banneton

Brush with a dedicated stiff brush and store your banneton in a well ventilated spot.

I’ve never washed my bannetons as the brush does the job well. It’s not recommend to wash it and absolutely avoid soaking it.

However, every few months, you can place your proofing baskets into the oven at 150°C for 15 minutes to kill potential bacteria which may be lingering.

Oval banneton
Oval banneton

Types of banneton basket

There are several types of bannetons. I personally prefer cane baskets but here are your options.

Cane wicker bannetons – Wicker makes an ideal container as it allows the air to circulate around the dough and let it breathe. Cane baskets will give your loaves a beautiful pattern and last a lifetime.

Wood pulp bannetons – Mostly made in Germany from 100% local spruce trees and less prone to sticking!

Plastic bannetons – These won’t get a recommendation from me…

Lined bannetons – Linen-lined proofing baskets are also a great choice when picking a banneton.

What size banneton should I use?

  • Proofing baskets come in different sizes, so make sure your dough quantity is aligned with the banneton basket size. An 8 inch round banneton is suitable for approx. 1 pound or 500g of dough while a 10 inch round banneton will be fine for 2 pounds or 1kg of dough. These sizes will give the dough enough space to rise and expand also without spilling over the sides.
  • If in any doubt, it’s usually better to use a slightly bigger banneton as it is not necessary to fill a banneton completely. The important thing is that the dough doesn’t spill. You may not get the full spiral effect of the banneton rings by using a slightly bigger size but the banneton will still be able to do its primary job i.e. hold the dough’s shape during the proof.
  • Finally, make sure that the loaf coming out of the banneton fits into your oven and fits into any Dutch oven or baking dome you may be using.

Proofing basket substitutes

If you are looking for alternatives for proofing baskets, you could simply use a loaf pan to keep your dough in shape or improvise using a bowl lined with a flour-dusted lint-free tea towel. Alternatively, you could also try the all-rounder that is Lékué‘s silicone bread baker.