How many slices of bread in a loaf?

Maybe you’re planning a sandwich project, or a toast project, or you’re simply trying to give your freshly baked bread that nice even pre-slice look, and all of a sudden you’re curious as to how many bread slices there are in a loaf?

Well, let’s find that out for you.

How many slices of bread in a loaf?

There are 9 to 32 slices of bread in a loaf which depends on the bakery producing the loaf, the primary purpose of the loaf, and the nature and texture of the loaf, or put simply, the type of bread in question.

With this in mind, the above answer may well be reconstructed in a way that is more suitable, which is, that:

There isn’t an exact figure as to how many bread slices there are in a loaf. And that’s because different brands can bake different loaf sizes and cut them into different slice thickness.

The variation in slice counts

Nowadays, it’s typical to find a large 16 inch loaf with 14 bread slices per container and a medium 10 inch loaf with up to 21 slices per container. A quick visit to the nearest grocery store is the easiest way to confirm this. So the count of bread slices is something that completely depends on the bakery producing the loaf.

That said, expect to routinely count anywhere from 15 to 28 bread slices per container because they’re commonly used as the loose standards. It’s still possible to see more or less number of slices per pack.

For instance, San Louis Sourdough Bread weighing roughly 900g (32oz) has up to 32 bread slices per container including the two end pieces also know and the heels, while Schar Deli Sliced Bread which is another sourdough bread from a different brand has only 5 bread slices per container.

If you’re planning a sandwich or a toast project, you might want to pay close attention to these numbers.

Store bought pre-sliced bread will usually have the number of bread slices printed at the back of the packaging. For loaves that do not have this label, it’s still easy to manually count the number of slices since a large portion of them would come in a transparent container. That’s some patience and a decent work on your part though.

If you’re shopping online, you can mostly find this information on the “About” section of the product page (along with the nutritional information and ingredient list). The total bread slices per container (in slice counts) would be the serving size * servings per container.

What is the industry standard for the thickness of a bread slice?

It’s not like a standard for how thick a slice of bread must be exists anywhere in the world and has to be followed by all, but somehow manufacture have resonated a lot in terms of the kind of thickness they want on their sandwich loaves, and that’s half an inch.

In general, most industrial bread slicers are adjusted to cut bread anywhere between 5 mm to 30 mm thickness and usually nothing outside this range.

This actually makes sense since very thin slices of sandwich loaves can easily burn in toasters or soak in salads, and thicker slices would be annoying for sandwich.

The texture and meat of thinner slices would also be lost in heavy dressing of ingredients consisting of meat and salads. So it’s never a good idea to make the loaves super thin.

Manufactures pick anywhere between this ranges but rarely outside it, depending on how large or small they bake their loaves and how many slices they want on each, this is where the purpose which the bread is meat to serve comes into play.

Other factors such as the nature and texture of the loaves are sometimes a big consideration too. Not all bread recipes are created equal and so it will be easier to cut thinner slices on some loaves than on others.

Over to homemade breads

For home users, there are mini bread slices with a wide cutting range available. They can be used to cut home baked bread or store bought solid loaves into different range of thickness as desired by the user. They are easy to use and can be bought online or in local stores.

If you’re a regular home bread baker, we recommend getting this particular bread slicer along with this bread cutting knife. They are a perfect pair together and will cut your loaves evenly and nice.

How many slices you end up getting though, will depend on the size of the baking pan you used and the thickness you’re willing to cut the loaves into.

Here are some tips for cutting home baked bread or store bought solid loaves:

  • Use a serrated knife, the spaces in them makes cutting bread super easy as opposed to using a table or kitchen knife without serrations.
  • Use a knife longer than the width of the loaf itself. That’s the best way to cut the bread into an even thickness if you are not using a bread slicer.
  • Do not press down on the bread, rather, hold lightly, and work gently to and fro.

Fun Fact

The largest bread loaf in the world is about four thousand feet long (4000 ft). It’s long enough to produce a whopping 121,160 slices of bread cut at 1 cm thickness. In case you didn’t get that, it’s one hundred and twenty-one thousand, one hundred and sixty slices of bread! That’s enough bread to serve me breakfast for 46 staggering years.

Some Frequently Asked Questions about Sliced Bread

Who made the bread slicer?

Otto Frederick Rohwedder (an American inventor and engineer) invented the bread slicer. He built the first prototype after selling his jewelry business in 1916 and began manufacturing the machine in an abandoned warehouse outside of his town in 1917. During the course of that, a fire broke out and his prototype and all the hundreds of blueprints were burned to ash.

But even when it meant starting all over again, Rohwedder refused to back down.

By 1927, after slowly rebuilding his funds and seeking out various investors to back his idea, he built another bread slicing machine that was better that his first a decade earlier.

This machine was the invention that changed the bread industry for the better.

Rohwedder’s invention of the bread slicer also brought about the famous phrase “The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread”.

What inspired Rohwedder to build a bread slicer?

Before Rohwedder’s invention of the bread slicer, bread of all kinds were either baked at home or bought in full loaves (not sliced) at the bakery. And because these bread would come in giant solid loaves, it meant that consumers had to manually cut them into slices whenever they wanted a piece.

This caused so much discomfort and people were quick to complain how time consuming and perilous the process was.

–Just to give an idea how stressful and perilous bread cutting was at that time, here is a letter of protest that appeared in the January 25, 1943 issue of the New York Times from a “distraught housewife” after the ban on sliced bread was effected in January 18, 1943, by Food Administrator Claude R. Wickard:

I should like to let you know how important sliced bread is to the morale and saneness of a household. My husband and four children are all in a rush during and after breakfast. Without ready-sliced bread i must do the slicing for toast- two pieces for each one- that’s ten. For their lunches i must cut by hand at least twenty slices, for two sandwiches apiece. Afterwards i make my own toast. Twenty-two slices of bread to be cut in a hurry!

Note: The above letter appeared after Rohwedder’s invention of sliced bread, when sliced bread was banned in the United States as a wartime conservation measure because” …the ready-sliced loaf must have a heavier wrapping than an un-sliced loaf if it is not to dry out.”

Rohwedder overheard these complains and in no time visualized a device that could cut bread into even slices. Then, he conducted a market research to determine a thickness of slice that would be generally accepted by majority of consumers, from which he got over 30,000 responses at the end of the campaign.

Eventually, he began working on his idea of a machine that would pre-slice loaves by half an inch -which was the standard he got from his research.

Rohwedder’s Problems and Solutions?

Rohwedder began working on a bread slicer in 1912 but his initial prototype was met with scoffs from bakers who claimed that pre-sliced bread would go stale too quickly. Meaning it would dry out too easily since the slices were separated. (The claim was true)

In an attempt to address the staleness problem, Rohwedder inserted long hat pins in each end of the sliced loaf to hold it together- in hopes of keeping the loaf fresh. However, bakers who again tried the loaves complained that the metals routinely fell out.

In 1928, with a newer machine, he devised another way to tackle the staleness problem. This time, instead of using pins to hold the slices together, the machine tightly wrapped the sliced loaves in wax paper, both securing the individual pieces and keeping them fresh. Rohwedder’s genius idea worked and his machine was finally ready for marketing.

But… there was another problem.

Bakeries were not showing interest in Rohwedder’s new invention despite proving to be helpful.

After several months of what seemed like failed marketing, Rohwedder eventually had someone who was willing to take a shot at his invention. It was his friend Frank Bench – a baker.

The machine was installed at Bench’s place in Chillicothe, Missouri at the Chillicothe Baking Company, and on July 7, 1928, the first loaf of commercially sliced bread was sold.

The loaf was marketed under the name “Sliced Kleen Maid Bread” and became an instant success.

Bench’s sales quickly skyrocketed.

In 1930, pre-sliced bread was further popularized by Continental Baking Company (with wonder bread). And today, pre-sliced bread are sold globally in different sizes and thickness.

How are pre-sliced bread made?

Pre-sliced loaves go through the normal kneading, fermenting and proofing process that solid loaves would normally go through. After the loaves are perfectly baked with a nice golden color, they are cooled for several minutes and conveyed to a slicer which cuts them into pre-determined number of slices with even thickness.

Then they are packed and ready to be sold.

Here is a 4 minute video showing how pre-sliced bread are made

What is the first and last bread slice called?

The heel, The end, The butt, or The crust.

Can you eat a slice of bread with mold?

No you can’t. As a matter of fact, discard the entire loaf.

Molds can quickly grow roots that can spread deeper into other parts of the bread. Some even produce invisible poisons called mycotoxins that can be very harmful to the health. If you notice mold growth on any bread slice, discard the entire loaf. Mold growth might not be visible on other slices, but there is a huge chance it’s microscopic roots might have penetrated deeper into these parts.

So it’s best to assume loaves with mold are harmful and discard them.

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