Cooks and chefs rely on their knives when preparing foods for cooking and readying the food for their friends, family and guests. Many cooks look for a good set of knives that will last for many years. Kitchen knives like many other products fall under the old adage “you get what you pay for”. If you are a home cook or a chef in training, equip yourself with a good set of knives and you won’t be sorry. Many people may think a knife-is-a-knife, but you really can’t get much further from the truth. A good one will make your prep work and plating much easier than an economy version.
There are many brands to choose from when purchasing a kitchen-knife or set of kitchen-knives, leaving many to wonder what is best. The best knives do come with a higher price tag, but they stand the test of time and use whereas cheaper knives will have to be replaced. After many years of cycling through the buying and replacing pattern, the cost of good knives would have been cheaper.
With so many types of knives from which to choose, the question begs an answer “what knives to I need”. Buying the knives you will use the most and adding onto your set over time is typically the way to go. Knowing what knives you need and will use most rather than buying a large knife set is a better option when buying for the first time or replacing what you have.
Best Kitchen Brands
Coming in as a top of the line and well worth the cost is the Wusthoff brand. Wustoff sells kitchen-knives singly and in sets. Wusthoff knives are made in Germany. The blades consist of sturdy high-carbon steel that resists stains and corrosion and retain the sharp edge 30 percent longer than comparable brands. The handles are made from durable polymers and are contoured for a comfortable grip.
Also a top of the line competitor are made by J.A. Henckels. Henckels are forged from a single piece of carbon, no-stain steel for superior strength and cutting edge. J.A. Henkels handles are touted as durable and unbreakable while offering a comfortable grip. Henkels-knives like Wustoff are made in Germany.
What Kitchen-Knives Do You Need
When buying kitchen knives, you probably want everything, but the question should be what do you need? Start your set of knives with your needs, not your wants. Some knives you will find yourself using all of the time and some not so much.
A chef’s-knife is a multi purpose tool in the kitchen. The chef’s knife has a broad blade that curves at the bottom. Chef’s knives slice through vegetables and meats using a rocking motion rather than a lifting and slicing. This is the knife you see TV chefs quickly chopping through the prep work and smashing cloves of garlic.
Serrated-knives are often referred to as bread knives. A long blade knife that has a serrated edge – scalloped design – that cuts through both hard crusted breads and softer ones along with soft foods such as tomatoes. A serrated knife is drawn back and forth to create a sawing motion to cut. To be the most useful choose a serrated knife with at least a 6 or 8 inch blade length.
A Santoku-knife is much like a chef’s knife except the blade is shorter and less broad. Santoku-knives are considered all purpose knives. They are used to cut hard vegetables such as carrots or potatoes. The blade design keeps foods from sticking to the blade.
A slicing-knife is another invaluable tool in a chef’s kitchen. Slicing knives are used for a wide range of tasks including cutting fruits and vegetables into thin slices. It is also used to cut raw meat, chicken and fish. The slicing knife doubles as a carving knife to cut poultry and roasts. Look for at least a 10 inch blade that is approximately 1 inch wide. The tip comes as either a pointed or rounded one.
Paring-knives are used for kitchen prep work that involves more precise cutting such as carving fruits or vegetables. Paring-knives are also used for peeling everything from onions to grapefruit and are used to trim off unwanted stems and peels. They offer the perfect blade for removing the vein in shrimp or slicing cheese into thin pieces.
As the name suggests a boning-knife is used to remove the bones or cut in between them on poultry and meats. Boning-knives have a narrow blade that is flexible allowing you to work your way into tight areas. Many boning-knives are specified for poultry or meats. A meat boning knife has a stiffer blade. Look for boning-knives that have approximately a 6 inch blade length.
Cleavers come in a wide range of sizes and weights. To start a 2 pound cleaver that has a 6 inch blade will be able to handle everything from cutting through bones in chicken to chopping vegetables. Two cleavers would be nice such as a 1 pound and a 2 pound, but one will suffice while you build your knife set.
Shears are part of the knife-family even though they look like scissors; they do cut making them an invaluable asset. There are two types of shears one that looks like a pair of heavy duty scissors which is used for cutting herbs and other smaller items and the second set should be poultry shears. Poultry shears have a curved blade and are strong enough to cut through chicken bones.
Avoid washing your kitchen-knives in the dishwasher even if the manufacturer indicates they are dishwasher safe. A dishwasher can ruin your expensive ones.
Don’t leave your knives to air dry after washing; always dry them with a towel carefully.
Don’t use harsh abrasives such as scouring powders or steel wool to clean your knives as you may damage the blades.