Getting the right knife for the job is an important step

kitchen-knives

Simple Bites reader Alissa writes:

“One question I have is about choosing the right tools during prep work.  I know my default is to select the smallest item (knife, bowl, etc) that will do the job, but it seems the chefs on television are always using huge bowls for tiny tasks, and 8-inch chef knives when I’m pulling out the paring knife.
I’d love to know what they teach about that in cooking school.

Great question, Alissa! Most people don’t realize is that using the correct knife can actually improve your cooking by:

• giving your food the appropriate texture
• accomplishing tasks more efficiently
• respectfully treating the food product
• helping you work in a safer manner

knives (2)

Without question, the knife is the most important tool in the kitchen and choosing the right knife for the job is an important step toward simplifying your cooking.

The wrong knife choice can cause unnecessary bruising, mess and damage to the food product. Just as you wouldn’t use a rake for a delicate garden transplanting task, you shouldn’t use a bread knife to carve a roast.
Also, in choosing a knife that will give you the best control, you will avoid injuries caused by slipping or unnecessary added pressure.

Know Your Knives

Here are the most basic knifes and their recommended functions.

Source: Simple Bites (http://www.simplebites.net/how-to-choose-the-right-knife-for-the-job)

Paring

A short knife, with a blade between 2-4 inches. Handy for dozens of small, delicate tasks throughout the day such as peeling garlic, trimming mushrooms, and slicing small fruits like strawberries. Read more about it

Utility

A medium-sized all-purpose knife, with a blade generally 6-8 inches long. Ideal for common kitchen functions such as cutting cheese, chopping fruit and vegetables, and slicing fish.

Chef

A larger all-purpose knife, with a 8-14 inch blade. Considered the quintessential kitchen knife for general tasks, this knife is useful for making classic cuts such as julienne, dice and fine chop and can be used for fruits, vegetables, meats and fish. Once you are comfortable with a chef knife’s size and weight, it can be used for a wide variety of kitchen tasks from chopping delicate herbs to shredding a head of cabbage.

Serrated

Most commonly known as a bread knife, the serrated slicer also works best for foods with a tender center, yet a firmer ‘crust’, such as a tomato or a ripe melon. The wavy blade allows controlled cuts that slice through the outer edge with ease and does not crush the interior. Be sure to reach for this knife to cut and serve delicate desserts with flaky pastry or meringue. (Get more information here)

Santoku

This multi-purpose knife of Japanese design is perfect for slicing, dicing and mincing vegetables. Can be used as an alternative to the chef’s knife and is popular for those with small hands or anyone who finds a chef’s knife overly heavy. I love my MAC for thinly slicing fish and for that dreaded task of chopping onions.

Boning

A very sharp, thin bladed knife used for trimming fat and carving meat off of bones. Usually 5-7 inches long, the blade may be flexible or rigid.

Final reminder

We’ll look at specific cuts and knife work in a future post, but for now you’re on the right track to choosing the best knife for the job.

Ultimately, you should feel comfortable with the knife you are using, but don’t expect to without sufficient practice. Most of the chefs Alissa refers to in her question above have been using a chef’s knife for a long, long time and are capable of comfortably performing nearly every kitchen task with it in hand.

For the home cook I recommend using each knife for it’s appropriate task and taking the time to practice knife skills.

Now remember, keep those knives sharp!

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Good recommendation of Ceramic kitchen knives

The difference between Ceramic and Metal Knives is the material they are made from. Ceramic knives are designed from an extremely hard ceramic, usually zirconium dioxide.

The process to make these knives is generally a dry pressing of zirconia powder and then it is fired with a solid-state sintering. It is then sharpened with a diamond-dust coated grinder. On the Mohs hardness scale these knives fall at 8.5, they are very hard and rarely need to be sharpened.

This article will review some of the best ceramic knives available.

Kyocera Revolution Series 7-Inch Professional Chef’s Knife

This Kyocera Ceramic knife is extremely hard. It has a black blade and it will fit in nicely with your other kitchen utensils. Chop, dice and mince your meats and fruits and vegetables with precision and ease.

It has been ground precisely, for a rock-like edge that is very sharp and retains its sharpness even after many uses. This knife is extremely lightweight and well balanced.

The handle is ergonomic, users will be comfortable even with repetitive movements. It is made from a Polypropylene resin. The blade is made of Zirconium oxide.

One downside to this knife that users have mentioned is that it does not cut well through bones. It is recommended to use another knife on meat with bones. However, it works great to cut other items.

These Revolution Series Chef’s knives will never rust and they can cannot be penetrated by acids, oils, or other elements. It should be hand washed and sharpened with an electric sharpener from Kyocera.

Kyocera Revolution Series Paring and Santoku Knife Set

This Kyocera set is a 2 piece option at an affordable price. They are very sharp ceramic knives with a white blade. It includes a 3 inch paring knife and a 5 ½ inch Santoku knife. This set makes a great gift.

With the Santoku blade users can dice, chop and achieve paper thin slicing. It is a Japanese style knife, with a wide blade and low tip. The paring knife is great for cutting, peeling and shaping assorted vegetables and fruits.

These knives like other Kyocera sets have been perfectly ground for a hard, sharp, knife with good retention on the blade. While the blade is sharp, it is also bridle, and users should be careful to avoid chipping.

The ergonomic handle is comfortable for long hours of use, as well it is lightweight and balanced. It is not safe for dishwasher use, and should be sharpened with an electric sharpener from Kyocera.

Dalstrong Professional 8″ Ceramic Chef Knife

This gift set is extremely affordable and includes; the Dalstrong Infinity Blade – 8 inch Chef’s Knife, with a Diamond Dust Sharpener made by EdgeLast, a PerfectFit Sheath and a Cloth for Polishing.

Cut through your produce and meat effortlessly, with the very sharp blade made from Zirconium Oxide. The sharpener is included so this knife is easily maintained.

These knives are BPA free, with no possible chemical leakage. The ceramic is germ resistant and not porous so it will never rust.

This knife is very light, precise and easily maneuvered. Be cautious as this knife is not designed for chopping bones or frozen foods. Do not pry, strike or saw with this knife either.

Dalstrong is so confident with their product that they offer a 100% Money Back Guarantee for up to 120 days. It is a #1 selling product on Amazon.

More post: Getting the right knife for your job

Buying kitchen knives

kitchen knives

Buying kitchen knives
Besides our own brand of kitchen knives, Eden, we also stock all the chef’s knives of famous German brands like Wusthof, Goldhamster Solicut and Zwilling J.A. Henckels, Japanese Kai Shun kitchen knives, Global knives and many other brands. At Knivesandtools.co.uk you will find chef’s knives, santokus, Japanese knives, bread knives, steak knives and Laguiole knives by Forge de Laquiole and Fontenille Pataud.

Knife sets
The kitchen knives are available as single items or knife sets. If you buy a set you can always order the matching knife block too. We also sell kitchen utensils like chopping boards, graters, the Robert Herder windmill knife and kitchen scissors. We can also personalise your kitchen knife by engraving it, to make it an even more special gift.

It is true that Wüsthof knives often are called the best knife for professional chefs. That is due to the reputation of Wüsthof in the professional world on the one hand and on the other hand with the fact that Wüsthof makes knives that meet the requirements of many professional and amateur chefs. But the answer is: it depends on what you expect from a chef’s knife.

In practice a chef’s knife (and any other kitchen knife) is a compromise between cutting characteristics, sturdiness and maintenance sensitivity.

To make a knife as sharp as possible it must be paper thin, especially on the cutting edge. And to make a knife very thin, the hardness and quality of the steel come under high stress. The hard steel combined with a thin blade makes such a sharp knife much more vulnerable and also more sensitive to corrosion.

Wüsthof knives (but also the knives of Zwilling and Goldhamster) are for many users an excellent compromise between cutting characteristics, sturdiness and maintenance sensitivity. That is the reason they are often called ‘the best chef’s knives’. If you want more sharpness however and you know that you are not always as careful with your knives as you should be, you can choose a thinner knife. For example by KAI, Robert Herder or Global. But make sure a housemate does not try to chop through a chicken thigh because the damage will be greater than with a Wüsthof knife for example.

And then we have our own brand of knives: Eden Quality. Those knives are more economic than Wüsthof and Zwilling but are extremely good value for money.

The Classic VG10 series and the Classic Damask series do offer the hard VG10-steel that many expensive knives have too. They are sharpened slightly less thin; more like the knives by Wüsthof. Their hard steel makes them suitable to be sharpened under a sharper angle with a whetstone.

The question which knife is best is a very personal one. You have to ask yourself: ‘What type of user am I?’ It could be very useful to read the reviews of the different knives.