True review of the best kitchen knives
Cooking is impossible without kitchen knives, which are needed for various purposes. There are people enjoying only a cook’s knife. It is really a perfect tool for a range of operations but still it cannot be sufficient. When choosing the set, you’d better prefer forged steel as far as you hardly can find the material better than this. It can be used for both particular and routine cases. Of course, you can buy the thing made of stamped steel but it can bend though it is less expensive. It does not matter whether you are a beginning cook or an experienced one, the kitchen knife must be as good as you can afford it.
Types of knives
Now we are going to consider the knives designed for various purposes:
- Chef’s or cook’s knife is a general purpose one being able to dice, chop, slice, mince, and do anything you can. It is used with a wide range of foods. You can cut with it very fast. Its blade is broad and sharp in length about 10 inches. You must feel it easy to handle and apply.
- Paring knife is a small tool that is extremely popular in a home kitchen. It is perfect for small specific tasks – you can cut herbs or vegies with it. You will easily remove the peels and cores from fruit and vegetables with its help. It is equipped with a short and straight blade. Sometimes the cutting edge is curled.
- Bread knife is the best utensil for cutting bread as well as any other baked goods. It has a long, serrated cutting edge. It allows avoiding excessive pressure on a loaf. Thus, you are enabled to make whole slices of an unbroken shape.
- Carving knife is also known as a slicer and used to make fillets of any products being characterized with a long and narrow blade. You can remove meat from bones and create thin and even slices without sticking to the blade.
- Boning knife is a kind of the above type being designed for a particular use – separating meat from the bone. The blade here is very narrow and flexible.
- Tomato knife is used to cut juicy vegetables and fruits if you want to penetrate easily inside thme breaking the skin without squashing. The blade is serrated.
Construction of knives
Every knife consists of the certain parts. The handle is a section, which is grabbed by a hand of a cook. It must feel comfortable and provide a user with security. It is important to ensure that it is not slippery even being wet. You should not strain when hold it. Another vital requirement is the sufficient distance on underside of a handle because if it is not enough, you will bang your knuckles when cutting or chopping. This feature depends on the height of the blade. It is preferable if the handles are molded which make a grip more convenient. Though some cooks prefer to refuse this form of a handle, because the molds prevent a natural grip.
There is not very clear but important part as a bolster or shoulder – a thicker part of blade in the area where it is connected with a handle. It provides stability of the knife and protects fingers from injuring when a cook grips a knife. There are knives for instance Japanese-style ones, which are designed without a bolster. The sense in such construction is that the whole blade can be applied. Most knives include a heel. This is the broadest part of the blade and at the same time it is the thickest one. It becomes useful when you cut something with some force, like chopping through tendons. It should not prevent you from stopping the rocking motion. The blade has a spine – a top of the blade. It can be rough or polished but anyway it should be convenient to work with. And at last we should mention the edge itself. It should be sharp already when a knife is bought. It should make a clean cut when slicing through a sheet of paper. It can be curved a little bit for easy chopping or mincing when it rocks back.
The market is full of offers so it is difficult enough to make a decision and choose the kitchen knives of the highest quality and at the most appropriate price. You should remember that the best items are those, which provide you with easy and comfortable cooking. One of the simplest orienting points for you is a reliable brand. We suggest to consider some of them.
The Mercer Culinary. This is a producer of professional kitchenware including cutlery. It has been represented at the market during more than 30 years. It is known worldwide due to use of material of the highest quality and unique design. Every item is created in accordance with customers’ needs. As a result both the professional chefs and home cooks prefer the knives of this brand. The items are durable and reliable marketed at nice price.
The Wüsthof USA is a Germany brand, which has been involved in crafting blades since 1814. It designs the cutlery which is respected and popular in the whole world offering one of the finest fashioned blades. We would say that most customers suppose these kitchen knives the best ones around.
The Chicago Cutlery was launched in 1930 for servicing knives. Time passes and soon they appear at the retail market with its own products. The today assortment includes knives and various cutting accessories in large diversity. Here you can find the tool for a particular kitchen task. There even collecitons with colorful blades. The sets usually come in convenitnt wooden blocks.
The J.A. Henckels is regarded as international brand. The company was founded in 1895 in Germany being a subdivision of Zwilling J.A. Henckels. It guarantees the quality knives for everyday needs at the convenient price. You can be sure that the cutlery of this brand is guaranteed from the defects being one of the best at the market.
The Cuisinart is well reputable in the USA and needs no introduction. It has the greatest collections and proves to be the first according to the Amazon.com rating of the best sellers. It means that the design, functionality and reliability of the products are at the high level.
The ZYLISS is a Swiss producer which uses innovations in its manufacture and suggest the professional knives made of German steel of high quality. The first launched item was a onion chopper and that was the patented brand innovation including salad spinner and garlic press.
The BGT is a Japanese brand producing kitchen knives of stainless steel. The peculiarity of its collections is colorful wood, plastic or metal handles. The assortment includes every knife needed in your kitchen. Great deal for the price!
The Zelite is a UK company owned by a family. There are series dedicated to various purposes. Some of them provide comfort for professionals. They are made of German steel. There are razor sharp blades of Japanese steel. The handles here are extremely comfortable. Everybody can enjoy these tools for any cooking and cutting methods.
The Victorinox is a producer founded in 1884, which is very well known in Swiss due to its Army Knife. It was made in 1891 actually for the Swiss Army and is popular with customers nowadays. As they say the products of this brand are made in heaven. There are series with colorful handles. You will have an on-point kitchen with this cutlery.
The Ōkami is relatively new brand. The producer offers perfect knives for various foods including suchi, meat, veggies. They are popular with restaurants and home cooks all over the world. The steel for some series is imported from Japan. They use Damascus steel made of 67 layers. The company works continuously to improve
What’s a Japanese-style knife?
When we speak about knife in “Japanese-style” we mean something unique and extremely reliable. Nowadays it becomes a trend in cutlery which is even more popular than classic German knives. What is special about this technique. The point is that a Japanese-style chef’s knife is very comfortable being light with the thinnest blade compared to other leaders at the market. Thanks to these properties a cook may maneuver easily with them achieving the perfect slicing. So even being equipped with a soft handle, which is very comfortable and allows a hand of a user being in the right position without any restrictions, it can be undesired due to this drawback – the lack of curve making chopping or mincing not so smooth as you would like. They are also very sharp that is natural for a thin edge and have a very narrow angle.
So, if you are going to cut the foods quickly and perfect, use them. The Japanese style knives are good as kitchen cleavers, all-purpose utility or vegetable knifes. And of course, sashimi slicers are perfect in this performance. But the Japnese constructions are not the best choice for slicing or splitting a chicken because there is no heel of the needed form. For the above operations a knife should be wedge-like but a Japanese-style one is different. The edge is rater straight than curve that is why when you mince the foods a knife does not rock in a smooth way.
There are two principle kinds of Japanese style knives worthy of remark:
- Honyaki knives being made of one material – top-grade steel specifically developed for knives.
- Kasumi kitchen knives are produced in accordance with samurai technologies with use of two materials. The blue steel or hagane is mixed with a soft iron called jigane. This kind is easier in maintenance compared to the honyaki.
This is the most popular material which is applied rather frequently for home kitchen knife production. The high-chromium is often preferred. Though, such knives are expected to be frequently sharpened, still there are advantages like high resistance to corrosion. Carbon steel can be also used being cheaper, easily sharpened and holding its shape very well. But with this kind of steel there is a problem – vulnerability to rust. The knives made of carbon steel should be cleaned thoroughly and dried immediately with further lubrication after every use. Moreover, you can feel a metallic taste in the food cut with a knife made of this material.
This alloy is legendary. It consists of some types of hard steel at least two of them and has the welded blades. This combination of steel causes a particular patterned effect which is usually associated with this technique. The knives get tough, sharp, resistant to breaking. The Damascus steel is known since the ancient times when in Middle Eastern it was prepared to make swords with distinctive patterning looking like flowing water.
You can find the knives with ceramic blades made of very hard material and with fine and sharp edge which is retained for a continuous time. They are lightweight and reliable. Though you should have the particular ceramic blade sharpening tools. Because of their brittle nature, they are likely to chip if they are struck against a hard object or sharpened improperly, and require special ceramic blade sharpening tools. A ceramic knife does not impart any taste to food, and is non-corrosive and stain resistant.
This is a coating made of a ceramic material that much harder compared to the common ceramic, This component improves the surface of other metals which are too soft. It is safe and non-toxic, has gold color and can be applied for covering a ceramic blade to protect it.
Every material provides various properties of knives that is why depending on your food preferences and cooking methods, you should decide on a knife. The particular form of a blade and material it is made of determines the quality of cutting and convenience of knife appliance. Perhaps you need to have some types to satisfy all needs. Of course the main demands are durability, corrosion resistance and comfortable grip. Only when you try various knives, you’ll understand the significance of this tool. You’ll appreciate every benefit and know much more about culinary art. The different types of food preparation will matter for you.
We should emphasize that a choice of a kitchen knife depends on the chef’s preferences. Rather often choice of the professionals turns next to carbon steel because it is hard and provides perfect cutting. But kitchen knives are usually made of stainless steel. And that is clear – they are durable, hygienic, and are not prone to corrosion. The only area of weakness is rather fast loss of sharpness when a knife is used frequently. Thus, all knives, which are applied outdoor like safety, camping, hunting ones are produced with use of high carbon steel, but sometimes can be made from stainless steel too.
In addition to the blade, the material is important for handles, which can be made of wood, hardened rubber, plastic, metal, fiberglass, horns and bones of animas. The most hygienic one is probably fiberglass micarta. It is shaped easily, hard and heat resistant, light, rust proof, does not react with water and foods. Though, steel and wood is the most common handle material. They are available and comfortable to touch.
Cutting techniques you are expected to know
Why should you buy those sets when it is quite enough to use just one knife for all purposes? Well, first of all this is a matter of high living standards, when you choose the best ways to perform. There are things designed to ease and improve cooking including particular knives. Then, you just won’t be able to do without special tool for succeeding in some cutting techniques providing with needed result.
Every cook should master the ways to use a chef’s knife or the other one. The finest arts consist of different skills. So in order to apply all the knives with the most benefit, you should know the rules of chopping, dicing, cutting and slicing. What is the difference between them, in general? We’ll describe just some of the techniques.
- The Cross Chop is simple and popular way to cut herbs and some vegetables. You use it all the time and know it for sure. It can be made quickly without any efforts to provide the particular look to the result which does not need presentation. All these ingredients are usually added to soups or salads or stew to make the taste more thick and rich. To make cross chopping you should take a knife in a working hand and put the palm of the other one on top of the blade to keep the chopping under control. Lifting handle keep the tip of the blade down and in crossing movements you are expected to chop all the foods without any other rules trying to create almost milled mass.
- There is a kind of the above method known as Rock Chop. You should also hold a handle in one hand keeping the tip of the blade down on the board but the other hand will control the foods and not the blade. You just push the ingredient in the needed direction and chop it with the knife keeping the blade unmoved. Here it is very important to curl fingers preventing them from injury.
- The Julienne Cut is a professional one as far as it is important to make very thin slices somewhere between 1 mm and 2 mm, which are cut into thin sticks. Usually this cut is used to cook celery, zucchini carrots, and potatoes. You should master Julienning to be able to prepare very neat and fine sticks. Moreover this technique is considered as the first stage in other cutting techniques.
- And the Brunoise Dice technique is one of those methods which requires you to master the previous one. When the veggies are julienned, you just cut those sticks turning them in small cubes with size of about 2mm x 2mm x 2mm. This is an ideal result. This technique is the smallest dicing cut. It is applied when you cook soups.
- Small Dice. It can be compared to the Brunoise Dice but the cubes must be slighter larger with the size of about 3mm x 3mm x 3mm. You can start with Julienning but making the sticks thicker.
- The Batonnet. It is evident what is expected from a cook because the name of technique shows it. You should make the pieces in a baton shape. This method is ok for vegetables when you prepare chips, for example. You should achieve the length of 6 mm in order to provide the professional look of the cuts.
- The Pont-Neuf is used only for preparing potatoes. You peel the vegetable, wash it and cut in the pieces with the dimensions of 2cm x 7cm making chunky chip shapes.
Even home cook is highly recommended to learn the above cutting methods and become closer to experts preparing tasty and beautiful dishes.
How should you select kitchen knives?
You should take your chef’s knife as a dance partner. It means that it is expected to delight the eye, to feel comfortable in a hand and to be reliable and manoeuvring. Consider the operations you perform most often and focus on them. Usually one needs a knife for cutting, dicing, slicing, mincing, and chopping without any efforts. You should realize the most convenient method for you and choose the correspondent properties. Perhaps, it will take some time to choose your knife set but that’s worth it.
In order to test your knife, you should try it in the following operations: mincing parsley, dicing onion, cutting cucumber into thin strips, slicing pumpkin, carving a melon in the final analysis. Take a knife into your hand, ensure that a grip is proper. There won’t be any questions what it means. You feel at once that special sense of fit. You know the feeling of natural extension of a hand. Do not catch it? Move a handle in a hand. Is everything ok now? Start chopping and estimate the characteristics of a knife. Turn your attention to weight. The knife should “fall” when you cut foods with a little force on your part. You should be able to maneuver easily and use this tool skillfully. Find a perfect balance with your palm, you can change the grip towards the back of the handle or towards the blade in order to find the right position. It is very important to find the balance to provide stability of knife movements.
When you choose the size, mind that a chef’s knife is usually equal to 8 inches. This is a multipurpose knife. If the blade is larger it is able to work more intensive but it requires more confident skills. If you take a smaller chef’s knife with blade of 6 inches, you’ll be able to use it in the cases when a paring knife is needed, but if you are going to work with volumes, you may find this blade short and insufficient.
Deciding to buy knives, ensure that you know exactly what kinds are needed in your kitchen. Regard various sizes and shapes referring them to your cooking habits. If you prefer sets, then you should know that a common home kitchen kit includes an all-purpose utility knife with a blade with the length of 5 inches, a chef’s knife, a paring knife for vegetables which is perfect for peeling in addition to other features, a bread knife, a cleaver, a filleting knife and a carving knife. The producer often offers sharpening steel or knife-honing stone. Among the things you should concern there are convenient handles, material, and weight. Of course there are the knife sets containing more or less items. That’s the matter of taste and budget.
The construction is important. Check all joining and welding, particularly in the area where blaze and handle are connected. The knives of low quality can break at joining points. It is much better if the tool is made of single piece of steel.The weight may act an essential part if you spend a lot of time cooking and cutting. When you work fast and precise, you need a lightweight knife. This is true for small and light products. But when you chop solid foods, you need exactly a heavy knife.
Ensure that the knife is well balanced meaning that the blade is approximately equal to a handle. The chopper produced by a reputable brand usually has very good balance. You can test it if you are not sure. Place a knife in the place where a blade merges into a handle on and hold horizontally keeping a cutting edge down. It is a kind of leverage point. The well balanced knife will not fall. Naturally, you need some accuracy and care to perform this test. Unfortunately the balance is considered only by the manufacturers of the expensive cutlery. With such a knife you will cut easy without a lot of efforts.
Now look at the handle, which is expected to be well joined or it can be a solid part of the whole thing. Consider the material it is made of. Perhaps bones will do for your private collection, but not for a continuous use because it gets brittle in due course. The wood is better, but also not durable and it is able to injure a hand.
Now we reach probably the most vital part – a blade. Regard the material. Length, thickness, size, sharpness, rust resistance and other features impact on how comfortable it will be during use. And by the way you’d better use forged blades compared to stamped ones. And refuse knives declared as those which are need no sharpening. Initially they are not sharp enough but you will not be able to sharp them at all. Check also the width and smoothness of the cutting edge. And when you use the knives do not interchange them. For example, the serrated knives should be used for general purpose – do not cut meat or vegetable with it as far as they can be unsafe. Remember that they are not sharpened.
Perhaps the first thing to consider when choosing knives is brand. Only a well-known manufacturer guarantees the high quality and provides the true information about its products. Shop around looking for your knives, do not be limited to only one offer. The Internet is full of commercial sites of the producers, which provide the widest choice and beneficial conditions. The following recommendation is to hold a knife in your hand before you buy it. You should understand that nobody but you can choose the comfortable knife. Do not rely on someone’s review. You should visit a retail store in order to hold the chosen knives and test them and then, if the online price is better, place the order on the site. Knives are a good investment being of use for about 25 years and even longer if you maintain and store them properly.
The good knife requires good current care of it. It does not mean that you have to sharp the blade every day but from time to time you should do it in order to provide a perfect cutting. Moreover a knife needs honing. There are a lot of videos through the internet which will show you the way to hone.
After using knives you should not leave them in a sink, because the blade can be scratched, the tip can be broken. After you wash knives, dry them immediately with a soft kitchen towel and put in a particular box and do not store them in a utensil draw together with other cutlers so that you could protect the blade from dents and other damages. By the way it is highly recommended to wash the knives by hands only. And one more thing: you should use the knives on a cutting board, because the surfaces of table or furniture especially made of stone or hard plastic are too solid for the blade.
Some pieces of advice
- To sharpen blades made of steel or ceramic you should use high-powered electric diamond knife sharpener, whetstone, honing rod. You will achieve the best results. But first read the manufacturer’s instructions and find out the recommendation.
- Mind soaking of knives, which can remove the oils used for covering of handles, as a result they can quickly go wrong.
- Refuse dishwashers, which are able to cause nicks on the edges of blades. And moreover the used chemical agents and high temperature can lead to corrosion.
- Refuse cutting bones or frozen foods, opening cans and jars with knives, because even the hardest ones can be broken and at that you can get hurt.
- If you have to store the knives in a shelf find blade protectors.
- Don’t forget that serrated or scalloped knives are not sharpened.
- The blade can get dull if you hone it all the time or use is on hard surfaces. Apply the whetstone to restore a sharp edge.
The best knives
Vremi Colorful Knife Set is rather for fun being vibrant. Though, they are characterized with lasting performance meaning that they remain sharp even for a long and intensive use. All the pieces of the set are lightweight. The handles are plastic. This is a perfect solution for cottage, where we rarely need some large knives. The covers protect not only the blades but also hands from grabbing the wrong one out of a drawer. They are marketed with a box where you can store them.
Chicago Cutlery Fusion Knife Block Set
The set consists of 18 knives made of stainless steel. Every item is forged and durable. The blades are made of high carbon. You can replace your old set with this one – you will not regret it! Here you’ll find the basic knives and those which are meant for the particular cutting techniques. To provide a long work without sharping the innovative Taper Grind Edge Technology is applied. The wood storage is available. The design is perfect and very cozy.
Chicago Cutlery Elston Block Set
It will help you in the kitchen without any doubt. It consists of 16 pieces, among which there are the duplicates of the most popular ones. Here you’ll find a steak knife even. All of them cut in a proper way being rust and stains resistant.
Cuisinart C77SS-15PK Block Set
There are 15 knives in this set made of stainless steel. You can store them hung-up due to hollows made in every handle. They are made of high carbon stainless steel of high quality. The bolster of every item is very strong proving proper stability. The construction with a sharp edge is extremely ergonomical.
Sabatier 12pc Self Sharpening Edgekeeper Pro Block
All 12 pieces of this set can be easily sharpened with use of built-in ceramic sharpening rods, which at the same time hone the blades which are forged and made of high carbon stainless steel. The knives are durable and corrosion resistant. Though, the durability will decrease if you clean the knives in a dishwasher.
HULLR Kitchen Knife Set
It contains 14 pieces and marketed with a stylish wooden block where you can store the items without damaging the blades. If you want to save your budget, this set is for you! You’ll find everything you need here. The handles are made of durable material ABS, they are convenient to grip. The blades are produced of high-carbon 420 stainless steel which though being corosion resistant still should be washed by hands and dried after washing.
You can find a lot of perfect decisions here, The best knives of various producers with different handles, blades, sizes and colors.