One of the most fundamental instruments in every kitchen is the knife. Simply said, it's the most vital appliance in the kitchen. It's the only appliance in the kitchen that can mince a whole head of garlic or finely cut fresh herbs, as well as a whole chicken. Yet, not all kitchen knives are created equal. It's not uncommon to discover a trendy brand offering low-quality blades for a hefty price, while a lesser-known brand can provide a better-quality set at a more reasonable price.
A decent set of kitchen knives is an investment that will last you a lifetime of meals and cooking, so it's important to get a set that meets all your needs. You'll know what to look for in high-quality kitchen knives after reading this article, which explains how to choose the best knife for your needs.
1. Prior to going knife shopping
Think about what kind of kitchen knife you'll need. The number of knives you need depends on your cooking style and habits, but kitchen knives come in a broad range of shapes and sizes to accommodate a wide range of uses.
The following are some of the essentials for every home kitchen:
- A utility knife, typically 13cm (5 inches) in length, is a good first knife because of its versatility and may be used for a wide variety of tasks and cuisines.
- The standard size for a chef's knife is 20 to 23 centimeters (7.8 to 9.0 inches), and it may be used for a variety of tasks, including chopping, dicing, mincing, and cutting.
- A tiny, handheld knife, such as a vegetable or paring knife (8cm / 3"). It's used for peeling, slicing, and trimming vegetables and herbs (such as trimming small potatoes).
- The serrated blade of a bread knife may be used to cut through crusty loaves as well as delicate fruits and vegetables like tomatoes.
- The meat cleaver, and a smaller one for vegetables, herbs, etc. Don't purchase unless you regularly process large amounts of meat.
- While filleting fish, it's helpful to have a filleting knife. The only need to purchase fillets is if you plan on filleting them yourself; nowadays, most people just buy them already done.
- A carving knife, for slicing roasts, whole roasted birds, etc., into uniformly thin pieces.
- Steel, a stone, or an electric honer may be used to sharpen knives.
Although it's true that you can frequently get a knife set that has most or all of this variety for less money than if you were to buy each knife separately, the procedures listed below are still important to follow when selecting a high-quality knife set for your kitchen. Moreover, if you try out just one knife initially, you can easily switch to a different brand if that one doesn't work for you, however, if you purchase a cheap or prepackaged box set, you could not enjoy the feel of each knife in the set, or learn to despise the brand.
2. While knife shopping, be sure to physically handle each knife.
The tool's grip ought to fit your hand securely and comfortably. It's important to remember that just because something is cozy for one person doesn't guarantee it will be cozy for you, too.
3. Check the knife's steel content and location.
Check the hilt of the knife carefully for any traces of welding or other affixing. You shouldn't put any stress on the knife's joint, since here is where it's most prone to bend or shatter. Hand-forged blades from a single piece of steel make the greatest knives, while thin knives with flimsy hilts and handles wrapped in thick plastic are among the cheapest options.
4. Experience the heft of the blade.
When you need to chop a lot of light items quickly and precisely, a lightweight chopper is a better choice than a heavy knife because of how much more effort it takes to use. On the other hand, a hefty knife is best for chopping tougher components like nuts, fresh ginger, palm sugar, and similar delicacies.
5. Verify that the knife is well-balanced.
There shouldn't be too much heft in the blade or the handle of a high-quality knife. Holding the knife horizontally with the blade down, the traditional method is placing a finger on the finger grip at the hilt or blade end of the handle. A good knife won't slip from your hand at that moment since it will be perfectly balanced. Needless to say, this exam requires your whole attention. Unless you're buying a knife from a really high-end manufacturer, chances are good that it's going to slip right off your finger.
The primary benefit of a well-balanced knife is that it reduces fatigue and fatigue during cutting. Like the center of gravity of a seesaw, this leverage point must be precisely located for the system to remain stable. There is far less pressure on the arm when using a well-balanced knife, which is especially helpful when chopping big amounts of food.
6. Check out the knife's handle.
It has to be robust, simple to maintain, and well put together. Since it acts as a conduit for the force applied to the handle to be transferred to the blade, it is often the strongest component of a knife. It's not a good indicator if it's thin, hidden (like behind plastic), or has a clear weld or connection. Every visible nick or crevice reduces the knife's strength, and it may become a breeding ground for germs when it catches even little bits of food.
7. Think about the kind of stuff they used to make the grip.
Wood, plastic, hardened resins, and other sturdy materials are often used for the handle. Due to the inevitable brittleness of bone, old knives with bone handles are not recommended. Several people have been hurt when the bone or wood handle of an old knife they were using broke. Knife handles should not be made from softwood or other low-density materials.
8. Assess the blade's material.
Ceramic is the ideal knife blade because it can be honed to scalpel grade, lasts long, and doesn't corrode. This style of knife is delicate and often breaks, and excellent ones are pricey. Avoid cheap ceramic knives.
- Excellent knives are usually constructed of carbon steel, which sharpens rapidly but rusts easily. Carbon steel knives may be sharpened at home, although they corrode easily.
- Many inexpensive contemporary knife blades are composed of stainless steel, however, they dull rapidly and require a long time to sharpen. Sharpen high-carbon stainless steel knives to avoid rusting. These blades are tougher and have less carbon than rust-prone earlier carbon steel knives.
- Unless you can purchase a high-carbon stainless steel knife, a cheap one is OK.
- Forged blades outperform stamped ones because forging strengthens the metal.
- Avoid blades that never require sharpening. They cannot be sharpened, so when they lose their edge, they must be thrown away.
9. Check the cutting-edge width.
Blade thickness and smoothness. Best knives are polished and pit-free. The cutting edge should reach the hilt. The picture on the right illustrates that the final 1.5cm (0.59") has no cutting edge, making it ineffective for heavier cuts like carrots, which need bigger blades.
Serrated chef's knives are dangerous for cutting vegetables and meat because they slide more than cut. They saw rather than slice unless you apply direct downward pressure, which is hazardous. It's marketed as an all-in-one knife that chops bread and veggies, but it's a rip-off. They're rare in premium knife sets, thus it may indicate the producer is seeking a budget-conscious client. Serrated knives should be in your set for bread and baked goods exclusively.
10. Maintain your knives in good, sharp
A steel and sharpening stone complete a nice set. If the knife is dull, the steel will not sharpen it. Stones sharpen edges.
- Diamond steel is expensive yet sharp. If not sharpened properly, they wear the knife down quicker and might bend or sickle. While sharpening steel at a fast speed, individuals typically sharpen the blade's midsection (as it can look impressive to sharpen knives that way). Slowly and uniformly sharpen and wear the blade's length.
- Do not use the knife on stone, glass, steel, or ceramic cutting boards or surfaces. This may break the knife, put fine chips in your food, and cause you to slide and injure yourself. The ideal cutting board is wood or stiff plastic. In high-use areas, the board should be cleaned weekly and soaked in a 10:1 water and bleach solution.
- Blunt blades cause more knife-handling accidents because they slide and need more pressure to cut.
- Avoid knife damage by using a blade-specific sharpener.
11. Prioritize quality above famous names.
Your goal, of course, is to get high-quality items at reasonable prices. You still have to make the payments regardless of whether the item is of high quality or poor quality.
If your knives are your own set, you should not lend them out to anybody. Most knife injuries that aren't caused by bluntness are the result of the victim using a knife they have never used before.
12. Put your knives away safely after use.
Both a knife block and a knife roll (a fabric bag similar to a roll of spanners or wrenches) are acceptable options. Although many blades do come with their own protective case, many cooks simply store their knives by bundling them in an old apron (making sure none of the knives contact each other) and tying the bundle together with the apron strings. Although magnetic knife strips aren't the best option, they may work in child-free zones is set in a secure location.
It's not a good idea to just throw them into a toolbox or a drawer full of cutlery.
see more: Knife Skills - How to Choose a Knife for a Chef
Imported inexpensive blades are constructed of low-quality stainless steel. Stainless steel grades have different uses. Surgical stainless steel makes superb scalpels but terrible cooking knives. They dull rapidly and require a long time to sharpen. Sharpening makes them tougher to maintain. Burrs along the blade clog whetstones. Fatigued metal micro-shards may fall into your meals. Most 440 stainless steel products are softer.
Choosing a decent knife set with your spouse or family might be difficult. In an ideal world, everyone should have their own set, but it's not always financially feasible, so select knives that meet a halfway ground for a nice compromise.
Nowadays, much of our food is pre-cut, so we require fewer knives. Yet, there is a large growth in individuals interested in learning more complex culinary abilities, so buying quality makes the process simpler.
Avoid using kitchen knives for string or packaging cutting. To prevent dulling, use a pocket knife or scissors.
Dull knives are the most harmful. It needs enormous energy to cut through the thing, and one slip frequently goes deeper and more often.
Handle knives carefully and away from your body and others. With a knife, never flee.
Knives should be carried by the handle with the tip pointed down and the sharp edge facing behind you, wrapped in a tea towel. Otherwise in a sheath or knife bag. If it drops or someone hits you, it protects people and the knife, particularly if it bounces off the tiles. If you're in the kitchen with others and not at your workstation, don't leave the knife in the cloth. Someone could pick it up. In certain kitchens, you should warn passersby to be vigilant until you put the knife down.
The powder cleansers in dishwashers may dull knives and damage rivets. It weakens wooden handles, making them fragile. Hand-wash, dry, and store kitchen knives after use.
In the long run, you'll be glad you spent the money on a high-quality knife set, which may last for twenty to thirty years and make life much easier and more enjoyable in the kitchen.
The use of knife rolls and blocks is beneficial. Knives may be purchased in their own storage box, however many chefs prefer to store their knives by wrapping them in an old apron and tying the bundle together with the apron strings. Even though they aren't perfect, magnetic knife strips may be useful in an adult-only area as long as they aren't knocked off. Put them in a box or cabinet designated for tools.