When it comes to the kitchen, no tool is more important than the humble kitchen knives, which is why it’s so important to invest in a quality set.
Your kitchen knife deals with everything, from slicing your freshly baked cakes to deboning a tricky piece of fish, as well as everything in between. It’s the most versatile tool in your kitchen and can cause some serious damage to both you and your ingredients if it’s of poor quality.
However, as with most important tools, there are so many different options out there that it can be difficult to know where to start.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick guide to buying quality kitchen knives.
What Kitchen Knives Do I Need?
Although professional chefs will require lots of different kitchen knives, the home cook can get by on a few essentials.
This knife is the workhorse of the kitchen and performs almost all of the tasks required when cooking.
It can prepare meat, chop veg, dice herbs and more, meaning it’s the one you’ll be looking to the most.
Otherwise known as a serrated knife, this knife is used when you need to slice through something that can easily be damaged.
Mostly used for bread and cakes, hence the name, it can also be used to carve meat if you don’t have a carving knife, as well as slicing fruit and veg with a waxy skin.
This is the smallest blade you’ll have in your collection and is used for all the small, fiddly tasks that your chef’s knife can’t achieve.
This ranges from coring and peeling fruit and deseeding chilies to taking the veins out of shellfish.
Once you get more confident in the kitchen, it might be worth adding some more specialized knives to your collection, such as the ones listed here in Jamie Oliver’s knife guide.
What Should I Look For?
When it comes to choosing top quality blades, there a few key things to bear in mind. We spoke to Kitchen Knives for their top tips in choosing knives.
The most important thing to consider when buying a new knife is the level of comfort given by each blade.
Everyone’s hands are different so make sure you do your own test. The knife shouldn’t feel too heavy or too light, the hilt should fit comfortably in your hand, and it should feel balanced, which you can check by resting the kitchen knife across your fingers to see if it remains level.
Kitchen knives are made from a variety of materials, although some are more high-quality than others.
Damascus steel and ceramic blades are often considered to be the highest quality, but they’re also very expensive and only worth investing in if you want to seriously progress your cooking.
Carbon steel is the best option for home chefs, as it doesn’t require sharpening too often, it’s resilient, and it’s affordable.
Stainless steels are usually not worth the investment as, although they’re the cheapest, they also lose their edge very quickly.
Finally, it’s important to pay close attention to the way the blade has been manufactured.
The best knives are made from single pieces of steel, meaning you shouldn’t be able to spot any signs of joining or welding on the blade, especially in the hilt. If you see any join, this could make the knife weaker and increase the risk of it breaking.
It’s also worth checking to see if the hilt is made of a substantial material, as the hilt will take the majority of the strain when using the knife and needs to be strong.
For a more detailed guide to buying kitchen knives, check out this detailed post by Good Housekeeping.
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