To Perform As A Great Chef You Need A Great Knife Set
Before you spend a ton of money on a set of knives you’ll never use, check out the essential kitchen knives you have to have to get started in the kitchen.
From slicing a pork loin to dicing a pineapple, knowing how to work with the essential kitchen knives is critical to success in the kitchen. Equipping yourself with the proper knives is key.
If you’re equipping your kitchen and wondering “what kitchen knives do I need?”, keep reading to discover the four essential knives every home Chef should own, plus how to use them and more importantly, how not to use them.
A classic chef’s knife is the most important knife in your collection. An 8- to 10-inch chef’s knife, which may be slightly longer than most people are comfortable with at first, is recommended. However, the longer edge makes the knife more versatile and efficient.
The more blade you have, the more knife you have to do the work for you and the bigger the blade you have to slice through an ingredient, the safer it is.
Chef’s Knife Uses
A chef’s knife is the go-to tool for more than 90 percent of daily kitchen tasks, including most slicing and dicing of fruits, vegetables, meats, and fish. And while a chef’s knife may be the “king of the kitchen,” it should not be used to butcher or carve poultry, to remove the skin of large vegetables such as butternut squash, or, as some people have tried, to puncture a hole in cans. The broadness of a chef’s knife blade makes it unwieldy for tasks better suited to a smaller knife.
How Much Should You Spend on a Chef’s Knife?
If you’re willing to make an investment in a knife in your arsenal, this is where to do it. Of all the knives you own spend the most on your chef’s knife.
Remember that knives are heirlooms. The good ones should last forever.
Choose blades that are full tang (one full piece of metal with the two handle pieces pinned to the sides) versus half-tang. Full-tang knives are more balanced, sturdier, and longer-lasting than half-tang models. Forged chef’s knives, which are made from a single piece of forged steel, heated and pounded into the desired shape are best.
The other option is a stamped blade, which is cut out of a large sheet of steel and is usually lighter, a quality considered undesirable in a chef’s knife.
Find a knife that has a nice weight and is comfortable to hold. It needs to have a little heft to it in order to chop through firmer vegetables like carrots and butternut squash.
A paring knife picks up where a chef’s knife leaves off.
“Because the average paring knife blade is about 3 1/2 inches long, it’s a great tool for any foods that require an attention to detail.”
Paring Knife Uses
It’s best for slicing and mincing items that are too small for an 8- to 10-inch blade, such as mincing garlic, hulling strawberries, or peeling fruits and vegetables.
Avoid using paring knives to cut very hard vegetables, such as carrots, celery root, or parsnips. These smaller knives don’t carry enough weight to easily slice through the foods, which may prompt you to increase the pressure or tighten your grip as you’re cutting. If you find yourself applying pressure at any point, you’re doing something wrong. Forcing the cut is a signal that you aren’t using the right blade for the job, and it can be dangerous, too, causing the knife to slip.
How Much Should You Spend on a Paring Knife?
There’s no need to spend a lot on a paring knife, but remember…It is an investment that will last a lifetime.
Serrated Kitchen Knife
Serrated knives may be most commonly associated with slicing bread, which is why they are also called bread knives. But the toothed blade can take on almost any job not suited to the straight blade of a chef’s knife.
Serrated Knife Uses
A serrated knife, with an average blade length of 6 inches, is especially useful for foods with waxy surfaces, such as tomatoes, pineapples, watermelons, citrus, and peppers. They’re also great for cutting cake layers. The jagged edge can grip and penetrate those slippery exteriors, while the flat blade of a chef’s knife would slip and slide across the surface. Bottom line: Think beyond bread.
Serrated knives should only be used for slicing, rather than chopping, foods. Using a sawing motion with the knife allows the teeth along the blade to grip and cut through ingredients, which is also why a serrated knife should not be used to slice smaller items such as fresh herbs, garlic, or berries.
How Much Should You Spend on a Serrated Knife?
Spending $20 to a high end $60 for a good-quality serrated knife will yield a great return on your investment. If you take good care of your serrated knife, it will stay sharp for many years. If your knife gets to dull, simply replace it.
When choosing a serrated knife, pay attention to the size of the teeth: You want a knife with teeth that are not too big (which can tear up the soft interior of a loaf) or too small (not efficient for slicing.) If you’ll be hacking through a lot of loaves, you might consider a knife with a slightly offset handle, which will provide more leverage and more comfortable handling.
As its name implies, a boning knife is the best blade for cutting up or boning fish, meat, or poultry of any size, whether a 3-inch-long anchovy or a 150-pound side of pork. “Most knives are designed to cut straight lines,” McDermott says. “But when it comes to anything with a ribcage and joints, there is no such thing as a straight line in the body, so you need a blade that can move and flex.” A boning knife gives you that leeway.
A boning knife should not be used to cut through bones, but rather to cut aroundbones. A good boning knife will have the flexibility to deftly separate meat from bone as well as slice through joints and cartilage.
How Much Should You Spend on a Boning Knife?
A smooth hundred bucks will allow you to pick a high quality boning knife. A boning knife will get heavy use in your kitchen. This is not the tool you want to skimp on. Get one from the hand picked list below. You won’t regret it.
While a honing steel isn’t a knife, it’s still an essential tool for your knife kit. A honing steel is designed to keep your knives at their peak sharpness for as long as possible.
“A honing steel is likely the second most important tool in the kitchen after a chef’s knife,”
Running your knife along a steel realigns the teeth (or fibers) on the blade, which leads to a sharper edge and thus a cleaner cut. Knives should be honed every time you use them, but because honing doesn’t actually sharpen the blade, Chefs should sharpen their knives when ever they get even close to being dull (ie. Things get hard to cut). Read More: How To Sharpen A Knife Without A Sharpener
A honing steel can be used with any straight-sided blade, such as a chef’s knife or paring knife, but it should not be used on serrated knives since the teeth won’t glide along the steel.
How Much Should You Spend on Honing Steel?
A honing steel is often included when knives are purchased as sets; however, they can also be purchased individually. In that case, either a ceramic or steel model that costs between $25 and $40.
Magnetic Knife Rack
The best way to store and display your perfect kitchen knife set, is with a magnetic knife rack. They are essential to every kitchen. They keep your blades beautifully displayed and available at all times. They also look great in any kitchen. Pick one below that matches your kitchen decor.
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