Have you struggled while chopping onions or dicing carrots? Does you tomato slip when you try to cut it? Do you have a hard time cutting a pineapple? If you said yes to one or more of these questions, may be you do not have the best kitchen knives with you. In this article we have presented top kitchen knife sets and the best chef knives based on real user reviews.
Most of the time you spend actively cooking is spent in cutting and chopping of items. A good set of kitchen knives will help you make the most of your time in kitchen and will also make it a fun and pleasurable experience.
Reviews of Sets We Like
We reviewed several sets with and without blocks on various factors including quality, sharpness, durability, grip, price, and more. In the above table are our recommendations for quality sets at various price points and from various manufacturers.
With Wusthof classic you get the professional quality at an affordable price. The 8 piece set includes all the range of knives on would need along with a sharpening steel and scissors. These knives are precision made and have a sharp edge and will hold the sharpness for years.
These swiss classic 15-piece cutlery block set has practically every type of knife you need including an 8″ chef’s and a 7″ santoku knife. They have a comfortable grip and are made by Victorinox whose name is synonymous with “quality”.
The 12 piece set from Ginsu Chikara comes with round handles on knives, a scissor and an edge that holds its sharpness for a long time. This is a value for money set with the look and feel of an expensive knife set.
The Single Most Important Knife: Chef’s knife
While different knives are needed to make different cuts and chops, if you are only going to be using one good knife in your kitchen that will help you in most of your tasks, you should get an 8” or a 10″ chef’s knife. The 10″ is preferred as it will help you cut through most things without having to pull and push the blade through or lift it off the edge.
The best way to hold a chef’s knife is to hold it from the bolster as it will give you more control over the movements of body as compared to holding it from only the handle. The next thing is to curl up your knuckles and slide the knife against one or two of your fingers so you know where the knife is and how much are you cutting and your fingers are also out of harm’s way. If you are new to a chef’s knife, you may want to keep your fingers away from the sharp blade altogether and practice cutting first that way.
The sets we reviewed here for selecting the best kitchen knife had sharp edge and held their sharpness for a long time. These knives typically need little maintenance as compared to the poor quality sets. As a rule of thumb you should home your knife by running it against a sharpening steel once every week or two to maintain the sharpness of your knives or else they will need a sharpening often.
The Anatomy of a Kitchen Knife
All knives, no matter what size it is, what shape it is, which make it is and which culture has it originated from, will have the below components. Best kitchen knives are made by companies who pay attention to these details.
The blade (comprised of spine, tip a.k.a. point, cutting edge and heel), the bolster and a handle.
The spine also sometimes known as the back of knife. It is the ticker side of blade whereas the cutting edge is the sharper side of blade. The shape allows one to grip it and apply pressure if needed.
The tip is generally thin and sharp, however may find knives that have a rounded tip or a straight tip. The tip comes in handy for carvings, making thin strips, cutting small items and making incisions in food for fillings.
The cutting edge is the bottom edge of the blade and is typically the most used side of the blade to make cuts or to chop food. It runs from the tip to heel of blade. The edges may have different grinds that serve different purposes.
The heel is the lower end of blade opposite to the tip which is sometimes used to cut items that require pressure and extra effort.
A bolster, as the name suggests is the part that provides support to your fingers (by giving them a place to hold on to) and helps you grip the body in a better way leading to better control of knife when cutting. The bolster is the part of blade just before the handle and runs from the spine to the cutting edge.
After the cutting edge the most important part is the handle because that is where you will be griping the knife from. The highest quality knives will have a comfortable grip which will help you hold it in place and have control when making cuts. If the handle is not comfortable to grip, slips from your hand, too big or too small it will make cutting and chopping a difficult task.
Types of Knives
Kitchen knives can be categories based on the materials used to make the blade, handles, etc. and the purpose of the knife. There are also many multi-purpose knives. The main one you should know about is the Santoku knife. Santoku knives are some of the best multi-purpose knives. They have a wider blade as compared to a regular chef’s knife and are thinner in thickness. You will find santoku knives in both varieties – standard edge and granton edge (hollow ground edge).
Other types of knives based on the purpose they are specifically designed for include – bird’s beak, boning, butter, carving, cheese, chef’s, chestnut, clam, cleaver, deli, frozen food, mincing, paring, sandwich, slicing and others.
Stainless Steel is the material typically used for knives but they can also be made out of ceramic. The material used to make the handle adds character and is also a way to categorize knives. The common materials used are Wood, plastic, metal and in some cases a blend of these. Best kitchen knife will be comfortable to grip and will also feel sturdy.
How to Maintain Your Kitchen Knives?
In order to keep the blade sharp, you should sharpen them from time to time. There are two popular home based sharpening solution every well equipped kitchen should have. A sharpening steel and a sharpening stone.
The sharp edge of knife may slightly bend from regular use and running the knife against a sharpening steel will help realign the edge and return the sharpness to the blade. Professional chef’s run their knife every time against steel to maintain the sharpness, at home doing it once or twice a week should be sufficient.
The sharpening stone is used to sharpen the knife and should be used when you start noticing that the knife has gone blunt. The sharpening stone can be of many natural and artificial materials and comes with different grits. A stone with a coarse grit on one side and a finer grit on the other side is best for home use.
In the end the best knife is one that can keep its sharpness for a long time, looks elegant, easy to grip and one you can work efficiently. Specialized knives make the job much easier and a kitchen knife set like the Wusthof-Classic-8-Piece or Wusthof-Classic-10-Piece is a must for any kitchen.
Possessing the best kitchen knives is only one piece of the cutting system, you should a good chopping board, and the cutting skills to operate the knife effectively. We prefer bamboo chopping board as bamboo is easier to clean than wood cutting boards and as bamboo grows quickly it leave less environment food print.
To improve you cutting skill, start by learning basic cuts and work on vegetables that are easy to cut like a cucumber or carrot. Watch videos on YouTube that show you how to make certain types of cuts and follow those. After a few attempts you will see yourself getting better. It does not take a lot of effort to pick up these skills and start cutting and chopping like a professional chef.
While anything sharp can be used to cut, most knives are designed to solve a particular purpose in kitchen and a good kitchen knife set should have these essential knives.
For more info: http://www.wikihow.com/Select-Quality-Kitchen-Knives