It’s about time we acquired some decent kitchen knives. Have managed with cheap domestic knives for forty years so no need to break the bank here, but am willing to pay whatever it takes to get something decent that will last for years. FWIW I have no knife skills and don’t know if that should influence my choice. Immediate need is for a bread knife and a knife to slice the upcoming turkey, also maybe a smaller slicer for leg of lamb and small roasts. Also have no idea about knife sharpening so would need a quick, foolproof sharpening system that works well for the brand of choice.
In a search of previous threads the name Wusthof Classic came up…would they be a good choice? Any advice would be much appreciated.
On the knife part of the request, check out Mercer knives: made in Taiwan with German steel and about < 50% the price of Wusthof. Since you want to check if they are comfortable in your hand and they mostly target the professional market, you can probably find them in a local restaurant supply store.
I recently bought a 10-inch Granton carving knife and am loving it.
For a slicer, there are tons of options, and you probably don’t want a serrated one. Also, some people claim they need a 14+ long slicer in order to cut a even slice of a big roast, but that’s just false.
Gotta say that as a longtime member of knifeforums (RIP), foodieforums, and now KKF, I have a lot of strong opinions regarding purchasing knives.
Here’s more info than you would want to know: for kitchen knives | after dinner sneeze
I have a handful of these Victorinox knives and still use them, and I especially use them when I am dealing with proteins that are bone in. The softer metal is more forgiving when hitting bone, and my J-knives that are harder and have more acute angles can chip more easily if not careful with bones. I think my favorite forschner is the 6-ince utility knife. It is a nimble size for chicken and most fruit. It tends to be a less intimidating knife for family use too.
I also have the Forschner bread knife and like it, but don’t use it much unless I am cutting really crusty bread. I find my regular knives are just as good going through bread. But people rave about the Mac bread knife that Mark mentioned above. The scalloping of the serrations at the edge are different and some people swear by its performance.
There is also the Tojiro ITK bread knife that is modeled on the MAC and cheaper. I hear the handles can be pretty poor quality and the blade fit and finish isn’t as good. You get what you pay for, but it is a cheaper option with similar performance.
A bread knife many knife geeks like is Gude from Germany. They have a 21cm and 32cm length available, but I find the 21cm a bit too small, and the 32cm is getting on the large side. It makes other bread knives feel like children’s toys. The MAC and Forschner fall in between in size for what it is worth, but longer is better with a bread knife as the shorter ones won’t traverse a good size boule. Btw, you’ll often see the Gude knives pimped out with custom handles.
For the larger one, you will probably have to shop a European online retailer. The shipping will sting though, but you can ask them to reduce the price by the 19% VAT, which might make it worth while if this is the knife you really want.
The next step up is the Misono bread knife, and it is also preferred by the knife community. It runs in the $130 range, so it is probably the most expensive outside of the larger Gude. You can get it at Japanese Chefs Knives, and it comes in at 30cm.
The last thing I will say about bread knives is that they can shred your cutting boards. If you are a serious bread eater or have family members with a ‘heavy’ cutting hand, you may have some serious scars in your cutting board. Just be aware. That pretty board of yours sitting on your counter may not be pageant ready for long
I was hoping for an easy answer, but it seems asking about knives is about the same as asking what winery makes the best Pinot.
We do have a local resturant supply store that carries some of the knives suggested above so I’ll take a run down there and check them out.
Bob mentioned Cutco and their free sharpening system. I’m getting the impression that DIY knife sharpening is such a PIA that most people don’t do it. If that’s the case do the more expensive knives stay sharper longer?
+1 on not going the cutco route. I married into two cutcos and never use them anymore. I put that product in the same vein as Saladmaster cookware and Kirby vacuums. The value is not there and there are simply better products on the market.
I assume that some people do take up the offer on free sharpening, but I have never met a cutco owner who did. Btw, Shun also offers free sharpening for lifetime, so if sharpening is the main concern then there are also other options.
Based upon some knife discussions here, I ended up joining a couple of knife message board and buying a whole bunch of excellent Japanese knives after already having a full set of the Shun Kaji. The knife community is nearly as serious about the details of their knives as the wine community. And, they have full fledged, knock-down-drag-out internet fights over everything from knives to sharpening.
Anyway, you have a LONG way to go to get up to speed if you want to get serious. I got what I needed and got out before I developed another obsession. I decided I didn’t need the n-th degree of perfection and I didn’t really appreciate some of the very fine artisan work, but I respect those that do. I have some very solid knives that most people would think are exceptional. But, in the cutlery world, they would be considered good, but utilitarian.
But, if you have the time and interest, dive in and read a lot. The cutlery community tends to be much friendlier to newbies than the wine community FWIW.
And it was years ago that I stumbled into one of the boards to ask if an EdgePro was a good route to go or stones. And shortly after that it was a crazy pace of learning, buying, and trying to tame my knife desires. I still find it fun, but I am not as a fanatic as I used to be. What I find most fun about the knife boards now is the number of pro chefs on it talking food, tools, and techniques.
Yes I enjoy the chef talk as well. And I like to see pictures of the new knives.
I only have one unicorn left I am going to pursue and thats a DT gyuto. I have my set rounded out with maybe a small hole in the shorter petty range, and I will probably drop off the forums and just use what I have.
I do want to keep an eye out for that elusive DT as they sell almost immediately. He has the most beautiful Damascus I have ever seen.
You should post a WTB thread for a knife of his. I’ve had good luck with those in the past, and private sellers contact you directly, so you avoid the frenzy. It is also good to lurk around before and after he goes to knife shows as, his unsold knives might pop up or get dished off to a retailer for sale. This is how I got my damascus petty.
My local store had some of the Forschner Victorinox with fibrox handles in stock. I picked up an 8" bread knife, a 6" chef’s knife, and a 10" carving/butcher knife with a Granton edge. Total cost around $100. These should get me through Thanksgiving and I’ll make a decision then if this brand is good enough. Hopefully it will, the last thing I need is another addiction!!!