Kitchen Knife Set Buying Guide
If you want to get a kitchen knife set, you probably spend at least a few hours a week in a kitchen. Anyone who is a professional chef definitely needs their own knife set and even if you are just a at-home chef, you still might want to consider getting a premium knife set. There are a number of advantages to having a good set of knives. Obviously, you know that the sharper a knife is, the less chance of you getting cut by it, assuming you are using it correctly.
Why Should You Have Your Own Kitchen Knife Set?
There are other advantages to getting your own set of kitchen knives as well. If you are serious about cooking, you are going to want to get a set of knives that you can sharpen to your satisfaction and that means starting with a good set. A sharp knife has the advantage of working better. The sharper a knife is, the better it cuts and the less force you have to use to slice and dice. Also, there is the aforementioned safety issue. A dull knife requires more force and, therefore, has more chance of injuring someone.
Also, sharp knives have the added advantage of keeping delicate herbs fresher for longer because the dull knife will smash them. Also, when you try to try to use a dull knife it makes the work that you are doing take much longer. Cooking is a pain when you use a dull knife but if you get knives that you can keep sharp it becomes a pleasure again.
Learning to sharpen your knives is something that everyone serious about cooking should do. A set of sharpening stones is relatively expensive, about the same as the cost of a good knife set, but they are going to be the best investment that you’ll ever make including the knives themselves. Having someone else sharpen your knives is expensive and stones will probably last you the rest of your life.
One of the main benefits of learning to sharpen your own knives is that you learn what you like and what you don’t like. That means that you can give your knives the edge that you want and more importantly, you can create different sharpening angles and levels for different kinds of knives. You will soon learn what kind of edge works best for a certain kind of knife and so you will have all of your knives perfectly sharpened and ready to use on your food preparation. Also, sharpening knives (for those who have never done it before), actually takes very little time.
Types of Kitchen Knives on the Market
Although there are some standard knives that pretty much come with each set, the exact number and type of knives does differ a little. Here are some of the knives that you will want to use to make up your set along with an explanation of what they are and what kind of food preparation they are appropriate for.
The Chef’s Knife
The chef’s knife is easy to recognize. It is always the largest one in your set. It has a wide blade near the hand which tapers upward to meet the point of the knife. The chef’s knife is used for all of the slicing, chopping and dicing that you’ll be doing on a regular basis. It is a very versatile knife and you’ll probably use it for just about everything.
The Utility Knife
The utility knife basically looks like a smaller chef’s knife. As the name implies, you can utilize this knife for just about everything from sandwiches to meats and veggies.
The Paring Knife
A paring knife is the same shape as both the utility knife and the chef’s knife. It is the smallest of these types of knives however, and again, as the name implies, it is used for paring things like carrots, potatoes, applies and more.
The Bread Knife
The bread knife is also fairly easy to recognize. It is long and it has a serrated edge on the bottom that makes it easy to cut bread.
What makes the boning knife distinctive is that it curves inward which makes it perfect for de-boning meat. Every knife collection should have one of these.
Although there is a slight difference between a meat and a vegetable cleaver, you can probably get away with just one cleaver if you prefer. The cleaver has a very large, rectangular blade.
Steak knives are the smallest of all of the knives that will be in your collection. You are almost certainly familiar with how they look already.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Kitchen Knife Sets
There are two ways that you can get a knife set together. The first is to buy knives that are already in a set and the second is to make your own knife set with the best knives of each type that you can find. Either way, there are certain features that you want your knives to have.
Obviously, you want a knife with a sharp blade. But the edge of the knife should be slightly curved so that the heel (the part of the knife closest to the handle) and the top are just a little bit above the middle of the blade. The reason for this is to be able to rock it back and forth when it is on a cutting board.
You want a handle that is balanced with the blade so that it feels comfortable in your hand. Of course, the problem with this is that you actually need to feel the knife before you buy it, and that could be difficult, if not impossible, to do. If you buy a knife online or buy one that is in a sealed package, you will have to test it and return it or find another way to check this feature out.
As for the material that the knife will be made from, you have some choices. Most of the time, good knives are made exclusively from high-carbon steel. That’s because it can hold an edge and is very durable and when it is combined with chromium or another alloy that resists staining, it will keep it from rusting or pitting. There are several different grades that you can research, but if you don’t want to get that far into it, all you need to do is look for “high-carbon steel” somewhere on the package. Another material that is strong and good quality is ceramic. They are durable and perform well, but nowhere near as good as carbon steel knives do. The main benefit to ceramic knives is that they can hold their edge for much longer than other materials, but they also have the tendency to shatter.
However you decide to put together your knife collection and whatever features you decide you want to go with, just make sure that you are happy with your knives and that they feel right. Also, you should make sure that you can sharpen them yourself and that they will give you the cutting power that you need so that using them is easy and hassle-free.