The kitchen cannot be considered complete without knives. We all want to have a quality set that we can do everything with: cut, chop and peel. But how to choose the highest quality ones in the many offers?
The shape, material and types of steel are characteristics that you should pay attention to when selecting the right kitchen knife. What type of knife do you want to have in regard to the food you normally store, whether it should be a fully stainless steel blade or not, do you want to grind the knife yourself, think about the size of the knife, do you want to use the knife for some special purpose, how much money you are willing to give for a good knife. We recommend that you opt for a knife that has a good handle in the palm of your hand so you can easily use it to cut food. The basic shape of a kitchen knife has not changed much in recent years. What has changed is the materials and the way they are made. Today, the quality and price of a kitchen knife depend on the quality of the steel, the method of production and the sharpness of the blade itself, grinding, the balance between the blade and the handle, as well as the quality and design of the blade.
If paying close attention while choosing the right blade, there are some basic rules. Raw blades are used to cut vegetables, and we can’t peel anything with, while narrow blades are used to cut raw meat, and that type of blade is not good for chopping vegetables. There are universal knives that are good for both meat and vegetables. Some blades are longer and some shorter.
Steel is the best material for making kitchen knives. Steel is an alloy of at least two elements, iron and carbon. Other features found in the alloy enhance the cutting characteristics of the steel. The amount of carbon in the alloy is significant because it depends on the degree of the feasibility of heat treatment of the steel, which is the most significant operation in the blade manufacturing process. The thermal treatment of the blade is repeatedly enhanced through the improved cutting characteristics of the edge. There are many sub-types of steel, such as:
1. Carbon steel, more or less alloyed.
2. Stainless Steel contains 12% or more chromium, resistant to the aggressive effects of water, salts and mild acids.
3. Damascus steel is produced by the combination of two or more types of carbon or stainless steels.
4. Ceramics has non-metallic blade making compounds.
5. Titanium has a low hardness but due to its non-magnetic and corrosion resistance.
6. Laminated steel is a process of lamination, which involves reinforcing the steel by stacking layers like a sandwich: in the middle is very sharp steel that has the role of a “cutter”, and the softer elastic steel.
7. Powder Steel is a group of extremely high purity steels.
There are ways to determine the hardness of steel, such as the Hrc or the Rockwell scale. If you do not find the type, quality and hardness of steel when buying a knife on the box, then it is usually stainless steel with a high percentage of chromium and too little carbon, which is a lousy option. A blade of such steel cannot remain sharp for a long time. While high-carbon steel remains sharp for a long time and grinding is more effortless. Stainless steel with a high percentage of carbon and chromium also remains sharp for a long time. Such steel is slightly harder to grind. The best combination is to find technologically sophisticated steel that contains a considerable percentage of carbon while being chrome-free enough to avoid rusting. Kitchen knives of such steel remain sharpest for the longest time, but they are more demanding for grinding.
If you decide to buy the laminated steel blade option, keep in mind that the blades are made of two or more different types of steel. Usually, the middle of the blade is high quality, very hard steel clad in a layer of softer stainless steel. The advantages of such a knife are that it is easier to sand and remains sharp for a long time. If a rust spot sometimes appears, it will be easy to remove it by grinding. These knives have a special appearance.
Another option is a single or double-sided blade, which is an excellent choice for right-handers and left-handers alike. Traditional Japanese knives are always brushed on one side. The long, gentle incline on one side and the slightly concave part on the other make it a much sharper cut and easy to sand.
Japanese knives, especially traditional ones made in small blacksmith shops throughout Japan, are particularly popular around the world. Incredibly sharp, durable and lightweight, these knives exceeded all expectations. If you learn to work with it and maintain it, an excellent Japanese knife will accompany you all your life, always as valid and reliable. The key, however, is to choose the right knife. There are many different options, and with the length of the blade, so does the price.
German knives have also become increasingly popular in recent years. German knives are quite massive and heavy, with a thicker blade and generally more robust. This gives them greater functionality in the kitchen. You will be able to do various cutting variations with ease, but you will also manage some smaller bones without any problems.
Several knives should be found in everyone’s kitchen, which are:
- Bread knife.
- The Santoku Japanese knife, which is universal, multi-purpose, has a curved tip without spokes. It looks like clockwork, with its blade almost straight.
- Chef knife is also essential, and it is quite sharp, perfect for chopping.
- A rectangle is also necessary for your kitchen, and it has a rectangular shape, more weight than a knife and a robust and resilient blade.
- A paring knife is a small, perfectly sharp knife that you need to peel onions, chop fruit or chop.
- Slicer knife with a thin blade is perfect for roast meats, rolls, salami.
- Fish fillet knife.