You’ve probably heard someone say that a good set of knives is a chefs’ best friend. And while that’s true, most of us don’t give a good bread knife enough attention. While the toothy, serrated edge of a bread knife makes it particularly well-suited for sawing through a crusty loaf, its capabilities extend far beyond just that. This type of knife is a good choice for all types of bread and baked goods, cake decorators, fruits, vegetables, and chocolate.
What is a Bread Knife, and Why Do You Need One?
A bread knife has a long blade with a serrated edge. The particular spacing and width of the serrations are designed to cut bread without compressing them. Typically you’ll find that a good bread knife has fewer teeth that are spaced widely compared to other serrated knives in your kitchen. They are longer than most other knives in the kitchen so that the baker can cut with singular, fluid motions—helping softer bread keep its shape.
Everyone needs this type of knife in the kitchen. It’s hard to pass up the versatility of one knife that can easily slice through soft ingredients like tomatoes and hard-boiled eggs, and just as easily slice through tougher foods like pineapple and chocolate. While your chef’s knife might be your favorite go-to piece of cutlery, a good bread knife fills the gaps when your chef’s knife isn’t up to the job.
Care and Maintenance
First, we recommend investing in good quality bread knives. Quality serrated blades will stay sharp and cut well for a long time. When the day comes when you need to sharpen your serrated knives, including bread knives and steak knives, you’ll likely need to invest in a special sharpening files specifically for serrated knives. There are also great mail-in sharpening services that can tackle this for you with a quick turn around since self sharpening can be a bit of a task. For daily care, you should stick with hand washing and towel drying your knife to keep it in good shape. Stay away from the dishwasher with any good quality knife.
We keep touting the versatility of a good bread knife, but what does that actually mean? From hard dough to bagels and muffins, these knives are perfect for cutting through nearly any type of bread. You can cut hard dough bread and all your favorites like sourdough, rye, artisanal focaccia, white and wheat loaves. You can cut bagels and muffins and a variety of pastries.
For bakers, these are notably famous for leveling cakes. The long knife easily reaches through most cake diameters, and the serrated edging cuts the cake like any bread without destroying its shape. And chocolatiers love their serrated knives for easily slicing through bricks of chocolate.
Kitchens that work with a lot of produce also find that they love bread knives. One versatile tool is equally capable of slicing perfectly thin, ripe tomatoes and eloquently cutting through the tough skin of a pineapple. If you have ever looked at a piece of produce and wondered how you were going to get into it, we’re fairly certain a bread knife can solve your dilemma.
Final Thoughts on Buying Bread Knives
So, in our opinion, a good Folded Steel bread knife is akin to the right-hand man of the chef’s knife. If you work with bread and pastries, produce, or chocolate, there is no better tool in the kitchen to deliver the perfect cut. The key to finding the right knife is to choose quality and look for a strong knife with low-frequency serrations (meaning they are few and far apart). All-in-all, a bread knife is quite possibly one of the most underrated tools in your kitchen.