Frequently asked questions about kitchen knives
How do I choose a knife?
The most important thing about a knife, and especially a chef’s knife, is how it lies in your hand. As long as you spend at least $ 50 on a chef’s knife, it will be sharp (and sharp) enough to get most of the work done, and most of the popular DTC brands sell great beginner knives at reasonable prices. First decide what kind of handle you want. German-style knives are generally more molded to the palm with a pronounced end, while Japanese-style knives are almost uniformly cylindrical and smaller. Both designs work for everyone; it just depends on the feeling you prefer and to some extent how you hold the knife.
The type of steel you choose should be based on the type of care you (realistically) will give your knife. If you do not imagine sharpening and drying and storing your knife perfectly after each use, German stainless steel (eg 440, 420) will be much more forgiving, even though it is softer and faster to blunt.
If you are a tool fanatic and know that you will take good care of your knives and are also sure that they will not find their way into the wrong hands, carbon steel is a good choice because it is incredibly sharp. Just know that it tends to rust and tile more easily.
Occasionally you have VG-10 and VG-Max (owned by Shun, but about the same as VG-10), which are added alloys (tungsten, vanadium) that make them a little more stain resistant and less brittle. They are great for those who want a knife in the Japanese style without having to care so affectionately about it.
Then there is Damascus steel, which is made by forging and hammering carbon-rich steel at low temperature, turning up the heat and then cooling it abruptly. Damascus steel is known for its flexibility and corrosion resistance, and we recommend it, but beware of good-to-be-true deals. Many manufacturers will etch the fascinating vortices into a blade without performing the time consuming and expensive hammering process.
Why (or why not) should I buy a set of knives?
In general, things that come in sets tend to involve compromised quality and often contain fillers. In the case of knife sets, you will probably receive a lot of knives and other gadgets (including a large wooden block) that you may never want to use.
Many newer (and older) DTC brands are recognizing that consumers are getting smarter and learning that sets in general are a ripoff. As a result, there are plenty of sets in two to five parts on the market. If you look in the budget area, we’re all for them, and we’ve pretty much tried them all. The steel is almost always of the same quality, so choose from the handle style you like.
Otherwise, though, sets do not make much sense to most people. First and foremost, invest in a chef’s knife that you, by the way able to handle all your kitchen chores, minus maybe slices of bread. Next, a peeling knife is probably the most sensible purchase, but since it does not do much of the heavy work, we say go cheap. That said, feel free to use what you want; there is something to be said for a heavier, sharper blade in the case of each knife.
A slicing and / or bread knife may be important to you or not, depending on whether you eat a lot of bread or do not cut a lot of sliced meat. You can find one that does the job for as little as $ 20, or again, heaven is the limit. For most people, we like the $ 40- $ 60 range.
In addition to the above, you get into specific tasks that most people do not really take on at home. Fillet knives, boning knives, santoku knives and scissors are all additional considerations. Even if you want all these knives, you are probably better off buying them piecemeal. It will be more affordable and you will also be able to budget so that you can place your money where they count.