The majority of people have a knife buying strategy that leans towards package deals, you get a bunch of knives and a knife block for storage, it's also likely you won't be happy with the performance of these knives. Package deals notoriously opt for quicker manufacturing techniques and softer steel inevitably leading to an inferior product. The truth is most kitchen tasks can be performed by 3 essential kitchen knives. So it makes sense to invest in the quality of these knives and add speciality blades as and when you need them or can afford. We recommend this strategy and believe it to be superior long term.
1: Chef's Knife
Coming in at number 1 and king of the kitchen the chef knife also referred to as a gyuto. The chef knife comes in several sizes, the most popular sizes are 8", 10" and 12" blades. For most people the 8 or 10" blades will offer the most versatility. Consider the chef knife your workhorse, used for slicing, chopping and mincing; breaking down vegetables, fruits, meats, cheese, fish, nuts and legumes. If you're looking to invest in a kitchen knife and your wondering where to get the most bang for your buck? Look no further than the chef knife. A well-made chef's knife should last a lifetime if not mistreated, not all knives and made equal and we recommend investing as much into this knife as you can reasonably afford, however, £75 would be a good starting point for a premium chef knife.
When choosing the perfect chef's knife obvious considerations range from shape, weight, steel and handle. Your perfect chef knife depends on preference and cutting style. However, the anatomy of a chef knife often overlooked resides at the blade heal. We are talking about the extended bolster that acts as finger safety. We at uBaaHaus like to live dangerously and have avoided stocking this type of knife considering the blade trickier to sharpen and less visually appealing; chefs put huge emphasis on sharp blades and so do we! If you spend your days breaking down big, dense vegetables like swedes, butternut squash and sweet potatoes a safety bolster could offer extra protection worth considering. Another worthy mention is full tang or half tang chef knives, full tangs knives are studier and generally have a more even weight distribution across the knife due to the metal running from the butt of the handle to the tip of the knife blade. If knife customisation is your thing? A full tang handle is trickier and more expensive to customise than the half tang variation. You will find sellers offering custom wa-handles available for purchase in many different materials and colour combinations; perfect for those who like to stand out. Lastly, let's talk about blade finish, Popular choices include Damascus, Tsuchime (hand hammered) and Kurouchi (blacksmith finish).
2: Paring Knife
Characterised by the length of the short blade typically 3 to 3.5 inches. The paring knife tip meets at a sharp point perfect for testing vegetables on the boil. Kitchen tasks that require manoeuvrability and dexterity are made easier and faster with a paring knife, tasks like off-board or in-hand peeling. Use the paring knife to peel hot potatoes, de-stalk and prep veg, segment citrus fruits, devein prawns and release food away from baking tins. Look for a blade able to fit into difficult tight corners and crevices, prepping an artichoke or stemming broccoli are both good use case examples. Tight intricate tasks require a firm comfortable grip when working with food whilst still in the hand you don't want to choose a paring knife that has a handle likely to slip. Paring knife variations do exist, we tip our hat briefly for the bird's beak paring knife, with a downwards tip ideal for nicking fruit and vegetable skins. So how much should you be spending? Paring knives don't require the same emphasis on absolute quality as the chef's knife a purely utilitarian paring knife will handle these tasks perfectly well and a paring knife in the range of £25 is a good starting point figure; if however, you are looking for something a little more handsome £60 to £150 will get you a better performing paring knife that looks the business. An example of a top performer paring knife that is very popular > Shun Premier Tim Mälzer Paring Knife > £108 > View item
3: Serrated Bread Knife
It's a commonly held opinion that all bread knives are pretty much the same and if it gets through bread then jobs a good-un. Serrated knives with their scalloped teeth perform well when cutting through produce with a hard exterior but soft interior. However, a really good serrated blade will glide through a loaf of bread without downwards pressure disfiguring that crusty artisanal bread just bought or made? The serrated knife isn't relegated to only bread they also do great with tomatoes especially overripe tomatoes that are little soft, delicate cakes, pineapples and other large fruit, carving roast meat, cured meat and poultry. Whatever the use we think the best bread knife blades have a couple of defining features. First, long blade, you want to be performing long controlled passes with the knife blade and if the serrated knife blade is to short you can't do this, an 8-inch blade should be the minimum cut off point anything smaller will end up with an erratic sawing motion, especially bigger items that need cutting. The size, frequency and shape of the teeth, different manufacturers go about the serration process differently, It is noticeable that some manufacturers prefer an aggressive tooth with noticeable tips that reach a sharp point whilst others manufacture serrated knives with an almost wavy tooth line. The wavy serrated knife is gentler when cutting bread it will leave behind fewer breadcrumbs and doesn't tear the soft white inside of the loaf. Let's finish with sharpening! serrated knives can be sharpened despite popular belief, there are various methods on the market, some more time consuming than others. Despite this we want to retain the blade sharpness as long as possible, so, never cut on glass cutting boards. Even high carbon steel won't last long under those punishing situations, instead, use a wood cutting board. Consider buying Japanese a harder steel that retains blade sharpness longer than softer western blades.
With this info, you should be all set to prepare meat, fruits and vegetables with the right tools to develop your skills as a chef or home cook? Special mention to the boning knife, a speciality knife great to have on hand when preparing meat dishes a great slicing knife with a soft flexible blade. Hopefully, we've made you think about ditching your plans for an off the shelf set of knives and you're on your way to individually select knives best fit for purpose.