Is there anything more rewarding that smoothly cutting through a crusty loaf of bread?
While we have focused most of our efforts so far on reviewing mostly knife sharpeners, we’ve decided to start exploring another passion of ours. And that’s kitchen knives.
When it comes to kitchen knives people often have very strong opinions. However, you can easily spend MANY hundreds of dollars filling your knife block with blades you might never use. For me there are three particular must-have knives. First and foremost is a good chef’s knife. A quality paring knife is second. And last but certainly not least, get the best bread knife your budget will allow.
Our Top 3
Fortunately some of the best bread knives on the market are also relatively inexpensive
Before we take a closer look at each of our top 3, let’s take a look at the features of a good bread knife.
Thinner IS Better
When it comes to bread knives, the thinner the blade the more easily it will cut through bread without tearing it. But don’t confuse thin with flimsy. You don’t want a blade that bends and torques as you attempt to slice through a delicously crusty baguette.
The biggest challenge with cutting bread is that it is often hard and crusty on the outside and chewy in the middle. Mmmm…making my mouth water just thinking about it. For this reason a bread knife should to be serrated. Serrations are the little teeth you see on the blade of the knife.
These teeth act just like the teeth of a saw. As you slide the knife forward and backwards these tiny teeth cut without tearing. Side note: It’s important to know that some knives are designed to cut only when pushed forward, while others are designed to cut when they are pulled backwards. Make sure you know how your knife is designed to operate or you’ll be flattening that lovely loaf rather than slicing it.
When it comes to bread knives, length matters. The reason for this is simple. The longer the knife is, the fewer times you’ll need to go back and forth across the bread to cut through it. Bread knives typically range in size from 8″ to 11″ in length.
The shape of the blade is also important. Some blades are curved while others are completely straight. A curved blade allows for better clearance as you reach the bottom of the slice. This can help from rapping your knuckles against the cutting board. Some knives feature curved handles that are designed to accomplish this same function.
In the end it comes down to personal preference when choosing the shape of the blade.
Caring for Your Knife
Maintaining your knife should be relatively simple. Since most breads are relatively soft, you should almost never have to sharpen the blade. This of course is assuming that you don’t use it for more difficult duties such as carving meats. If it does get dull, most knife sharpeners are equipped with the capability to sharpen serrated knives.
When properly used, a bread knife should last you decades. Now let’s take a look at our top 3.
Victorinox 10-1/4-InchBrought to you by the same people that make the Swiss Army knife, this Victorinox knife is is not only high quality but is also very affordable.
The stainless steel blade 10 1/4″ blade is high-carbon and ice-tempered providing an extremely sharp AND durable edge. It has a bolsterless edge. This essentially means that the blade continues under the handle allowing for use of the entire length for cutting. This feature also makes sharpening the blade much easier.
While the Fibrox handle may look somehwat inexpensive, it is actually designed to be both ergonomical and slip resistant. This is accomplished with a textured finish that is very comfortable and well balanced.
It is dishwasher safe. This particular model differs from the second place finisher only in the length of the blade, which is why we put it at number 1.
Victorinox 8-InchThere’s not a whole lot to say about the little brother of the number one finisher in the best bread knife competition.
Essentially this knife is exactly the same with the exception of it’s 8″ blade. For those more comfortable with a shorter knife, this is the way to go.
Wusthof Classic 10-InchThis is an absolutely beautiful knife. Wusthof has been making knives in Solingen, Germany since 1814.
This knife features a full tang blade. This means that the one piece steel blade continues all the way through the handle. This gives the knife exceptional durability and feel. It too is forged from high carbon steel giving it excellent edge retention.
The synthetic handle is triple riveted and provides for a solid feel and excellent balance. The triangular tip makes this knife ideal for both long loaves and round enabling the user to cut without tearing.
Chosen by Cook’s Illustrated Magazine as one of the best bread knives on the market, the only reason it finishes third in our lineup is the higher price. All in all it is a perfect example of German quality and craftsmanship.
So there you have it. The three top serrated bread knives on the market. Happy shopping!