What do chefs use bread knives for? Bread of course and all kitchen knife sets need one. Well, it is kind of special which is why people want the best bread knife they can find.
They are explicitly designed for cutting through delicate bread crust without damaging and crushing the soft interior. The blades are serrated. Some have a straight blade at both ends with serrations in the middle and some are serrated all across the blade. Many are only grounded on one side, meaning a single bevel blade with low frequency of serrations. This is how to glide through bread quickly and evenly. It is shaped longer than all knives and allows the person to cut with long smooth strokes much like a saw blade. The serrations keep the bread in place without having to put downward pressure on the knife, therefore a great slice of bread.
However, bread is not the only item that a bread knife can be used for. It is also useful for sponge and pound cakes as well as bagels, English muffins, and many can be used for tomatoes and bell peppers. Some fruit such as pineapple watermelon, and pumpkin can be peeled or cut with a bread knife. The key is to not flex the blade which should be anywhere from a 6 inch to 14 inch blade to be accurate. All of those lengths depend on what you will be cutting the most. There are some very good bread knives out there so let’s see what a person should look for in a good bread knife.
Table of Contents
- What to Look For in a Bread Knife
- Best Bread Knife Reviews
- Final Thoughts
What to Look For in a Bread Knife
A good bread knife must be able to cut through crusty breads, split cake layers, slice squishy tomatoes, peel large, tough skin fruits such as watermelon, pumpkins, and pineapple, and cut stacked sandwiches with ease.
The edge must be serrated and it is better to have fewer, deeper pointed serrations. This is for many reasons. First and most important is, the serrated blade increases the real cutting surface of the knife. The teeth of the serrated bread knife edge pierces the surface of anything that is being cut and shields the cutting edge from getting dull. The depth of the slots in between the serrations also influences how much grip you will have. The deeper the slot, the larger the surface of the teeth. This gives you more grip: the knife will cut through the product much easier. The contact surface per serration will, after all, be better, ensuring that each individual serration applies more pressure. The result is that a serrated knife with less serrations will cut deeper than a knife that has many serrations.
Since the task of a bread knife is basically sawing, a narrower blade will slice through easier with less friction. A wider blade is mainly for putting more pressure on the product such as deboning. Bread needs very little pressure to get a good cut. Also, most good knives have a Full Tang, although on bread knives, it must be very lightweight so as not to damage the crust of the bread when cutting.
As with any knife, the more comfortable the handle feels in the hand the better so to get a good grip and the bread knife is no exception. The grip on the handle is what keeps the blade from flexing too much. Without control, a slice will not come out good. It must be made of lightweight material so it will not be heavy.
Best Bread Knife Reviews
The balance is excellent in this knife and the blade is about an inch shorter than the rest. The price for the Wusthof is fairly expensive. More so than the Mercer. However, it has had nothing less than five star ratings. Although they both are good quality knives, the Mercer does basically the same job or better in some cases for quite a bit less money.
This knife was made in Japan using an age-old technology with a modern feel of quality. The ebony PakkaWood, traditional Japanese style handle, is water resistant, and provides a comfortable grip with added durability. This knife is excellent for cutting tough encounters like sourdough, baguettes, and ciabatta rolls but is gentle enough for slicing banana bread, cakes, and brioche. This knife is dishwasher safe, however, it is recommended to hand wash it. In addition, the knife does not compare to the top of the line in quality, but the price is considerably higher.
The Zwilling J.A Henckels Bread Knife, although more expensive than the rest, would be my choice by far. I’d even be willing to pay a bit more for this knife, compared to the prices and qualities of other comparable knives. Its quality can’t be beat with excellent strength and stability. It was the best for bread slicing by far and also a great choice for peeling fruits with tough skins with ease. It is lightweight and stays razor sharp after many tasks. And, the free shipping can’t be beat. This knife is well worth the price.
A less pricey alternative was the Dalstrong Bread Knife. This consistently stands out for me as being well-balanced and I liked the fact that it is also ergonomic. Its full-tang handle felt good in the curvature of my hand’s grip, so I had better control over slicing. The blade was not as sharp as some of the others but it had a very good saw-toothed edge and still did a great job of cutting through tough loaves and tough winter squash. Yet, it did an excellent job of cutting delicate sponge cake with ease. While the knife stands on its great features, it’s also has a surprisingly low cost compared to the Zwilling. This knife is an alternate best with a great value price.
Another good choice was the Mercer Millennia Bread Knife. What was particularly surprising to me was the price. It is quite a bit lower than the top competitors. If you are looking for quality at a really low price, go with this one. Even though a newcomer to the bread knife market, however, the makers did not scrimp on features. The Mercer Culinary is in many ways comparable to the preceding top of the line knives even without a full tang. It included a finger guard and was ergonomic. The very lightweight handle is versatile and can be used for a myriad of tasks other than slicing bread. In addition, for a new brand, this knife has already amassed many five star ratings making it a very useful budget pick. You can’t go wrong with this one either.
For good features, the Wusthof Classic was a good knife. The balance is excellent in this knife and had almost as many good features as the preceding. However, the price for the Wusthof is fairly expensive. More so than the Mercer. However, it has had nothing less than five star ratings. Although they both are good quality knives, the Mercer does basically the same job or better in some cases for quite a bit less money. Even though, this was a good choice.
You also can’t go wrong with the Shun Classic Bread Knife either. The company did not scrimp on the steel used in this one. It had enhanced strength, durability, and excellent protection from wear and corrosion. Also, the blade stayed razor sharp after many cuttings. The PakkaWood, handle was lightweight and was outstanding for tough breads as well as gentle enough for slicing cakes, and brioche. An all-around knife although the price is considerably higher.
The Mac Knife was not a great price, although the knife seemed to be a good quality. I would compare it to the Shun for the amount of good features, however, the price on the Shun was high for the quality. All in all, the knives presented here were all good quality. Any would be a good choice, but for me the top three were my favorites for many reasons.