A Handy Guide for Kitchen Knives and Sharpeners
Certainly one of my pet peeves (I guarantee I don’t have many! ) is usually selecting a knife from the block and after that having to patiently saw away in whatever I’m preparing to cook. We imagine this is a common feat for most home cooks. The knife prevent or rack is crowded with jostling knives – cumbersome, tiny, a roasting fork in there as well, slender, like an oddball mix of elegance queens (maybe excluding the cooking fork). For years, I never regarded as which knives were the most suitable for different ingredients, or that sharpening a knife is a blessing, transforming the cook’s tasks from a chore to some joy.
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Instead, chopping an red onion was rather tiresome and time-consuming resulting in irregular sized chunks dotted with crude indentations from whenever my knife tried and failed to hack them apart.
When I worked well in a cookware shop, however , the light dawned on me. The correct blade for a method of preparation improves the cooking process to become a pleasure. Add the bonuses of sharpening and perhaps, if you’re feeling roguish, a fully forged knife and your onion will be minced into even dice.
So here is a list of knives that have assisted our culinary education and might be useful to anyone who is bored with the dead-beat go-to knife that urgently requirements replacing.
A fully solid knife (also known as full tang) is more expensive than the knives hanging in sachets in the showroom. They are encased in a glass-fronted cabinet and a lit by overhead spotlights; the celebrity of the kitchen department. Forged knives are expensive because the blade runs the full length, right down to the base from the handle. There is no risk for the knife and handle separating and the balance is evenly weighted to ensure a simpler and smoother chopping action. A few clearly indicate the fully solid blade by rivets embedded within the handle.
There are many different manufacturers and designs, many of which are famous such as the Japanese specialist range, Global – identified by way of a unique hollow handle – Henckels, Robert Welch and Victorinox.
There is no right or wrong. Your choice depends on personal preference; each knife includes an unique balance and different weight – to some a Sabatier knife might seem unnaturally light and therefore off-putting for heavy-duty tasks. Your chosen design must feel comfortable in your hand, the handle suiting your hand shape and providing ergonomic desk grip. This also applies to the type of cutlery you select. An extra wide 26cm chef’s knife won’t be suitable for a small person unless you’re adept having a cleaver.
The Chef’s Knife
The particular reliable knife, useful for everyday cutting. It comes in multiple sizes ranging from 26cm to 12cm, however the most common is definitely 20cm. The curved tip allows for cutting with a rolling action intended for speed and, with practice, precision.
The Utility Knife
An in-between size, it is a smaller version of the chef’s knife and handy for anyone who is daunted by wielding a weightier blade. Deft at chopping amounts of food for one or 2.
The Pairing/Vegetable Knife
A small knife for delicate tasks for example deveining prawns, scraping meat away cutlet bones or deseeding chillies.
The Santoku Knife
Recognisable from the oval hollows embedded in the cutting tool, the Santoku knife originates from The japanese and translates as ‘three benefits’: slicing, dicing and mincing. Versatile like the chef’s knife it is used for chopping and slicing. Unlike the chef’s knife, however , the downwards directing tip requires you to cut downwards instead of the rolling chopping action. The hollows are called a ‘granton edge’ and work as air pockets preventing food from sticking to the blade.
The Boning Knife
The boning knife and the filleting knife appear uncannily similar due to the arched, filter blade. To tell them apart softly press down on the tip and the boning knife will appear sturdy and inflexible. The sharp point and slim width allows you to remove bones, fat or gristle, or joint a chicken with precision, giving you access to small spaces.
The Filleting Knife
Thin and flexible, this cutlery is ideal for fish. Frequently used on its side it neatly hooks around a fillet with enough bend to maintain the shape of the fish intact plus easily slides under the flesh to get rid of the skin. Best kept razor sharp therefore it can slip between the fillets effortlessly without a sawing action.
Using a steel for the first time is challenging. A lot can go wrong! (I declare to encourage you). You need to keep your steel downwards, the tip resting on the surface and your knife at an estimated 20° angle. Too wide an angle you will blunt the blade. To find 20°, I hold the knife with the base of the cutter touching the steel at 90°. Cut that angle in half by moving your knife to 45°, then in half again. From here you are able to slowly swipe you knife inside a smooth arc down and towards you so the tip of the blade relates to rest on the lower third from the steel. And then repeat on the other side! We tend to do it six times each side.
The Pull Through Sharpener
On the other hand, there’s the pull via sharpener. The steel is the reliable Land Rover, this is the flashy sports vehicle. Pull through sharpeners have one or two grinding wheels which are started the precise angle of the blade whether it’s unique to the brand or the common 20° so no guesswork is usually involved – hurrah! The grinding wheels are coarse, to put an edge on a blunt knife, and good, for daily sharpening and to erase after the coarse wheel. Hold the blade vertically with the base in the slot and gently pull the blade towards you, then back again, usually 6 times each way. Pull through sharpeners are not suitable for thin Western knives as they might take chips out from the blade. It is mainly for comfort.