Guide for the selection of a universal knife and a "kitchen

Choosing a kitchen knife for professional cooks is a whole science with its own terminology, secrets and rules - after all, for them, the knife is almost a continuation of the hand. We, the townsfolk, have to understand all the subtleties of this science and have a complete set of tools is not necessary, but everyone can learn how to distinguish good kitchen knives from bad ones and correctly make up their own "cook triple".

Briefly about the main

If you dive into a short course for the choice of knives do not want and you only need one quality multipurpose knife, then we offer the following solutions:

  • The best choice for men: the so-called "chef's knife" (chef-knife, French knife) in stainless steel 20-25 cm long (universal length - 21 cm or 8 inches). This tool can make 80% of all work: cut, cut, chop, chop, discourage. Manufacturers: the most expensive and the best - of the old brands Wusthof and Zwilling J.A. Henckels (pictured below), the middle price category - "Victorinox" and "Arcos", from the budget - quite worthy of "Tramontina" (pictured below) and "Opinel".
  • Нож J.A. Henckels 21 смJ.A. Henckels 21 см
  • Knife Tramontina, Professional Master 8 inchesTramontina, Professional Master 8 дюймов
  • Нож Wusthof classic ikon 20 смWusthof classic ikon 20 см
  • The best choice for a woman: in the overwhelming number of women's hands, the universal "kitchens" of 13-16 cm (or 5-6 inches) in length lie best. Such a knife is a cross between a classic chef-knife and a slicer and he does an excellent job with most types of work.

6 inch Universal Knife

Manufacturers: top - all the same Wusthof, Zwilling J.A. Henckels, as well as F.Dick, Shun, etc., the average price category - Victorinox and Arcos, from budget - quite worthy kitchen knives "Tramontina", Trupperware or "Opinel" made of carbon steel (in the photo below model No. 102 with a blade length of 10 cm).

Нож Opinel, model No. 102, 10 centimeters

Opinel, model No. 102, 10 centimeters

  • A set of basic knives "kitchen triple": a kitchen or cook three is called a set of three knives, which are most often used at home. Typically, this is:
  1. General-purpose chef - as this is the most important knife in the kitchen, then we will consider in more detail below how to choose the right quality specimen;
  2. The seriter for cutting bread, as well as puff cakes, vegetables, fruit, length 20-26 cm - the knife has a jagged blade and is a bit like a saw. He perfectly cuts bread, not allowing it to crumple, delicately cuts the skin of tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables with a thin skin. Spend a lot of money to buy such a knife is not worth it, the main thing is to find one that the teeth of the jagged blade are not too big or too small. The average size of the teeth is, for example, this model of the company Victorinoh, but it is not difficult to find more accessible analogues.
Victorinox Bread Knife 26 см

Victorinox Bread Knife 26 см

  1. A knife for cleaning vegetables, chopping garlic and other "small" works 8-10 cm long (3-4 inches) - to spend a lot of money to buy this knife also does not make sense, so take one that you like in appearance and price.

Some more useful information

The minimum basic set of knives
  • You can buy a ready set of kitchen knives, or you can - make up your "arsenal" yourself. Ready-made sets, as a rule, buy more profitable than to recruit tools separately. But on the other hand, it is not always possible to find the perfect set for composition and quality, besides it is much more reasonable to spend most of the budget (80%) on buying a good chef, and on the rest you can save;
  • Instead of a knife for bread, you can purchase for your "cook triple" knife with a conventional blade length of 13-16 cm;
  • In fact, the "kitchen three" can be replaced and "kitchen deuce" as in the photo to the right - a chef and a knife for cleaning vegetables;
  • If, however, a couple of instruments seem excess for you, then boldly acquire one chef-knife, but it is qualitative and convenient for you. And although it always makes sense to read reviews and ratings, still an excellent chef for price and quality can be found and unknown brands. The main thing you need to navigate is the quality of steel and how well the tool falls into your hand.

How to choose the right chef's knife, which can serve you for many years, read in the next chapter or watch in the video of the authoritative enthusiast and specialist Andrei Kozlovsky.

8 tips to know before buying a chef

First let's formulate the general requirements for good kitchen knives:

  • The blade remains sharp for a long time;
  • The knife easily and quickly cuts the food;
  • The handle is comfortable in the hand and does not slip.

How to understand what a knife for the kitchen meets this requirement, and which is not? Here are 8 tips for choosing a universal cook tool.

Anatomy of the knife

1. Evaluate your old knife

The concept of a "good knife" is partly subjective, because while one person may like a knife, the same tool may seem to another person as unsuitable for his manner of cutting. So first you need to understand and formulate for yourself what you like and do not like about the old instrument.

  • Disadvantages can be the following: too heavy / light weight, too long / short blade, the blade quickly dulls or rusts, the shoe rubs the finger with a long cutting, the handle or the cut itself is not very comfortable, for example, the knife does not fully cut the products when shredding and t .

2. Choose the type of steel

The ability of the knife to remain sharp for a long time depends on the type and quality of the steel from which the blade is made. Knives for the kitchen are made of a variety of types of steel, but more often it is:

  1. Stainless Steel (Stainless Steel) is the most common material that is more suitable for a modern average user. Stainless steel is quickly dull (the correction of kitchen knives from stainless steel is made, as a rule, 1 time in 1-1,5 months), but does not require special care;
  2. Carbon knife - such an alloy cuts better due to its hardness, the blade remains sharp for a long time, but it is more brittle, rusts quickly, reacts to acids and is covered with patina, so it requires special care and careful handling. But many professional chefs prefer this kind of steel. The following photo shows how a new knife made of carbon steel looks and the knife is darkened, covered with a patina, which, by the way, does not affect the quality of the cut, but rather makes the blade more hygienic and, in our opinion, more noble in appearance.
  • Knife from carbon steel Messermeister
  • Knife from carbon steel
  • Is it worth buying ceramic knives? In our opinion, this is only an addition to the basic set of steel knives - although they remain sharp for a long time, but their blades are too fragile, and if they are still dulled, then sharpening them at home will be almost impossible. However, it makes sense to buy inexpensive ceramic knives, which can be periodically changed.

3. How to inspect blades

  • So that you can shred well, cutting vegetables / fruits to the end, and also to save the main part of the cutting edge when cutting the bones, choose a knife with an open heel, that is, when the blade is sharpened from the point to the very heel of the bolster. On the other hand, most of the chef-knives are manufactured with a closed heel and many do not interfere. The photo below shows two types of chef-knife - with a closed and open heel.
Нож with an open heel bolster

with an open heel bolster

Нож with closed heel bolster

with closed heel bolster

  • The thicker the blade, the better;
  • The blade of a good boss should be smooth, and high-end stainless steel knives are completely mirror-like;
  • Pay attention to the quality of the processing of the shoe - it must be smoothed so that during your long cutting process your finger does not get corrupted.

4. Inspection of the handle

  • The most high-quality tools are forged from one piece of steel that passes through the entire knife - from the point to the end of the handle. Thus, part of the steel is inside the handle between the two plates. Call this fragment a full shank. If the steel does not pass up to the end of the handle, then it is called the half shank. Tools with a full shank are better balanced, this is really an indicator of quality, but they are significantly more expensive.

Classic knife handle

  • The handle of the knife must be solid, tightly welded, strong - there should not be the slightest gaps and traces of welding in the joints of the parts. Poorly welded handle will eventually loosen up, and the cutting of the knife will become less effective by reducing the force of pressure on it, besides - in the joints of the handle, dirt will begin to collect.
  • Also note that the material should not be slippery or slippery due to oil on the handle.
  • As for the material of the plates, today most often plastic, wood or rubber is used. Perhaps, plastic, a composite of plastic and wood, as well as hard rubber - the best options.

5. Balance test

If you want to buy a new high-quality knife, then try, with the example of the old boss (if you have one), to understand what kind of knife balance you need - with a heavier handle, a heavier blade or a balanced blade and handle. It is believed that using a balanced knife is more convenient, and yet, this is a very individual indicator. And, unfortunately, a balanced knife is not so easy to find even among expensive specimens. To test the knife, you need to place the knife with a bolster on the finger as shown in the photo below and try to "catch" the balance. If the knife does not fall, then, most likely, it is an excellent specimen. (be careful, keep in mind that an inexpensive knife will fall right away).

Checking the balance of the knife

6. How long should the blade be?

  • The more the hand of the cook, the larger the size of the blade, he can afford, and vice versa, the smaller the hand - the less the tool should be, although this, of course, is not the rule, but rather a recommendation for non-professional cooks;
  • Small kitchen knives are safer, but larger ones can cut more food at a time;
  • Keep in mind that more often the length of the blade of European knives is measured in inches. Chefs have a length, usually 8, 10 and 12 inches.

7. Is it Japanese or European?

The chef knives are divided into three groups: Japanese, European (Western) and knives made in Japan, but adapted to the "European". In this photo you can see the difference between a hybrid (Misono) and a typical euro-chef from Henckels.

Chef Knives - Japanese Misono and European Zwilling J.A. Henckels

  • At home, it is preferable to have a chef of the European (Western) type, since shredding vegetables or, for example, chopping them up is much more convenient because of the rounded shape of the cutting edge and the blade sharpened on both sides.
  • Traditional Japanese knives are more suitable for real connoisseurs of knife art and lovers of Japanese cuisine. The classical "Japanese" sharpening of the blade is one-sided, very thick butt, the shape of the cutting edge is almost straight, and it can only be sharpened on water stones. The main way to work with it is vertical movements, that is, practically cutting. In general, this tool can not be called a universal.
  • But another category of Japanese knives, that is, knives-hybrids in the Western style, have gained popularity all over the world and are valued for the very high quality of steel, which holds a sharp grip for a long time. But they have one big drawback - it's still the same exacting care. The most famous Japanese knives produce Misono (pictured above) and Shun.

If the topic of Japanese knives is interesting for you, we suggest you see a video review of the European chief and the Japanese hybrid in the Western style.

8. Buy good components: a board, a block for storing kitchen knives, straightening tools

  • Kitchen knives require respect for themselves. Store them separately from other devices - in wrapped cloth, in a special unit for storing kitchen knives or on a magnet.

Storage of knives

  • The board must in no case be plastic or glass, chefs deserve only wooden or bamboo boards.

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