May it is slicing or dicing, a quality knife is what makes your kitchen efficient and better equipped. But do you know what the uses for the type of kitchen knives you own? Some are used for cutting, some are specific to meats and some are used to saw through, and all of them are designed to make your dish that much better and the cooking time that much faster, if, you know what each kitchen knife does the best.
So, we decided, to put in some time and research to update your knowledge about the specifics of knives, and especially about the types of kitchen knives available for you to buy and upgrade your set.
If you have purchased a kitchen knife set before, you understand how many types of kitchen knives there are to buy, and if you are like most, one of two of those kitchen knives are just sitting in some corner, not being used, because you do not know what to use them on. Well, after reading through this article, you will most definitely pull them out for the preparation of your next meal.
Different Types of Kitchen Knives and How to Use Them
1) Chef’s knife
One of the most common and widely used knives in any kitchen, and the most common cinema knife in any culinary-oriented movie, is the Chef’s Knife. A master for chopping and dicing, the thick rounded oversized blade allows for a back-and-forth rocking movement that makes chopping and cutting of veggies a breeze.
The blade is made to be sharp and is designed to cut or dice without being lifted off the chopping board. Yes, you must place the blade down on the chopping board and do the rocking motion while feeding it potatoes or other veggies that need dicing with the other hand. The Chopping board takes a good beating if you know how to use the chef’s knife properly. A must pure essential to own for anyone cooking a meal.
2) Utility Knife
The smaller brother of the chef’s knife, the Utility Knife comes with a similar rounded blade on one side but is smaller and thinner than the chef’s knife. The blade is also much sharper and more agile than the Chef’s knife, allowing for delicate use. Also, it an essential in your kitchen because of the agility and the versatility it provides by being lighter and easier to handle.
A utility knife is made to go where the chef’s knife is a bit too thick to reach. Though they can perform most of the tasks of a chef’s knife, the Utility knife is better used inaccurate cutting, like smaller and finer dicing, where the chef’s knife literally mashes things instead of cutting them because of being large and thick.
3) Paring Knife
Size does not matter, especially when it comes to knives, and this is proven well by the Paring knife. The small undersized blade of the paring knife, the extreme sharpness, and the thin lightweight feel, makes it the perfect knife for precision and intricacy. Yes, they are generally available with the purchase of kitchen knives set and you better pull them out as they are very useful as well.
Being light in weight and nimble to use, a Paring knife can be used to perform surgery-level accurate cuts into any veggie or fruit that you choose for the paring knife to cut. Meat and produce handing with this knife is a big no-no. But peeling is a great use for the paring knife. Some even prefer that paring knife over the utility knife, because they are easier to use and handle very accurately.
4) Bread Knife
A ginormous blade that is straight and serrated on one side, the bread knife does what the name suggests. Cut’s bread. Even though the blade is oversized, it does not converge into a tip at the end.
Being serrated, this knife is the kitchen saw, that can be used to cut the hard-baked crust with ease and make even slices of your meatloaf, home-cooked bread, or even a baguette. If not for the bread knife, bread would be structurally destroyed if you try to cut it with any other knife. Additional uses include breaking chocolate bars, slicking large hard-shelled fruits like pineapple or watermelons.
5) Cleaver or The Butchers Knife
The name may sound scary at first because Hollywood is glorified this type of kitchen knife to be the weapon of choice for villains in Horror movies. But they do their job very well, slice through meat like it is butter. Raw meats or butchery can be handled well with this meat-specific knife.
A straight blade that is rectangle in space, Cleavers are heavy, and on purpose, as the weight drives them clean through raw meat in a single strike. You do not dice veggies with this kitchen knife, you cleave. The only non-meat use of this knife is crushing garlic cloves as the large blade design supports fresh garlic.
6) Carving Knife
Not an essential kitchen knife by a long shot, the carving knife is a specialty kitchen knife that is used on the dinner table and not in the kitchen. The specialty uses include carving cooked meat, like steak or the thanksgiving roasted turkey. Large pieces of cooked meat can be reduced to smaller pieces for serving, without compromising the structural integrity of the meat. Poking meat generally drains the fats and natural juices that taste delicious. A carving knife on the dinner table will prevent that from happening.
7) Boning Knife
A knife that cuts through bones, a boning knife does what it says with precision. An upwards tapering blade and a sharp narrow tip, allow for clean cuts through bones and cartilage of raw meat. Another meat-specific kitchen knife that is used only on raw meat and nothing else. Cooking meat with the bones, in some dishes, can cause heightened flavor and taste, but to do that, you need a boning knife to cut through the bones without causing the meat to be striped.
8) Steak Knife
Back to the dinner table with this knife that is specially designed to be a part of your eating process instead of cooking. Want to enjoy an expensive cut of meat without tainting it in any way, the sharp sturdy blade of a steak knife will help you slice your steak on the dinner plate with elegance and accuracy.
9) Santoku Knife
If a cleaver and a chef’s knife had a baby, they would produce the Santoku knife. The straight sharp cutting side on one side with a slight curve and a wide convergence at the end to produce a tip, this thick blade is best used for cutting and dicing but works better for items that tend to stick to the blade while cutting. They slide off with ease from a Santoku knife. Fish lovers would love how it makes the preparation of fish easier.
Read: The Best Santoku Knives
10) Sharpeners and Honing Steel
Sharpeners are made to increase the sharpness of a dull blade. Honing steel is a long rod of metal, that realigns the blade edge back to normal, making it easier to sharpen. That is why Honing steel and Sharpeners should be used in harmony to get the knife back to cutting glory every time you feel it has dulled off.
What are the materials used to make kitchen knives blade?
- Carbon steel: – Carbon steel knives are a popular choice when it comes to quality kitchen knives. Carbon steel is more durable than stainless steel, it is more rugged than stainless steel, and sharpening a carbon steel knife is very easy. Longevity is not their strong suit, as they succumb to aberration quicker than stainless steel.
- Stainless steel: – The most used type of material to make kitchen knives blade with, is stainless steel, as it is designed to last a long time and does not rust as much due to being an alloy. Apart from that, it is cheaper to make and is not that difficult to sharpen either.
- Ceramic: – No not the ceramic from your cutlery, but another type of ceramic known as zirconium oxide. Ceramic knives are extremely sharp and if taken proper care of, they can stay sharp for years. Also, they are lightweight and feel like plastic, but use actual ceramic and come in at a cheaper price.
- Plastic: – Kids are the primary target audience with plastic blades because they are difficult to sharpen enough to cut. Plastic knives for the kitchen are generally used to cut cakes and soft mushy things. Kids get to play with them because they cannot cut well and so it makes them friendly for kids.
How to keep my kitchen knife sharp?
- Use honing steel once a week on your kitchen knife
- Buy knife sharpeners as they can be used to keep the blade edge sharp
- Clean the knife after each use.
- Buy a kitchen knife that is made from ceramic
- Use the knife for what it was made for
- Fast blunting occurs only when a knife’s edge takes damage, by rough use of course, so prevent that.
Culinary art is progressing to whole new levels and so are the tools used in the art. The most common tool and the best friend of a chef are the kitchen knives they possess.
Kitchen knives have also progressed and new knives that are specific to a particular niche have emerged. But for an average consumer, this plethora of knives can be confusing and difficult to understand.
We did our best to help you understand what the most common types of kitchen knives are used for and if you own any, how to keep them nice and sharp for longer.
Cooking is fun, and using the proper tools to aid you to your favorite dish, should not be confusing at all.