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Gunter Wilhelm expert guide to buying kitchen knife or knife set

Gunter Wilhelm expert guide to buying kitchen knife or knife set

Gunter Wilhelm aims to introduce the most popular types of kitchen knives and the tasks they’re designed to handle. You will learn what to include and what not to include in your knife set. There are more than a dozen different kitchen knives. Some are versatile, while others are dedicated for a specific use.

The 14 knives in this list are the most popular ones for daily cooking and food-serving jobs. They make up the core of all professional as well as home cook knife sets. Perhaps you’ve recently purchased a knife set and realized you don’t know what each is meant for. Maybe you’ve had a knife set for a while and are starting to wonder how the ones you never use might make your life easier. Either way, understanding the different types of kitchen knives and how to use them can open up a whole new world. Grab a knife and cutting board, and let’s get cutting!

Chef’s Knife
A chef’s knife is a must-have for any chef, cook or kitchen enthusiast. It is typically 8 to 10 inches long. It is the ultimate all-purpose kitchen knife, though there are a few tasks for which it isn’t the best choice. For instance, don’t use it to peel small produce as it is too large to be precise. While you can handle most cutting tasks in the kitchen with a good chef’s knife, a blade designed specifically for a purpose can bring more ease and precision to the cut.

Santoku Knife
The Santoku knife is a Japanese version of the Western-style chef’s knife. The main difference is that it’s slightly shorter and thinner. Some cooks use it in place of the chef’s knife when they need a smaller, lighter blade. With more of a straight blade, the Santoku knife has small indentations that make it easier for food to slide off. This knife is very versatile, great for chopping, dicing and mincing ingredients, or for slicing cheese.

Carving Knife
The carving knife is a little more niche than the chef’s or Santoku knife. Its primary purpose is carving dense meats. If you’re cooking a large cut of meat like beef, pork or roasted turkey, a carving knife will come in handy. Compared to the more general-purpose knives, the carving knife is narrower, giving it more precision, and can be longer, which helps it slice through wider pieces

Bread Knife
The bread knife is used for cutting bread, cakes and sometimes seafood. It is long, featuring serrated edges. Its design allows you to saw through bread without squishing it by pushing too hard on the knife. Made to cut not just bread but also other large chunks of food, the bread knife belongs to the longer spectrum of kitchen knives. It can be between 7 and 10 inches long.

Utility Knife
The utility knife is smaller than the chef’s knife but not quite as petite as the paring knife. It is usually used for cutting food too small for a chef’s knife, such as small to midsized vegetables and cuts of meat. A serrated utility knife comes in handy for slicing sandwiches, while a straight-blade utility knife is helpful when peeling produce, though sometimes that’s better left to the paring knife

Boning Knife
The boning knife, as its name suggests, is used for separating meat from the bone, filleting fish and cutting up meat. A smaller boning knife can also be used in place of a paring knife for peeling and trimming veggies. Typically, 6 to 10 inches long, a boning knife has a narrow, flexible blade that tapers to a pointed tip. It can cut through tough connective tissues and joints that other knife struggle with.

Paring Knife
The paring knife is proof that you should never judge a knife by its size. This little piece of cutlery has a very thin but very sharp blade. It expertly peels, chops, slices, minces, and removes seeds. It’s my go-to for slicing fruit or cutting up hot peppers.

Steak Knife
Also called a table knife, the steak knife is less for cooking and more for eating. It should always be set at the table with any good steak dinner.

Kitchen Shears
More like scissors than a knife, kitchen shears are used to cut herbs off vines, chop salad greens and open the packing on processed foods.

Every good knife collection needs a knife sharpener, and there are a few different types. You can buy sharpening stones, which are like little metal bricks with coarse to fine grit. The blade edge is held at an angle and used to draw down the stone until it becomes sharper.

A popular type of sharpening stone is the whetstone. It requires skill and practice but yields extremely sharp edges. If you’re looking for the most affordable option, consider a manual sharpener. These feature little slits that you run your knife through. Electric knife sharpeners are also an option, though manual ones do the job just fine.

Honing Steel
A honing steel is like a long metal rod used to correct a blade’s edge before and after each use

Birds Beak Knife
This type of paring knife has a short blade that is curved like a bird’s beak. Its use might not be obvious at first, but its shape is advantageous for round ingredients or creating round shapes. I use it to remove citrus peels when making desserts or drinks.

Meat Cleaver
Usually, the bulkiest and heaviest knife in the kitchen, the meat cleaver has many functions. It is large and features a rectangular blade, allowing it to cut through bones, meat, and hard and thick materials such as squash or pumpkin in a chopping motion.

Nakiri Knife
The Nakiri knife is a Japanese style knife mostly used for cutting vegetables. Its straight blade that is both long and wide allows it to cut long vegetables, such as eggplants or carrots, in half with ease.

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About Gunter Wilhelm

Gunter Wilhelm® was born with the mission to design, manufacture, and market an outstanding brand of high-quality knives and cookware at an affordable price. After interviewing hundreds of chefs in the New York City metropolitan area about what features they would like to have, the challenge was clear. These chefs wanted a more balanced, heftier knife, with a sharp heel, and smooth corners. They wanted a balance of form and function; a knife to match the artistry of their signature dishes.

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