Are you considering a new knife set? There are so many choices; it is difficult to determine which is the best kitchen knife set for you and your budget.
There are many affordable knife sets that will get you by when preparing the family meals but if you want to improve your culinary skills or are considering a culinary education then a high-quality set is a necessity. Although more expensive, a truly good knife set will make your time in the kitchen much more enjoyable. Three of the best brands are Shun, Mercer, and Wusthof.
Here are a few of the basics to keep in mind when considering which set to purchase. Typically, most comprehensive sets include a large chopping knife, a serrated bread knife, a small peeling knife and maybe a filleting or boning knife. You may also want to consider whether you want to purchase a separate steak knife set or if you want them included in the kitchen knife set.
The material the blade is made out of has a great deal to do with the overall quality of the knife. Stainless steel knife sets are more common among affordable sets and are rust resistant but are much more difficult to sharpen if they become blunt or dull. High-quality blades are made of high-carbon steel, which sharpens more easily than other metals but requires more care to avoid rust. High-carbon stainless steel is another good option. Although it takes a little more effort to sharpen then a regular high-carbon blade it won't rust as easily. Forged steel creates a stronger blade and will be more durable then stamped steel blades.
The blade should run the full length of the handle. Look for welding or joining at the hilt, as this can create a week spot. Be sure the knife is well balanced. Can you rest it on your finger tip at the hilt and have it remain in place without falling? Good balance creates a leverage point when chopping and high-quality manufacturers always consider balance when creating a knife.
Be sure the hilt is solid and easy to clean. Space between the blade and the hilt may lead to unsanitary conditions. The hilt functions as a conduit between the pressure of your hand and the blade and is an important component of the overall knife quality.
It is beneficial to consider what types of food you like to prepare. The weight of the knife can make your chopping more efficient or tire your arm unnecessarily. If you chop mostly lightweight products such as herbs or greens then a lighter weight knife is best. If you typically chop denser foods such as nuts or fruits then a heavier knife will be more efficient and productive.
Consider purchasing a steel or sharpening stone to keep your knife set performing at its peak. A sharpening steel will require more effort to sharpen the blade if you allow the knife to become blunt but will hone the blade to a sharper edge than a sharpening stone. The stone is quicker but may damage the shape and overall quality of the blade if not used correctly.
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