The Best Bread Knife Every Home Chef Should Own
They say that every home kitchen should have three essential knives: a paring knife, a chef’s knife and a bread knife. Of these three, the bread knife gets the least amount of attention. But the right bread knife will make a real difference in your kitchen. Not only will it save you time, but frustration too. Not to mention the fact that a well-designed blade will produce those even, smooth slices that you’re looking for.
Finding the right bread knife can be a chore, especially if you’ve never purchased one before. It helps to know what constitutes a good bread knife and to find a few suggestions on which knives are high quality. I’ll share my experiences on what to look for as well as my own personal knife recommendations.
QUICK COMPARISON: TOP BREAD KNIVES
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OUR VIDEO REVIEW: WUSTHOF VS VICTORINOX
MY 2 FAVORITE BREAD KNIVES
There’s a dizzying amount of bread knives on the market, which can make it difficult to buy a new one. This is especially true if you’re buying your knife online because you can’t hold it in your hand or test the flexibility of the blade. Most people rely on the reputation of well-known cutlery brands to help them find a good quality bread knife, and this is generally a smart idea.
When it comes to bread knives, there are two names that every chef recommends: Wusthof and Victorinox. Wusthof knives are made in Germany, while Victorinox knives are made in Switzerland. Both countries have a reputation for producing some of the best knives – period.
I’ve tried other bread knives, some from well-known brands and others from no-name brands. Yet, I keep coming back to my Victorinox and Wusthof knives. They get the job done, and they do it so well.
VICTORINOX WAVY BREAD KNIFE REVIEW
If you’re a knife enthusiast, you probably recognize the Victorinox name. The company is credited with being the creator of the Swiss Army Knife, and they’ve been around since 1884. Their cutlery is used by some of the best chefs in the world, so it should come as no surprise that this bread knife has had a coveted place in my kitchen drawer for the last ten years.
While Victorinox offers an 8-inch bread knife, I personally own the 10.25 inch. It’s ideal for cutting wide loaves of bread, like boule, but it works great for smaller loaves too.
By taking just one good look at this knife, you can see how well it’s made. The scalloped edges run from the base of the blade to the tip. The scallops are not too shallow, but not too deep and just the right thickness. With lower quality knives, the first inch or so of the blade is straight, which can make it difficult to cut through a large loaf of bread.
Like other knives in the Victorinox collection, the blade is forged with high-carbon, ice-tempered stainless steel. This is a blade that stays sharp and maintains its edges. The bolsterless edge allows you to use the entire knife, so you truly get 10.25 inches of blade.
I’m not usually particular about the handle of a knife, but I must say that the Fibrox handles are comfortable to use. It’s ergonomically designed, slip resistant (really important), textured and well-balanced. You also have the option of choosing between a classic black (my favorite) or white handle. The knife itself is easy to clean, and it came with a lifetime warranty.
I love just about everything about this knife, but here’s the thing: the blade is a bit more flexible than I’d like it to be. The extra flexibility makes it a bit more difficult to make even slices, especially if I’m cutting a crusty bread. It’s excellent for soft breads, cheeses and juicy foods, though. Despite the flexibility in the blade, this is still one of my favorite knives in my kitchen.
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WUSTHOF CLASSIC BREAD KNIFE REVIEW
Wusthof has a reputation for being one of the best cutlery manufacturers in the world. In fact, their classic bread knife was recommended in Cooks Illustrated as one of the best bread knives on the market. The company has been in business since 1814, and they offer a collection of over 350 knives.
Wusthof knives are made in Solingen, Germany with high-carbon steel, which is resistant to corrosion and stains. The company uses what they call Precision Edge Technology to create an incredibly sharp blade that maintains its edge 30% longer than other knives. Their bread knife is available in three different sizes: 8”, 9” and 10”. I have both the 8” and 10” in my kitchen. The smaller knife is great for slicing bagels and tomatoes, while the 10” blade is perfect for cutting ciabatta, boule or any other type of artisan bread. I have yet to try the 9” blade, but this in-between size may be a great for all-around use. It could tackle a large loaf of bread or a small Roma tomato with ease.
Unlike the Victorinox, the Wusthof blade is sturdy and not quite as flexible. To be perfectly honest, this knife cuts through any type of bread like a hot knife through butter. I’ve even used this knife to cut bread fresh out of the oven, and the slices were perfect. Anyone who bakes their own bread knows that if you try to cut the loaf right away, you usually wind up with a squished ball of bread. With this knife, I can cut the bread seconds after it comes out of the oven without any issues.
The handle of this knife is nothing to write home about. It’s a triple-riveted, full-tang handle that many classic knives have. But it does give the knife great balance and strength. This knife feels good in your hand, and you can tell that it’s a well-made cutlery tool.
Now, the Wusthof is pricier than the Victorinox, and that’s probably the only drawback with this knife. If your budget allows, it’s worth it to spend the extra money on the Wusthof simply because it will last for decades if you care for it properly. The 8” blade is a bit less expensive, but I would still recommend the 10” because it’s more versatile. Even with a longer blade, you can still cut tomatoes or cheese with ease. And remember, you can use this knife for more than just cutting bread. I’ve used mine to cut through pineapples, chocolate, pot roast and even cake. The Wusthof will make quick work of any food with a tender center.
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WHY EVERY KITCHEN NEEDS A GOOD BREAD KNIFE
Bread knives are the one kitchen tool that most people overlook. If you don’t bake your own bread or you buy pre-sliced loaves from the grocery store, it may be hard for you to appreciate a great bread knife. But if you’re a bread connoisseur, you understand just how important the right knife can be. And if you’ve never had the pleasure of using a proper, high quality serrated knife, you’ll quickly realize what a difference the right blade can make.
There are two main reasons why every kitchen should have a good bread knife:
- Even a great quality knife can be inexpensive.
- The right knife will cut through even the crustiest loaves of bread and softest rolls with ease.
I’ve tried numerous bread knives, but I keep coming back to the same one or two knives because the blade is well-designed, and cutting a loaf of bread does not become a messy chore.
There are many benefits to buying a quality bread knife:
- The serrated blade makes it easy to cut through tough loaves of bread or slice bagels.
- Having the right knife for the job will save you time and frustration in the kitchen.
- This type of knife can be used for more than just bread. You can also use it to cut juicy fruits and vegetables (like tomatoes and melons), or foods that are hard on the outside and soft on the inside. You can even use your bread knife to carve meat in a pinch.
Have you ever tried to slice a bagel or loaf of bread with a utility or chef’s knife? It’s difficult to cut bread with these types of knives without squishing the bread, making a mess or possibly injuring yourself. This is why it’s so important to have a good bread knife in your kitchen. Even if you don’t use if often, you’re thankful you have it when the occasion does arise.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A BREAD KNIFE
How much thought did you put into buying the bread knife in your kitchen? If you’re like most people, probably not much. After all, most people are under the impression that all bread knives are the same. However, there are some things that you should be looking for when buying your knife.
- Look for knives that have a scalloped blade edge. The edge should be thin, and it should taper into the thicker part of the knife’s blade.
- Opt for a knife with at least a 10” blade.
Avoid knives that have widely spaced teeth or ones with thick, jagged teeth. Make sure that the blade isn’t flimsy as this will make it hard to cut through crusty loaves of bread.
Unlike other cutlery tools, the cost of your bread knife is not necessarily the most important thing. A good quality knife will cost, on average, between $40 and $120. Sure, you can find bread knives that cost over $150, but it’s not necessary to spend that much – unless you slice bread for a living.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR KNIFE
How you care for your knife is just as important as selecting a knife. Even the highest quality blade is not invulnerable to rust or dulling over time. But with the right care, you can keep your blade sharp and your knife in great shape for decades. Learning how to store and care for your knife is the key.
One of the most important things is avoid putting your knife in the dishwasher. I treat my knives the same way I treat my wooden cutting boards. I clean them with hot, soapy water immediately after use and dry them thoroughly. It’s best to wash your knife by hand after each use.
It’s also important to store your knife properly to avoid damaging the blade. I’ve found that when I store my bread knife in a knife block or a knife tray in my drawer, my blade stays shaper for longer. If your knife has room to move around and bang against other cutlery in the drawer, the blade may become damaged or dulled over time.
Just like any other knife, a bread knife will dull over time. If you store it properly and hand wash it after each use, the sharpness of the blade will last considerably longer. Most people simply throw out their bread knives and buy new ones once they dull, but you can send them to a professional to sharpen them (or do it yourself). If you’re going to invest in a high quality knife, the blade should stay very sharp for a long time.
CONCLUSION: IT’S YOUR TURN
While my Victorinox is still one of my favorite bread knives, I find myself using my Wusthof for cutting most of my artisan breads. Both of these knives hold a special place in my kitchen, and I always recommend both when friends or family ask for bread knife suggestions. The knife that you choose will largely depend on your budget and your priorities. If you enjoy baking fresh bread or you purchase artisan bread from a bakery, the Wusthof may be the best choice. If you find yourself only using your bread knife occasionally or you’re not a big fan of crusty, tough loaves, the Victorinox will get the job done.