Whether you're an aspiring chef or a hobby chef, the right tools are the first step to culinary success. Having the right kitchen knives is a big part of it.
The right knife can handle even the most complicated meals quickly. If you are not sure which knife to use, do not be afraid. Here are the three must-have knives for your kitchen and how to use them.
A chef's knife is a classic kitchen and the first knife you should buy. The chef's knife is a general-purpose all-star. The long blade and the efficient rocking motion make it extremely practical. You can chop up, slice, chop, dice and julienate almost anything.
Chef's knives can be between 6 and 14 inches long. About one inch wide, its curve is most pronounced at the tip of the blade. For home use, choose between 8 and 10 inches.
While a chef's knife works well for most kitchen work, it is not as effective at carving poultry and skinning fruit and vegetables.
A paring knife is a small but fine knife designed for precise work. Think about it like a mini version of the chef's knife.
This knife is usually 2 to 4 inches long and has a nice, smooth blade.
Since the peeling knife is so small, it is ideal for peeling, cutting and trimming smaller dishes. It is also great for precision work such as developing shrimp or cutting out the strawberry shell. Do not underestimate the power of this little knife.
As the name implies, a bread knife should cut a loaf of bread and saw through the thick, hard crust without crushing the soft interior of the bread.
A bread knife has a long, narrow blade with a serrated edge. This toothing makes it easy to saw through bread.
Bread knives are ideal for slicing a baguette, but also for cutting fruit and vegetables – especially tomatoes.
Cutlery sets are often supplied with other hand tools such as scissors and also include other basic knives such as steak knives. If you can, find a set of honing steel, a great tool forand keep it in tip-top shape.
What about the others?
There are dozens of special knives for individual tasks that are aimed at enthusiastic home cooks and chefs. If you want to expand beyond the basics, here are a few more blades that you can find in common cutlery sets.
Designed for the preparation of poultry and meat, this knife has a sharp, agile blade that gives you precise control over the separation of bone and cartilage meat. The curved blade follows the contours of bone and meat.
Somewhere between the chef's knife and cleaver stands the Japanese Santoku knife. It often has a textured blade with scallops to keep food from sticking to the side of the blade. Santoku knives are great for chopping up most foods in your kitchen.
A utility knife is a utility knife. In size, it is somewhere between a chef's knife and a paring knife, usually 4 to 7 inches long. You can find utility knives in straight and serrated blade types. A serrated style is a useful supplement if you already own a chef's knife and a vegetable knife.
While hackers might recall butchers and horror movies, those big, bad knives in the kitchen are actually quite friendly. Characterized by a short, stocky blade, the splitters lift off where the boning knives stop, and easily cut through bones and tendons.
With these basic knives in your kitchen, you can tackle almost any culinary technique. These are just some of the standard knives that you will find in most commercial sets, but there are dozens of specialized varieties. :