Kitchen Knife Set
How to Select the Best Kitchen knife Set
For any professional cook and chefs, a good selection of knives is more than a mere necessity. As experts advice, having the right selection of kitchen knives can go a long way in making your chopping easier.
They are amongst the key tools in the preparation of any meal. With good maintenance and proper storage, a kitchen knife set may serve its purpose due to its long lasting abilities.
Some people prefer acquisition of each knife individually, but going for a knife set is still a good idea. Individual purchase of each blade might prove difficult in the end, not to mention that it can be time consuming.
Purchasing individual set comes with an added advantage of researching on different tAypes of knives.
Nevertheless, this can be a worthwhile gift to someone starting a new kitchen as well as adding color to your kitchen decor.
Brand names do not necessarily mean that the set is quality. Companies may highly price their knives while targeting specific clientele. Some will put similar knives set in the pack. Hence, you need to keep an eye on the set to avoid making unnecessary duplicate purchases.
1. Basic knife set
Essentially, one needs only four basic knives in the preparation of meals. There are some of the knives in the basic set that can serve more than one purpose and most sets have them. Such as the victorinox knife set, find out more on this.
A basic set contains a paring knife, a knife with a plain and simple blade that is multipurpose in nature. It can perform simple tasks in the kitchen like peeling and chopping fruits and vegetables. Paring knives are similar to chef’s knife, only that they are smaller.
An ideal one is six to ten centimeters long.
Chef’s knife is the traditional common type. It is bigger than a paring knife allowing for a better grip of the knife and the food to be sliced or chopped.
Its broad and wide blade helps in chop bones conveniently. They are usually between fifteen to thirty centimeters long, although most standard kitchen knives are twenty centimeters long.
The third of the basic type is utility knife.
This one usually helps with basic kitchen purposes like butchering animals, scaring hides and cleaning fish. The utility knife’s popularity has reduced due to its inability to serve a wide variety of functions. The serrated knife completes the four basic set pack.
Unlike the first three whose blades are straight, the serrated knife does not have a straight blade. It features small serrations that form small perpendicular cuts in line with the blade, and is ideal for cutting food with a hard interior and a soft interior such as a loaf of bread.
In making any purchase of a set of knives, ensure the four basic types are not missing. You might need to check on the variety of purposes served.
2. Additional knives set
Apart from the first four basic knives, you should as well consider the following while shopping for a knife set.
Firstly, there is the meat cleaver. This big blade knife can be used in crushing such foods as garlic during preparation.
The knife’s sharp side can be used in searing through the meat’s bone. A tough metal can help with hitting the blade aimed at getting better cut through a chunk of meat.
The vegetable cleaver is also ideal.
It does function like the meat cleaver only that it functions primarily in cutting, slicing and dicing vegetables.
Another type, the carving blades are essential for chopping pieces of meat from roasts, turkey, chicken and ham. It is thinner than a chef’s knife, making it easy to slice finer pieces.
A boning knife is yet another essential utensil. It is thin with a flexible and long blade that allows it remove bones from meat with ease, best suited for beef and pork.
The other type is the fillet knife, usually used for preparing fillet from fish. This type features long blades of up to 18 centimeters, which help in getting to the backbone of the fish and under the skin.
Kitchen shears are an important tool in the kitchen as well. They resemble a pair of scissors and are ideal for cutting through chicken breast, opening cans and preparation of herbs.
The additional types of blades are selected according to one’s preference and the kinds of meals they occasionally prepare.
How to identify a good knife set
A brand name does not signify that the blades are quality.
There are various ways of looking into the quality of a set of knives. Holding the knife in your hand is the first step. Before making any purchase, hold the knife to have a grip on how it shall be while working with it.
Ensure the handle is not too tight, as the pressure exerted on your hand will likely cause discomfort during use.
Weight is another key factor to look out for in most cases.
Normally, the blade and the handle should be equal in weight. Lighter blades are convenient for easy cutting while heavier blades might require application of more brute force.
Hence, an ideal balance is an important sign of a knife’s quality as imbalance may lead to injury on your hand when preparing meals. You can always asses this aspect by balancing the knife on your index finger by its hilt.
Different materials are used in making various types of kitchen knives.
These include stainless steel, carbon steel, ceramic, wooden and stainless steel alloys. Each kind of material has its upside and downside. Most of the blades are made from stainless steel.
Steel contains twelve percent chromium making it corrosion and rust resistant.
The blades are soft making them easier to sharpen than most blades. Many qualities of steel make it the most sought after knife blade in the world. Firstly, the blade is durable as it does not rust or chip easily, hence outlives most of the other materials.
Also, it does not alter the food flavor during preparation since it does not leach its metallic properties on food.
Besides, the material is highly recyclable making it ideal for reusing in the kitchen. They also have a lustrous appearance, which gives it an attractive look throughout. The downside of stainless steel is that it is brittle.
It may require extra care when handling. It requires frequent sharpening and honing as most stainless steel blades lose their edge faster, calling for consistent honing.
Carbon is the hardest element, and knives made from this material are not an exception. Carbon steel knives are stronger than the stainless steel knives. It does require minimal time for the maintenance of the edges.
Carbon knives are known for their durability, which is among the best qualities of carbon steel knives. This quality makes this blade stand for longer than the normal knives.
Additionally, carbon steel knives are easy to sharpen; this increases precision during cutting and requires less energy. Most professional cooks prefer high carbon knives. They are affordable in terms of price compared to the stainless steel knives. Also, they are hard, and their edges are easy to maintain compared to the steel ones.
However, the knife’s vulnerability to fast rusting poses its major downside. You have to thoroughly clean the knife and guard it against any moisture to ensure it remains clean.
Ceramic knives are yet another type that is stainless in nature. This makes them ideal for cutting acid and caustic substances. They are also light and keep their edge soft when cutting through vegetables.
Technically, ceramic is dishwasher safe, not forgetting that they do not easily stain.
The downside of ceramic knives lies in its brittleness. They can chip easily.
They are hard to professionally sharpen. This shortcoming makes ceramic knives unfit for cutting through bones and garlic. The wood material is also an essential material in knife making, and it has mostly been used in most knife handles.
The different types of wood such as softwood, hardwood and plain wood come in handy.
Hardwoods exhibit an unmatched quality. Apart from their lustrous appearance, the wood can last for years looking as if it’s new. The wood used for handles must be extremely long for durability. Therefore, not all kinds of woods are ideal for this use.
Stainless steel alloys have a higher resistance to corrosion compared to the superior and more authentic blades. This means they offer more service, thanks to their strength.
Each kind of an alloy is specifically designed to improve its original value.
- Knife Assembly
The manner in which knives are assembled is very important as you purchase a block of knives. Any joints or welds in the knife signify weakness, signifying the knife is bound to break at that point. An assembly of the whole piece makes the knife withstand stress in cutting.
They offer the greatest integrity and durability.
Bolsters are not quality indicators. They are often found in western knives and not in durable Japanese knives.
The hilt is an indicator of quality. It is a joining point for the handle and the blade. It is a fulcrum point where stress is exerted when the knife is in use. Apart from strength, it is important for hygiene.
Sometimes food particles may stick on the hilt causing bacterial to accumulate and thrive.
Handles are another important component of knives. A good handle equates comfort during food preparation. There is a variety of materials used in making knife handles.
Composite and stainless steel offer the best in terms of quality and durability. Wooden handles may become soft and eventually rot.
Ergonomic handles are best suited to avoid stress on your hand.
The cutting edge is as important too.
This should run from the hilt of the blade to the end of the handle. It makes it easier to use various techniques while cutting through food pieces.
The cutting edge should be free of any dents or chips for ease of honing and sharpening.
Sharpening is an important aspect of knife maintenance.
Beware of handles that are labeled need no sharpening. No blade can function continually for a long time without the need for sharpening or honing.
All knife edges will become dull after use for a considerable amount of time. Hence, there is the need for maintenance with diamond steel, a sharpening stone or an electric sharpener.
Honing helps in straightening blunt edges while sharpening removes pieces of metal from the blade, making it sharper and lighter.
Various tools can be used for sharpening. The common one is the sharpening stone. Though it requires a bit of technique while sharpening to get the right angle, most professional chefs assert it is the best sharpening tool.
These sharpening stones come in a wide variety, from the natural occurring stones to artificial ones, soft and hard types alike.
Electric sharpeners are also common at homes. This type calls for proper care to ensure that the knife does not become imbalanced.
The best part is that an electric sharpener does not require much effort like the manual ones.
Sharp knife blades require proper storage techniques to minimize chances of accidents.
Never store knives loosely in a drawer to avoid hurting yourself or someone else. Some sets come with a knife block. These can be wooden, stainless steel or a magnetic strip.
A magnetic knife holder is a good way of storing your knife set. You do not need extra space to store your set or a new pair of drawers.
The strips are designed to support the weight of each knife. Since most knives are metallic, they do hang well on a strip.
There is a variation of strips regarding length and material. Most of the used materials are aluminum, wooden and stainless steel. Counter top block and docks will keep the knife conveniently in a place near the workstation.
Some blocks come alongside some sets but others do not.
The wooden ones are good but the challenging to clean up. Putting wood through dishwater may end up ruining them eventually.
The magnetized knife block is cheaper and easier to clean.
When selecting a cutlery set of knives, do not let the various price tags misguide you. Ensure that each price equates the quality of the knives purchased.
Prices might range between $100- $1000. Still, there are plenty of knives that cost between $300- $500 that are fine. Any set going below the price tags is likely to compromise on its quality.
Types of knife sets available
To ascertain the best kitchen knife set, we shall look into various sets. These sets shall be reviewed regarding price, the number of knives and quality.
- Ceramic knife set
Mostly they are considering because they are lightweight. Unlike the metallic counterparts, they do not easily oxidize nor easily wear out.
Mostly, they are suitable for preparation of fruits and vegetables, thanks to their resistance to oxidizing.
Kyocera Ultimate three knives ceramic set is among the best rated in the market. The set consists of six-inch chef’s knife, a five-inch serrated knife, and a three-inch paring knife all with black handles.
The six-inch knife is important for chopping vegetables, fruits, and boneless meat. The serrated blade is essential for cutting through fruits and vegetables such as cucumber effortlessly.
The paring knife does the peeling and trimming of delicate areas. Discoloration that might occur on the blade is removed using baking soda and water.
Ceramic blades are razor sharp and keep their sharpness longer than the normal blades. Since there is no metal; the blade will never discolor your food.
- Global knife set
This is reputed as the best kitchen knife set built on Japanese technology.
The sleek modern design and their additional bang have earned them global preference among chefs and home cooks.
They make out kitchen knives from modern designs and modern manufacturing processes.
Its mark of quality is embedded in one part of steel. It does not have any bolsters where germs may hide. It is easy to clean and lasting.
Contrary to the thoughts of many people, the black spots on the handle are black paint dots and not rubber.
A nine-piece knife set comes with eight blades and a block. The block has storage space for ten knives. After storing the eight knives in the pack, you still got two spaces for storing your knife.
The set offers the quality for your money with such types as; bread knife, carving knife, cook’s knife, utility knife, oriental cook’s knife, paring and peeling knives.
- Wusthof knife block
This is a must have knife holder. Wusthof is one reputed company that has proved its ability to produce quality cutlery.
The iconic seven piece set comes with knives, shears and the storage block. The knives are sharp enough to last for several years.
They can also serve various purposes as tackling tough fibrous vegetables. They are lightweight with an ergonomically designed handle, thus offering comfort during its handling.
- Henckels knife set
Single knife purchases might turn out expensive than purchasing whole sets. A set provides more than a single purpose knife. A
ll your cutting needs will efficiently be met. In this set, the best-rated knives are the Zwilling sets. Specifically, the Zwilling Twin Signature 19 set offers some of the top quality German knives.
The set comes with nineteen knives and a block for storage of the knives. The blades are hardened through ice, making them durable.
Besides, they stay sharp for longer and their edges remain straight due to the ice hardening. The blade and the handle are held together in a three-riveted design.
The set includes; a peeler, a parer, two utility knives, serrated knife, chef’s knife, santoku knife, bread knife and steak knives. Moreover, you will get sharpening steel, shears, and a knife holder.
The knives are balanced and very sharp. The only downside to the set is that dishwater makes them dull faster.
- Carving knife set
The best set comprises knives whose material, sharpness and handling are perfect. Carving knife differs from the normal knife in that it is longer and cuts thinner slices as compared to other types as the chef’s knife.
However, due to their thinness, they are not suitable for chopping vegetables. They have sharp blades and move in sawing action for making clean cuts.
Their ideal length is between seven and fifteen inches.
The knife’s tip come in either be pointed or rounded tips. The pointed ends work well for cutting around bones and joints.
Among the best-rated sets in the market is the Wusthof Classic 2 piece set. The classic pieces of knives consist of two pieces; a knife and a fork.
The knife contains a Granton edge that adds scalloped bubbles preventing food from catching on the blade providing a smooth slicing to food.
Also, it has a near perfect balance. This reduces the amount of strain applied on the hand and makes carving meat easy.
The price of the set is fairly cheaper compared to similar pieces making it affordable to most people.
There are three or four knives in many cutlery sets. However, we have seen some sets have as many as nineteen pieces.
Ideally, a set provides an array of knives meant for various functions in the kitchen. The knives are vital for both the home cook and the professional chefs.
Some knife block set do offer storage space while others do not. One aspect that has come out clearly is that during the purchase of sets one should look at the durability.
The material used in making the blade, the handle and the hilt are what make the difference. Apparently, some materials are not dishwater friendly too.
This means that users should keep them dry and moisture-free. Considering sets from renowned brands goes a long way too.
Despite the pricing, it is easy to find the best knives brands within the local stores. A storage space is vital, so select the best option available according to your kitchen space.