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May 4, 2007 06:48 AM

What is "good enough" as a bread knife goes?

I need to upgrade bread knives since all I have is a cheap Ginsu type one and it's hard to cut crusty bread. I've read that you don't need to buy a great bread knife, since it's serrated and can't be sharpened (which is how I ended up with the cheap knife). What do you have and do you like it? Is it worth spending a lot of money on it?

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  1. we just got a black and decker electric knife for our homebaked bread... it works really well and can slice fresh bread very thinly

    1 Reply
    1. re: rivki

      Same here. I really like this knife for bread and tomatoes.

      1. I bake professionally and I love my Fibrox-
        handled Forschner knives. they are available at any restaurant supply house for less than $35.00.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Kelli2006

          Some years ago Cooks Illustrated did a review of bread knives. I don't recall the details, but the winner was a moderately inexpensive one like this Forschner. I couldn't find the winner, but did find a Henckels Twin Master (stamped line) that had similar characteristics - such as a long blade with a slight curvature, molded handle. I've been quite happy with that. You want a blade with enough curvature and/or offset so you can cut the bread without hitting your knuckles on the board, and enough length to handle round loaves (such as no-kneed ones made in a Dutch Oven).


          1. re: paulj

            Good point about making sure it's long enough. I can also use it for splitting layers of a cake then because mine aren't and it's hard to line up when I cut around. I think I'll have that problem with electric. Good things to think about--thanks, everyone!

        2. Some people will sharpen a slicer... Ross Cutlery in LA does it by sharpening the other side (which does screw up the blade over the long haul, but might extend the life). Some of the hand sharpening systems will sharpen along the scallops too.

          But anyway, that doesn't really answer your question. I personally say don't spend a lot of money on this item.

          I think you can get a Mundial one that will work great - either a long wavy slicer (you can probably get one for like $10-12 or so), or the forged one for around $20-25. I would recommend trying to get one with an angled handle if possible.

          I have ordered from these guys before, and was pretty happy:

          though your local kitchen supply store might have it even cheaper.

          In my experience, the stamped kind tends to be a little more flexible / bendy than the forged kind, which may be an advantage or disadvantage depending on your perspective. I kind of like the solid feel of the forged ones, but I think the flexible kind might actually be better in a lot of applications.

          1. I've got two for you:

            -- As previously mentioned, the Black & Decker electric knives are cheap, easy to use, and give good bang for the buck. I picked up my last one (http://www.blackanddeckerappliances.c... ) for $11.

            -- For manual bread slicing, and just an all-around good slicer, find yourself a Dexter-Russell offset sandwich slicer ( ). Paid $13 for my last one, and when it finally needs sharpening, I'll toss it (or use it in the garden) and go out and buy myself another one for 13 bucks. (Sharpening serrated knives is a waste of time...)

            2 Replies
            1. re: Joe Blowe

              Hey! Neat!


              "People not only obsess about knives (and write entire articles about them), but you can easily spend over $100 on just one. Yet go into any restaurant kitchen and you will see most of the cooks using this same plastic-handle Dexter-Russell tool."

              1. re: Joe Blowe

                Isn't it great when the NYTimes provides references for your life? I think a lot of knives can be had and used for years for the $13 or less. But, I wouldn't give up my one very expensive chef's knife which costs more than all the rest of my dozen or so knives put together.

                That said, my "bread" knife gets about as much use as that chef's knife and it only cost $19 on sale :)