I need new knives!
- AmblerGirl Oct 10, 2007 06:17 PM
I'm starting to look for a new set of knives. I currently own a set of Sabatier on discount from Amazon (bought for about $40, advertized as 90% off though there is no way this was a $400 set of knives). I want to get a good set because I do not want to be stuck buying them again in a few years - I want them to last a good long time. At the same time, I do not want to break the bank. So, my questions are:
- what is the best brand of knives? I am an avid home cook and they would get alot of use, do not want too much special care (just want to toss them in the dishwasher), want them to last a good long time. While they do not have to be professional grade, I want good quality.
- where is the best place to go for discounts? While I do want to buy high quality knives, I know they can get really expensive, so am wondering where I can find the best discount.
Thanks in advance!
First, I wouldn't get a set. (You'll probably hear this a lot, it's good advice). I'd think about what knives you use most from your current set and then just focus on those.
There are a lot of really quality knives available, in no particular order: Shun, Messermeister, Henkel, Wusthof, Global, the list goes on. Forshner makes some really good knives that are a lot less expensive than the previous ones though I find them a bit light at times, but that's a very personal thing. A key thing is how they feel in your hand. Bed Bath and Beyond is a good place to get to hold a few and see if you like the balance. A specialty kitchen shop is also a good place to get to try a few out.
Once you decide what style of knives you want and figure out some possible brands, good places to look include Marshall's, TJMaxx and any restaurant supply stores. Do check Amazon for specials, but focus on individual knives that you've already had the chance to hold.
Lastly, any knife you put in the dishwasher isn't going to last. The edge will get beat to heck and there's just no way to overcome that, no matter how well made the knife is.
If you don't want to put the time in to care for your knives don't buy quality ones. Seriously. Not trying to be snarky, just honest. A quality knife is only as good as the care it receives.
As mentioned above never put your knives in the dishwasher. Ever. It takes seconds to clean a knife, wipe it dry and return it to its block, drawer, or magnet. No knife put in a dishwasher will "last a good long time"
Learn to steel your knife to maintain it edge. If you do not wish to also learn to sharpen, find someone you trust to sharpen. With regular honing on the steel you shouldn't need to sharpen more than a couple times a year.
Don't invest in a set. Put your money into a chef's knife, a paring knife, and a serrated knife. There are many good brands out there and you can spend $40 or over $1000 on a nive chef's knife. Decide your budget and get out and hold some. Play with them. Decide which one feels best in your hand. The knife I love you may hate so there's not point in other people recommending their favorite brands. Searching here you will find all the major brands discussed but don't discount the less expensive brands like Forschner, especially if you budget is limited.
Once you've decided which knife you like you can get out and about to local shops and get online to find the best price for that knife.
This is great advice. Chef and paring are the knives to spend money on. Bread knife is good to have, but I think you can get away with a cheap one. I am too scared to sharpen my own knives, but I do run them over a steel every time I use. What that does is straighten up the blade. If you do that consistently, your knife will stay pretty sharp. The key thing is that you MUST maintain your knives. It doesn't matter how much you spend if you don't do that.
You're right on the bread knife. When I was looking at knives last month, I was recommended a bright yellow, cutesy bread knife that was only $20. The guy said that unless I was planning on eating lots of bread and get lots of usage out of it, he would buy the one recommended to me over any other expensive one, though he did mention that, unlike my cute yellow knife, he usually recommends the offset handle type so that slicing is more easily done.
By the way, to the OP, find a good shop to buy your knives. During my testing of knives, I tried a dozen different brands. From Shun to Wustof to Furi, nothing felt quite right, and the guy said that he would recommend I not buy any of these expensive knives. The Forschner, which the store had to have shipped in special, felt best in my hand, and if I buy it, I'd buy it from this spot. (Kitchen Kapers for those in the PA area.) In short, find yourself a good shop, and don't discount the Forschner or any such cheap brand just because they aren't the Globals or Henckels.
I have an 8" Shun knife my daughter got me for Christmas. I use it for everything. I could peel a grape with it. I also have a 4" ceramic knife I love. Those are the only knives I use. How do I sharpen a Japanese Knife?? Can a ceramic knife be sharpened??
I'd like to second the Shun 8" chef's knife as a start. If you do buy this one, be very careful the first times it's used-- lose your focus and there'll be painful consequences. As for sharpening, get a good diamond steel and have someone demonstrate how to use it, maintaining a constant angle and a minimum number of strokes, as this will remove metal faster than a traditional hone. Is it expensive?? Yes. However, this tool will serve you well for a lifetime if properly treated. By the way, this knife and all of those mentioned above should never be tossed in the dishwasher. One possible but unlikely exception would be the Global, another high carbon all-stainless Japanese knife. You might get away with machine washing every now and then after a long inebriated dinner party, but don't make a habit of it...
No need to spend a lot of money at gourmet stores. Try a restaurant supply outlet (two popular knife brands in restaurant kitchens are Forschner and Dexter Russell.) I think you'll be amazed at how much money you'll save (e.g., a Forschner 5-inch utility knife for $14 compared to $50 or so for a similar size Wusthof). Here's a place I've had good results with:
I second mpalmer. I have a lot of knives, sabatier, wusthof, henckels, shun, etc. but none of them cuts much better than my 9 inch forschner slicer. it's stamped rather than forged, and thus lighter, but it's great for slicing. if you want a heavier chef's knife, check out shun. a sort of in between option is Mac. razor sharp, though not as heavy as the shun
Bought my Mac after Cooks Illustrated recommended it a few years back. It was barely over $50 at the time. Loved it so much I bought a few more for family gifts. Still my go-to knife for almost all purposes. I must confess that I have used a regular steel and sharpener, where specialized ones are recommended, and mine isn't as incredibly sharp and easy as when new. But still my main knife. My search for a replacement would start there.