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what to buy: main knife

elists100 Jan 19, 2008 10:01 AM

Wusthof has a cook's knife in a few of their lines that is hollow ground, which I'm thinking of getting. Can anyone comment: is there any reason I would not want these kullen (or whatever they're called) in my main knife?

  1. w
    will47 Jan 29, 2008 09:59 AM

    I think the jury is out as to whether they really help, but I don't think there's a big problem with them (again, unless you take enough metal off the knife to get to the hollow ground parts).

    I have heard good things about the Glestain knives, which have *2* rows of those things (they look kind of weird, but apparently, it works).

    1. m
      miss_bennet Jan 29, 2008 12:38 AM

      I adore my Henckels Pro S Santoku. I don't really think that the food slides off it any easier than a normal knife, but it is by far my favourite. In fact, I'd like a secod one so I don't have to constantly wash it when moving from meat prep to veg prep. I think it's the very narrow sharp edge. I don't think that my Pro S 8" chef knife is as narrow at the blade. My father bought me the Santoku before I even heard the hype, and I didn't have cable, so I didn't know it was "in." I just know that it's the one I reach for again and again. And I have an 8" chef, 6" chef, fliet knife, cleaver, bread, 3-4' paring, tomato knife, 10" inch chef. (all Pro S), and steel, of course.. (My father has given me a knfe for Christmas each year since I was fifteen. I am very lucky.)

      My other favourite knife is the Pro S tomato knife. It's basically a short (4-5") serrated knife. Unless you have perfectly ripe tomatoes and a fantastic paring knife, this knife it great for vegetable chopping, though it doesn't work for meat.

      Basically, there is no reason you wouldn't want a santoku (which is very similar to a kullen) as your main knife. In fatc, my sisters and mother loved mine so much that my fatehr got each of them one for the following Christmas.

      1. c
        chuckl Jan 26, 2008 02:49 PM

        In addition to the chefs, paring and bread, also consider a slicing knife around 10 inches. you could technically slice with a chefs knife too, but there's nothing like a long, thin blade for effortlessly slicing through beef, or pork or any other meat

        1 Reply
        1. re: chuckl
          will47 Jan 28, 2008 11:18 AM

          I'm guessing that most folks can get away with using the same knife as a bread knife and slicer, as long as they don't need a non-serrated slicer.

        2. NYchowcook Jan 26, 2008 07:49 AM

          Your workhorse in the kitchen is your chef's knife. I say: go with a classic Henckels or Wusthof traditional 8" chef's knife, not hollow ground.

          I don't see the need for the hollow ones -- they seemed to cause interest 'cause TV "chefs" were using santoku knives.
          You will eventually want 3 -- a chef's knife, paring knife and a bread/tomato knife. I bought my serrated bread knife at Kmart and it's done fine for many, many years.

          As others have said, you need to hold the knife and try it out. It should feel balanced in your hand and somewhat heavy but not too. You want the knife to do your work for you so you don't tire out your arm or elbow.

          1. woodys Jan 26, 2008 07:16 AM

            I agree with C. Hamster that "Most important thing about buying a good knife is to try it out before you buy it. Knives are like shoes -- they need to fit your hand and be comfortable."
            I think that you need more than three knives. I love knives (good tools) and like to have the right tool for the job. I like having 2 chef knives, 6" and 8" (I also have a 10"), a pairing knife, 2 boning knives, 5" and 6" and a bread knife.
            The most important thing about knives is that they be kept SHARP. A good sharpening steel or hand sharpener is an essential. My hand sharpener is an EdgeCraft multi edged sharpener. I don't like the electric sharpeners.

            7 Replies
            1. re: woodys
              elists100 Jan 28, 2008 08:08 AM

              Which chef knife do you reach for the most: the 6" or the 8" ? This probably also has much to do with personal preference, but the 8" seems too big to be convenient for a lot of jobs. I plan to splurge a bit on ONE knife and want that to be the size I use the most so I am leaning towards a 6"; maybe I need to do more chopping to figure out which size I'll use the most.

              1. re: elists100
                will47 Jan 28, 2008 11:17 AM

                I think most people would consider 6" a little small - even people with small hands seem to use an 8" or 10" pretty comfortably.

                I have always used an 8" chef in the past, but I switched to mostly using a 9.5" Misono and a 10" Forschner. Really, except for really delicate stuff where you'd probably use a paring knife anyway, a smaller knife isn't that much of an advantage in most cases, and you can chop more and faster with a bigger knife.

                1. re: will47
                  hohokam Jan 28, 2008 07:58 PM

                  I concur. I have pretty small hands, and I have no problem using my 8" chef's for most tasks. I can't imagine getting much use out of a 6" knife--too short for effective mincing (and for some chopping), yet too broad for really delicate work.

                2. re: elists100
                  pabboy Jan 28, 2008 02:48 PM

                  8" - 9" is perfect for me. My cutting board is too small for anything more than that.

                  1. re: elists100
                    TomDel Jan 29, 2008 01:52 AM

                    I’m not a particularly small or big guy and I’ve used a 6” Wüsthof Classic chefs knife for years. It certainly seems adequate for chopping veges and such. I might not want to prep 30 lbs. of onions or cut a pumpkin or watermelon in half with it, but other than that it works fine for home kitchen chores.

                    This past Xmas my son gave me the Wüsthof Classic Ikon 2 pc. Asian Cook set consisting of the 6 ½“ Santoku and the 3” paring knives. I’m really starting to like the Santoku. It’s really well balanced and comfortable in your hand.

                    1. re: TomDel
                      Kelli2006 Jan 29, 2008 08:24 AM

                      I have a 8-10" blades, but these are reserved for production work. I also prefer a 6" blade at home. I have a Frd. Dick 6", but my favorite 6" is my forged carbon steel Thiers-Issard.

                      I am flabbergasted at the thought of sharpening a knife so often that you would remove metal to the kullens. My forged 8" is almost 20 years old and there isn't a perceptible removal of metal.

                      1. re: TomDel
                        souvenir Jan 29, 2008 02:53 PM

                        In our kitchen, the 6" (16cm) Wusthof Classic chef's knife and 6.5" Santoku (17km) are the most frequently used knives, followed by a ~5.5-6" Global serrated.

                        We have a bunch of other nice knives, but these are the every day knives. I have small hands so that may be why the longer chef's knives aren't used as much. My SO has much larger hands, tho, and he seems to use the same ones I do.

                  2. t
                    trymonlam Jan 25, 2008 07:37 AM

                    you might want to reconsider this. there's a limited life with this hollow stuff. there's only so much u can grind down for sharpening. get a good solid knife, and it would last a lifetime.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: trymonlam
                      ted Jan 29, 2008 07:32 AM

                      I don't think they're great b/c stuff still sticks (garlic's the one thing that pops to mind). And the kullens seem to collect residue that takes a periodic serious scrubbing to remove.

                      But unless you're using it on the line (i.e. very heavily with frequent resharpening), it's going to take many many years to take off that 1/4" or so of blade before you hit the kullens. By then, I'd probably feel like I'd gotten my money's worth and be ready for something new. Not to mention that the knife would feel totally different by then.

                    2. p
                      pabboy Jan 25, 2008 06:52 AM

                      It's all a matter of personal preference.

                      The hollow ground is excellent when slicing meats and veggies. They won't stick to the knife. I don't like hollow ground on the German chef knife or santoku because the blades become too thick. Hollow ground work well on 7-9" slicers. My main knife is a Global 8" chef. I also have the Henckel Pro S and Wustof Classic chef but I find the lighter weight and weight distribution of the Global to be more maneuverable.

                      Like I said it's all personal preference. Definitely try out the knives before you buy.

                      1. C. Hamster Jan 23, 2008 01:12 PM

                        I think they're a gimmick, actually. I have knives with 'em and without 'em and they perform the same.

                        Most important thing about buying a good knife is to try it out before you buy it. Knives are like shoes -- they need to fit your hand and be comfortable.

                        You would be really surprised at how different various mfrs knives feel when you hold them.

                        And IMO, medicinewheel is right: chefs, bread and paring are the essentials.

                        1. m
                          medicinewheel8 Jan 23, 2008 10:32 AM

                          The saying I hear is, you only need 3 knives. A 8-10" chef, bread and a paring knife. I would go with a forged knife. Wusthof's Classic, IKon, Cordon Blue has good reviews by consumers.

                          1. f
                            frank828 Jan 19, 2008 11:25 AM

                            thing about those hollow things is that once u sharpen to that point, the knife is pretty much dead.

                            1. k
                              Kelli2006 Jan 19, 2008 11:02 AM

                              The kullens are designed so foods don't stick to the blade, but I don't think that they make much of a difference. Cheese still sticks, and I have never had a serious problems with meat and veggies sticking to the blade. It's a personal choice.

                              I have them on my Kitchenaid santuko, but not on my traditional chefs knives.

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