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Choosing a Cheese Knife

Father's Day is coming up, and after pestering Dad for days and only getting "love and affection" by way of gift ideas we finally got him to admit to wanting a cheese knife. A quick Google has revealed three basic varieties:

a) sets of small knife/trowel implements
b) curvy knives with little forked tongues at the end
c) knives with holes cut out of the middle

Is one of these better than the others? Are they good for different cheeses?

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  1. For cheddar and the like, my favorite is a santoku. The grooves in the sides help prevent sticking.

    1. The best cheese "knife" is a wire. Haven't looked for one in a while but they used to sell a cheese board with a wire attached to one side and a handle on the other end of the wire. It cuts cleanly through the cheese and since it has no "sides" doesn't pull on the slice.

      1. Until a couple years ago we made do with those small knife/trowel implement sets, the little curvy knives with forked tongues and so forth. Those are really "presentation" cheese knives, IMO, the kind you might want to use on a cheese tray, however, they don't really work well.

        Then we received a Cutco cheese knife as a gift, which is one of those knives with the holes cut out of the middle, and while I know there are lots of Cutco detractors out there, I gotta say this Cutco cheese knife is the greatest invention. It works great and I wouldn't mind having more than one in my kitchen.

        So I recommend the cheese knives with the holes cut out of the middle.

        1. Wire cheese cutters are more effective. It's hard to believe, but cheese is one of the toughest things on your knife to cut. Not that it's hard to cut, but it's hard on the knife. Other than hacking through bones, nothing else will take it's toll on your blade as fast as cheese, since it's so DRY. Most everything you cut in a kitchen with a knife has a fair amount of moisture in it, which tends to lubricate the cut and helps the blade glide through. Cheese, OTOH, is dry, dry, dry...no lube whatsoever. Get a wire cutter.

          (Are you sure Dad didn't say he'd prefer to cut the cheese on Father's Day? That's very different!)

          1. If he said he wants a cheese knife, then he doesn't want a wire cheese cutter. He would have said so if he did. I'm not a big fan of wires personally. The wire inevitably breaks and then you've got to replace the wire. Some come with a replacement but once that's used you're on a mission to find a new one--cheese wire goes to the back of the kitchen cabinet, out comes knife. Crate and Barrel sells a couple of reasonably nice cheese knives, one of a cleaver-type design and the other with holes and a curved, forked tip.

            1. All you need to look for when choosing a cheese knife is one knife with the features of both b) and c)

              Any thing else would be over kill. Who needs more than one cheese knife anyways?

              1. There are about 9 different specialty knives for different cheeses. A good all round knife is from KAI. It is for both tomatoes and cheese. It is serrated for easy tomato slicing and the forged steel blade is coated to facilitate cutting through cheese that can be sticky.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Candy

                  crumb . . . I was doing fine with the three short knives with their self sharpeners my wife and I received as wedding presents 15 years ago. . . . well cutting cheese is about all them things are good for . . . and now I lust for that cheese cutting tomato knife . . . crumb I can't find it here in Canada. . . ah well I'll buy it and wait for it to get here. . . please hold off on telling me about other equipment. . . it would kill me.

                  1. re: Alacrity59

                    The knife is inexpensive and I could arrange to have it shipped. I cannot imagine not being able to fin KAI knives in Canada though. If you want contact me under my profile and it will be done with a phone call on my dime.

                    PS kitchen equip. is my job. Love it love it love it!!!!!!

                    1. re: Candy

                      Thank you so very much. I found it on amazon . . . they manage to get things to Canada very quickly usually . . . I'm holding off a bit as I've bought some other stuff kitchen wise that I should take the time to explore and enjoy . . . but before winter when we get to have cheese like "Stinking Bishop" and "Slack my Girdle" I'll get a couple as . . . as you said they are cheap. if I can resist a couple of months. Thanks again.

                2. Wusthof makes two beautiful cheese knives.
                  As you can see in the photo, these are real knives. Each is hand forged from 1/8 inch stock with a blade thickness of 1/16 inch and a length of 5 inches. Overall length is nearly 10 inches and they weigh about 4 ounces each. Both knives are well designed to the task. The one on the left is for hard cheeses and has been in the Wusthof inventory for a long time. The knife on the right, for soft cheeses, is new. The holes in the blade greatly reduce the friction and stickiness of soft cheeses. No other knife in my inventory can cut thin slices of soft cheeses cleanly. We found that it works as well on gooey cakes, too. So the holes work and in the bargain make this knife quite distinctive and attractive. Are they too large and industrial to fit on a cheese board and place on the coffee table for guests to use? Well, maybe, but so far, no problem. We find they are very attractive, very comfortable in the hand and a pleasure to use.

                  1. I have owned the Rosle Kasemesser 12724 for several years, and I love it. Yeah, I know, it is almost forty bucks (but easily available), but it is worth it IMHO. I have 2 problems with cheese knives: soft, gooey cheeses stick to the blade, even Granton blades; and, artisan cheddars want to crumble when you try to cut them into bite size pieces. The Rosle does both perfectly, and I can use on anything and always get perfect pieces.
                    It is nice and heavy in your hand, and has good, durable construction; just the kind of tool that makes a perfect gift for someone who would never buy such an expensive thing for himself.

                    1. i eat a lot of cheese and have used a variety of knives on them. The best thing i have found is to simply use cheapo pearing knives. I've got one that's got a nice wooden handle.

                      a knife with holes in the middle will muck up your soft or blue cheeses or the like. Even with semi-soft cheese (eg havarti, morbier, etc), i've found bits of cheese getting into the holes. Plus, the cheese still sticks to the blade half the time.

                      Though there will be sticking, the thin blade of a pearing knife makes it easy to remove the slices.

                      Seems to me the only reason to get a 'cheese knife' is for looks, which is certainly a fine reason. If looks are what you're after, i'd say get something with a shallow blade that looks nice, and skip the holes. The wide-bladed trowel type guys are best with the softer cheeses.

                      1. Thanks for the advice everyone! We ended up getting this set: http://www.amazon.com/Woodard-Charles... which seemed to combine the best cutting features, be attractive enough for presentation, and fit our paltry budget. He loves them, so that's a job well done. Now we've only got five months to get him to tell us what he wants for Christmas.