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Best bread knife?

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  • Westy Aug 18, 2008 02:37 PM
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Hello -

I want to buy a great bread knife. Who makes the best?

Matt

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  1. There's no need to shell out that much for a bread knife. They can't be sharpened, so you use them until they get dull. I have two, a $5 bread knife bought years ago at Target, and a nice one purchased at Poilane in Paris. As long as it's serrated, and the blade is set well in the handle, you're good to go.

    1. I have several bread knives, and my fave is the Wustof Grand Prix II Deli knife. It looks funny, but I can slice anything w/o hitting my knuckles on my cutting board. It's got a great edge and sharp tip.
      http://www.become.com/wustof-grand-pr...

      1. I recommend without reservation the Wusthoff Crustbuster! It's the best knife I ever used--it's sharp as a razor, and has a neat curve like a scimitar that allows you to slice through a loaf of crusty bread easily. The price is around 80-100 and worth every penny.

        1. Cook's Illustrated recommends the forschner or the wusthof, when I've worked in food service the forschners were the standard and I highly recommend them.
          http://www.amazon.com/Forschner-Victo...
          Make sure to get a 10 inch model regardless of what brand you pick, as an 8 inch will have difficulty cutting larger loaves.

          2 Replies
          1. re: rockfish42

            I agree completely. Forschner is the standard of the food service industry.
            This knife is available with either a black Fibrox or rosewood handle in 10" length.

            1. re: Kelli2006

              Third the Forschner. I used my roommates' for two years and had to go out and buy my own when we parted ways.

          2. i wouldn't invest nearly as much in a bread knife as i would in, say, a good chef's knife. You can get a good one made by a good manufacturer like Henckels or Wusthof for less than $50. And yes, they can be sharpened

            1. Wusthof makes a knife called a "Super Slicer" in most of their product lines (Classic, Gran Prix, Culinar, etc). It's a reverse scalloped knife that's 10 inches long, slightly curved overall, and sharpened on one side only (so you can hone the flat side to get a better edge once a year or so).

              It's the best bread knife I've used yet.

              5 Replies
              1. re: ThreeGigs

                I found an unblievable slicer in the town of Cold Spring. It's called a harp and has a thin serrated blade held on each end by hand-honed wood. It will slice through any kind of bread, bagel, roll, whatever. Look for similiar ones on Amazon. They're very affordable, attractive and work wonders with the thick crusts of artisnal breads.

                1. re: jeanio

                  Hello. I've been looking everywhere online for the harp with the serrated blade you mentioned. Can you give me the brand name, the name of the person who makes them, or if you remember the name of the store in Cold Spring, that would be great. In fact, I'd appreciate any info that would help me find it. Thank you, Judith

                  1. re: jzimberoff

                    Are you guys talking about these?

                    http://www.amazon.com/Out-Woods-Orego...

                    http://www.amazon.com/Out-Woods-Orego...

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Yes!!! Thank you. I'm buying it right now.

                      1. re: jzimberoff

                        Oh cool. I wasn't sure. Beware, there are many versions of these on Amazon alone, so you may want to shop around a bit to pick the exact one you like. Best.

              2. Generaly considered the best for the money and some say one of the best at any price http://www.cutleryandmore.com/details...
                http://www.epicureanedge.com/shopexd....

                The MAC SB 105 Scalloped breadknife/slicer

                1 Reply
                1. re: jeffreyem

                  I agree- it's great as a general slicer, too, for things like BBQ brisket.

                2. Cooks Illustrated is spot on. I recently bought the Forschner and it is great. Cheaper than the Wusthof. Who says serated edge knives can't be sharpened? Of course, they can.

                  1. What's a bread knife?

                    Just kidding...

                    Keep your 8 or 10" chef nice and sharp and you'll never need a special, serrated knife just for bread.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: applehome

                      Yeah, he's right and I'm not kidding. Only a knifenut could truly appreciate applehome's answer but I guarantee I can slice more cleanly through a crusty baguette with one of my knives better than any serrated knife. And it does tomatoes equally well. Can't think of when the last time I used a serrated knife.

                      1. re: applehome

                        I don't really agree. Your experience may have much to do with the texture of the bread you are slicing. For my purposes, I vote for the bread knife, and I am a "knife nut". My chef's knife is extremely sharp, and yet it will manage to drag a crusty loaf of bread down a bit if I use it to slice on some breads. I've even tried my extremely sharp Shun hollow ground slicer on bread, and I still think serrated is the best choice overall. While the slicer and the chef's knife can handle some breads, serrated is the way to go with breads of all kinds because it doesn't require any downward force to cut, since the serrated edge supports a sawing motion. A chef's knife or a slicer requires a downward motion to work. Think of how you would slice a roast or cut up a carrot -- there is always a downward motion. Straight edge knives can't really work with many breads because they crush the bread, especially softer breads or crusty breads with soft insides, such as Boulet or Pagnotta.

                        You should also think about whether others in your house will be slicing bread. In my house, everyone will slice a bagel or bread, but no one does any other kind of prep work. My knives are sharp and both DH and daughter are a bit afraid of them. The bread knife is much less intimidating.

                        1. re: RGC1982

                          To each their own - as long as you're happy with your knife, that's what matters. I have no problem cutting hearty ryes, thick, soft crust, soft crumb challahs, and crispy crust, airy crumb breads - all into thin even slices, with no crushing, using my chefs knife.

                          The only comment I might have is that you should teach your kids to only be afraid of dull knives, not sharp ones. It's the extra force you have to use with a dull knife that makes them so much more dangerous. Serrated knives are generally dull compared to straight edge knives - they are impossible to hone across all angles. It doesn't matter, as they grab and tear more than actually slice and separate. Personally, I would be really afraid of the damage caused by a dull serrated knife dragging across my finger.

                          1. re: applehome

                            I agree with your statements about dull knives being more dangerous than sharp ones. The serrated ones seem to be used by everyone here for bread, so it may just be mental for them. It may also be that bread here is sometimes so soft and puffy (you need to look for "good" bread in Texas), that the only way to cut a soft roll is with a serrated, or the roll gets crushed.

                            1. re: RGC1982

                              Like I said, to each their own - whatever you're happy with. I think everyone uses serrated knives for bread and tomatoes for the same reasons that people buy Ginsu and Cutco serrated knives - they appear to cut better because of their multiple angles - they pierce, grab and tear easier than a dull straight edge. But they tear the bread or tomato or meat or whatever, they require more work to use, they can't be used for chopping and similar cuts, and they're not easily honed or sharpened. A really sharp, thin straight edge knife will no more crush your bread than one that grabs and tears it from multiple angles. If you simply draw the sharp knife across without any pressure, and let it do the separating, much as Itamae do with a soft piece of o-toro maguro, you might be surprised at how effective a thin sharp straight edge can be.

                              Hey - you gotta have that soft and puffy for nice thick texas toast - pan toasted (grilled) with a little butter on a cast iron pan or griddle, of course. Although my in-laws still have that big tub of blue-bonnet margarine, even though I tell them that Plugra comes from right down the road in Texas.

                      2. Before you go out and drop 80 to 100 bucks on a serrated knife (I prefer Dexter, Forschner or F. Dick over anything that expensive), check your cabinets to see if you have an electric knife hangin' around somewhere.

                        With an electric knife, your effort goes towards maintaining a straight line in a downward motion. The result is a *very* straight cut. With a manual slicer, you're throwing "sawing" into the mix. You can also get straight cuts with manual slicing, but with an electric knife I can slice a 2 lb. loaf of NNTK bread into nice little slices in about 90 seconds.

                        Also, electric knives start at around $10 ~ $12, do many other kitchen tasks very nicely, and seem to last forever. And if you still need a nice knife for presentation purposes, then you can go out and get whatever you feel like.

                        1. Best is somewhat subjective. I hear great things about the Mac recommended earlier up in the thread (the scalloped -vs serrated- edge means it can be re-sharpened once it dulls), as well as Shun's bread knife. I make due with a pretty cheap faberware bread knife. quality isn't too relevant with a serrated knife.

                          However, if you're truly intent on going all out and getting the best of the best, Franz Güde makes a very impressive olive-wood-handled 32cm (18") bread knife for (only!) about 130euro.
                          http://www.tojiro-knive.dk/de/product...
                          if you're really intent on spending money, they make a damascus steel version, and i think that one's only a couple thousand euros, give or take...
                          http://www.paul-murnau.de/guede-solin...
                          http://translate.google.com/translate...
                          http://www.paul-murnau.de/guede_damas...

                           
                          1. I'm with almost everyone else on this thread... spend $12 on a Forschner or Dexter Russell (maybe get one of the angled ones), and spend the money on something else. If you want to spend money on a good knife, spend it on your chef's knife.

                            1. Love my Wusthof Classic Ikon. That thig is razor sharp and cuts through even the crustiest baguette like butter. It will cut through your fingers as eaasily too.

                              1. I have a Lamson bread knife. They make a whole bunch of different shapes, sizes, handle materials and blade types.

                                http://store.lamsonsharp.com/catalog/...

                                After having a straight bread knife, I'd probably buy one of their offset handled ones. It gives more hand clearance and lets you saw gainst the cutting board to finish off your slices more cleanly. Here's a commercial grade one that MSRP's for $32.50
                                http://store.lamsonsharp.com/catalog/...

                                and a forged blade, more frou frou version for $117.50
                                http://store.lamsonsharp.com/catalog/...

                                Many other products in between, too.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Professor Salt

                                  The F. Dick may not be the "best" but I think it's one of the greatest values (recommended in "Kitchen Confidential" by Bourdain).

                                  http://www.amazon.com/F-Dick-Offset-B...

                                  1. re: Professor Salt

                                    Love the Lamsons. Have several of them and they reside alongside my Wusthof chef's, paring, filet, etc. I actually prefer the Lamson off-set bread to the Wusthof that I have. It's cool to check out their website and I can order directly from them.

                                    I really enjoy supporting local businesses - the Lamson company is in the Berkshires.

                                  2. This Victorinox model 5.1833.20 is your baby. No question. Great as a carver too. Marketed as Forschner in the US (not the same model as other posts have suggested I don't think) but I'm not sure if the same model number applies.

                                    http://www.oppenheimer.com.au/Catalog...

                                    This Aussie site was the only one with a decent picture!

                                    1. My first 'quality' bread knife was a 20cm(8") Wusthof 4149 and it is ok for smaller loaves but they are overpriced nowadays. When I read a lot of positive reviews about the Forschner 455W-10, I checked it out and bought the 455W-14 which is considered a pastry knife but is great for larger loaves of bread.

                                      http://www.countryknives.com/store/pr...

                                      1. I like a thin stamped steel 'pastry' knife like this Victorinox
                                        http://www.oppenheimer.com.au/Catalog...
                                        This style is longer than many bread knives, has an offset handle, slight curvature, and rounded end.

                                        It's close to what Cooks Illustrated recommended a number of years ago.

                                        1. I have an eight inch serrated bread knife by Calphalon, and it works great and cost around $40 to $50, if I remember correctly. Most of my other knives are high end, and I fine this works really well.

                                          1. The mac super slicer has worked so well for me ,i have had it for 5 years now it also sharpens pretty easy do to its scallop edge... Its also a pretty good price i think its around 50-70 and it well last for ever...

                                            1. I use the Fdick Offset knife
                                              http://www.amazon.com/Dick-Offset-Bre...

                                              Reasonably priced, does a fantastic job, I've not sharpened it yet.