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How high to go for a bread knife

dannynyc Apr 12, 2011 10:54 AM

I've had a cheapo Ikea bread knife for years and am ready to upgrade. I love a good knife (just bought a Masamoto VG gyuto), but I'm wondering if it's really worth shelling out the money to get a top of the line bread knife. For example, the Wusthof Gourmet goes for half the price of the Wusthof Classic. It's obviously worth the extra money for a chef or utility knife, but for a bread knife? Is the difference between a stamped and forged blade significant for a bread slicer?

Any thoughts are appreciated.

  1. f
    ferret Apr 12, 2011 11:08 AM

    The Victorinox bread knife and Victorinox slicer are probably the best value around for knives. Both are in the $25 range (each). Spending anything more is really a waste.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ferret
      Kelli2006 Apr 15, 2011 07:04 PM

      I completely agree. Victornix or Dexter Russell, and get the Fibrox handles. Anything else is for show.

    2. petek Apr 12, 2011 11:12 AM

      I personally wouldn't recommend spending a ton of $$ for a bread knife unless you want something fancy looking. If all you're gonna do is cut bread,go to your local restaurant supply store and see if the carry the inexpensive,plastic handled type(Victorinox) of bread knife.I bought mine for $10.00 or $15.00 about 10 years ago and it still cuts bread like brand new.

      And with the money you save,you can but another Masamoto VG!!

      1. Novelli Apr 12, 2011 11:14 AM

        F Dick has a great and inexpensive line of offset bread knives and other styles. About 20-25 bucks each and they'll hold their own. To me...totally worth the money, and you don't feel so bad if you have to replace it in a few years because they're so inexpensive.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Novelli
          CindyJ Apr 13, 2011 07:19 PM

          I recently bought an offset bread knife with a plastic handle at a restaurant supply store on the Bowery in NYC for $10. Best $10 I've spent in a long time.

        2. petek Apr 12, 2011 11:35 AM


          Just to give you an idea.

          15 Replies
          1. re: petek
            petek Apr 12, 2011 01:41 PM

            Here's a pretty sweet looking bread knife from Tojiro $50.00 though.
            From chefsknivestogo

            1. re: petek
              Kagemusha Apr 12, 2011 04:05 PM

              Pure catnip for the knife fanboys.

              1. re: Kagemusha
                petek Apr 12, 2011 04:45 PM

                I know .Just thought I'd throw it out there.

              2. re: petek
                Chemicalkinetics Apr 12, 2011 04:42 PM


                Look nice. Do you know if the teeth are serrated or scalloped? I cannot tell for sure from the picture.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                  petek Apr 12, 2011 04:47 PM

                  It looks like they're serrated but I don't really know the difference :D

                  1. re: petek
                    Chemicalkinetics Apr 12, 2011 04:57 PM


                    Some people call the scalloped edge as "reversed serration" and it does look just like that. I am sure you know what a serrated edge looks like. A scalloped edge looks like this:


                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                    cowboyardee Apr 12, 2011 05:03 PM

                    From the CKTG description, it has rounded scalloped style serrations, but they;re narrower and closer together than those on the Shun or the MAC bread knives. I think they're supposed to cut a little more aggressively than wider, more gentle scallops and this knife is supposed to sort of bridge a scalloped edge and traditional serrations. I could only speculate as to how well it would do if someone sharpened it up on a stone like people sometimes do with other scalloped edges.

                    Looks nice. Though I still wouldn't buy it unless I planned to sharpen it and/or had money to burn. I'd probably also have to cut more bread than I do to justify it, since I don't use a bread knife for much else (sometimes I even use a gyuto on bread).

                    1. re: cowboyardee
                      Chemicalkinetics Apr 12, 2011 05:09 PM

                      Thanks for the information. It does look like a scalloped bread knife, but I just cannot be sure from the picture.

                      It does look nice. I prefer scalloped edge because it is more gentle and the bread crumb does not fly everywhere. More importantly, a scalloped bread knife can also be used for carving meat, whereas a traditional serrated knife would do a lot of damage to the meat.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                        cowboyardee Apr 12, 2011 05:39 PM

                        Do you actually use a bread knife to slice meat, though, what with your Tojiro gyuto? If so, why?

                        (not trying to badger you or anything - just curious)

                        1. re: cowboyardee
                          Chemicalkinetics Apr 12, 2011 05:44 PM

                          :) Actually, I don't know. I only read a scalloped bread knife is good for a carving knife because it is much gentle than a typical bread knife. It is long and it has narrow blade. The narrow blade, of course, is good for carving a large piece of meat.

                          I have used my bread knife to carve a large piece of meat once. It wasn't as good as I thought, but it wasn't horrible. I need to do it a few more time to see.

                      2. re: cowboyardee
                        petek Apr 12, 2011 05:32 PM

                        Thanks cowboy and Chem.I learn something new every day.
                        Before I bought my J-knives and learned to sharpen my own steel, I used my cheapo bread knife to slice tomatoes. It did a better job than than my old beaters.
                        Now I use my Gyuto to slice bread.

                        1. re: petek
                          c oliver Apr 12, 2011 05:43 PM

                          I still use my bread knife ('course now I'm questioning what exactly are those knives???) to slice tomatoes. But I've not learned to sharpen my knives yet.... I mean I sharpen them but not big time :)

                          1. re: c oliver
                            malkazanie Apr 13, 2011 08:25 AM

                            Yeah, I've always used serrated knives on tomatoes, especially if my chef's knife isn't as sharp as I'd like. It offers you a lot more precision in the slicing since the teeth can grab on to the tomato (those slippery little buggers). Actually, what Wusthof calls a "tomato knife" is serrated as well.

                            I have a Wusthof bread knife, because it came with the set I was gifted. It's fine, but so are all the plastic handled ones I've used in restos. If it hadn't been part of the set, I'd buy a cheapy and put more money into the chef's or paring knife.

                            1. re: malkazanie
                              beachmouse Apr 15, 2011 04:56 PM

                              I really love those Wusthof tomato knives for bread and tomato both. You can regularly find them for like $10 at TJ Maxx, and I find a reason to be reaching for one pretty much every day of the week.

                          2. re: petek
                            Eiron Apr 13, 2011 03:13 PM

                            My gyuto did a fantastic job slicing all of last year's holiday beasties.
                            Much better than any "carver" I've owned over the past 30 yrs.

                  3. Chemicalkinetics Apr 12, 2011 11:39 AM

                    I seriously doubt there is a huge difference between a stamped and a forged bread knife.

                    Yes, a good bread knife is a good bread knife. It will cut a bit better, but a bread knife is probably not worth spending too much. The reason is that it is difficult to sharpen a serrated bread. Many people would get a $10-15 bread knife and throw it away when it get dull. Of course, it does not have to be this way, but I am just pointing the counterargument for getting an expensive bread knife. It may be better to save your money for your future knife or an extra sharpening stone.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      4Snisl Apr 13, 2011 08:33 AM

                      Thank you for this advice. You, in addition other members, helped me with a decision several months ago on a bread knife!

                      Gave me to gumption to return a fancy bread knife for an offset, longer serrated blade workhorse. I've not regretted the decision in the least bit!

                      1. re: 4Snisl
                        Chemicalkinetics Apr 13, 2011 09:09 AM

                        Your welcome. I am glad your bread knife is working out for you. :)

                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                        Eiron Apr 13, 2011 03:15 PM

                        Chem, didn't you have something in here about your $70 Shun purchase? I can't seem to find it now....

                        1. re: Eiron
                          Chemicalkinetics Apr 13, 2011 03:29 PM

                          Yeah, I edited it and deleted it. I bought the Shun knife with the intention to take advantage of Shun free knife sharpening service because bread knives are hard to sharpen. Needless to say, KIA has terminated the free service. It is a good knife with scalloped edge (reversed serration) and it cut hard crust bread nicely, but I won't have bought it had I knew the free service would end.

                          I deleted the Shun story because I think it is distracting from what I wanted to say to the original poster.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                            Eiron Apr 13, 2011 04:08 PM

                            Ah, I see.

                            I actually thought it WAS relevant, because of both the edge design (scallop) & the better VG-10 steel. That was originally a $150 knife, correct?

                            I think the scalloped edge & the VG-10 makes it a "better" purchase than, say, a $100+ German model with a serrated edge & common CrMoV steel.

                            I don't think you have anything to regret with your purchase, "free" sharpening or no.

                            1. re: Eiron
                              Chemicalkinetics Apr 13, 2011 05:35 PM

                              Thanks Eiron. I have the Shun Classic Steel bread knife. The typical Shun Classic knives have wood handle, but there are the Classic Steel knives with steel handle and they tend to be on sale more often. Same blade, same geometry, just different material for the handle.




                              Yes, I bought it for $70.

                      3. BiscuitBoy Apr 12, 2011 11:44 AM

                        Agree with ferret, petek, and Novelli. I have what I think is a nice russell serrated bread knife, less than $20

                        1. cowboyardee Apr 12, 2011 12:30 PM

                          Unless you're planning on wrapping wet/dry sandpaper around a rod or dowel to sharpen your bread knife once it gets dull, stick with a cheaper knife (the forschner recommended above is good), and then reward yourself with a nice paring knife or something instead.

                          1. kaleokahu Apr 12, 2011 12:57 PM

                            Hi, dannynyc:

                            I have three bread knives, one a Henckels, one a $1.50 thriftstore ultracheapo, and one really fancy one I made for myself.

                            The one I reach for every time is the ultracheapo. It's the one you see all over with the frozen food saw on the side opposite the serrations, and the "fork" at the tip.

                            The offset handles are a nice feature for sandwiches, etc.


                            1. Kagemusha Apr 12, 2011 12:59 PM

                              How often would you use it relative to a good chef/utility or paring knife? Given that calculus, I'd look at a Victorinox.

                              1. c oliver Apr 12, 2011 01:18 PM

                                I'd stick with what you already have. I have two, one that was my father's wood handle. I have another that's got the plastic handle etc. Can't tell any difference.

                                1. mcf Apr 12, 2011 01:28 PM

                                  Not at all, IMO. I have a cheap serrated bread knife with a plastic handle, have had it for well over a decade and it cuts through anything like a new razor.

                                  1. paulj Apr 12, 2011 02:10 PM

                                    Focus on visible features, as opposed to price. For example, how long do you want it? Rounded tip (some times called a pastry knife) v. pointed? Straight or slight curve? Offset handle? What do you like about the Ikea? What would you change? Why upgrade in the first place?

                                    1. ted Apr 12, 2011 06:58 PM

                                      I really like our MAC- it admittedly gets more use for slicing meat than bread. We have a 20-year-old el cheapo serrated knife that does more here-and-there work on actual bread. Mostly we buy sliced, though.

                                      1. Eiron Apr 13, 2011 02:44 PM

                                        For "standard" steel, you can always count on Güde:

                                        From the review:
                                        "... for any type of bread Gude is irreplaceable in my kitchen..." ;-)

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Eiron
                                          petek Apr 13, 2011 02:52 PM

                                          that's a Gude lookin bread knife :D

                                          1. re: petek
                                            Eiron Apr 13, 2011 03:09 PM


                                        2. b
                                          bbqJohn Apr 15, 2011 01:37 PM

                                          About $10


                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: bbqJohn
                                            petek Apr 15, 2011 02:56 PM

                                            That's a great price for a nice bread knife.

                                          2. l
                                            la2tokyo Apr 15, 2011 07:45 PM

                                            A few months ago I would have agreed with everyone here that it's insanity to pay a bunch of money for a bread knife. But I went to a family member's house and brought a loaf of really crusty artisan bread and used her Wusthof classic to cut it. I was blown away. I still can't believe how easily it cut that bread. I'm not very easily impressed by sharp knives much anymore, but that knife really shocked me. That said, I'm pretty sure the knife was very new. I have no idea how long it would cut like that or what would happen if you tried to sharpen it. I can't bring myself to spend that much on a bread knife, and I still use an Ikea knife every day to cut my bread, but every time I do I think about that Wusthof. So, I have to say that unless you've used one of the more expensive bread knives you shouldn't be so quick to judge - try one if you get the chance. The factory edge may last less than a year (I can only guess), and you may never be able to sharpen it back to that state (again I can only guess), but in the meantime it will cut through really, really, really hard crusty bread like it's angel food cake.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: la2tokyo
                                              cowboyardee Apr 15, 2011 08:36 PM

                                              I'm not doubting that some more expensive bread knives cut better. Just whether they're worth spending extra money on if you're not going to sharpen em.

                                              1. re: la2tokyo
                                                Chemicalkinetics Apr 15, 2011 09:04 PM


                                                I think it get to the heart of the question. A Wusthof bread knife costs about $90-100. For the same money, we can probably get 5-6 regular bread knives. For the same amount of money, we can have one Wusthof knife for say 10 years, or we can have 5 regular bread knives for the same duration -- having a brand new bread knife every two year.

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