Knives are historically understood as a generic set of sharp single-edged hand-held objects that people use to cut, sharpen and even clean food items. Knives originally were sharpened rocks or sharpened pieces of shell, shale, or bones.
The first real refinement in knife-making happened when people started making knives by forging stones and sharpening their edges. Eventually, people also find out which stones can make better knives than others, and then recently people started using metals like copper and steel to make knives.
How are knives priced
These days, a knife is considered the chef’s absolute kitchen tool and it’s the first thing a chef will pull out of the drawer before starting to cook. A knife set can cost anywhere under $50 to as high as $1,000, depending on the region it comes from, the steel used, and its longevity.
Moreover, in some regions of the world, people use modern technology for making knives, whereas some countries still rely on using old-school forging techniques using sheer labor. That also determines the cost of the best knife set UK.
How to tell the sharpness of a knife
Before you set out to buy knife or a complete best knife set UK, it’s only fair to know how to check the sharpness of a knife. Apart from checking it by cutting with it, there are also visual tests to check the sharpness of the knife.
While holding the knife and looking at the top of its blade, if the blade is flattened or bent at any spot, the light will reflect differently and inconsistently all over the blade than with a perfectly sharp and straight edge of the blade. The other way is to look at the horizon of the blade and look for dull areas that are dipped inside. This determines how much the knife is used.
It is commonly said across the world that Damascus knives are better than blunt knives. Not only in terms of efficiency but also in terms of safety. This means you’re more likely to cut yourself with a blunt knife than with a sharp knife.
Why you’d ask? A sharp knife is better than a blunt knife because not a lot of pressure is required to cut through things, which avoids ugly movements and thus, accidents. You can just place the knife on the skin of the food and it’ll pass through with very little pressure.
Similarly, while using a blunt knife, you’ll find yourself not being able to keep control over the food you’re cutting, and you’ll also experience your hand applying more pressure to pass through it. Almost to the point that you’ll first have to pierce through the skin with the knife’s tip and then cut through it. This results in cuts that are neither symmetrical and equal, nor are they clean.
How a knife cuts
If you notice carefully, the physics behind cutting using a knife is to create enough friction to cut through the knife. With a blunt knife, you don’t cut, instead, you saw. Whereas with a sharp knife, you cut through the skin. A sharp knife cuts as soon as you start slicing whereas a blunt knife requires that initial pressure, which often spoils the food that you’re cutting, in case it’s something soft, e.g., a tomato.
To better understand the art of cutting using a knife, one should know that there are different types and sizes of knives for different purposes. Moreover, the same thing can either be cut into slices, dices, chopped, or even minced. So, it is important to use the right Kitchen chef knife for the right purpose.
Choosing the right knife for yourself
The different types of knives can be broadly divided into three categories, depending on whether you’re using them to cut meat, vegetables, or fish. Some of the most common knives from these categories are the chef’s knife, the utility knife, the bread knife, the butcher’s knife, the boning knife, the fileting knife, the peeling knife, and the santoku knife. Most of these knives are specific to the professions of people, and not all people are required to be good at using them.
A professional chef usually has a best knife set UK, but the most commonly used knife in the kitchen is often the chef’s knife. This knife can help the chef slice, dice, or chop using a single knife. This knife is anywhere between 8 and 12 inches, with a solid handle to hold it, and a thick blade for cutting purposes.
How to hold the knife and make the right cuts
Once you’ve chosen the right knife for yourself from the knife store, the next thing is to know how to properly use it. To perfectly hold a knife, you are supposed to hold it and pinch it by the blade using your thumb and pointer finger.
The other important thing is using the other hand that is supposed to hold the food you’re cutting. Ideally, you should always tuck your fingertips and then simply practice rocking the knife up and down. The cold steel of the blade will run on the knuckles of the hand you’re holding the food with. This is basically how slicing is done.
The second most important cut is the dice. Dicing is done in small, medium, or large sizes, as per the need. It’s done by cutting the food into large slices of either a quarter of an inch, half an inch, three-quarters of an inch, or an inch thick, and then dicing them again in the same length to make dice. Apart from these cubed dice, there are also long cuts. The batonnet cuts are used for cutting down potatoes for fries, and the julienne cut is used to cut carrots, radishes, etc., for garnishing.
Now that you have got an idea about the history of the evolution of knives, the physics behind using a knife, the different types of knives, and the different cuts you can make using different knives, it all comes down to applying this knowledge to practice. Irrespective of whether you’re a culinary student, a professional chef, or a home chef, you must know the importance of being good at using a knife and how to get better at it. If you’re also willing to buy knife, then don’t forget to visit the best knife store: KNIFEXPO.