Did you know that metal knives were invented around 4,000 years ago during the Bronze Age? While the knives back then were relatively crude, knives today can be thin and sharp enough to slice through paper or even silk. There are many types of knives that you may need for the kitchen, but what should you look for when choosing the best chef knife set as a gift?
Because there is such a variety when it comes to different types of kitchen knives, you will need to consider several factors. Besides the construction of the knife itself, you will also need to think about the purpose and function of the knife. After all, some knives are better at cutting through certain materials than others.
Keep reading below to see what you should look for when choosing a professional chef knife set.
Choose the Right Material
While knives, especially custom chef knives, can be made out of just about any kind of metal, certain metals are better than others when it comes to sharpness and being able to slice through food. This is true no matter what kind of knife might be included in your knife set. However, the type of metal that you choose is especially important for the chef knife.
The chef knife, also called the Gyuto knife or Santoku knife in Japanese, is the main knife that you will need to slice most types of food. If you plan on ordering a custom kitchen knife set and find that there is no chef knife included (which would be unusual), you shouldn’t bother to get the set. Without having a chef knife in your knife set, you will be very limited as to what you can chop and slice in the kitchen.
Choosing the right material for your chef knife (and the other knives in the set) is important because it will determine the strength, flexibility, and durability of the knife. It may even determine how thin the blade of the knife can get. You will find that most high-quality knife sets will be made out of high-carbon stainless steel.
What does this mean exactly and how does it differ from ordinary stainless steel? High-carbon stainless steel tends to be stronger than ordinary stainless steel. More than that, high-carbon stainless steel also has the ability to stay sharp for a longer period of time.
This is important if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen because you won’t have to waste time sharpening your knife so often. For that reason, even though high-carbon stainless steel knives tend to be more expensive, they are often worth the cost.
Be Sure the Set Includes All the Basic Knives
As mentioned before, no custom knife set is complete without a chef knife. A chef knife is ideal for chopping and slicing motions which are important for chopping vegetables, fruit, certain types of meat, nuts, and much more. However, despite how versatile a chef knife can be, it still isn’t capable of chopping through everything.
Because it is so long and thin, it does not have the strength to chop through bones and other tough types of food. Also, because it is on the larger side, it wouldn’t be ideal for cutting very small fruits, vegetables, or cuts of meat. If you are working with smaller food items, you will want to make sure that your knife set includes a paring knife.
A paring knife is only a few inches long but it is still very sharp. Because it is so small in comparison to the chef knife, you will have better control over it when working with smaller items of food. This is important because if you tried to cut small pieces of food with a large knife, you wouldn’t be able to be very precise.
Besides the paring knife and the chef knife, you will also want to make sure your set for custom knives includes a serrated knife, also known as a bread knife. As the name suggests, a serrated knife is ideal for cutting bread. The extra edges on the knife’s blade will be able to cut through any kind of bread, no matter how tough it is.
If you tried to cut bread with a chef knife, you would find that the smooth blade wouldn’t be enough to create a clean slice through a loaf of bread. But what else should a knife set include besides these three knives?
Don’t Forget the Sharpening Steel
A sharpening steel is actually not a knife, but you can still find it in many knife sets. A sharpening steel is a device that allows you to sharpen your knives whenever you need to. Many people think that a sharpening steel is optional.
After all, a good knife will stay sharp for a long time, right? Even so, even the best of knives will get dull eventually. Instead of buying a new knife (which can be expensive), a sharpening steel can solve your problem.
A sharpening steel is easy to use and it can realign your knife blades in no time. By fine-tuning the blade, your knife can return to its original sharpness and you will no longer have to deal with a dull knife. Sharpening steels also come in different sizes so you can get multiple if you want, depending on the size of your knives.
How to Choose the Best Chef Knife Set
Choosing the best chef knife set for a gift can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for, but in reality, it isn’t that hard. You just need to make sure that the set has all the basic knives, the right blade material, and a sharpening steel.
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