This long, serrated knife is most typically used for slicing bread (hence the "bread knife" name). This knife has a long and narrow blade that allows you to effortlessly slice huge chunks of meat into small slices. Carving knives are excellent for slicing roasted chicken, roasts, hams, and other big cuts of meat. Of all the knives in your kitchen, this is the one you should use by default for carving.
Of course, not all knives are designed to be used for cutting food. For example, if you were to use a utility knife to chop vegetables it would go straight through the onion, tomato, and zucchini without any effort at all. However, that same knife would take longer than normal to cut through the ham steak or roast beef. Although regular knives are helpful for chopping and slicing many different types of foods, we primarily use serrated knives for carving because they are designed to do so.
The key to using a serrated knife successfully is knowing when to switch blades. For example, if you were to use your paring knife to slice off a piece of meat and it took too long, you would need another knife for the job. A utility knife would not have enough of a sharp edge to cut through the fat and muscle tissue of the meat properly. Instead, you would need a boning knife or a surgical knife which have much sharper edges that are designed for delicate work like this.
Serrated knives, with their scalloped, toothlike edges, are great for slicing meals with a hard exterior and a softer inside, such as a loaf of crusty bread. A serrated knife works on the same principle as a saw: the blade's teeth catch and then rip as the knife smoothly slides through the food. Because teeth of all shapes and sizes can be used for cutting, a serrated knife is useful for general kitchen work.
The term "serrated" comes from the French word esterilise, which means to sterilize or make sterile. The first surgical knives were actually sharpened stones or pieces of bone covered with leather or metal. Later, surgeons began using tools that looked like they would be useful for cutting stone, which produced wounds that healed more easily. These early knives had rough, jagged edges that caused serious injuries when used by unskilled hands. The teeth on the back of a modern knife serve the same purpose as those on the earliest surgical instruments.
In addition to being easy to cut with, serrated knives have several other advantages. Their thin, sharp tips are less likely to slip when you're working with soft materials, such as chicken breasts or fish fillets. They also tend to stay sharper longer because there's not as much material rubbing against the cutting board. Finally, some chefs prefer serrated knives because they make clean cuts that are less likely to tear out chunks of meat or fruit.
Because the crust splinters less, cutting crusty bread with a serrated knife is simpler and neater. For this same reason, serrated knives are ideal for cutting up vegetables and fruit with delicate flesh that might be damaged by a sharp blade.
The teeth on a serrated knife make short work of hard foods while leaving the softer stuff like fruits and vegetables intact. They're also good for cutting through tough materials, like the thick leather of a shoe or the thick rope of a hangman's noose. However, because they have a tendency to slip when handling soft materials, such as butter or cheese, some people prefer plain knives for cooking.
Although they look intimidating, serrated knives are easy to use. All you need to do is hold the knife properly and apply even pressure across the surface you want to cut. You can saw away at any angle without worrying about hitting a bone or tissue group; the teeth will just chop it up instead. Of course, if you want a cleaner cut, you should go over the food with another tool first (such as a fork).
Finally, serrated knives are excellent for cutting cakes and other baked goods.
As long as the bread isn't too soft, you may cut it with a chefs' knife (as you will crush the bread). Even bread knives go dull over time, but the serrations allow them to perform imprecise cutting while remaining sharper for longer than a chef's knife.
Bread tends to be softer when fresh out of the oven, which can make it more difficult to cut evenly. Crushing or tearing small pieces from the bottom of the loaf before cutting may help avoid lopsided sandwiches.
If you use a sharp chefs' knife and carefully slice through the bread, your sandwiches should look like they were made by a professional!
A bread knife, in contrast to a chef's knife, has toothy, saw-like scallops or serrations along its cutting edge. This works similarly to a saw, slicing through food as you move the knife back and forth rather than utilizing downward pressure like a chef's knife would. Bread knives are available in many different sizes and shapes. Typically, they are about 4 inches (10 cm) long and come with a nonslip handle made of rubber or plastic. Some have curved blades for cutting cakes; these are called cake knives.
Bread knives are used for cutting slices of bread, rolls, bagels, and so on. Because they have sharp edges, it is important to wear protective clothing when using them. Also, only clean your bread knife properly after each use; otherwise, it will spread bacteria around your kitchen.
Here are some other useful tools for the kitchen:
Vegetable peeler: Used to remove the skin from vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and apples. The various shapes of vegetable peelers can help vary how your ingredients are sliced. For example, a wheel-shaped peeler makes thin strips off the carrot's skin, while a flute-style peeler produces long ribbons that can be woven into tapestries.
Oven mitt: Used to remove hot dishes from the oven without burning your hands.
If you enjoy crusty loaves of baguette or a rustic boule like I do, you must own a serrated bread knife. No other knife can safely or rapidly cut into the crust. "That's my tomato knife!" you may be thinking. But trust me, it's not. These are different tools for different jobs.
You can get by without one, but only if you use multiple tools to slice your loaf. The classic tomato, pepper, and onion knife is helpful for slicing hard-cooked eggs, ripe tomatoes, and hot peppers. However, it's not the best choice for cutting bread because its thin blade isn't designed for that task. Instead, get yourself a good-quality bread knife. They can be expensive, but they are very affordable compared to buying slices at the bakery every day. A quality knife will last for years if taken care of properly.
There are many types of knives used for cooking. Here is a list of the most common ones (but by no means all) and what they are used for:
Cooking knives are handy for chopping vegetables and fruit for recipes. They should be sharp out of the box and have a comfortable handle.
Bread knives are special knives used to cut slices from a loaf of bread.