Slice Better: The Benefits of a Good Bread Knife

One of the kitchen’s most misunderstood tools, the bread knife is nonetheless essential.

Loaf of bread on a cutting board
Crusty bread with a soft interior is no problem for a bread knife.Pixabay

The bread knife—long, thin and broadly serrated—is an essential knife to have in any kitchen. Here are a few things you need to know to get the right one for you.

Mercer Culinary Millennia Wide Wavy Edge Bread Knife, 10-Inch, Black
Textured finger points help prevent slipping.Mercer Culinary

Bread knives are ideal for slicing delicate foods that you don’t want to smush. Ideally a bread knife should slice through food with very little effort on your part, and hardly any pressure. That makes it perfect for slicing bread, but it’s also great for really delicate products, especially tomatoes. A bread knife will slice a beautiful, thin round of a tomato, without forcing the seeds and guts to spurt out.

Cutluxe Bread Knife – 10 Inch Serrated Edge Kitchen Knife Forged of High Carbon German Steel – Ergonomic Handle – Full Tang Razor Sharp Blade for Slicing Breads Cakes and Large Fruits
Hand-sharpened to cut through the crustiest of loaves.Cutluxe

Bread knives are long and thin, with a serration that’s more spaced out than, say, a steak knife. Unlike a chef’s knife, which should be rigid, you want a bread knife to be a little flexible—but just a little; you certainly don’t want it to ever snap away from the handle. To avoid that dangerous fate, look for a “full tang” knife. Full tang means that the metal part of the blade extends all the way through the interior of the handle, giving it more stability and sturdiness.

Victorinox Swiss Army 8" Serrated Bread Knife 1-piece Black Fibrox Handle
Made with an ergonomic, non-slip grip.Victorinox

It can be tempting, because bread knives cut so easily, to use them for pretty much everything. But they are tough to sharpen, so they will eventually get dull and have to be replaced. Save your bread knife for things that are tough to cut with other tools, like loaves, bagels, cakes and soft fruits.

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