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November 02, 2016 1 Comment
Whether you need a new knife, some help keeping it sharp or a little brush up on your skills, we got you covered. (We also have covers for your knives!) One of the most important aspects of owning knives is the upkeep.
As you use your knife you create burrs, a rounding (read “dulling”) of the edge that causes the knife to slip rather than cut. Honing gets rid of these burrs and is something you can and should do at home on a daily to weekly basis (depending on the knife and usage). You can do this in one of two ways. The most common is by using a steel, (that long, rod looking thing in your knife block). It’s not difficult and our staff is happy to show you how to properly use this tool. (Ignore how you see people use them on TV!) Stuart shows you how in the video below.
If you feel uncomfortable using a steel, then a pull-through device might be for you. With these devices, the angle is set for you making it much easier for novices and pros alike to maintain a great edge. Which pull-through device you get might depend on what knives you have, but here is one of our favorites that can work for a variety of knife types, the KitchenIQ Angle Adjust.
Sharpening is needed about every six months when the knife has flattened out some and honing doesn’t bring back the edge like it should. Many pull through devices can do this as well, or you can have it done at one of our stores (we are now offering inexpensive, while-you-wait knife sharpening at both stores). After sharpening, wash the knives in warm water and remember to be careful handling them because they are now sharper!
We’ll sharpen your knives for free on Saturday November 19th at our Half Moon Bay store! Click here for details.
Selecting a knife is a very personal thing. The feel of the handle in your hand, the weight and rock of the knife as you cut, slice, mince and chop--all of these things can vary from cook to cook. However, if the knife you choose is well-made it will last you a lifetime and make your tasks a pleasure and not a chore. Our staff is here to help you select the right knife for you, but in the meantime here is a list of terms and tips that will help you in the process.
Holding a Knife– The best way to hold a chef knife is to pinch lightly with your thumb and forefinger where the bolster (see definition below) and blade meet, and then wrap your remaining fingers comfortably around the handle. This gives you the best control because you are at the pivot point of the knife.
Stamped vs. Forged Blades – Stamped blades are punched from a single sheet of steel and a handle is attached; they often lack the balance, sharpness and tensile strength of the forged blade. They are typically less expensive, but may need to be sharpened more frequently than a forged knife. Forged blades go through dozens of steps to create a temper and shape that create a stronger, sharper knife.
Bolster – The bolster is a shaft of metal where the handle and the blade meet found on forged knives. It helps create balance, giving the cook better control in the knife.
Tang – The tang is the shaft of metal that runs along the back spine of the knife and adds balance. The tang should be at the very least three quarters through the handle, but preferably a full tang that goes to the end of the handle.
Metal – Most knives today are made from High Carbon Stainless Steel, which combines the superior edge quality and maintenance of carbon steel as well as the stain resistant qualities of stainless steel.
Weight – The heft of a knife is a personal preference. European knives tend to be thicker and heavier, letting the weight of the knife do the work for you, where Asian knives tend to be thinner and lighter, following the “path of least resistance” and reducing fatigue if you are cutting for longer periods of time.
Hollow Ground – This is a scallop that alternates on either side of the blade creating not only a fine edge, but the hollows help release surface tension, creating the ability to get very thin slices of meat or fish.
Cleaning – Hand wash your knives and towel dry. Never put them in a sink full of water or in the dishwasher, as this could damage the blade and other items (and fingers).
Storage – Keep knives in a block on the counter or in a drawer. If storing in a drawer, make sure to use an edge guard of some sort; it protects the knife AND your fingers.
What you cut ON is just as important was what you cut WITH. Glass, marble, granite, porcelain and those cheap white plastic boards are BIG NO-NOS. These will dull your knives
Quality wood boards, or cutting boards from Epicurean Surfaces are what we recommend.
Wusthof Knife Sets – we have 2, 3 or 7-piece knife sets to meet your needs, and if those don’t work, spend $300 on open stock knives and get a free 7-Slot block with shears and a steel for free!
Wusthof Classic Ikon Sale – ALL knives in the Ikon line are on sale! We have found the rounder handles of these knives feel better to people with either larger or smaller hands because of the fullness of the handle.
Shun Kanso 7” Santoku – Kanso means “simplicity”, and that is exactly what this knife exemplifies. AUS10, a high carbon vanadium stainless steel with a rustic look for strength and durability and a simple contoured tagayason wood handle completes the look. Normally $114.95 now $89.95.
Shun Dual Core Kiritsuke – The Dual-Core line from Shun uses two hard metals of various strengths, VG10 and VG2, so that the edge wears down at slightly different rates, creating micro-serrations to keep the edge razor sharp. Normally $299.99, now $239.99
Go to our Half Moon Bay or Santa Cruz Facebook Page and tell us which knife in your kitchen you absolutely can't live without. You’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win this 5-Piece Knife Set (a $199.95 value)! Winner will be chosen at random at the end of the month.
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