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The bread knife

When I moved to France, the one thing I made sure to bring along was my bread knife. It’s not that you can’t get bread knives here, but I was particularly attached to mine, having used it for nearly three decades. It was a good value Victorinox at the time, and if you don’t believe that I’ve had it for so many years, I think I paid about $14 for it, and the list price now is nearly three times higher.

(And for those who live in the Bay Area, I think I might have bought it at Whole Earth Access – if you can remember that far back.)

Of the knife “trilogy” that I think everyone should have – a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife – the first two should be of top quality, since you’ll be chopping on a board and relying on their sturdiness and good blades to cut through firm vegetables and meats.

But you don’t need to buy a super expensive bread knife because it doesn’t take a lot of pounding and abuse. Unless you let someone else use it, which I never do with any of my knives if I can help it. However a very cheap bread knife isn’t a good investment since I made the mistake of getting one…then another one, then another, shown just below…for someone who lacks good cutlery, when I came across them in discount stores. Because – yes, even I am a sucker for a bargain. Eventually the only thing they were good for was filler for the trash bin (actually, they weren’t even good for that) – and I ended up buying him a good-quality bread knife at MORA in Paris last week.

bread knives

A decent bread knife will run you at least $15 – $20, depending where you live and shop. Look for a bread knife with a scalloped blade edge that’s thin and tapers gently into the thicker part of the blade, rather than one with big, widely spaced teeth. The thicker, more jagged teeth aren’t good for getting that first slice into a firm loaf and a knife that can’t cut through hard crusts of country-style loaves of bread can slip, which is dangerous. I’m not convinced you need one with a fancy handle – the blade is the most important element.

(One inexpensive brand that is reliably good is Dexter, which makes polycarbonate-handled knives for professionals, so they are meant to take a lot of abuse, but the serrated blades are often good and sharp. You can find them in restaurant-supply stores and online at Amazon.)

bread knife and bread

Interestingly, this particular knife shown is called a Scie à tourte (tourte sometimes refers to a large loaf of very crusty bread) so it’s specifically up for the challenge of sawing through large round loaves of French bread with a dense exterior. In English, it’s labeled simply as a “bread knife.”

bread, butter and buckwheat honey

If you live in an area with a cutlery or good cookware store, go in and hold a few in your hand. And ask their advice. You don’t need the absolutely best brand and you don’t need to spend a hundred bucks, unless you slice bread for a living. When I bought the knife shown the other day, I saw one that cost nearly €95 – this one was around €28 and works well. And is currently being put to good use, morning ’til night.

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    • Kelsy

    Knives make such a difference in the kitchen. I was just given the most beautiful set for my 21st birthday, and I don’t know how I’ve lived without them this long. It’s safe to say I will never use a bad knife again!
    I didn’t realise there were different types of bread knife, though!

    • Keren

    Thanks as always for sharing the great info. My Frenchman is often reminding me of the importance of the bread knife. He still has the one his mother gave him. Believe it or not but the handle is fashioned out of a deer hoof! Which incidentally is the reason he always cuts the bread ;)

    • Paris Paul

    Rarely have I found such cutting remarks to be so useful! Thanks, David!

    • emmycooks

    Glad to hear I went the right route by cheaping out on my bread knife. Now if only I had a Parisian boule to slice with it! Luckily Seattle has its fair share of excellent crusty breads these days as well–but I do always like seeing the fine-looking breads in your photos.

    • jacqui Muir

    Wish I’d followed your lead and brought my bread knife with me to Shanghai in my luggage. As it is I’m hacking my way through, or in some cases trying to get it sliced by ways of mime! My container should arrive next week then I can get back to proper cooking. Have bought 3 amazing knives here, a chef”s a cleaver and a paring knife. Think I can dispose of all others when they arrive, apart from my bread knife which I am very attached to.

    • Shirley@bells-bakery

    People who dont use a bread knife for bread (when there’s one available) is honestly one of my biggest pet peeves otherwise you end up with squashed bread,drives me nuts!

    • thefrancofly

    Beautiful bread needs the respect of a beautiful knife!

    • Barrie G. Hall

    I’ve used a Victorinox wooden handled bread knife most of my life. Well two. one got worn so bad it was almost straight edged, but hey worked out for the best as it was the best knife I have ever used (the currently worn) to de-skin salmon. Even better then my Global Chef knife.

    • Michelle Beissel

    Your post has enabled me to admit in public our great shame: we are a household sans bread knife. How has that happened in a 22 years long relationship which has involved tons of good bread? We do have proper chef and paring knives. Equipped with the points gotten from this post, I will venture out and get us a friggin’ bread knife finally! Thanks so much for this prod. I am a woman on a mission now and there will be no stopping me, even my significant other’s apathy.

    • Cheri @ The Watering Mouth

    Great post about knives. I find that they are really important as well. My husband bought our bread knife and it’s probably his most prized possession in the kitchen, so much so that he always gives me a menacing look when I use it.

    But that’s okay, because I was the one who invested in our santoku knife and it’s ceramic. So I can reflect the glare back at him when he uses that – which is invariably a lot more often!

    Our (my) ceramic knife I’ve had for about 3 years now and haven’t had any problems with it….other than that it is dulling and they say it needs to be sent away for sharpening. That I haven’t done just because of the time that I will be away from my knife!! You said a while back that you don’t use those, but have you any experience with them now?

    When I was in the store they let me try out the ceramic compared with the Japanese one and I couldn’t believe the difference.

    • Tatiana

    David, thanks so much for writing this and other posts about knives. Recently I needed to buy all new knives and after carefully reading your several posts about knives I purchased:
    Solicut First Class 8- inch Chef’s knife
    Wusthof Gourmet 4-1/2-Inch Serrated Utility knife (you said this was your favorite)
    Victorinox 10-1/4-Inch Wavy Bread Knife Fibrox Handle and
    KYOCERA Ceramic Santoku Knife F 5.5 Inch
    I have to say these knives cover all my kitchen tasks and I love them all! It is truly a joy to have all these knives. Thank you for your advice.

    • Nikki

    I received ‘good’ knives four our wedding 5 years ago and I don’t know how I ever lived with out them. I even travel with my knives if I know there will be some cooking going on, which normally makes my husband roll his eyes…until I threaten him with not cooking, then he is on board.

    • Linn

    Hope the knife is good, the bread seems delicious :)

    • Eddy

    Hi David,
    “une tourte” can also be a savoury tart.

    • Amy

    My bread knife was my great-grandmother’s, is at least 90 years old and is better than anything made these days! It’s made of carbon steel (so needs to be thoughly dried or will rust) and has the oddest serration pattern; 8 teeny-tiny serrations, then a 1/4 inch section of flat blade, back and forth the length of the long blade. It cuts through every kind of bread like buttah!

    I also have my g-grandmother’s bone handled loooong thin carving knives. I use them at least once week and they hold an edge so well that they only need sharpened a few times a year.

    • Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef

    I laughed at the bargain bread knives. I once bought one of those “as seen on tv” bread knives that will cut through tin cans. Yes, still rolling my eyes.

    I love my Wusthof knives though. I couldn’t be happy in the kitchen without them.

    • Helen S. Fletcher

    Bread knives are also really useful for cutting tomatoes as they go through the skin like magic. I found your comment interesting regarding the Dexter knives. As a professional, I have one of their large chef’s knives and I love it.

    • Eileen @ Passions to Pastry

    When a close friend of mine went to Paris a couple of years ago, she brought me back a bread knife from Poilâne. The blade says Déglon. Curious what you might think of it. It slices bread beautifully, but I’m sure when you purchase a knife there you are paying a lot for the name and presentation. I have to say, it does make me feel special every time I use it.

    • lori

    Oh gosh, I totally remember–and loved–Whole Earth Access. It was one of the best places at the time to shop for Apple computers too.

    • Janet

    True story: fresh out of high school, I took a gig selling knives door-to-door for cutco. There was an initial buy-in (the whole thing was kind of pyramid-schemy, but I did end up making money in the end) because the company required that all sellers have their own presentation kit. Meaning I received an impressive set of one of the most expensive cutlery sets on the market. I found myself short on funds and kitchen space during my freshman year of college and decided to sell them (they easily left Ebay totaling $1000) … and have ever since… infinitely regretted the decision. Thanks for recommending some brands that won’t break my bank.

    • Angela

    A decent bread knife is among the things rarely found in a vacation rental kitchen and it’s so frustrating. Of course, I never remember this until I try to slice up a nice loaf purchased at a local bakery or farmer’s market. Next time I’ll pack mine in my checked luggage … wonder if that’s allowed?

    • Anne Moore

    Mon Dieu! You live in Paris and haven’t discovered Poilane’s bread knife? Made for righty’s and lefty”s, insanely sharp. About 65E, I think. Can order it online, too. Makes a great gift, since no one buys themselves a great bread knife.

    • Taipan

    David forgot to mention – make sure the blade is not flexible! I am renting a place now in Paris and the bread knife is one of those cheapos from Tati around the corner. I almost sliced my fingers off on the first day and now it is the most dreaded knife in the kitchen! Every morning when I approach it, it gives me the creeps! I say a little prayer before picking it up! And I give thanks after I managed to split a piece of baguette for my tartine! Shivers! Thanks, David, I may dig deep and head down to MORA for one I can keep around when in Paris. I already have a good one back home!

    • Nuwoman

    I love my IKEA bread knife, it truly cuts throught the crustiest of breads. Now if I only could learn how to cut straught slices, I think only right handed pepole can do that :)

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      In my experience, the knives at Ikea haven’t been great performers (the one at the bottom of the shot of 3 knives is from there) – although they change stock often. I bought a Fiskars orange-handled serrated bread knife a long time ago that was very good (and a good value) as well, but they changed the model and they’re hard to find in France.

    • Sujun

    My mother bought me a bread knife at the San Mateo County Fair in the late 1970’s. It had a life time warranty and is still the only knife I use for bread. We get so attached to our utensils. I can’t imagine using any other.

    • richdad

    Another great article David with mouth-watering pictures – well, the ones with bread in them at least. Silly me, I didn’t realize that if you click on the pictures, they expand and also include a caption, e.g., bread, butter, and buckwheat honey.

    I’m also a fan of Dexter knives going back to the day when my grandfather gave me his Russell barlow knife (the company is Dexter-Russell) for my 10th birthday. It was one he’d been using for who knows how many years and I used it until the blade was beyond sharpening. Anyway, I have a couple of their knives in my knife drawer including a very inexpensive sandwich spreader which is the knife I seem to use most often.

    I’m really frugal about most things but I did splurge on a bread knife from Boulangerie Poilane (their store on Rue Cherche Midi) when I was in Paris recently. So nice to almost effortlessly slice through any bread from one just out of the oven to one that’s been sitting on the counter for a week. Plus it brings back really great memories of all the wonderful pastries I ate there.

    BTW, if we use the link to Amazon in your article to purchase an item, do you get a piece of the action? I hope so!

    • Debbie

    Used to shop at Whole Earth Access all the time – was very sad when it closed down. Would love to find a store like that here in Paris! I brought all my good knives with me & love them to death. Have been wondering when to replace my bread knife – is there a time/way you know it’s done for?

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      It was funny thinking of Whole Earth Access- that certainly was a different era! You can get bread knives sharpened professionally, and some people use a sharpening steel to do it themselves, using the steel between each “tooth.”

    • Omar

    I purchased a Wüsthof bread knife. Deb over at smittenkitchen advised that it was worth it to get a very good one, not only for bread but for evenly halving cakes and such. I love it and believe it was worth every penny of the $100 or so I paid for it.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I actually have a German bread knife, too (and not sure if it’s Wüsthof or Henkels..) and it’s very good, but they are an investment. Most people can make do with a less-expensive knife, if necessary, and I don’t want to put words in Deb’s mouth, but often a “very good one” doesn’t have to mean pricey – I used my $14 bread knife for about 30 years as a pastry cook and chef and it worked well.

    • Maribel

    I have had the victorinox too for several years now. Great knife.

    • Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    Great tips, and that loaf looks divine!

    • Charlene V.

    You can definitely put knives in your checked luggage (I always put mine into a Messermeister Edge-Guard sheath). I have done so since we were visiting relatives one Christmas. I was baking cookies and asked for a knife and chopping board to chop nuts–I got a dull 3″ paring knife and an oval board the size of a dessert plate! I got by but have traveled with a chef’s knife ever since–may need to add a bread knife as well now!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I put knives in checked luggage all that time, but I wrap them well, in cloth dishtowels, tape them shut, and write in large letters on masking tape: SHARP KNIVES. Because sometimes luggage gets opened by screeners and I don’t what them to get an unpleasant surprise…

    • Gina DeVee

    The toast looks UH-MAZING! Love your blog…thanks for what you do!

    • White

    I concur with a couple of the comments above, in that a good bread knife is multi-purpose (i.e.: not just slicing bread), and I don’t mean opening cans or some other DIY project, but how one could do without is beyond me.

    A bit off-topic: I have never adopted the old technique of ‘sawing’ bread against one’s chest. Is the technique just a “ritualistic cultural” artifact? It seems so. It appears to be a ceremonial gesture, what with the usual pinching of the resultant sliced-off pieces between the thumb and blade and making the “offer” of bread to table companions (perhaps a symbolic reference to a “breaking bread” ritual). Not sure I have described the ‘gesture’ well… It makes sense only in that without a third hand, one would have to put down either the loaf or the knife, repeatedly, make the offering, and start all over for each slice. But offering with a knife pointed in the recipient’s direction seems, at best, awkward…

    • BelleD

    We have a Meissermeister (sp?) and while it’s not cheap, it’s one of my favorite knives for not just bread, but slicing tomatoes and any thin-skinned soft fruit or vegetable. We’ve had it for at least 10 years and with a once a year sharpening, it’s a dangerously sharp but excellent performer in the kitchen.

    • Susan

    I’m gulity of falling for the bargain brand bread knife..three times! Yes.! I have three useless bread knives. Fortunately, I have this wonderful (and also, cheap) serrated steak knife that I found cuts bread like a chainsaw cuts works so well that I finally quit looking. I will keep the Victorinox in mind now, though as I do need a long knife on occasion.

    • kitchenriffs

    Decades ago I found an old-style bread knife in an antique store — the blade is made of carbon steel, and it has a wavy scalloped edge that cuts through any bread gently and perfectly. The handle is junk, but you don’t cut with the handle. And the blade will outlast me. And I think it might have cost me as much as $2! Anyway, good post — thanks.

    • Diane@2stews

    This post serendipitously parallels a conversation that my son and I had over the weekend. He has just moved into his first apartment without roommates and was ready to buy a good set of knives. I had already gotten him the medium quality bread knife when he first made his own sourdough starter to make bread regularly. Then I got the cutting boards and now the knife discussion began. He decided to have exactly the trio you mentioned and we ordered a chefs knife and paring knife from the Dexter website on Sunday. A friend of his who knows all about knives recommended Dexter-Russell, and now your post! I just forwarded it to him and I’m sure it will bring a smile, as it did to me. We have always valued your opinion. Thanks!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Those Dexter knives are quite good and because the handles are inexpensive poly carbonate, they cost a lot less than fancier knives. Most restaurants have a few on hand because they get battered around a lot and can be easily replaced. Glad your son found a place of his own!

    • BarbF

    David — sorry for the off-topic question, but I wanted to ask you about the Tiramisu ice cream recipe in your very excellent Perfect Scoop (which I finally purchased last week). I made the base, per instructions, and chilled it overnight in the fridge. Next day, I churned it up in my Cuisinart ice cream machine, and it came out soooo terribly grainy, almost chalky. Can you think of what might have gone wrong? The flavor was good, but it was pretty much un-servable. (The cherry almond I made, however, came out FANTASTIC!).

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      It may have something to do with the mascarpone you used. For that recipe, I used regular, store-bought mascarpone since I figured that what most people have on hand. Some brands, however, may be dried than others. (Ice cream that comes out chalky is often overchurned, which makes the butter separate out.)

      You can try melting it down and tasting the mixture; if it feels chalky, blend it up well, then re-churn it.

    • Lee

    My favorite santoku was bought 9+ years ago at a farmer’s market in Taiwan, forged from unexploded armaments left over from the conflict over the little islands 0f Quemoy and Matsu just off the coast of China in 1954 (Anyone remember?). I liked the “swords into plowshares” image. But the knife has turned out to be excellent, and I’m sorry I didn’t buy other sizes.

    • penandra

    I’m guessing you found your knife at the Whole Earth Access that used to be on Ashby in Berkeley. It was such a great store . . . I always found things there that I didn’t know that I needed!

    • Sheri

    I agree whole-heartedly. I have been carrying and using the same knives for over twenty years now and my bread knife is still as sharp as the day I bought it, so important to buy quality.

    • RH

    I remember getting our Ma a Cusinart food processor from Whole Earth Access off of Ashby. It was a investment and big deal for us back then. Ahhh, the memories…

    • donna

    I have great knives, mostly Wusthof, but the bread knife is a cheapie Trend Basics from Target. Works just fine. ;^)

    • Roxanne

    I can’t believe how long I went without a bread knife! I bought an $18 one from Target last fall and I absolutely love it. I can’t recall the brand name, but it received great reviews on Amazon. It’s also great for cutting tomatoes.

    • Freda Cameron

    You are so correct about the three most important knives. I’ve been using Wusthof (more than the import 3) for going on 15 years now. I treat them well and they serve me well.

    Now–where’s the recipe for that bread in your photos?

    • Elizabeth

    Wow, this post “tombe à pic”! My husband and I have spent the last 2 days looking for our bread knife, which has mysteriously disappeared (how that’s possible in an apartment this size, I’ll never know). This must be the universe’s way of telling me to buy a new one…

    • Jenny

    We had a set of knives that my husband brought into the marriage and had them for 25 years when we passed then onto our son who was moving into a place of his own.We then bought a set of Furi knives, an Australian brand I think, that are molded from one piece of steel – so no joins to the handle to get dirty or start to shift over time. They have been a great investment, bread knife included. After too many frustrating experiences at relatives and holiday homes I always take along a trusty $7 victornox serrated knife with the colored plastic handle. They can handle almost any cutting task even bread, if you are careful. As they are so cheap, I don’t weep if I forget to bring it home and indeed sometimes deliberately leave them with friends and relatives for next time.

    • MIke

    My bread knife is really indispensable. Took me a while to find it though, because I wanted an offset blade, which I makes handling it even easier than a straight blade. I also use it to slice tomatoes–great even for the thinnest slices.

    • Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen)

    I, too, recently replaced my decade old bread knife. Then I promptly sliced through my palm when cutting a bun. Whoops! I guess the old one was pretty dull!

    • Gavrielle

    I bought a Wusthof bread knife last year after years of using a terrible ancient blunt cheapie and was thrilled at how wonderful it was to use. I used to use an electric knife to cut homemade bread but now, unless the bread is very soft, I don’t bother. What a revelation! (It’s also excellent for cutting the rind off pineapple, although I feel guilty every time I do it. I’m sure the knifemeisters at Wusthof would be horrified.)

    • Michelle

    I once brought homemade bread to a night class where we took turns bringing food. Naturally, I brought my bread knife and cutting board along. During break, a classmate said, “This knife is great for cutting bread!” “It’s a bread knife,” says I. The student was shocked that such a thing existed.

    • Kate

    I LOVED this post as I have a love affair with a $3.99 bread knife I bought over 35 years ago. I have bought many great knives over the years but my favorite bread knife was less than $5. I’ve taken it with me everywhere we’ve ever lived and it’s never let me down – now that’s a deal. I hope I never have to replace it but I see you have the same high standards so I’ll keep your recommendation just in case. Thanks.

    • Mitch

    My bread knife is from Dexter-Russel with a SOFGRIP (TM) offset handle. I was an immediate convert to the bread knife when I first got one. I heartily recommend choosing a bread knife with an offset handle. It gives a bit better control and no knocking of knuckles on the cutting board or counter!

    • richdad

    Mon Dieu Gavrielle – I also had an electric knife that I used to slice bread in the 80s (that seems like so long ago). I haven’t used it in ages but I was really surprised that there are almost 70 different models of electric knives listed on Amazon! Does anyone still use one?

    • Nikki

    Amazing what you come across on the internet:
    The Bread-Knife Ballad

    A little child was sitting up on her mother’s knee
    And down down her cheeks the bitter tears did flow.
    And as I sadly listened I heard this tender plea,
    ‘Twas uttered in a voice so soft and low.

    “Not guilty” said the jury and the judge said “Set her free,
    But remember it must not occur again.
    And next time you must listen to you little daughter’s plea,”
    Then all the Court did join in this refrain.

    “Please Mother don’t stab Father with the bread-knife,
    Remember ’twas a gift when you were wed.
    But if you must stab Father with the bread-knife,
    Please Mother use another for the BREAD.”

    by Robert William Service

    • Kim Uyyek

    I love my bread knife from Pampered Chef. It has served me well for over 15 years. However, now that I’ve heard about the Poilane bread knife, I’m thinking that I’ll splurge for one the next time I’m in Paris.

    • Renee

    David, thanks for writing on this topic. I’ve been obsessed with bread making lately and have thought the same way of my bread knife which I purchased many years ago for a moderate price. Happy bread slicing!

    • JennEm

    Though I did not get a Victorinox bread knife, I bought several small paring knives by Victorinox in Geneva some years back. They were absurdly cheap and work so well. I also love a general purpose cutting knife I was gifted by a friend from Japan which lasted me 10 years without any sharpening (though you are supposed to). At the beginning it was frightening to use as it was so very sharp – it could cut paper with ease. The blade is single sided steel and very fine. It was very light in hand. I have never had a better knife and miss it. Still trying to find something equivalent.

    • Laura Thielen

    While I love cooking and normally don’t abuse tools, I have to say cheap bread knives are great for cutting sod and other garden tasks.

    • Olivia

    Is a real pain to have a bad knife, not only a bread one, but any. Like you, I brought mine to Europe, but…I made an awesome investment here in Germany. The Ceramic Sharpener from Wüsthof. I swear on this one, believe me. I have never been so happy with it because not only sharpens Wüsthofs knives perfectly, but those inexpensive knives that you buy at the supermarket it leaves them like a japanese knife. It’s a real investment, but you will be 100% satisfied!
    I don’t represent Wüsthof…hehe

    • Tota in SF

    David, please forgive another off topic question, but I am throwing a dinner party in Paris this weekend, with Terresa cooking her vegetarian specialties, and….I want to toss in a poached salmon for the guests who might like a bit more. I asked the fish people at Lafayette Gourmet if they could do something, but to no avail. I really don’t want to go the Hediard/Fauchon route but our rented flat in the 4ieme is not equipped for my cooking. Any thoughts of who might be able to prepare something like this? I may just have to use smoked salmon..but thought it worth an ask. Thanks!

    Hi Tota: There are lots of traiteurs in various neighborhoods, tht won’t break the bank like the places you mentioned. Check around for these take-away places, which vary by neighborhood. Or ask at a local fish market for a nearby place. -dl

    • jeff

    Do you know anything about this model?

    It seems the same, but with a simpler handle, and much less expensive…

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I haven’t used that particular knife with the plastic handle, but the wood one was a favorite of mine. It likely is the same blade – and the price difference is because of the handle, but I can’t say for sure.

    • Notes on Dinner

    My cousin refers to our bread knife as “the bread saber”. Then she rolls her eyes. It is the silliest piece of kitchen equipment I own but as it was a wedding present, I can’t seem to give it up. It came from a posh furniture store in San Francisco, called Limn – at least it was posh in the ’90’s. This “saber” is too heavy, it’s handle has weird raised decorative studs which make it uncomfortable to grip, it has embarrassing curlicues on the handle. It’s very heavy blade has exaggerated teeth that tear up the crust and destroy the crumb. It’s just horrible. The bread knife I always choose is a cheap, flexible one we’ve had for years. It’s Swedish and it will cut any bread beautifully.

    • Anne Bourget

    Until recently I had been using an inexpensive and serviceable bread knife. Then I bought a 10-inch Wusthof Classic bread knife, which is a world of difference. Granted, my old knife was a serrated cheapie and I paid $110 (on sale!) for the Wusthof. The length of the blade, weight of knife, design, and sharpness make the going such a joy. While I usually go for high quality kitchenware, I didn’t think it really mattered when it came to a bread knife. I does. Only wish I had purchased the Wusthof Classic sooner.

    • Joann

    As always, you tell the truth—a bread knife is essential; I LOVE mine—-thank you for sharing and I so agree with your choice.

    • Emma

    I really like my under-ten-dollar Komachi bread knife. It replaced a much more expensive but thick-bladed and unwieldy bread knife that I had been struggling with for years.

    • Carolyn Z

    I’ve used a wood handled Dexter serrated bread knife for many years. Bought at the local restaurant supply for $14, I first used this model at the bakery where I worked. It slices bread very easily, and is handy for splitting cake layers.

    A fun day is to go to the restaurant supply and buy utensils that I need. I spent many happy hours at the Whole Earth Access on Ashby in Berkeley buying things I didn’t know I needed and didn’t know existed. I too was sad when it closed.

    • Linda

    I think I am off to buy a new bread knife, thanks for the recommendation on the Dexter bread knife.. We bake our own bread here at home and I was limping along with my old knife, Time for a new one to cut our rye bread..

    • Leigh

    Just this week replaces my 20+ year old bread knife with a Victorinox and got the 8″ chef to go with it, to supplement my 6″ Henckels. Also found our that Sur La Table in Pike Place Market does knife sharpening and I am in heaven! Totally sliced my finger last night though. … Always have to bloody a new knife…

    • eran

    Hi David, i wish all my customers would buy a good bread knife and slice their bread at home. They don’t care if the bread slicer machine simply massacars the bread, they seems too lazy to do it by themselves. it’s a pitty, because sliced bread will loose its freshness. Besides, it is such a beatiful and ancestral gestutre. i noly refuse to slice hot fresh bread.
    cheers, eran

    • ken gallant

    Oh yes, “Whole Earth Access!!’…Great store! I have a lovely navy blue fleece blanket made by a company called “Acorn” from Maine that I have had for many years and is still in mint condition. So hard to find things like that now.

    • nick

    Lots of folk find it hard to see why a professional would pay a premium for some thing that looks more or less the same. I have tools which will accept an incredible amount of abuse – cost the earth – but some are 40 years old.
    Knives are the same. Think of what sharp is. A piece of steel tapering down to nothing. Thick to thin to no longer there. At some point you have an edge a few molecules wide. If the steel is not able to hold itself together it chips and you have not sharp and bits of steel in your food.
    Steel that is capable of being finely sharped, will hold that edge for as long as possible and be re sharpenable iin your own home is not cheap, and even good stuff can be easily ruined.
    Most of my knives are Dick Pro, do all the above and are well balanced and suit my hands.
    My big sis has bad rheumatoid arthritis and can no longer grip. I found an Opinel bread knife in France. Not too expensive (she’s a minimalist and throws everything away she doesn’t like) and she found she can grip the wooden handle (higher friction than plastic) much easier and it has so far cuts beautifully.
    ps. 3? what about a knife for oysters? palette knife?

    • Steven

    I haven’t thought of Whole Earth Access in years! Loved, loved, loved that store. The one on Bayshore Blvd in SF, which I think was where Lowe’s is now, and the one in Berkeley. I went to both often and purchased lots of housewares and clothing from them. I wish a store like that still existed here. Thanks for reminding me of it!

    • Alyse

    Thank you so much for recommending the Dexter bread knife. After some research, I found a 10″ Dexter at a local place and I love it.

    • betty in munich

    My bread knife is a Wüsthof Grand Prix II 23 cm, worth every penny of the 69€ I paid for it. Then again, living in Munich, eating all that wonderful German bread and not buying a German made knife would be sacrilege right? I purchased a felt knife slide cover thing (again from Wüsthof) and keep said knife hidden in my tea towel drawer so guests don’t inadvertently use it. Well, I guess now everyone knows where it is… ; )


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