Thursday, October 8, 2020
If you’re new to the culinary world, after reading the title you may be asking yourself -- what is a commercial knife? In general terms, a commercial product is something that is in regular production and sold in large quantities to the general public or an industry at catalog or market prices. Therefore, commercial products are mass produced with the intention of being sold to a wide range of consumers -- but this does not mean the quality of the product is sacrificed.
A commercial product can still be a high quality item rather than a bottom self item that will only last a few months. When it comes to knives, selecting a single knife or a set to buy is a difficult task for professional chefs and avid at-home cooks alike. For a chef, a knife is the equivalent of a paint brush to an artist or an extension of their dominant hand. Serious thought and debate goes into purchasing the right knife for them.
We will discuss how commercial knives are made to help you find the right one for your preferences. Keep reading and we will discuss:
- Knife Construction
- Knife Anatomy
- Knife Care
- Best Commercial Knives
The Two Types
When it comes to purchasing the right knife for your needs, it all comes down to preference. Some professional chefs swear by one type of knife while others would only purchase the other. The two types are -- stamped and forged knives. Both have pros and cons and can be high quality knives.
The main visible difference between forged and stamped knives is the presence of a bolster on a forged knife. A bolster is the thick area acting as a junction between the handle and the blade -- it reveals the original thickness of the metal before it was forged.
Forged knives are made by heating and pounding a piece of steel into the desired style of knife. They are usually made by an expert and are more expensive, but higher quality than their counterparts. They typically feature a full tang design -- meaning the steel of the blade extends to the handle, sometimes being encased within the handle. This provides more balance and support throughout the knife and benefits with an easily controlled and comfortable cutting motion.
Back to the bolster, it offers many desirable features you may be looking for in your next knife. It provides a smooth transition to the blade and can benefit the user in many ways -- it strengthens the knife by adding durability and balance. Since the handle is often lighter than the blade, the bolster acts as a counter-balance by adding more weight to the handle -- this improves control. A bolster can also protect your fingers from the blade -- when chopping meats or fruits with slimy or slippery textures, the bolster can stop this from being transferred to your fingers.
One disadvantage of a knife with a bolster is not being able to use the full length of the knife. Similarly, sharpening a knife with a bolster can be more difficult.
A stamped knife is more self-explanatory. It is stamped from a single piece of metal, resulting in a thinner and lighter blade. They are typically less expensive than forged knives. They usually feature a half-tang design, meaning the steel ends where the handle begins and does not carry the whole way through from tip to end.
As we’ve mentioned, stamped knives do not feature a bolster. Mostly all kitchen prep tasks can be done with a knife that does not have a bolster. Stamped knives do not differ in performance from forged knives. Simply, one does not perform better than the other.
The main difference between the two is felt because they differ in weight. Since forged knives are full tang with a bolster, they are often heavier whereas stamped knives are more lightweight. Therefore, the best knife for you comes down to what you’re looking for in a knife. The benefits of a full tang forged knife equipped with a bolster are extra protection and better balance, but stamped knives are lightweight which gives you more freedom and easier mobility with your movements.
Learn the Body of Your Knife
Picture yourself holding a knife in both of your hands -- the tip in your left hand and the handle in your right. From the tip, the upper straight edge of the knife is called the spine, the bottom curve is the cutting edge that straightens out into the heel. The heel will go into the bolster if you’re using a forged knife, if not it will go straight into the handle. The handle is then the part of the knife you hold in the palm of your hand with rivets holding the handle in place.
Does any of this matter when choosing a knife? The tip is probably the most important part of a knife’s anatomy. The tip is responsible for piercing, cutting, and separating. A pointed tip works best if you’ll be piercing most of your ingredients, whereas a rounded tip is better for cutting and slicing through bread with hard crust or fruits and vegetables with skins that bruise easily.
Different styles of knives feature blades with different edges -- straight, serrated, and hollow are the main three. Straight edge knives result in a smooth, clean cut. Serrated knives feature wavy or scalloped edges that are made to cut through ingredients with hard or tough skins/exteriors and delicate, easily crushed insides like crusty bread, tomatoes, and citrus fruits. A hollow style knife can be identified by the wells indented on the blade. The wells create air pockets that prevent ingredients from sticking to the knife and allow for thinner slices. This type of knife is better for foods high in starch, like potatoes.
Get the Most Out of Your Purchase
Purchasing a new knife or set of knives is an investment depending on the type of knife, quality, and kitchen needs your knife will have to accomplish. Therefore, like any investment, you’ll want to properly care for it so it lasts longer and you get your money’s worth out of it.
With each use, you should wash your knife in warm, soapy water, dry and properly store the knife so the blade is protected. However, that is not all. With each use the blade edge will become dull and the angle with change over time. So, you’ll need to sharpen and hone your knife to keep it in top shape, just like the day you bought it.
A knife sharpener will sharpen the blade. A honing rod will bring the edge of the blade back to center. A honing rod shaves off little steel while realigning the edge of your blade -- so it will appear sharper even though you didn’t sharpen it. Honing and sharpening will keep your blade in the best possible shape so you will be able to use it for longer.
The Best Commercial Knives
That Won’t Break the Bank
The three main types of knives you’ll need to accomplish all of your professional or at-home cooking tasks are a chef’s knife, paring knife, and serrated knife. These three essentials can accomplish anything and everything, other knives are a great addition, but not necessary to have unless you prefer.
A chef’s knife is a cook’s right hand. This knife does it all -- it’s an all-purpose tool that chops, slices, minces, dices, and cuts through bone. If you were only going to purchase one knife for the rest of your life, this is the one.
A paring knife is a smaller knife -- about 3.5 inches and has the same general purpose as a chef’s knife. The only difference between the two is the size. The smaller paring knife can accomplish those finely detailed, small tasks that are too intricate for a large chef’s knife to handle.
Lastly, a serrated knife with a wavy edge is your go-to for slicing through ingredients that are hard on the outside, but soft on the inside. You want to keep the structural integrity of your ingredient so the wavy edge helps tear through the outer exterior without damaging the insides.
The knives we’ve featured are made from 67 layers of Damascus steel that is put through vacuum heat and cryogenic treatments for added durability. The Pakkawood handles are sealed to resist moisture so you can feel secure and confident wielding these tools. These are high quality knives that will easily accomplish all of your kitchen needs -- the best part is the affordable price that speaks for itself.