Bread Knife

What is a Bread Knife and Why Every Kitchen Needs One

A bread knife is a specialty knife designed to cut through the bread crust without compressing its soft interior in the process.  The key design point is the frequency and width of the serrations.  In some cases there is a straight blade section on either end of the bread knife with a longer serrated section in the middle.  Serrated bread knives are often ground on only one side – called a single-bevel blade.  Low-frequency serrations – lower number and wider spacing of teeth – help the blades glide through bread quickly and cleanly.  What is a bread knife good at cutting?  Basically anything with a hard skin or crust.



KNIFE BLADE SHAPE

A bread knife is shaped similar to the Santoku knife with 2 differences – it is serrated teeth and is much longer.  The idea behind the length of the blade is it allows the cook to cut large surfaces in long, smooth strokes – much like a saw in carpentry.  The serrated teeth help the knife grip the bread’s surface, keeping it straight and steady without having to apply downward pressure that might compress the loaf.



BREAD KNIFE SIZE

Bread knives come in length varying from 6″ to 14″ – the right size depends on what you will be cutting most frequently.  For the average home cook an 8″ (20 cm) blade is the right length as it is long enough to cut though most large breads yet short enough to control easily.  If the blade is too long it may flex while cutting – making cutting straight difficult for home cooks.



WHEN TO USE IT

Whether freshly baked or several days old the bread knife can handle cutting straight and smooth with ease.  Soft white bread or crusty artisan bread poses no problems for a Kikusumi bread knife.  Bread is not the only use for this knife – it is great for cutting through both soft cakes (sponge) and dense cakes (pound cakes) even when freshly baked.  Hard skin fruit like pineapple or vegetables like pumpkin can also be peeled with the bread knife so long as one is careful not to flex the blade.



BEST BREAD  KNIFE

In addition to slicing breads, bagels, and rolls, your bread knife can also slice through tough-skinned bell peppers and tomatoes.  The serrated blade will gently cut through a tougher skin without crushing the juicy interior.  It is also great for cutting away the rind of watermelons, honeydew. And it’s perfect for slicing other baked goods, such as cakes.

Kikusumi bread knife was designed with a straight blade section on the front and back end of the blade.  The idea behind it its that the straight edge easily cuts through hard crusts while the serrated center section grips and smoothly slices the bread.  The result is that the Kikusumi bread knife makes a very clean cut, creating beautifully thin slices with minimal crumbs.

CHEF KNIFE

What is a Chef Knife ?

The most versatile knife for a cook to own is unquestionably what is known in the west as the chef knife .  It can be used for jobs of all sizes including cutting, slicing, chopping, and mincing.  The blade has a long flowing curve that allows it to slide effortlessly through vegetables, fruit or meat.  It is a high-performance knife for everyday tasks like chopping herbs, dicing and slicing meats.  It will be the workhorse knife in your kitchen so it is important that it feels comfortable to use.



CHEF KNIFE SHAPE

A Chef knife has a long profile with a wide and slightly curved blade to allow it to rock forward as you slice.  It’s length allows for larger quantities of ingredients to be chopped at once.  The heel of the blade tends to be wider and thicker which makes it useful for cutting thicker vegetables because it allows the user to apply greater downward force while keeping the blade stable.



CHEF KNIFE SIZE

Chef’s knives normally are offered in blade lengths running from 6 to 12 inches.  The idea is the longer the blade the larger the job it can do.  It sounds great in theory but the reality is there comes a point at which the blade is too long to control effectively.  For most people the ideal chef knife is somewhere between 7 and 10 inches.



WHEN TO USE A CHEF  KNIFE

Some cooks use the chef knife for almost every cutting job in the kitchen except for very small produce or boning.  Due to its size it is ideal for mincing or chopping through larger quantities of ingredients.



ROOTS OF THE CHEF KNIFE

The roots of a chef knife can be traced through 3 main channels – German, French, and Japanese.  German knife design has a wide belly that narrows along its curved edge all the way to the blade tip.  The idea is that the knife can be used with a rocking motion during cutting.  A French chef knife has a much straighter edge at its base and only starts to curve near the knife tip.  French and German knife blades are heavier and made of softer stainless steel.  They will need to be sharpened frequently.

A traditional Japanese chef knife—called a gyuto—has a straight edge and curves slightly toward the tip like the French blade.  The difference is that qualty Japanese knives are made of harder steel and have a much thinner blade.  As a result it is precision sharp, agile, and requires less frequent sharpening. 



BEST CHEF KNIFE

Designed in Japan, the Kikusumi 7-inch Chef’s Knife is formed from zirconium which is second only to diamond on the hardness scale.  The blade is thin and precise like Japanese steel knives yet won’t dull quickly like the softer steel knives.  It is also lighter than steel blades which gives it an extra agile cutting ability.

 

SANTOKU KNIFE

What is a Santoku Knife and What Makes it Ideal for any Kitchen?

What is a Santoku knife?” might be difficult to answer for most Americans and Europeans to answer.  The word santoku means “three virtues” and refers to the three types of cuts at which it excels—slicing, dicing, and chopping. For Japanese cooks a Santoku knife is the equivalent of the chef knife for the Western cook. Multiple oval indentations are ground into the side of the blade to help release the food as it slices.  This is especially useful with fruit and protein where the moistness normally makes it stick to the blade.

Put simply, the Santoku is an all-purpose knife with a uniformly wide blade designed for slicing, dicing and mincing both large and small ingredients.  Perfect for the home cook, this daily-use knife is ideal for preparing most fruit, vegetables and boneless meats, fish or poultry.



UNIQUE KNIFE SHAPE

With a blade that is the same width across its length and has a squared rather than a pointy end.  The blade is uniformly wide, which makes it great for peeling cylindrical vegetables like daikon or carrots horizontally.  Across the center of the blade oval-shaped cuts have been carved into the blade to help it release while it is cutting.



IDEAL BLADE SIZE

A santoku is an all-purpose kitchen knife that comes in 2 sizes.  One size is similar to the chef’s knife while the mini-size is more similar in length to a utility knife.  The 5″ (12.5 cm) mini-santoku can be used for small to medium cutting jobs in the kitchen.  A larger 5.5″ (14cm) santoku knife is considered the standard size blade in Japan.  Although larger blades can sometimes be found they are not ideal as the compactness and width of the blade is what brings out its special qualities.  If the blade is longer the knife becomes more difficult to maneuver which in turn reduces consistency and cutting speed.  Choose either the mini or standard blade depending on what sizes of fruit and vegetables you use most.  Kikusumi offers a mini-santoku in the 3 kitchen knife set as well as a 5.5″ knife sold individually.



WHEN TO USE A SANTOKU

Useful for almost any job the Santoku knife is the one most commonly used by Japanese cooks. Vegetables, fruit, fish or boneless meat can be prepared successfully with a santoku knife because its wide blade makes even cutting more consistent and easier.  A mini version of this knife achieves the best results with smaller and medium size vegetables and fruit like a kiwi.  A 5.5″ (14 cm) blade does better with larger vegetables like daikon and onion.

When cutting larger quantities of ingredients, lighter knives will cause less fatigue compared to heavier knives.  The blade profile of a Santoku is straight so that controlling the thickness of slices is easy.  The thin blades on these knives make precision cutting effortless.  Cutting with this uniquely shaped knife use a slight forward motion as the knife descends vertically. Once you get used to it you’ll find that you have much more control over the knife and the thickness of the cut.  The santoku knife offers similar benefits to a typical Western chef’s knife but with the benefit of being lighter in weight and wider in blade which makes it easier to control.

Knife Care

Ceramic Knife Maintenance

 

Following a few simple rules will result in your ceramic knife staying sharper and lasting longer.  When you first buy your knife it is sharp and looks great – wouldn’t it be great to keep it that way?  The following is list of Do’s and Don’ts for proper ceramic knife maintenance.



KNIFE CARE

DO
  1. Cut on a wood or plastic cutting board to avoid chipping
  2. Hand wash with warm, soapy water
  3. Allow knife to air dry
  4. Store your knife in its safety cover or a knife block when not in use
DO NOT
  1. Drop ceramic knife on hard surfaces
  2. Cut on stone, marble, metal or glass
  3. Cut frozen food or bones
  4. Use the knife for work that requires twisting of flexing the blade
  5. Apply force to the side of the blade (eg. smashing garlic)


KNIFE MAINTENANCE + STORAGE

  • Store in a knife block / sheath / tray or on a dish drain
  • Use care when storing and removing the knife from a knife block to avoid tip damage
  • Storing any knife upright  (sharp edge up) or sideways in a knife block reduces wear to the knife edge


KNIFE WEAR

All knives will dull over time.  Harder metals like high carbon steels, titanium and carbide tend to hold their edge longer than cheaper steel.  Ceramic blades are harder than any metal – in fact harder than anything except diamond.

Ceramic will stay sharper longer than metal blades with proper knife maintenance.  Over time and extended use micro abrasions or nicks will appear on the ceramic blade’s edge.  This is part of the normal process by which all blades dull over time.  The presence of microchips does not mean the knife is dull – it may continue to cut well for some time after that.  If the knife becomes too dull to use it is time to use a diamond sharpener.  Diamond is the only material harder than zirconium so be sure you or the professional sharpener has one.  The role of the sharpener is to first smooth the microchips on the edge of the blade and then hone a new, sharper edge.  Larger chips and broken tips can often be corrected by sharpening as well – for these it is best to seek out a professional.

PARING KNIFE

What is a Paring Knife ?

The paring knife blade is at its best when working in small spaces.  Peeling apples, de-stemming strawberries or turnips, deveining shrimp, and seeding bell peppers are just a few of the jobs a paring knife excels at.  Its short and thin blade allows for exceptional control that it so important when manuevering in tight spaces.  The sharp tip is also useful for removing potato eyes and other such tasks. A paring knife has a shape profile similar to a chef knife but on a smaller scale.  It is an essential knife to have in the kitchen when intricate cutting jobs present themselves.



PARING KNIFE SHAPE

The ideal paring knife is short with a sharp tip.  Shorter blades are easier to manuever, especially when moving in a circular motion.  A sharp tip allows for easy piercing of tough skin on vegetables or fruit.  The blade can be straight or curved.  For general use a straight blade is preferred as it is more versatile.  Curved blades are ideal for peeling onions or shallots but less effective on straight cuts.  Once you get comfortable with a straight blade there is no need for a curved blade paring knife.



PARING KNIFE SIZE

Paring knifes come in different lengths.  The shortest length (3″ or 7.5 cm) is the essential length to have.  Its size and perfectly balanced shape – combined with the benefits of lightweight ceramic blade – give it special practical and ergonomic advantages.



WHEN TO USE A PARING KNIFE

At its best in tight spaces and when circular motion is required.  Use it for de-stemming, de-seeding and removing blemishes with precision.  Its agility is its strength which makes it ideal for taking apart shrimp or peeling and pitting an avocado.



BEST PARING KNIFE

When looking for the ideal paring knife look for one that fits comfortably in the hand.  This is important in order to manipulate the blade effectively with intricate jobs like peeling cherries or olives.  The D-grip handle on the Kikusumi Paring Knife is ergonomically designed for the hand.  The second point is the blade should be short enough to manipulate easily – remember the longer the blade the more difficult it is to manouver..  3 inches (7.5 cm) is the ideal length of the blade.  The Kikusumi Paring knife is the go-to knife for de-stemming and cutting small fruits and vegetables into beautiful shapes.

Kikusumi Black Ceramic Knives Designed by Del Cook

Kikusumi Knife Website Launch 2016

 

Kikusumi knife began as an exploration between cooking, nature and culture. Throughout history humans have created tools to help cook the food needed to survive. Our goal at KIKUSUMI is to design products that forge high functionality together with natural beauty. Each product is the result of a meticulous design process in which imagination, ancient craftsmanship and modern technology are combined with the hope of creating products that are as enjoyable to use as they are to look at.



WHAT TO EXPECT

In 2016 we officially launch our website.  It will also feature detailed visualizations of all aspects of Kikusumi products including the design and technology that lies behind each product.  A link on the page will take you to our store where you can purchase our products.



KIKUSUMI KITCHEN PRODUCTS

Our first product launch will be the Kikusumi Ceramic Knife series including a 3-knife set and a separate bread knife.   We are busy working on other products as well and will keep you informed as we progress and whenever there is a new product launch.  As always the goal is to combine traditional methods with new technology to create products that are better, easier to use and more beautiful than what currently exists.



GIFT BOXES

We put a lot of effort into making the packaging appropriate for gift giving. Each box is like an interactive story for the Kikusumi brand that we hope you will find exciting to unwrap.  Contained within each box is a brochure with links to each of our media products like the Kikusumi App, website, social media and Kikusumi Magazine.  Wherever you want to meet we hope to be there for you.



KIKUSUMI MAGAZINE

We believe it is important to not only make a great product but also help to educate our customers on how best to use it.  In that spirit, we have created the Kikusumi Magazine to pair with our products.  The idea is add a little inspirational juice to help you get the most out your knives and kitchen tools.  The magazine contains stories across a wide variety of food-related categories.  Fisherman, Artisans, Farmers and Chefs share their personal stories along with the wisdom they have gathered along the way.  Food and travel stories will take you to places you will want to go.  Recipes will allow you to use your Kikusumi kitchen products to recreate flavors and aromas of exotic places.  The Magazine will be accessible through our website and also a live feed will be part of the App.  Of course you can also connect to it via our social media accounts if that’s where you are hanging out.

We hope you like what we are doing and welcome your feedback!