Picking a knife set isn’t complicated. The smaller sets mostly include knives that are essential for every kitchen. As the sets get bigger, they begin to include more and more knives that are designed for very specific purposes.
Which foods do you eat most often? To pick the block set that will perfectly fit your needs, just look at your food. Every food that you prepare regularly should affect your decision. Here, I’ll give some examples of types of knives that you should look for in a set based on the particular foods for which they are designed.
Which Knives Do Most Sets Include?
Nearly every knife block set that we carry here at MetroKitchen.com includes five things: a chef’s knife, a paring knife, a honing steel, kitchen shears, and a knife block. These five items are the backbone of almost every set because they’re all kitchen essentials. While many people prefer to use santoku knives instead of chef’s knives, it is very unusual for a block set to include a santoku in place of a chef’s knife. If you wish to use a santoku instead of a chef’s knife, you’ll probably need to start off with a 2-piece or 3-piece santoku set and buy a block separately.
Fruit & Vegetables
Like I stated above, almost every block set includes at least one paring knife. Occasionally, a set will include as many as two or three paring knives with different shapes. The bird’s beak paring knife, or tournade, is perfect for peeling round foods like potatoes and cucumbers. Additionally, the straight-edge paring knife is great for peeling as well as mincing small bunches of herbs.
Do you need to slice loaves of bread? Then you need a bread knife. You can get away without having one of these if you buy your loaves pre-sliced. If you don’t, you’re going to need a bread knife because the serrated edge is essential for slicing through the crust. If you try to cut a loaf of bread with a chef’s knife, you will just end up with a bunch of crumbs all over the place and a smashed loaf.
This knife design does have uses other than bread, though. Personally, I prefer using a shorter 8-inch bread knife, because it’s helpful for slicing oranges, grapefruit, butternut squash, cantaloupe, and honeydew. The serrated edge is perfect for cutting through the tough rind on different fruits and vegetables the same way that it cuts through bread crust.
A slicing or carving knife is basically a long, narrow knife with a straight edge. Knives like these are made primarily for slicing meat, but they’re also good for cutting sandwiches in half. That’s why “sandwich knives” basically have the same design, but are shorter. Sandwich knives are normally 4 to 6 inches long rather than 8 to 10. If you cook roasts, turkey, or other similar foods, you will need one of these knives.
Chops, Fish, & Other Meats
If you need to cut around the bones in pork chops, ribs, chicken, or other meats, then you will need a boning knife. To do similar detailed jobs on a fish, like making fillets, you’ll need a fillet knife. These knife designs are pretty similar, but the boning knife is really designed for cutting meat in particular. Fillet knives are great at cutting fish, but you can also use them on meat. Both designs often come in both flexible and non-flexible versions.
Sandwiches & Everything Else
There are two types of utility knives – serrated and non-serrated. Serrated utility knives are great for slicing small loaves of bread, bagels, rolls, citrus, salami, tomatoes, cucumbers, and other similar foods. The serrated edge is great for quickly slicing through anything that has a tough skin or crust.
Non-serrated utility knives are much more common. They’re included in a lot of sets and they’re great for slicing sandwiches, cutting boneless meats, cutting fruit, and cutting small vegetables. They’re basically an all-purpose knife that’s very similar to a chef’s knife, except they have a more narrow blade. If you want an extra knife to use around the kitchen for random tasks, it would be nice to have one of these, but they’re not essential.
Steak knives are designed for one job and one job only – cutting steak at dinner. If you want a nice, matching set of high-quality steak knives for dinner parties, many sets include a collection of them. They are normally included in most large block sets with 18 or more pieces.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to browse our block sets from these favorite brands!