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March 6, 2005

Bread knife

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How is it possible that in my entire life, loving to cook as I do, I have never had a proper bread knife? Now that my sourdough loaves are so crusty, more like a suit of armor, and I joke that a chain saw is needed (and dental insurance), I so struggled to slice the latest loaf in half that one of my guests was prompted to murmur to another guest, "I have the ultimate bread knife. I got it at IKEA," as it turns out the Alias Knives Series Breadknife. Eureka! A light bulb went on. A good bread knife. What a thought!

An internet search produced a few leads: the top rated bread knife by America's Test Kitchen was the Forschner (Victorinox) Model 40040, a stamped, rather than forged, knife, which can be found online for about $30.00, not including postage. Impatient to get a bread knife right away, I walked over to Broadway Panhandler. The chance to compare bread knives convinced me to go with the Wusthof Classic bread knife (4150: 23 centimeters). It has deeply scalloped serration and nice heft. When I compared it with the Victorinox, which is a nice knife, I realized that what America's Test Kitchen had in mind by crusty (Italian bread, French bagettes) was nowhere near my big, heavy, dense, C R U S T Y loaves.

Brought it home and gave it the test. Perfect! Lovely even thin slices, cutting through the tough crust with ease and precision. Now I have to enforce strict discipline to protect this knife. No soaking it in the sink or having it rattle around with other cutlery.

All of a sudden, I also realized that I only had one good knife, a big chef's knife. All the rest were either interesting but not very functional knifes that I had picked up on my travels, or just plain junk. I've removed the offending blades from the cutlery tray and knife rack. And, my next purchase will be two paring knives. Somehow our last two, which were decent knives, disappeared. One was confiscated at airport security. I forgot it was in my backpack from a class fieldtrip--I brought apples for everyone and a knife to cut them up. The other may well have gotten wrapped up with the garbage, which we wrap in newspaper, and ended up in the trash.

Posted by BKG at March 6, 2005 11:46 PM