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Cutlery Basics

What you buy depends on your budget and personal preference.

Every home cook needs a variety of knives for many cutting tasks in the kitchen. The right knives allow you to prep your recipe ingredients with speed, efficiency and safety. ttu® offers well designed, quality cutlery sets which include the most used knives, and make food prep less of a chore for you.

The information below gives you the basic knowledge you need to select and care for a good set of cutlery, according to your cooking and lifestyle needs.

FACTORS IN KNIFE CONSTRUCTION

  1. Handle Material: wood, plastic composite, stainless steel
  2. Blade Material: high carbon steel, high carbon stainless steel, non-stick high carbon steel, surgical stainless steel
  3. Construction: Forged or stamped
  4. Blade Edge: Flat ground, hollow ground, serrated and Granton

Cutlery Use & Care

Knives should be washed, rinsed and wiped dry immediately after use. Never soak a knife!

PROPER CARE
Due to the type of steel used to manufacture high performance cutlery, it may be more susceptible to staining, temporary spots and watermarks. To ensure optimum performance and longevity, it is important that you only use this cutlery for the purpose that it was designed for. NEVER attempt to cut through frozen foods or bones. If you take good care of your cutlery, you will be rewarded with a lifetime of exceptional cutlery performance and unparalleled beauty.

CLEANING

  • Carefully wipe clean with sudsy cloth and rinse after each use. ALWAYS wipe dry immediately and place in the block to preserve the beautiful finish of your cutlery.
  • Do not clean in dishwasher or allow soaking. Polish occasionally with non-abrasive metal polish to maintain shine. Do not use scouring steel or a gritty cleanser; this could damage the non-stick coating.
  • Do not allow knives to air dry. Staining, spots or watermarks may result.
  • Never wash your knives in the dishwasher.

REMOVING WATER SPOTS

  • If you forgot to dry your knives immediately and stains appear, you can remove them by cleaning the blades with Barkeeper’s Friend (a non-abrasive polish) and a wet sponge.
  • Rinse your knives well and wipe dry immediately.

BEFORE FIRST USE

  • Hone the blade with a honing steel to straighten and realign the blade edge.

SHARPENING

  • Sharpening for straight edge knives should be done once or twice a year, typically by a professional, depending on your usage.
  • Sharpening creates an edge on the blade, allowing a faster and more precise cut.
  • Serrated edges do not need sharpening.

STORAGE

  • Always store in a cutlery block to preserve the cutting edges and protect hands from unnecessary contact with blade.

Knife Anatomy

Blade

A – Point: The very end of the knife, which is used for piercing.
B – Tip: The point of the blade, used for delicate work.
C – Edge: The cutting surface of the knife, which extends from the point to the heel.
D – Heel: The rear part of the blade, used for cutting activities that require more force.
E – Spine: The top, thicker portion of the blade, which adds weight and strength.

Handle

F – Bolster: The thick metal portion joining the handle and the blade, which adds weight and balance and keeps the cook’s hand from slipping.
G – Finger Guard: The portion of the bolster that keeps the cook’s hand from slipping onto the blade.
H – Return: The point where the heel meets the bolster.
I – Tang: The portion of the metal blade that extends into the handle, giving the knife balance and extra weight.
J – Scales: The two portions of handle material (wood, plastic, composite, etc.) that are attached to either side of the tang.
K – Rivets: The metal pins (usually 3) that hold the scales to the tang.
L – Handle Guard: The lip below the butt of the handle, which gives the knife a better grip and prevents slipping.
M – Butt: The end of the handle.

What to Buy

Basic

1. BREAD KNIFE
Its long serrated blade is ideal for cutting through both the hard crust as well as the soft interior. The blade is usually around 8 to 9 inches long.

2. CHEF KNIFE
An all-purpose kitchen knife also known as French Knife that can be used for most types of chopping, slicing, mincing, and dicing. Chef Knives usually range from 8 to 12 inches in length. The length is quite significant because if the knife is too long for your hand, then it will be heavier and harder to handle. Choose your knives to fit your hand.

3. PARING KNIFE
Used primarily for paring and trimming vegetables and fruits, deveining shrimp, removing seeds from jalapeños, and cutting small garnishes. It has a 2 to 4 inch blade; some blades taper to a point, while others curve or bend at the tip.

4. UTILITY KNIFE
This smaller version of a Chef Knife is used for light cutting, slicing, and peeling cores. The blade is generally 5 to 7 inches long, as well as thinner and lighter than a Chef Knife, making it useful for slicing smaller items. Utility knives can have either a plain edge or serrated edge.

5. TOMATO KNIFE
This small knife with a serrated blade slices tomatoes cleanly without squashing them. It comes with either a broad, rounded tip which can be used like a spatula, or a sharp pointed tip which can pick up pieces of food. The blade is usually 6 inches long.

Beyond Basic

6. BONING KNIFE
Used to separate raw meat from the bone. The blade is thinner and about 6 inches shorter than that of a Chef Knife. A stiff boning knife is good for beef or pork, while a flexible boning knife is preferred for poultry and fish. The blade is narrow to make it easy to work around bones, between muscle groups, and under gristle or silverskin. Some blades have an upward curve, while others are straight.

7. SANTOKU KNIFE
Often called Asian Chef Knife, it combines the features of a Cleaver and a Chef Knife. This multi-purpose knife minces, dices and slices. Its wide blade doubles as a spatula, has a straighter edge than a Chef Knife, and a more rounded spine, particularly near the point. It is lighter and thinner than a Chef Knife, allowing for easier chopping of vegetables. Santoku Knives commonly have kullens, which keep food from sticking. Usually 5 to 7 inches long, they have become very popular in recent years among women chefs with smaller hands.

8. SHEEP’S FOOT PARERS
The blunt tip and straight edged blade provide maximum cutting contact with food. They are ideal for slicing and dicing small items such as garlic and shallots. The blade is usually 2 to 4 inches long.

9. PEELING KNIFE
Also known as Tourne Knife or Bird’s Beak Knife. Similar to a paring knife in size and function, the Peeling Knife is ideal for cutting decorative garnishes, slicing through soft fruits, as well as peeling the skin off fruits. It has a 2 to 4 inch long blade. Some blades taper to a point while others bend or curve backwards at the tip.

10. SLICER
A Slicer serves a similar function as a carving knife, although it is longer, narrower and more flexible. Its long, thin, narrow blades make smooth slices in a single stroke. The type of blade edge is selected to make a particular food easier to slice. Some blades are quite flexible and others are rigid, depending on the food they are used to slice. Meat slicers are typically 15 to 18 inches long or longer with taper ground or hollow ground edges and relatively rigid blades. Salmon Slicers, used for smoked salmon or gravlax, are even thinner than meat slicers and have blades that are more flexible. Slicers used for tomatoes, breads, or pastries are often serrated, scalloped, or saw-toothed. The tip of a slicer can be pointed or rounded.

Gourmet

11. Filleting Knife
Specifically designed for filleting fish. Filleting Knives are very flexible; this permits you to easily separate the delicate flesh of the fish from the bones, with little loss of edible fish. The blade is 6 to 11 inches long, which allows it to move easily along the backbone and under the skin of fish.

12. CLEAVER
Has a rectangular blade (the edge may be curved or straight, depending upon intended use). Used to dice, trim, chop, slice, disjoint birds and rabbits, and fillet and portion fish. The blade is approximately 6 inches long, and is very heavy, enabling the knife to cut through bone and joints by sheer force.

13. KUDOMONO KNIFE
A Japanese Paring Knife, with Granton edges; best used for paring and slicing vegetables and some fruits. It has a 2 to 4 inch long blade which usually tapers to a point at the tip.

14. CHEESE KNIVES

HARD CHEESE KNIFE
Hard Cheese Knives are specially designed for slicing cheese. Sharp blades cut exact slices, and often have a forked tip, allowing them to be used as a serving utensil as well.

SOFT CHEESE KNIFE
For slicing sausages and cheese. The scalloped blade edge prevents food from sticking to the blade which is usually around 6 inches long.

PARMESAN CHEESE KNIFE
Designed for slicing very hard cheeses. It has a very short, thick blade that allows users to put their weight into the cut.