From chopping onions to thinly slicing steak, equipping yourself with the right knife is the key to effortless prep – which we all know can save us so much time in the kitchen. But with so many different styles, shapes, sizes, and blade types of knives, it can be difficult to know which one is best for the job at hand. So, if you’re asking yourself “what type of knife do I need?” then we’re here to help! Whether you’re a self-proclaimed kitchen whiz or an amateur home cook, we’ve designed two kitchen knives that will mean you can slice, dice, chop, or mince with confidence – no matter how big or small the job!
Types of knives
Firstly, let’s bring it back to basics and go through 5 common types of knives you’ll find in a typical home kitchen.
A chef’s knife (also known as a cook’s knife) is generally your go-to, versatile kitchen knife used for many different techniques such as slicing, chopping, dicing, carving, and trimming. A chef’s knife will generally have a curved blade that’s around 20 cm (8-10 inches) in length with a tapered point for more intricate knife work. This knife is probably what you immediately think of when you imagine your classic kitchen knife.
Another common tool every cook should have in their arsenal is a utility knife. This type of knife is similar to a chef’s knife, however with a smaller blade size of 10-18 cm (4-7 inches). This is a reliable, everyday knife for chopping fruit and vegetables or slicing meat. The smaller size provides a greater level of control and allows for more delicate knife work such as making incisions, carving, or scoring.
A nimble little paring knife should not be underestimated. A small, yet powerful paring knife is a valuable asset in any kitchen. The 6-10 cm (2-4 inch) knife fits perfectly between your thumb and forefinger, offering the ultimate control for delicate work such as preparing, scoring, mincing and peeling fruits and softer vegetables.
The heavyweight champion of the kitchen – the cleaver knife (also known as a meat cleaver), originates from the traditional Chinese meat cleaver and is less commonly found in domestic kitchens (although we plan on changing that!). This knife commonly features a solid rectangular shaped blade, typically ranging anywhere from 15-30cm (6-12 inches) long. Often these knives can be intimidating at first, but when used correctly, they are ideal for chopping, mincing, and slicing harder foods such as meats and solid vegetables.
A serrated knife, also commonly called a bread knife, has a jagged, or sawtooth-like blade, used for slicing bread, cutting cakes, or other smooth-edged objects like tomatoes. Common types of serrated knives are bread knives or pastry knives, and have a very long, thin blade of around 15-25 cm (6-10 inches). These knives are useful for cutting foods without bruising or squashing, as the serrated edge grips and slices without the necessity of applying too much force. Some bread knives even come with a measuring tool attachment such as our bread knife with guide – this ensures an even cut every single time.
But what knives do you really need?
You’ll often see a display set of around 5 to 7 knives in a block in many domestic kitchens. However, more often than not, we choose ‘our favourite’ one or two knives and use them time-and-time again, while the others stay put. Therefore, whilst each knife has its advantages, when it comes down to it, if you choose the right knives, less is more!
That’s why we’ve custom-designed the ultimate pair of knives that will become your go-to favourite kitchen knives. Our premium quality Utility Paring Knife and Cleaver Knife are a cut above the rest (pun intended) and will empower you to effortlessly chop, slice, dice and so much more. Here’s how and when to use them:
The Utility Paring Knife
This ultra-versatile knife will be your new best friend in the kitchen. Meticulously handcrafted with Japanese-made AUS-8 high carbon steel, our Utility Paring Knife is the perfect hybrid between a utility knife and paring knife. We’ve engineered this knife with superior performance, inspired by Chinese, Japanese and European knife-making traditions.
The elegant lightweight Utility Paring knife is 26.3 cm (10 inches), perfectly balanced and curved for multitasking. Not only is the blade carefully sculptured, but the micarta resin knife handle is also ergonomically designed to fit in your palm, while also super easy to clean. The handle shape provides extra grip between your thumb and index finger for the ultimate comfort. What’s more, you’ll find additional ‘grip points’ at the top of the handle, reminiscent in design to our temperature lights on Thermomix®, for use during intricate work.
So, what can you use this Utility Paring Knife for? Almost anything! This multi-purpose, stainless-steel knife is perfect for larger chopping and cutting, but also provides the stability and control for more intricate knifework such as slicing and shaping ingredients.
Learn more about how to use our Utility Paring Knife by watching our video below with chef and father of 3, John O’Shea.
The Cleaver Knife
While a cleaver knife isn’t always a standard in domestic kitchen knife blocks, once you have one in your kitchen, you’ll never look back. You will love its strength, versatility and ergonomic design. Meticulously hand-crafted, our Cleaver Knife provides the strength of a Chinese meat cleaver, with the precision of a Japanese knife. Measuring at 32.5cm (13 inches) long, this knife is thinner than your average cleaver, meaning its lightweight, while still providing the optimal size for not only larger cuts, but also finer slicing and dicing.
Designed to last, with premium quality high-carbon steel from Japan, you’ll find the Cleaver Knife holds its edge for longer, while also being easy to sharpen. The tapered micarta resin knife handle is custom-designed with an etched pattern to give you the upmost confidence, and even becomes grippier when wet.
Use the Cleaver Knife for a variety of tasks, from slicing meats to rock-chopping, mincing and push-cutting – the possibilities are endless!
Discover how to use the cleaver knife by watching it in action below with chef John O’Shea.
Now you’ve got your two favourite knives, you may be interested in going that extra mile and treating yourself knives for special types of jobs.
For example, if you’re a bread connoisseur and tend to make your own sourdough loaf using your Thermomix®, you may want to have a bread knife with adjustable guide on hand to ensure an even cut every single time.
Another companion to your well-equipped kitchen is a hardwood chopping board, such as our wooden chopping board, made from quality beechwood, to maintain the sharpness of your knives.
But remember, every great chef takes pride in their knives. Be sure to consider the safety and care tips to maintain the longevity and quality of your knives.
How do you sharpen your knives?
Meticulously hand-crafted, our knives are made from high-carbon Japanese steel, making their razer-sharp than most traditional knives on the market. However, to ensure your knives are kept in prime condition, you should:
- Store them flat in drawer, as opposed to in a knife block which can dull the blade.
- Rather than waiting for your blade to dull, regularly hone your knife using a ceramic knife sharpener such as the manual Tabletop Knife Sharpener to perfectly shape your knife to hollow finish.
Always make sure that your knives are clean and dry before sharpening and apply gentle, controlled pressure when gliding back and forth on your knife sharpener.
How should you care and maintain your knives?
Again, the Japanese-made AUS-8 high carbon steel blade makes these knives less prone to rust, however there are a few things to note to ensure your knives can last you a lifetime.
- Always handwash your knife right after use with a soft cloth and warm soapy water. Try to avoid harsh detergents and keep them away from other metals such as scrubbing pads or other utensils.
- Dry your knife with a cloth immediately after washing and store them in a block or on a magnetic strip.
- If possible, use a wooden chopping board, rather than a plastic cutting board or countertop.
- Never leave your knife in the sink or wash in a dishwasher.
What are the best knives?
So ultimately, what are the best knives for you? All in all, the best knives for your kitchen are high quality, durable, versatile, and comfortable to use. And our Utility Paring Knife and Cleaver Knife go hand in hand to make the perfect pair.
So, what are you waiting for? Chop chop - discover your new favourite knives today!
Tag us in a pic on social media and let us know which your favourite ways to use your knives! Find us at @thermomixaus and #thermomixaus.