Which bread knives are best?
It’s disappointing when you have a beautiful loaf of bread that ends up getting crushed by a dull knife. With a quality bread knife, you’ll get perfect slices every time with no crushing or tearing.
However, finding the best bread knife can be tricky as you’ll find plenty of subpar options among the gems. If you’re looking for a high-end bread knife that cuts smoothly and cleanly through all types of loaves, the J.A. Henckels Zwilling Twin Signature Bread Knife is the top choice.
What to know before you buy a bread knife
Bread knives can have blades between 7-12 inches long, but most are between 8 and 10 inches. If your blade is too short, you may find it tricky to cut smooth, even slices from wider loaves, such as sourdough boules, but if your knife is too long, it will be awkward to use and difficult to store. Consider the types of loaves you usually eat and use this to help you pick the right size blade. If you regularly eat loaves that measure 8 inches across, for instance, a 7-inch blade will get lost in the loaf as you cut and won’t give the best results.
Forged vs. stamped
Forged blades are made from a single piece of metal that’s heated and hammered into shape (by a person or a machine), while stamped blades are cut out of a large sheet of metal. Forged blades tend to be thicker and stronger than stamped blades and hold their edge better. They’re generally seen as the superior option, but it isn’t as simple as this.
Forged knives aren’t always of better quality than stamped knives, especially if they’re machine-generated, which is likely unless you’re spending hundreds of dollars on a knife. A forged blade from a budget manufacturer will be of poorer quality than a stamped knife from a high-end manufacturer. What’s more, you commonly see unknown manufacturers selling knives listed as forged but may not be, so don’t use this as a main deciding factor when picking out a new bread knife.
What to look for in a quality bread knife
The tang is the part of the knife that extends into the handle. Full tang knives have a tang that spans the entire length of the handle. This makes a knife stronger and more well-balanced. While a full tang isn’t essential, it’s nice to have.
Bread knives can have handles made from wood, plastic or metal. Wooden handles look good but aren’t the most practical option as the wood can get water-logged or decay over time. Plastic handles are great if they’re made of a smooth plastic resin but can look cheap. Metal handles are stylish but not always the most comfortable to hold.
Some bread knives are dishwasher safe, which makes cleaning them after use much easier. That said, even dishwasher safe bread knives will keep their edges longer if you wash them by hand, so it’s worth spending the extra time to do so.
How much you can expect to spend on a bread knife
You can find basic bread knives for $5-$10, while high-end hand-forged bread knives can cost as much as $300. We’d recommend spending at least $15-$30 to get a bread knife that’s worth buying.
Bread knife FAQ
Should bread knives be curved?
A. The cutting edge of a bread knife should have a very slight upward curve or slant from the base of the knife toward the tip. This shouldn’t be an obvious curve — you might not even notice it unless you’re looking for it — but just enough to help you cut through the crust more easily.
Do I really need a bread knife?
A. Bread knives are what you need for slicing bread — nothing else does the job properly. If you don’t bake your own bread or regularly buy unsliced loaves, however, you might be wondering if you need a bread knife. The fact is that you might not, but you may get more use from a bread knife than you’d imagine. The serrated edge makes them ideal for slicing cakes in half to fill, cutting batches of baked goods such as brownies into individual portions, slicing tomatoes and other thin-skinned fruits and peeling pineapples.
What’s the best bread knife to buy?
Top bread knife
What you need to know: This is a high-quality German-made bread knife that’s worth splurging on if you bake your own bread or regularly buy unsliced loaves.
What you’ll love: The ice-hardened full-tang blade is extremely sharp and keeps its edge for longer. It cuts through bread exceptionally well, without damaging the crumb. At 8 inches long, the blade smoothly slices most loaves without being overwhelmingly long.
What you should consider: A handful of buyers experienced issues with quality, but these appear to be isolated cases, which can happen with any product.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top bread knife for the money
What you need to know: While it won’t rival a $100 bread knife, this affordable model is great for the price.
What you’ll love: The blade is made from quality high-carbon steel with a moderate 8-inch length. This knife has an ergonomically designed riveted handle and feels well-balanced. Cuts through softer types of bread well.
What you should consider: It isn’t the best as slicing sourdough and other more rigid types of bread.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This knife is an excellent choice for all kinds of breads and offers excellent value for the money.
What you’ll love: The 10-inch blade is long enough to get smoother cuts on large cob loaves and boules. It’s sharp and well-balanced, cutting all types of bread with ease, whether you like fine slices or large chunks.
What you should consider: Some buyers find the blade a little too thin.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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