Chef's Knives - Chef Knife
The chef's knife is a cutting tool utilized in food preparation that was created mainly for deboning and slicing large cuts of meat, and is sometimes known as a French knife or a cook’s knife. A modern chef’s knife is actually a common utility knife for most cooks around the world and functions effectively for many different kitchen tasks, instead of having only one function. It may be used to mince, slice, and dice fruits, vegetables and meat, as well as to remove bones from large cuts of meat.
French and German style knives are two common types of knife blade shapes. The German-styles are curved more along the whole cutting edge whereas the French style has an edge that is mostly straight and then it curves up at the tip of the blade. A chef's knife blade is usually about eight inches long and 1-1/2 inches wide, although many can be 6 to 14 inches long. Which style knife to use really depends on how it feels when using it as they both perform well.
The Japanese created a chef’s knife called santoku (translation: "three good things") which is another all-purpose utility knife that has become very popular in the West. This knife has sheepsfoot blade where the spine decreases sharply at the tip of the knife, and the sharply ground blade edge was designed mainly for cutting fish and vegetables, as well as boneless or meats that have soft bones such as chicken.
Chef knife blades are either hot-forged or stamped:
Hot forged: A blank piece of steel is heated to an extreme temperature and then hammered to form the steel that is usually a full-tang meaning that the metal of the knife runs from the tip of the knifepoint to the very far end of the handle, and also after forging, the blade is ground and then sharpened. A hot-forged blade is definitely a costly, multi-step process that is most often performed by skilled workers.
Stamped: A stamped blade is cut into shape straight from cold rolled steel which is heated to strengthen and temper the metal that is then finished by grinding, sharpening, and polishing.
The chef's knife blade is usually made from carbon steel, stainless steel, a laminate of both metals, and ceramic.
Carbon steel: The majority of carbon steel chef's knives are simple carbon iron alloys which is a combination of iron that has around one percent carbon without having additional metals added such as chrome or vanadium but instead. Carbon-steel knife will acquire a dark patina with age, and may rust and stain if they are not maintained correctly by cleaning and oiling the blade after every use, nonetheless, carbon steel blades are easier to sharpen than ordinary stainless steel and typically hold an edge longer. Some professional chefs can't live without knives made from carbon steel because of their sharpness, particularly in Asia and the Middle East; others find carbon steel too high maintenance in a kitchen setting. Numerous chefs also alternate their carbon-steel knives for a day after use, giving them a rest in order to restore the oxidizing patina, which prevents transfer of metallic tastes to foods.
Stainless steel: An iron alloy comprised of roughly 10-15% chromium, nickel, or molybdenum, trace amounts of carbon. Lesser quality stainless steel cannot get as sharp an edge as high-quality high-carbon steel blades can, however, they are corrosion resistant, as well as inexpensive. Some exotic stainless steel coming mainly from Japan and are used by businesses such as Global and Kasumi, and other high grade stainless steels are preferred because they are extremely sharp, maintain an extremely sharp edge perform the same as or better than carbon steel blades.
Laminated: Knife blades that are laminated use the best of both materials by making layers of different materials such as using soft yet tough steel for the backing together with sharper harder steel for the edge.
Ceramic: Blades made of ceramic are shaped by sintering with zirconium oxide powder and are chemically nonreactive, so that they are not going to discolor or affect the taste of food and they keep a sharp edge the longest, however they can easily chip or even break if dropped. Additionally, they require specific equipment and require experience to sharpen properly.
Chef knife handles can be made out of many materials such as wood, steel, or a composition of synthetic materials.
There are various ways to grind the knife edge: double grind, v-shape, single or double bevel, convex edge, hollow-ground, single grind or chisel edge. Some people use differential sharpening along the length of the blade in order to improve the various functions of the chef's knife. The tip might be ground to have a very sharp, finely tuned cutting bevel is used for accurate work such as mincing; the middle of the blade sometimes known as the belly may get a fairly sharp edge for standard cutting or chopping, and the heel or back of the blade may get a stronger, thicker edge for tough tasks such as deboning meat.
The technique of using a chef knife varies; some people prefer to hold the knife handle completely with their hand while others hold the knife with their hand partially on the blade itself for more precise control. When using the knife for slicing, the tip should remain in contact with the cutting surface while the blade rocks up and down while the food is pushed under the blade. The technique chosen to hold the knife is a matter of personal preference.
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