One knife which you will really want to have in your kitchen is a good quality bread knife. Unlike the mountain by the same name which can be found in New South Wales, bread knives generally have a serrated blade that is used to cut breads quickly and easily.
There are several things you might want to take into consideration when choosing a good bread knife. I like to have a bread knife that is no less than 9 inches in length, preferring at least 10 inches. Most of the food you will be cutting with a bread knife, such as larger loaves of bread and even large melons would be difficult, if not impossible, to slice with anything shorter than that.
10. Saken 10 Inch Bread Knife
One serious contender to take into consideration is this lovely Saken 10 inch kitchen bread knife. Composed of German HC Steel, it has been engineered to perfection with a lovely full-tang design. A seamless joined handle provides a perfectly balanced grip.
This is a knife that will glide through crusty artisanal loaves and tender quick breads with equal ease, cutting through without tearing or crushing. You will also find it to be very versatile.
This is a knife that will be equally at home easily trimming off cake domes, or thinly slicing meats for sandwiches as well as slicing through baguettes for crostini.
- Very large
- Very good steel work
- Elegant handle & finish
- Impressive boxes make it an ideal gift
- Not as sharp as expected
- Handle splinters around the metal circles
- Odd blade angle
9. Chicago Cutlery Walnut Tradition Carbon Blade Knife
Another good choice would be this 10-inch Chicago Cutlery Walnut Tradition High Carbon Blade Serrated Bread Knife. This is one very attractive bread knife with its classically styled walnut handle, featuring triple brass rivets and a full metal tang for stability and control.
It has a perfect balance and weight for its length. It reminds me of a bread knife which I received as a wedding gift some 30 odd years ago and am still using. Its not the most expensive bread knife in the pack, but its also not the cheapest. Classic good looks with a lifetime warrantee. You can’t go wrong!
- The blade lasts really long
- Very good for fruits and vegetables
- Balanced design
- Great grip on the handle
- Occasional lemons
- Old version of the knife was better
8. Zwilling Pro 10-Inch Ultimate Bread Knife
The Cadillac of 10-inch bread knives has to be the Zwilling Pro 10-inch Ultimate Bread Knife by Zwilling J A Henckles. Beautiful, sharp and well-balanced, its blade shape and ergonomic bolster are the result of 280 years of experience in knife making combined with an in-depth study of how knives are used.
Henckles is a company that knows its knives and sets the standard world-wide for exceptional cutlery. Forged from a single piece of Special Formula high carbon no stain stainless steel, it also boasts a durable and resilient POM handle. This ultimate bread knife features scalloped serrations to ease cutting, minimize tearing and crumbs and to maintain lasting sharpness.
Another point to consider when investing in a good bread knife is its shape. Most bread knives are straight, having handles which are in line with the blade. A few are slightly offset so that the blade is positioned lower than the handle.
Personally, I am not fond of the off-set ones, preferring ones with aligned handles and blades. But some people prefer the off-set ones because they prevent your knuckles from scraping against the breadboard. This isn’t an issue with me, but I know that some people are put off by that.
- Extra sharp
- Exceptionally sturdy
- Great for extremely thick crusts
- Inadequate packaging
7. Victorinox Cutlery 9 Inch Wavy Edge Bread Knife
A great example of an excellent off-set bread knife is the Victorinox Cutlery 9-inch Wavy Edge Bread Knife. With its ergonomically designed polypropylene handle this is a moderately priced bread knife which will stand up to years of daily use without a lot of wear and tear.
It features a high carbon, stainless steel blade which has been hand-finished at Victorinox in Switzerland, and has been designed to minimize wrist tension, so that you can get nice, even slices with little to no wrist or arm fatigue. Fabulously sharp, this is a knife you will find yourself using to slice other things besides bread. It works great on tomatoes and other fruits!
- Great for other tasks in the kitchen besides bread
- Versatile – good for any bread
- Perfect for butchering large meat cuts
- Extremely sharp
- Poor quality control
- Strange handle feel due to the rugged plastic
- Takes a while to get used to the angle
Short History of the Bread Knife
Bread has been an essential part of the human diet for centuries. From the earliest days of grinding wheat between heavy boulders and small rocks, to our modern methods with ready ground flours and electrical appliances, bread is important to us. A lot of work goes into the planning and making of a loaf of bread. It only makes sense that we would want the best tool available for slicing that loaf when it comes time to serve and eat it.
Whereas historical man would probably have torn his bread into chunks, and ofttimes even used it as a vessel for his food, these modern times call for more modern methods! One of the first serrated bread knives was exhibited at the World Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in the year 1893!
6. Mercer Culinary Millenia 9 Inch Offset Wavy Edge Bread Knife
Another good example of a great offset bread knife is the Mercer Culinary Millenia 9-inch Offset Wavy Edge Bread Knife. Aside from its very attractive ergonomic handle which is composed of both Santoprene (for comfort) and polyproline (for durability), this beautiful bread knife also boasts a blade manufactured from highest quality Japanese steel.
Textured finger points provide for slip-resistance, grip and safety. This is a knife which slices cleanly and almost painlessly with a great feel. This knife also has a recommendation from America’s Test Kitchen. The rubber grip just feels good in your hand and it performs very well, being very sharp and producing smooth cuts with almost no crumbs.
- Makes quick work of any bread type
- Heavy duty – will remain comfortable after chopping large quantities of products
- Retains its edge beautifully
- Great sharpness and control
- Some knives arrive dull (need sharpening)
- Sharp edge around the handle can cause accidents
Why Would You Need a Bread Knife?
Certainly they are a knife which will occupy a specified role in your kitchen arsenal of knives, and it is not a knife that you will be using as often as you would say a Chef’s Knife or a Paring Knife, but there are certain tasks in the kitchen that you will find them invaluable for executing.
Tasks such as slicing breads (obviously) and cakes, as well as more delicate fruits and vegetables, such as ripe tomatoes, that might be crushed or destroyed by other knives.
It is not only in cutting bread that you will find a bread knife come in handy, they are also very useful for cutting hard vegetables and cabbage and they do a really fine job of perfectly slicing tomatoes!
5. Update International 9 Inch German Steel Offset Bread Knife
Another great choice at a surprisingly low price would be this 9 inch German Steel Offset Bread Knife. It is of a professional grade and composed of German high-carbon stainless steel with molybdenum vanadium. (Now that’s a mouthful!) With it’s ergonomic non-slip handle this knife is also dish-washer safe and NSF listed. For the price you really can’t go wrong.
One important consideration when choosing a good bread knife is the shape of the serrated edge itself. Most commonly you will find bread knives with a pointed-tooth edge, but there are also bread knives with the less common wavy-shaped edge.
- “Wicked” sharp
- Great for cutting meat
- Exceptional value for the price
- Slippery handle
- Handle ridges might be unconfortable for some
4. Mercer Culinary Millenia 10-Inch Wavy Edge Bread Knife
One example of the wavy-edged bread knife would be this Mercer Culinary Millenia 10-inch Wavy Edge Bread Knife. Very modestly priced this knife was the Cook’s Illustrated Winner for the best Serrated knife. The Mercer name is synonymous with high quality professional cutlery. Its textured finger points provide slip resistance and grip.
Highest quality Japanese steel allows for easy blade maintenance and rapid sharpening. It is also NSF certified. NSF is a global provider of public health and safety management solutions. Mercer knives meet their standards for safety, quality and performance. This is a knife that slices cleanly and almost painlessly, feels good in the hand and makes quick work of almost any kind of bread.
- Overall best bread knife according to user reviews
- Clean cuts
- Exceptionally sharp
- Named the best bread knife by America’s Test Kitchen
- Often comes dull
- In some cases, blade can become misaligned
Why a Serrated Edge on the Blade?
It enables you to cut into soft bread without crushing it. We’ve all been there I am sure. There is nothing more frustrating than to be cutting into a beautifully presented fresh loaf of bread and having it squash down and crush as you are cutting into it.
With a good quality Bread Knife this just will not be a problem any longer! The serrations of a bread knife can easily go through a hard crust because the pressure of the blade is divided and concentrated in the points of the serrations.
3. Pure Komachi 2 Series Bread Knife
One really attractive and uniquely edged Bread Knife at an excellent price would be the Pure Komachi 2 Series Bread Knife. With its brilliant monochromatic colours this knife is a real eye-catcher! Relatively in-expensive, this bread knife is relatively well made and good value for the price. The colourful coating is fun, but also works as a great rust protector. It boasts a reverse scalloped blade design which works well to ensure an effortless cutting action.
The thin blade profile makes it very agile. Created from high carbon stainless steel, the blade also retains a super-sharp edge over time. The coating is created by bonding food-safe FDA resin to the stainless-steel blade. This not only helps to resist corrosion but also makes clean-up easier and helps the knife to glide through with relative ease.
With it’s lightweight ergonomically contoured handle this is a comfortable knife to use. It only has an 8-inch blade, but this is a great knife to have for cutting those smaller baguette types of bread as well as smaller fruits and vegetables. This is a knife that would work great in a picnic basket for cutting loaves and sandwiches on site, as well as for taking camping!
- Good price to quality ratio
- Nice build and great materials
- Intelligent design of the teeth
- The sheath it comes in can cause accidents if you’re not careful
- Might be too goofy for some serious chefs
2. Venoly Professional 8-Inch Serrated Bread Knife
Another excellent smaller Bread Knife is the Venoly Professional 8-inch Serrated Bread Knife. This knife differs quite a bit from the others in that it looks like it has been created entirely with one length of steel.
It has a sleek and modern look with an 8-inch razor sharp 2CR13 steel blade and a 430-steel hollow handle with a mirror stain and finish, which won’t rust or corrode when exposed directly to water.
Easy to clean and dishwasher safe, this is an excellent knife to use for cutting and splitting bagels, biscuits, cakes and other pastries, plus it is excellent for working with foods such as pineapples or tomatoes. Its smaller size also makes it an ideal knife for taking camping or even to have on the table for cutting these smaller loaves of bread and pastries in real-time with the family.
It is available at an extremely excellent price and I consider it to be great value for money spent. Its price also makes it ideal for camping as if it does get lost as things often do in that type of environment, it can be cheaply and easily replaced. It also comes with a 100% satisfaction or money-back guarantee.
- Easy to clean
- Exceptionally sharp
- Perfect for cakes
- Good weight
- Poor packaging
- Difficult to work with due to solid metal handle
1. Cephalon Contemporary Cutlery, 2 Piece Bread & Bagel Knife Set
If using your Bread Knife to cut fruits and vegetables puts you off, you might want to consider this attractive Caphalon Contemporary Cutlery, 2-Piece Bread and Bagel Knife Set. The full-tang design makes for knives with better balance and superior strength, with each knife being perfectly balanced for great efficiency and comfort.
As you can see, they are also labelled on the ends for perfect identification. Fully tapered from cutting edge to spine, these knives are composed from high-carbon no-stain German Steel with one-piece forging of blade, bolster and tang. These high-quality knives are weighty, feel right in the hand and would make an excellent addition to any knife collection.
- High quality knives that last decades
- Identified on the handle for easy access
- Perfect for any type of bread
- Careful with storage as they rust easily
How to Sharpen a Serrated Knife
People can ofttimes be confused as to whether they can sharpen a serrated knife at home, considering it difficult and sometimes even impossible. This simply is not the case. Here are several invaluable methods that you can use for sharpening your bread knives.
The use of a Ceramic Sharpening rod is one method which can be used quite successfully. They come in a variety of sizes and lengths. You will want to find one which has a diameter that matches the serrations of your knife. This is a really important factor as a sharpening rod which is too thick will not fit correctly into the serrations of your knife and will basically be moot.
You can also use a specific tool to sharpen your serrated knives, with both electric and manual options being available. You can also take them to a dedicated shop which specializes in sharpening knives, however, with proper care you will find that you rarely, if ever, need to sharpen your bread knife.
I prefer not to put any of my knives in the dishwasher as I find that this is very hard on both the handles and the blades. It is my observation that my knives don’t stay as sharp for as long as they do if I just wash them by hand in hot soapy water, drying them well with a soft clean cloth afterwards. I also like to wipe and wash them off as soon as I have finished using them so that nothing dries on or sticks to them. For more info on sharpening knives, I’ve put together a guide on our page.
Making the Cut
At the end of the day picking the right Bread Knife for your purpose is a highly individual and personal decision. What feels good in one person’s hand might not feel good in another’s hand.
Having said that, I hope that I have shown you some reliable options here today so that you can better choose a Bread Knife that is tailored to your own individual needs. Hopefully, I have armed you with as much knowledge as possible to make an informed choice which will give you many years of use and pleasure, as well as be a fitting addition to your knife collection.
Marie Rayner is a Canadian, who moved over to the UK and began a new life in the year 2000. At the age of 45 she decided she needed a career change and went back to College to take a Chef’s course, after which she worked as a Personel Chef for a number of years.