Welcome back to our comprehensive guide on How To Be A Master Chef for beginners and food enthusiasts! In today’s posts, we’ll go over essential knives and basic knife skills! If you’ve ever wanted to be a master chef, the time is now, so let’s get started!
Don't miss our guide on How to Stock Your Kitchen and Pantry Properly.
In this post, you will learn valuable knife skills that will make you an expert at chopping, slicing, and mincing. This is important to know because, in most recipes, you will have to use a knife to break down your ingredients. Purchasing knives will be facilitated because you now will have the knowledge regarding which knives you should have if you are going to be cooking. Certain knives perform certain tasks, meaning it is imperative that you know which knife you should be using at any given time. Knives are one of the most important components of your kitchen and chefs look at their knives as a samurai looks at his swords. A chef is nothing without his or her knives! After reading this guide, you will also find out how to care for your knives and carve meats with the grace of a samurai!
Buying Your “Swords”
Chef's Knife: The Chef's Knife is used for slicing, dicing, mincing, and chopping. This is the knife that you will use the most in the kitchen. Having a quality Chef's Knife is important because it is the knife that does the most for you. Think about it this way. If you were a taxi driver, you would not buy an beat up car to use as a taxi because you would be nervous about getting stranded just as a chef would not want to purchase a low-quality Chef's Knife. Using a 10-inch Chef's Knife is a good start for home cooks. When buying one of these, it is important to make sure that you are comfortable using it. You need the knife to feel balanced in your hand. This means that you want the blade to weigh about the same as the handle.
Paring Knife: You're likely to use this little knife a lot when you are working in the kitchen. The blade on this knife is generally around 2 to 4 inches in length. This knife is used for the delicate jobs, such as peeling fruit, getting the stems out of strawberries, coring tomatoes, or even trimming shallots.
Serrated Knife: This knife typically has an 8 to 10-inch blade and is used slice foods that have thin but resistant skins. These are usually used to cut crusty bread. The serrated edge ensures that the knife will not dull out from these tough jobs as a Chef's Knife would.
Fish Filleting Knife: These usually have a blade that ranges from 6 to 11 inches and is similar to the boning knife. The key difference is that the blade is thinner and flexible, allowing it to filet delicate fish with ease.
Boning Knife: Cooks use this knife to separate raw meat from the bone. The blade is usually around 8 to 10 inches in length, and it is pointed and narrow.
Cleaver: You've probably seen this knife in a horror movie once or twice! This knife is comparable to a hatchet, and they come in a variety of sizes. Some are meant to chop up veggies, but heavier ones are used to chop through bone.
Slicer: Slicing cooked meat is a breeze with this knife! With its 8 to 12 inch blade and round, pointed tip, this knife slices through cooked meat like butter.
Knives can be made out of several materials. Check this list out to find which material best suits your needs:
Ceramic: These knife blades are made from zirconium oxide that is super-heated. These are sharper, lighter, and denser than steel. They also stay sharp for years. The biggest issue with these knives is that if they drop, they can shatter.
Carbon Steel: These are used by chefs looking for a very sharp edge. While these get very sharp when sharpened, the edge dulls very fast. Also, when this metal comes into contact with acidic food, the blade can get severely discolored.
High-Carbon Stainless Steel: This metal has the durability of stainless steel combined with the sharpening potential of Carbon steel. High-Carbon Stainless Steel does not rust and is easy to clean as well, making it perfect for at-home cooks and chefs alike.
Caring For Your Knives
Once you get an awesome knife set, you want to make sure they last. We recommend you follow our instructions on taking care of your knives to allow you to get the most out of them. This section will assist you in taking care of your knives.
Washing & Storing Your Knives
Please make sure to avoid keeping your knives in the same drawer as your other cutlery! This will help in avoiding any damage that would happen from the clanging around of knives. Keep your knives in a wooden block, magnetic strip, or some other sort of knife-holding device! Also, make sure your kids cannot reach them. This could potentially save you from a trip to the emergency room.
Cleaning your knives is of the utmost importance. Who wants food rotting and festering in their knives? Nobody. That's who. Use warm water and soap and wash them with a sponge or plastic scrubber. Never scrub them with steel wool! You will damage your knives! The dishwasher is also a big no-no because as the knives are heated and cooled, they will expand and contract, damaging them over time.
Acids should also be avoided if you want to keep your knives looking new. Lemon juice or vinegar can severely damage your knife if you do not wash it soon after it comes into contact with the blade.
Sharpen Your Knives
Having a sharp knife is important when cooking because a sharp knife is a safe knife. The more pressure you have to apply to cut something, the more likely you are to hurt yourself. We recommend that you sharpen your knives at least 2 times annually. You should be able to find someone to do it at a gourmet retailer, restaurant supply store, or butcher. Asking around should find you, someone, to do it. You can also get a sharpening machine. They only cost around $40 to $50, and they'll get your knives sharpened. Sharpening stones are also an option.
Hone Your Knives
Honing your knives prior to using them (every time) will ensure that your knife will stay sharper longer. This process involves using a sharpening steel to sharpen the knife. Doing this removes small fragments from the edge of your knife that would otherwise assist in dulling your knife faster. While this does not sharpen your knife, it extends the time that your knife will remain sharp.
Don't miss the series; catch the rest of our guides below:
Chapter 1: Be A Master Chef in 10 Days
Chapter 2: Kitchen Storage Ideas
Chapter 2.1: Main Kitchen Appliances
Chapter 2.2: Creating a Safe and User-Friendly Kitchen
Chapter 2.3: Essential Pots, Pans and Cookware
Chapter 3: How To Organize and Stock Your Kitchen Pantry
Chapter 4: How To Buy and Use Your Kitchen Knives
Chapter 4.1: Knife Cuts – Chopping, Dicing and More
Chapter 5: How To Steam, Boil, Poach and More
Chapter 6: How To Saute and Make Homemade Sauces
Chapter 7: How To Braise Meat and How To Make Stew
Chapter 8: How To Roast Meat, Veggies and Poultry
Chapter 9: How To Grill Steak, Chicken and Veggies
Chapter 10: How To Bake Goods and Desserts From Scratch
Chapter 10.1: How to Make Pie Crust, How To Bake Cakes and More!
Chapter 11: Cooking for Beginners – Breakfast
Chapter 11.1: Breakfast Bread – How To Make French Toast, Pancakes & Waffles
Chapter 13: How To Cook Perfect Pasta and Hearty Grains
Chapter 14: How To Make Sauces From Scratch
Chapter 15: Easy To Make Homemade Desserts For Beginners
Chapter 16: How To Make Single-Pot Recipes From Scratch
Chapter 17: Thinking Like A Chef – Cooking Tips for Beginners
Don’t forget to catch the next part of our guide to How To Be A Master Chef In 10 Days! We love hearing your feedback and comments, so let us know if you have any other tips for beginner cooks or your thoughts on this series. HomemadeRecipes.com was founded to create an online community where foodies, epicureans and chefs can share recipes and learn new ones! We need your help, however, in creating this community where you can come, share and learn. If you love to cook, love food or have some great recipes and ideas you’d like to share with us, shoot us an email and make sure to stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest! We’re always looking for contributors and want to hear from you.
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