The bread knife isn’t just for cutting crusty loaves! Its serrated edge not only allows us to slice bread thick or thin, but it also makes the bread knife the ideal knife to cut through foods such as tomatoes. It can also perform an extra duty as a carving knife for roast meats!Serrated bread knives are available in different lengths with pointed or scalloped serrations and as flat or curved knifes. In this article, we consider the difference between these, as well as what design features make the bread knife so effective at cutting bread. To help you in your choice of new bread knife, we also review some of the best bread knives on sale and look at the pros and cons of each.
The NSF certified Mercer Culinary wide wavy edge bread knife with its 10" high carbon stain free Japanese steel is our best pick of the bread knives.
The Orblue 13" bread knife with its 8" stainless steel and ultra-sharp edge is our dishwasher safe budget pick of the bread knives.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Bread Knives
- 1. Mercer Culinary M23210 Millennia Bread Knife
- 2. Orblue Serrated Bread Knife
- 3. Victorinox Swiss Army 10-1/4" Serrated Bread Knife
- 4. OXO Good Grips 8" Bread Knife
- 5. Tojiro 5.8" Bread Knife
- 6. DALSTRONG 10" Bread Knife
- 7. Wusthof 4151-7 CLASSIC Bread Knife
- 8. J.A. Henckels International 16906-201 Forged Premio Bread Knife
- 9. Shun Classic 9" Bread Knife
- 10. MAC Knife Superior 10½" Bread Knife
- Things to Consider Before Buying A Bread Knife
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Bread Knives
1. Mercer Culinary M23210 Millennia Bread Knife
The Mercer Culinary wide wavy edge bread knife (M23210) is a 10" blade (total length of around 15") made from high carbon, stain free Japanese steel. This bread knife has a black handle which is constructed from a combination of polypropylene and santoprene to give comfort as well as durability. The handle also contains a finger guard for safety and textured finger points for better gripping.This is an NSF certified knife which means that it is suitable for use in commercial kitchens and it also comes with a lifetime limited warranty. Some owners have found that this bread knife may begin to blunt sooner than expected; especially on homemade breads, and the odd person has commented that they have found the knife ‘pulling’ to the left when cutting. Some also consider that this knife is on the larger side of bread knives and it can also be difficult to extract this knife from its packaging!
2. Orblue Serrated Bread Knife
The Orblue 13" bread knife has an 8" flat blade made from stainless steel with an ultra-sharp serrated edge. This is a one-piece design with a thinner blade which gives a lighter weight bread knife which can be cleaned in the dishwasher, although you may prefer to wash it by hand. The ergonomic handle of this knife is also made of stainless steel.Although there is a lifetime limited warranty on this knife, it will only apply to knives bought from a manufacturer authorized distributer, so you may want to check this before buying. The odd buyer has found this knife less than satisfactory and as it can be prone to rusting, you may want to wash and dry it immediately after use. It may also be more difficult to slice firmer loaves such as sourdoughs.
3. Victorinox Swiss Army 10-1/4" Serrated Bread Knife
Made in Switzerland, the Victorinox Fibrox Handle 10¼" bread knife is a curved serrated edge bread knife which has been designed to give maximum knuckle clearance as well as easy slicing with a rocking motion. The total length of the knife is around 15" and it comes with a lifetime warranty against any defects in materials and workmanship.This knife is made from lightweight and high quality European steel and as it has a black Fibrox handle and is NSF certified for use in commercial kitchens. The manufacturer recommends that this knife be handwashed only. The odd buyer has received a knife which appears to have not been quality checked properly before sending out from the manufacturer, and this bread knife could occasionally drag with softer breads.
4. OXO Good Grips 8" Bread Knife
With a soft comfortable handle to ensure a safe grip, the OXO Good Grips 8" bread knife is a total length of 13½". This knife has a stainless steel serrated flat blade and although it is dishwasher safe, the manufacturer recommends that it be hand washed and dried straight afterwards.The odd buyer has found this knife to be less than sharp on arrival and it can be prone to tearing some types of bread. It may also be not as sturdy as all buyers would have liked.
5. Tojiro 5.8" Bread Knife
The shorter Tojiro 5.8" bread knife has a total length of 9¼". This has a stainless steel full tang and flat blade triple riveted into the natural wood handle. Made in Japan, this bread knife may have more flex in it than expected, so you could struggle with cutting crustier loaves, and, as it has a shorter handle, those with larger hands may have more difficulties when using it.
As this knife has a wood handle, it should be hand washed rather than placed in the dishwasher and it may require occasional oiling to keep the handle conditioned.
6. DALSTRONG 10" Bread Knife
Made with imported high carbon German steel, the DALSTRONG 10" bread knife is a full tang flat knife at 56+ Rockwell hardness. This serrated edge knife has a triple riveted black pakkawood handle which has been laminated for a sanitary finish and the taller blade gives knuckle clearance on the handle.This has a 100% satisfaction or money back guarantee and lifetime limited warranty with and some owners have found that the blade is a little too heavy and it can be prone to pulling to one side when cutting bread.
7. Wusthof 4151-7 CLASSIC Bread Knife
The German manufactured Wusthof Classic bread knife is a full tang and precision forged high carbon 10" stainless steel blade. This is a 58 Rockwell hardness serrated edged flat knife which has a full bolster to help protect fingers. The handle is black POM and this knife is NSF certified. It also comes with a lifetime limited warranty. As a premium knife this will cost more than other bread knives, and it does not come with a guard or sheath.
8. J.A. Henckels International 16906-201 Forged Premio Bread Knife
Made from high quality German high carbon stainless steel with a satin finish, the J.A. Henckels International 8" bread knife (16906-201) is a forged and full tang blade with a triple riveted handle. At a total length of 13", this flat bread knife also has a forged bolster and the end cap displays the logo.This knife is suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher and comes with a lifetime limited warranty. As this is a shorter knife, it may not be long enough for all types of bread.
9. Shun Classic 9" Bread Knife
The Shun Classic 9" bread knife has wide razor sharp serrations and is made of VG-MAX steel, a proprietary formula for edge retention, strength, durability and corrosion resistance. Made in Japan, this curved bread knife has an ebony pakkawood handle for a comfort grip and resistance to water.
The blade also has a Damascus-look and although this knife is dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended. This also comes with a lifetime limited warranty. This is a premium bread knife which is priced accordingly, and some buyers have received this knife packaged in a sleeve rather than a presentation box as advertised.
10. MAC Knife Superior 10½" Bread Knife
Made in Japan, the MAC Knife Superior 10½" bread knife is lightweight and has a high carbon blade. This is a curved full tang blade which has scalloped serrations and is finished with a dark pakkawood handle. This knife has a total length of 15¾" and is not suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher.Coming with a 25 year limited warranty, the odd owner has found this knife can struggle with particularly crusty loaves and sourdoughs.
Things to Consider Before Buying A Bread Knife
The serrated edge of the bread knife is the key to its success in the kitchen. The serrations or teeth of the blade edge are able to sink into the food surface and then the gullets, which are the spaces between the teeth, reduce the friction as the blade moves backwards and forwards. It is the gullets which allow the serrated edge of the knife to cut through the food without tearing it or dragging and they also keep the blade moving in the direction we want it to move in, rather than travelling off at an angle.
This is particularly important when slicing bread to ensure that slices are level and uniform in thickness.
A good bread knife should be able to immediately grab onto the crust of the loaf and saw through it smoothly while keeping the crust intact and crumbs to a minimum. The sharper the knife; the easier this will be. When your bread knife begins to dull, you will find that the bread is ‘sinking’ more when you slice through it.
The bread knife is best used for cutting through any type of bread and other foods such as tomatoes which have a hard outer and soft core. A bread knife is also be useful when needing to cut larger roasts or sides of meat as well as pastries and biscotti. You can also use it to shred foods such as lettuce.
Although an essential in most knife blocks, the bread knife is a relative newcomer to the world of kitchen knives. One historical record from 1893, recorded when the Friedrich Dick company from Germany exhibited a serrated edge knife at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. There was also a US patent filed in 1919 by a New Yorker for a knife with serrations which would allow it to cut cleanly in both directions of soft and hard bread.
Bread knives are available as full tang or part tang blades. A full tang is one in which the blade itself and the tang (which passes into the handle) are forged or stamped from the same piece of metal. The handles are then riveted onto the tang which ends at the butt of the handle. This design feature makes full tang knives more robust and less likely to bend or snap than a part tang knife which only has a tang inserted into the handle.
The handle on a bread knife should be ergonomic and allow easy gripping when cutting through artisan loaves or slicing thin crostini.
Types of Bread Knife
There are three main types of bread knife. The flat serrated knife is common and fine for slicing bread, although its lack of knuckle clearance leaves it less well suited for other tasks in the kitchen.
The curved bread knife allows you to use a rocking motion and also provides knuckle clearance when using as does the offset knife, which also provides knuckle clearance. However, because the overall blade length is shorter (ending as far as two inches from the handle) on an offset knife, it means it can struggle cutting through larger loaves. Its offset shape also makes it more difficult to control when cutting with it.
Most bread knives have a blade length of between 8" and 11" and the longer the blade, the less times we will need to move it back and forth to complete the cut.
A blade length of around 9" is common for many bread knives although a longer bladed bread knife is better for cutting baguettes and artisan loaves. A longer bread knife with a thinner blade is also less likely to create drag when it is pulled through the bread.
The Difference Between Pointed and Scalloped Serrations
Which type of serrated knife you choose is often just personal preference; but the different serrations do suit certain cutting tasks better. A serrated edge knife is usually only ground on one side (single bevel) as this not only gives a sharp edge but allows for precision cutting of thin slices.
The type of serrations, or the tooth line, of a bread knife will give different results. Pointed serrations are sharper and appear to have points that are almost hook-like. A pointed serrated edge bread knife needs less user pressure to cut with, but it will often leave more crumbs after cutting. Pointed serrations are especially useful for cutting very crusty bread and sourdoughs as the serrations are able to dig into the crust easily.
A pointed serrated knife also functions as a cutting knife for tomatoes and other soft skinned fruits and vegetables such as melon, eggplant and pineapple.
The scalloped edge bread knife is the most common type of bread knife. Unfortunately, the scalloped edge will not always give the best results when cutting very crusty loaves as its rounded serrations are unable to bite into the crust as easily as pointed serrations.
A scalloped serrated knife is also useful for slicing soft fruits, vegetables and meats.
Serrated edge blades which have fewer serrations or teeth naturally have a bigger space, or gullet, between them. Knives with larger gullets not only move through bread easier, but they also make bigger cuts. Like household saws, serrations on knives are measured as teeth per inch or TPI and the lower the TPI, the coarser the cut will be.
Taking Care of Your Bread Knife
A bread knife will generally stand up to rougher handling than a chef’s knife, but it should still be looked after. Bread knives are always best handwashed unless they are explicitly labelled as being dishwasher safe. If you do put them in the dishwasher then they should be placed in there carefully and ideally in a knife cage or at least away from any other items which may cause damage to the blade if they knock against it.
As soon as a bread knife is washed it should be carefully dried before putting away.
Avoid storing a bread knife in the drawer unless unavoidable and if you do, then a sheath or edge guard will reduce the risk of damage to the blade (or fingers!).
Generally, a bread knife which has moderate use and is looked after rarely needs sharpening. Serrated edge knives can be sharpened professionally, or you can do them yourself with a serrated knife sharpener. It is time consuming and can take a bit of practice to get it right, but if you have a premium bread knife it can be worth taking the time to learn how to sharpen it yourself.
In this article we have considered why the bread knife works so well in the way that it does and how much the type of blade and its serration style affects what is being cut. We have also looked at other features of the bread knife, such as its handle, and why a full tang bread knife is more robust than a part tang knife.We hope that you have enjoyed reading our article on what to consider when choosing a bread knife and if you prefer your sourdough thin, or your rye thick, we trust that our product reviews have helped you to select the right bread knife from our selection of the best bread knives!