Good bread knives do more than just cut bread; they are a valuable part of any good chef’s cooking arsenal. Serrated edges have a particular beauty about them, and while a lot of focus is placed on straight-edge blades to a top chef, the serrated edge holds a special place in their hearts and kitchen.
The best bread knives have specific characteristics that make them superbly valuable for professional and amateur cooking alike. Factors such as blade length, blade thickness, tang length, and steel all combine to make the best bread knives in the world.
Let’s discover what you should consider when looking to buy a great bread knife for your kitchen, what other foods you can use it for, and then some of the best bread knives available.
- What Can You Cut With A Bread Knife?
- What To Consider When Buying A Bread Knife
- 8 Best Bread Knives
- Final Thoughts on Choosing a Bread Knife
What Can You Cut With A Bread Knife?
Don’t think for one minute that bread knives are ONLY there to cut bread – far from it! Professional chefs understand that certain types of food are better cut and shaped with a serrated edge, and this is why they invest heavily in high-quality serrated knives as part of their kitchen supplies.
Some foods like ripe tomatoes and hard-skin veggies like squash and butternut are far easier to cut accurately and cleanly with a serrated edge. The same applies to pineapple, strawberries, cakes, and other pastries.
While you may think your chef’s knife is the be-all and end-all, tough baked crusts can damage the edge unless it’s razor-sharp, and if you’ve ever tried to cut tomatoes with a slightly blunt chef’s knife, you end up with tomato soup rather than neat, thin slices.
Note: If you’re looking for a more automatic way of cutting your bread, you may want to to invest in an electric bread slicer.
What To Consider When Buying A Bread Knife
Blade Shape And Thickness
Most serrated bread knives are either straight or curved, and depending on how you like to cut; you may find that the curved option is more suited to a rocking-style cutting technique, while the straight blade would give you a bit more power.
A decent sharp point also helps easily penetrate tough or resistant surfaces and allows the cut to be made with little or no effort.
The thinner blades are better for fine cutting, and thicker blades deliver more weight and power behind the cut. You don’t want your knife tearing through food instead of slicing clean as this can leave ugly striations in your food, and if the quality of presentation is non-negotiable, then this is not an option.
Another factor to consider is the tang. This is the piece of the blade that forms part of the handle, and as a rule, the higher quality blades have a full tang that extends to the back of the handle.
This design gives you exceptional leverage and power, and while some bread knives have shorter tangs, a full tang design is preferable.
As mentioned before, the point of the blade should be sharp, and depending on what you will be using the knife predominantly, you have some options when it comes to the type of serration you can pick.
The rounder serrated edges are great for getting through soft and tender loaves of bread, while a combination of small and large double serrated edges would be better for tough crusted breads with a soft interior.
The most efficient serrated blades have deeper serrations with sharper tips but fewer them on the blade. For overall usage of a variety of foods, this would be the middle ground option.
When it comes to the best bread knives, they usually present with either plastic or wooden handles. Wooden handles have a certain traditional appeal, but they can become slippery if used for cutting food that releases a lot of juice.
Plastic handles offer a better non-slip grip, and when using sharp blades, that is always a good thing to have. That is not to say that wooden handles with a well-conceived ergonomic design make the blade sit easily and comfortably in hand.
The handle choice depends on the individual feel in hand; some prefer the thicker feel, and others enjoy the thinner, more maneuverable style.
Most bread knives are around the 9″ to 10″ length, and this is an ideal size as it permits cutting through most breads, fruits like watermelon and maintaining some level of control and precision for more delicate cuts.
Many chefs would opt for a 10″ length of a bread knife and then keep a smaller serrated blade for the more delicate work needed.
Sharpening And Maintenance
With any knife over time, the blade’s edge will need sharpening, and with serrated edges, this becomes a little more tricky. For best results, it’s always better to use a professional sharpening service.
Doing it yourself can damage the serrations, which would probably mean replacing the knife, and if you are spending $150+ on a decent serrated knife, rather have it sharpened by a pro.
When looking at knives, get some idea of the frequency of maintenance you’d require based on the level of usage. If the blade is for your kitchen at home and not a busy professional eatery, then your bread knife should last a good few years and longer before needing to be sharpened.
Maintenance on your blade is as little as washing it by hand, rinsing clean and drying correctly, and NOT putting it in the dishwasher.
Cutting Board Surface
As a final consideration, the cutting surface you will be using will affect the blade, and hard surfaces like glass or stone are not recommended for any cooking blades as it doesn’t take much to dent or scratch the steel.
Plastic and wooden boards are preferred as the optimum cutting board surfaces for serrated and straight-edged blades.
See our guide: the best bread cutting boards.
If this is going to be a general working knife in your home, you don’t need a second mortgage to buy your bread knife. That being said, investing in high-quality steel for cooking is always a good thing and will never go to waste.
With knives priced from as little as $20 up to more than $200, you’d need to consider the usage and the kind of quality you are prepared to invest in.
Now that you have all the factors to measure and weigh up let’s look at some of the best bread knives available.
8 Best Bread Knives
Victorinox Swiss Army Fibrox Bread Knife
Best Value Bread Knife
Swiss knife maker Victorinox needs no introduction. As one of the world’s premier steel makers over the last century, their Swiss Army knives are world-famous, and their range of cooking steel lives up to the same standard.
This 10.25″ bread knife is a prime example of a highly versatile blade able to cut thick bread crust and slice delicate desserts with consummate ease. Rated as dishwasher-safe but recommended for hand washing only, the curved blade has a place in any kitchen.
Weighing in at just 4 ounces, this is also one of the lightest knives available, and the Fibrox handle ensures good grip and non-slip when cutting.
Mercer Millenia Culinary Bread Knife
Best Budget Bread Knife
At the budget end, you can pick up this exceptional bread knife with a high-quality Japanese carbon steel blade and ergonomically designed non-slip handle. A carbon steel blade means little or no sharpening would be needed as the edges remain sharp.
Crafted from a single piece of steel that offers control and balance, the 10″ blade has enough weight to glide through most foods, and if slightly thicker edges aren’t a concern, this is the best bread knife for you.
The combination of plastic and rubber keeps the knife in hand and reduces the risk of slipping when cutting slippery foods like vegetables.
Wusthof Classic 10″ Bread Knife
Best Edge For Cutting
Wusthof knives are highly rated around the world. The German steelmaker has continued to produce superb steel, and this 10″ bread knife is a great example. A slightly more expensive option in this list, the Wustbhof Classis is a tremendous overall serrated knife and is easiest to handle.
Sporting a full tang and riveted handle, the balance on this 9″ blade is outstanding as the double serrated edge cuts through anything you throw at it without tearing, from finely sliced tomatoes to thin, crusty breads.
The biggest pro about this blade is the incredible sharpness, thanks to Wusthof’s Precision Edge Technology which uses high-tech lasers to increase the edge sharpness by 20% and give superior edge retention.
It is not only a great performer, but they are breathtaking to look at. If the lofty price tag doesn’t bug you, then this could well be the very best and ONLY bread knife you ever buy.
Kaizen 9.5″ Bread Knife
Best High Precision Bread Knife
Yes, this is an expensive blade, but with good reason. Made from Japanese Damascus steel, this is the scalpel of bread knives. The much thinner 9.5″ blade makes precision cutting of foods like cured salami, tomato, and bread crust effortless.
The Damascus steel design is stunning and belies its toughness under a veneer of elegance. If you need a serrated blade that will give near surgical precision, then this is the blade for you.
If you consider your cooking knives to be a lifelong investment, then this Kaizen bread knife is certainly a contender for your kitchen as, with proper care, it should live as long as you, if not longer!
Tojiro 9.25″ Bread Slicer
Most Flexible Blade
If blade flexibility is a critical part of your decision, then you won’t need to look much further than this. An affordable option, the Tojiro Bread Slicer s made with a natural wood handle and high-carbon steel.
As a thinner, more flexible knife, this blade makes short work of slicing through sourdough and other softer materials that thicker, less flexible knives would struggle with.
Its more natural flexibility offers better control when cutting around oddly shaped fruits like melon and slicing soft skin meats and delicate desserts without tearing. The high-carbon steel blade is durable and should hold its edge indefinitely.
Dalstrong Frost Fire Bread Knife
Best All-Round Performance Bread Knife
As a mid-priced bread knife, this is an attractive middle-of-the-road option, but the aesthetic beauty of this blade is superbly eye-catching.
This is truly a beautiful blade made from high-carbon-7-level high chromium steel and sandblasted to give it a unique frosted look; the thick blade and pointed edge make for excellent heavy-duty use.
Slightly shorter at just 8″, the heavier weight and ergonomically designed white resin handle enclosed in an aluminum mesh give this bread knife excellent grip and handling and add durability.
Shun Offset Classic Bread Knife
Best Offset Knife
As the only offset knife in this list, the 8.25″ knife will appeal to you if you are tired of catching your knuckles when cutting. The offset means that the handle is higher than the blade, allowing the hand to wrap around the handle without coming into contact with the cutting board.
Light, versatile, and easy to use, the steel core blade slices effortlessly through even the most delicate of desserts, and thanks to its premium forging, the blade will remain sharp through its lifetime.
Henckels Classic 7″ Bread Knife
Best Short Bread Knife
While some people appreciate the 9″ and 10″ knives, others prefer a shorter option, and this Henckler 7″ Bread Knife sure cuts the cake!
The most significant advantage of the shorter length is the maneuverability and handling that comes with less steel in hand. This makes it ideal for cutting smaller foods like fruit for your fruit platter but does make cutting longer loaves of bread a little more of a challenge.
The blade is fully forged from German stainless steel, but the knife is Spanish-made, and the handle’s ergonomic triple-riveted design gives good handling and control, which is more critical with a shorter blade.
This is probably the only knife in this list that is rated 100% dishwasher safe.
Final Thoughts on Choosing a Bread Knife
Well, there you have it, a bread knife for every style, purpose, and budget.
All that’s left to do now is pick the best suits you and get into your kitchen. Whether long or short, full tang or offset, there is an option for every kind of chef.
Suppose you have never considered using a bread knife outside of just cutting bread. In that case, it’s time to discover a whole new world of opportunities and expression that only a top-quality serrated edge can bring to your culinary expression.