How to use a chef's knife

Allright, if you have never used a chef's knife before, the task might seem daunting. Chef's knives are a lot larger and sharper then your average potato peeler. But not to worry, using a chef's knife is quite simple. So lets just jump in.

How do you hold a chef's knife?

While just holding the handle might seem the most logical way to hold a knife, but this doesn't give you nearly enough control. The correct way to hold a chef's knife is the 'pinch grip'. Place your index finger against one side of the blade, just ahead of the bolster and your thumb on the opposite side of the blade. Now curl the rest of your fingers around the handle. Tada! the pinch grip.

Now thats you cutting hand taken care of. One hand left to go.

The claw

To make sure you only chop the food on your cutting board, it is imperative that you use the claw grip. Make a claw with your hand and rest the blade against the middle part of your fingers. With the tips of your fingers you can hold the food you are cutting. Using this grip you ensure the safety of your finger tips.

Chopping technique

Now you have perfected your knife holding technique, it's time to actually cut something. The chef's cut, most importantly, take it slow. Get the basic motion down before attempting to speed through a pile of vegetables.

The basic motion is simple. While resting the blade against the middle part of your finger, and resting the tip of the blade on your cutting board move the blade back and forward while simultaneously moving is up and down. Essentially, your hand will describe a circle. While making this motion move your knife along the piece of food you are cutting.

Another good technique to know is the chop. Hold the knife against you fingers as discussed before, and simply move your knife up and down. This is a great technique to chop herbs or small vegetables into very fine pieces.

If you're interested in more things you can do with your chef's knife, we have listed 11 of them here.

Cleaning up

Allright, everything in your fridge has now been reduced to perfect cubes. it's time for the cleanup. Hold your knife under a running tap for a few seconds and if necessary, wipe it of with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth. Then dry it of. Store the knife spine down in a knife block or on a magnet strip.

A couple of quick tips for you to get the most out of your knife.

BARE Cookware scrape with back of chef's knife

The most important thing of all is to make sure you are safe. Using a good chef's knife makes cooking a lot more fun. Make sure it stays fun by being careful with your knife.

Knife anatomy 101

In this article we'll look at the differentiating factors between Chef’s knives, let's call it knife anatomy 101. This should help you in choosing the right knife for you. We’ll also explain which choices went into designing our BARE Cookware 8” Chef’s knife.

1. Blade profile

The first thing that separates knives is their shape. The blade profile of a (Chef’s) knife can be rounder or flatter. A rounder blade profile is referred to as having more belly. Works for Chef’s too. A knife with a more pronounced belly is better suited for rocking. A flatter blade edge is better geared towards straight up and down chopping. We have a complete overview of knife types here.

The width of the blade profile is a design choice too. A wider blade offers a wider base for the fingers to rest against. On the downside: a wider blade is heavier, resulting in less speed during fast work.

Lastly a knife blade can be profile tapered, meaning that it gradually gets thinner from spine to cutting edge. This is seldomly used, as the primary bevel accomplishes most of the benefits gained by this difficult to produce geometry design. More on that further down.

2. Spine profiles

Obviously, the thickness of the spine is a defining factor in knife design. A thicker blade is stronger, but heavier. A thicker spine is also more comfortable when pushing down on the spine of the knife. For our BARE Chef’s knife, we have settled on a straight spine thickness of 2.5mm. This allows the knife to withstand all daily cutting tasks without becoming cumbersome.

Besides thickness, the spine of a knife can be shaped to. There are two varieties of knife spine types:

  1. The straight spine. Straightforward and functional. The straight spine does not vary in thickness. It offers the most strength and durability.
  2. The tapered spine. Here the spine gets thinner from handle to tip. If a blade gradually thins toward the tip this is called a full distal taper. This is especially useful in knives for delicate or fast work. A full distal taper adds significant cost in manufacturing. A drawback of a full distal taper is the decreased strength of the blade near the tip. This means increasing the risk of breaking the tip of your knife should you drop it.

3. The bolster

The bolster is the part that merges the handle into the knife. Structurally, a bolster is not necessary. It can be a very beneficial part to improve the balance of a knife. Some knives come with a full bolster that extends to the heel of the knife. This adds a strong point at the heel of the knife that can then be used to hack through small bones. We’re no fans of the full bolster as it makes sharpening almost impossible.

BARE Knives come with a half-bolster that balances the knife out and increases ergonomics when pinch-gripping the blade. The half-bolster ensure you can easily sharpen your knife yourself. Read more about knife sharpening here.

4. The tang

The tang is the part of the blade steel that extends into the handle. There are two types of tangs.

  1. The full tang. Extends fully into the handle. A full tang does not always have to be visible, but almost always is. A full tang provides more weight in the handle and is stronger than a partial tang. It should be noted that this added strength is only beneficial in survival or hunting knives. Kitchen knives should never be strained to the point where such added strength would make a difference.
  2. Partial tang. Extends partially into the handle. Japanese knives are traditionally made with a partial tang and no bolster. For kitchen work this construction is plenty strong enough. In the kitchen it is a question of aesthetics and weight balance whether you prefer a partial or full tang.

5. The handle

Where the rubber meets the road. A handle should feel right. This is very subjective. We encourage you to try different types before you buy a knife. A handle should provide good grip, also in wet or oily conditions.

Besides ergonomic, a handle must last. That is why BARE Cookware knives come with a natural hardwood handle. These handles last a lifetime when taken care of. See our hardwood maintenance guide for more info.

Looks

Lastly, there’s look. Though we are very utilitarian here at BARE, we love a knife that just looks good. Additionally: a beautiful product is more sustainable and durable. Because you will care better for a beautiful knife. Beautiful tools do not get thrown out so fast. That is why we have designed our knives to look as they do. We want to make a lasting impression.

In future articles we will dive deeper into edge geometry and grind types. Stay tuned!

How NOT to cut an onion

Or how to murder a vegetable. Let’s start with some onion-crushing basics. The utility knife. But not the nice 'cheffy' sharp one. This isn't cut an onion the easy way. No, we mean the plastic one pictured below. Feel free to use the edge or spine, makes no difference really.

In our quest for the worst onion-cutting-experience possible this is our weapon of choice. Preferably get one with a blade length smaller than the diameter of the onion you’ll be cutting with it. That way you will have to make each cut twice. Double the work: double the fun!

"knife"

This excuse for a knife must have been banged around in your kitchen drawer for at least five years. If not, we recommend taking the blade to a brick wall. Get ‘r nice and blunt. We would not want to be able to cut ourselves, or anything else.

Cutting technique

Time is money. And we want to get the most bang for the buck. So, let’s find a way to maximize effort and risk of injury whilst minimizing usable end product. Grab the onion with extended fingers. No bear-claw-safety-first-proper-technique here. Avoid rock chopping. Rather, stab the knife point-first into the onion as that’s the only sharp part left. Then rock and crunch. Try to get the onion to expel as much juice as possible. Crying is mandatory. It’s supposed to be hard. Sheer force of will and character should net you about 1 ‘chopped’ onion every 15 minutes. Cooking is fun.

if only there was a better way...

If you have done any of the above and thought: “If only there was a better way!?”. We are happy you found us! Because cutting an onion properly is so much more than just learning how to cut an onion. It is the gateway to proper cutting technique. And with that it can be the first step towards learning how to cook. Or learning how to cook better.

Now we will not give advice on proper onion cutting technique on this page. The internet is full of it. Just try the first 5 YouTube results for “How to chop an onion”. You’ll be rocking rock-chopping in no time. There’s only one thing we would advise you:

Walk before you run

If you have just picked up your first Chef’s knife: go slow. Or if your knife skills could use a polish: go slower! This does 2 things for you:

  1. You can try to perfect the technique with slow controlled motions. Don’t start out with the wrong technique. It’s harder to unlearn something than it is to learn something fresh.
  2. You’ll be safer. There’s no point in trying to dice an onion sliver-fine under 5 seconds like Gordon Ramsey. He’s had decades of practice.

The good news: you can practice knife skills and cooking for years to come. We promise you: that’s enough to get good at it. We have listed some basic knife techniques for you here.

Knife!

How did you know?

That “How to chop an onion” is one of the more popular cooking-related search terms? As is “How to cut an onion without crying”. Goes to show how fundamental a skill chopping a simple onion is. About that crying situation we have good news! All it takes is a sharp knife. A sharp knife will damage less of the onions cells releasing less 'tear jerking oxalic acid'. Secondly, by being able to cut an onion faster, you'll spend less time crying. Last tip, try not to cut to closely to the stem of the onion. If you still let out a few tears: it’s okay. We all cry sometimes.

So, what is the right way?

You didn't think we would just leave you hanging right? Cut an onion in half and lay one half flat on your cutting board. Then, slice the onion starting at the root.

Rotate the onion 90° and make one or two horizontal cuts. Take care to ensure the safety of your fingers.

Finally, in a chopping motion cut the onion into small pieces. The result should be equally sized cubes of onion.

Have we gotten you curious about our chef's knife? Have a look at our 8'' Chef's knife

Steel alloys - From a Chef’s perspective

Ingredient choices

Like a chef can fine tune a recipe by adding or removing ingredients we can fine tune steel alloys to ensure certain characteristics. To make a dish sweeter, you can add sugar. To make steel softer or harder you can add carbon. In its most basic form steel contains iron and carbon. The amount of carbon (C) ranges from 0.02% to about 1.70% for high carbon steels. This includes mild steels and exotic high carbon alloys. For knife steels the usable range is commonly in between 0.30 and 0.85%.

Other elements can be added for certain characteristics. Chromium (Cr) adds corrosion resistance. Vanadium (V) and Molybdenum (Mo) drive grain formation. This results, among other things, in a steel that can be better heat-treated. In a future blog post we will dive into more detail per ingredient and include some more exotic ingredients.  

Cooking technique

Process matters too: searing a steak changes its texture and flavour. Heating or cooling steel changes its characteristics. Just like multiple dishes can be made from the same set of ingredients, a steel can have greatly varying characteristics depending on the way it is processed.

Forging steel on anvil

For example: even high carbon steels can have a very low Rockwell-C Hardness rating if they are not quenched and tempered properly. The steel alloy only determines the upper and lower bounds for the characteristics of a knife. Just like a chef can go all sorts of ways with a set of ingredients and equipment, it is up to the knife maker to get the best results out of a certain steel alloy.

Common recipes

Every chef knows how to make basic recipes from basic ingredients. In the same way there are alloys and tempering procedures that every knife maker should know. This helps when you pick a knife. There are a dozen steel types you will commonly see. Their characteristics are well known, and how to process them is standardized.

Just like it is unwise to eat something without knowing the ingredients, don't buy a knife of which you don't know the steel alloy. We advise you to stick to the 'tried and tested' types of steel when starting out: you really cannot go wrong here. Once you know your style in cooking and have a solid grasp on the basics of knife skills and care you might want to branch out into more exotic steel types or boutique handcrafted knives. Or you might not! There is a lot to say for standardization when consistent quality is desirable.

The check please

As any chef will tell you cooking is a balancing act. Just as there is no dish that has the perfect flavour, there is no perfect knife steel. It is about personal preference. The ‘right’ steel type and treatment is very relative. For example: a harder steel will be more prone to rust and cracking. And a hard and rust-resistant steel will cost significantly more. A big part of the balancing act that is alloy composition comes down to cost. Just make sure you understand the trade-offs involved with your steel type of choice before buying a quality knife.

BARE Knives

At BARE Cookware we choose to use X50CrMoV15 steel for our knives. This is a well-known knife steel with excellent corrosion resistance. Our steel alloy contains:

BARE Cookware knife over pile of orange vegetables

In our experience X50CrMoV15 strikes a perfect balance between price, rust-resistance, and hardness. Our knives bolster an impressive Rockwell-C hardness of 58. This hardness ensures our knives are razor sharp and stay that way but are still resistant to chipping or breaking. Can you get a harder steel? Sure, but you'll either compromise on rust-resistance, chip-resistance or pay dearly for it. In future posts we will elaborate on steel characteristics, alloy elements and composition, quenching and tempering methods, and the result of these factors in the final product.

Knife maintenance 101

A good quality kitchen knife will last a lifetime. If taken care of properly. Knife maintenance is easy and costs little to no time at all. It’s a matter of habit really. Adopt the right cooking habits and you are rewarded with a tool that stays sharper for longer and will probably outlast you. We have 4 simple tips for basic knife maintenance.

Cutting

To keep your knife as sharp as possible during cutting you should avoid cutting into anything that will dull the knife more rapidly. Because the steel of your knife is hardened it is also more brittle. This means that a knife can chip when abused. Here’s some pointers how to properly use your knife:

BARE Cookware scrape with back of chef's knife

Cleaning

The best way to cut down on knife maintenance is cleaning you knives the right way.

Storing

Perhaps just as important in your knife maintenance routine is how you store your knives

Periodical care

Every once and again you will need to touch up your kitchen knives. Here are a couple things you can to to keep your knives in tip-top shape.

11 things you can do with a Chef's Knife

Like a painter has a brush, a chef has a knife. Of all the kitchen equipment you'll ever own, nothing is more indispensable than a good knife. Most Chefs have an array of knives to choose from. But if only given the choice of one: the Chef’s Knife would be the top pick. The fact that we were able to list 11 cutting techniques speaks to the versatility of the chef's knife.

With this single knife you are able to cut, dice, mince, chop and slice anything from a fine steak to fresh veggies. Whether you are a beginning cook or experienced chef, the most important tool at your disposal is your chef's knife.

So what are some of the things you can do with a Chef's Knife? Let's list some examples! Oh and be sure to check our guide on how to hold the knife safely.

The 'Chef'

Obviously! The most straightforward cutting technique is the 'Chef's chop'. Put the tip of the blade on the cutting board and push the knife through the product. Lift on the backstroke and repeat. This technique takes a little time to master but is essential in any kitchen.

Chop

Simply move the blade up and down. The flat part of the blade near the handle is perfect for chopping. This technique gives a nice straight cut. A more classic approach is to simultaneously move the knife back and forth a little so you are cutting diagonally.

Rock

Rocking is done by placing your free hand on top of the spine of the knife for added control and safety. The upward curve towards the tip of the Chef's knife allows you to lift the handle up without the blade leaving the cutting board. Rocking the knife from heel to tip is perfect for finely cut fresh herbs. It's also a great cut for breaking down hard vegetables like sweet potatoes safely.

Julienne & Dice

The julienne cutting technique is synonymous with high-end kitchens. While not the easiest to perform constantly, a sharp knife goes a long way. When cutting even strips or cubes, you can use the side of the knife to square up your work. This gives you a straight reference to start slicing or chopping while maintaining evenly sizes pieces.

Peel

Yes, even peeling is possible with a Chef's knife. Admittedly: the peeler often works better. But when in a pinch you can move your hand from the handle toward the blade of the knife to gain more control. This takes some skill. When done right is yields a very straight cut. For example when peeling a cucumber.

Fillet

The pointed tip and curved end of the Chef's knife's blade is perfect for filleting fish or deboning meat or poultry. Fish can even be de-skinned by laying the knife flat.

Score

The sharp pointed tip of the chef knife is perfect for piercing and scoring. For example when grilling salmon, scoring the skin yields a crispier result. To score the salmon skin position the knife almost straight up. Push the knife down until the fish skin is just pierced. Don't go to deep. Then drag the tip of the knife toward you to score the skin, keeping the cut shallow.

Mince

Steak tartare? Salmon tartare? Minced meat? Yes, it can be done with a Chef's knife! For a fine mince, use a rocking cut. Simple keep rocking the knife until the result is as fine or course as you want. For a more classic tartar use a slicing technique to get small, even cubes of meat or fish.

Crush

Yes! A chef's knife isn't even limited to cutting. The side if the knife is perfect for cushing! Especially useful for garlic and ginger. Simply place the knife flat over a clove of garlic and smash the side of the blade. Much faster than a garlic crusher. And one less tool to clean.

Bruise

Most aromatics and herbs benefit from being bruised to release more flavor. For this we use the back (or spine) of the knife. For example: to bruise lemongrass, simply hit is a couple times with the spine of the knife to soften it. Same goes for rosemary, sage, ginger, garlic.. you name it!

Grind

Even grinding hard spices can be done with a Chef's knife. Use the side of the blade as mill-stone. To crush pepper for example, place the knife flat over the peppercorns. Push down hard on the side of the knife and rock the handle side to side to start crushing. A trick you can use for this technique is to add some salt as an abrasive to speed things up. We've found the forging pattern on the side of our knives is perfect for this technique.

Just as food is so much more than fuel. A Chef’s knife is so much more than a knife. A great knife feels just right and is balanced. It stays sharp and true. It looks good. It is taken care of with love. A good knife has a soul.

BARE Cookware is about that soul. Because we want to make tools that last. That inspires you to cook better. BARE Knives is about craftsmanship. Because making knives is an art. Just like cooking. Simple, but hard to get perfect.  

This list of cutting techniques is by no means comprehensive, we probably missed a few. While a chef's knife is versatile, some tasks are better suited to specialised knives. Would you like to read more about specific knife types? Continue reading here.

An introduction to knife sharpening

Let’s be blunt: all knives will eventually dull. Even expensive high end high-carbon steel knives eventually need sharpening. Eventually you will need to know more about knife sharpening. We strongly recommend to always use a sharp knife when cooking. Paradoxically: a sharp knife is a safe knife. Blunt knives can slip and offer you less control. That being said: always handle knives with care. Especially when sharpening. 

Safety first

No matter what your sharpening method of choice is, stay safe! Always be weary of the cutting edge of the blade. And as with all skills: learn to walk before you run. Start slowly, move methodically, and don’t rush.

So what are my knife sharpening options?

There are many ways to keep your blades sharp. We listed the most popular options.

1. Have it done for you

Disclaimer: we are knife nuts. We enjoy the art and craft of knife sharpening. We also realize that might not be so for everyone. If you want minimal hassle: have your knives sharpened by a professional. Contact your local kitchen specialty shop and they’ll sure have a service or know a company that does. 

2. Honing/sharpening steels

During use the edge of a blade will “roll over” on a microscopic level. This will cause the blade to be less sharp. When this happens, sharpening isn’t necessary yet. Sharpening removes material and would be a waste at this point. Rather: you can unroll the knife edge and bend it back into shape. This is done by running the blade along another hard material. Usually a honing steel. For the honing steel to work the blade needs to be dragged rather than pushed. Eventually though, sharpening is needed. A honing steel therefor is only a temporary solution, and anyone claiming a honing steel can restore a knife to a razor edge has never used a truly sharp knife.

3. Whetstones

The most popular and easily accessible sharpening tool is the whetstone. They come in different sizes and grits. The finer the grit, the less material the stone removes and the sharper the edge potentially becomes. The coarser the grit, the more material is removed and the faster the stone removes chips or imperfections. 

Knife sharpening on a whetstone is not easy. Especially at first it’s a skill that requires time and practice. However we think it’s a life skill worth learning. Once you become good at sharpening on a whetstone you can sharpen pretty much anything to a razor sharp finish. 

Because using a whetstone results in a razor sharp edge, and is very cost-effective (and honestly it's quite satisfying) it is our favorite method of knife sharpening. But it does take a little practice to get right. There are many in-depth videos on the internet on how to sharpen a knife using a whetstone. We have a quick guide on whetstone sharpening here.

4. Pull through sharpeners

If you want a little more convenience then there are pull through sharpeners. Usually they consist of a rotating ceramic sharpening stone and a slit that you have to pull the blade through. The results are not as good as sharpening on a whetstone. On the upside, pull through sharpeners require zero skill, are easy to use, and get a dull knife usable again in minutes .

5. Sharpening systems

When you want even more control, or don’t want to take the time to practice sharpening on whetstone there are guided sharpening systems. These are designed to take all the guesswork out of sharpening. These systems typically are the more expensive option. However, sharpening systems offer consistent results and may be worth investing in if you want to keep your knives in perfect working order, or have many knives to sharpen frequently.

For more general information on knife care, read this article.

Steak Knife sharpening

The diamond plate sharpening system that comes with our steak knives gets you knives razor sharp in minutes. Having a fixed 15-degree angle takes the guesswork out of sharpening. Unlike a regular whetstone, the diamond stone does not need to be used with water and will last a lifetime.

In the video below you'll find detailed instructions on exactly how to use our sharpening system.

How to sharpen knives yourself

In this article we will give you a quick introduction in to sharpening your own knives with a whetstone. If you're curious what other methods of sharpening there, here you go. Sharpening your own knives is an extremely useful skill to learn. You will able to sharpen everything in your kitchen with only a sharpening stone and a little water. Sharpening your own knives is certainly the most economic way to ensure your knives are razor sharp.

So what do you need? A knife, a whetstone and some water.

Which whetstone do i need?

We get this question a lot. Whetstones range from a couple of bucks to hundreds of euros. If you're reading this article you'll probably won't be sharpening hundreds of knives a month. So we would recommend getting a simple stone to start with. You shouldn't be spending more on your stones then you are spending on your knives.

Which grit do i need?

Whetstones come in different grits, the lower the grit, the courser the stone is and the more material it removes on every pass. The higher the grit, the finer the stone. Generally three distinct ranges are defined

Just getting into knife sharpening? get a medium grit stone, 1000 grit should do the trick. Is your knife damaged so badly the edge needs to be restored? Let a professional handle that.

You could also get a double stone. These stone come with two sides, for instance 1000 and 4000 or 1000 and 6000. This way you get two stones for the price of one.

Lets get sharpening

Allright, we got everything we need. lets start sharpening.

1. The soak

Before you start sharpening you need to soak your whetstones. Put them into a water bath for about 15 minutes. Some stones don't need to be soaked, so called 'Splash-n-Go' stones. If you have a stone of this type, skip this step.

Soaking whetstone in sink

2. First passes

Put the edge of the blade on the stone. In the case of a BARE knife maintain a 15 degree angle. How much is 15 degrees? If you put the edge of the blade on the stone and the tip of your thumb under the spine, the knife will be at approximately 15 degrees.

Now pull the knife towards you while applying even pressure (about 2-3kg of pressure) over the whole knife. Try to make sure you sharpen every section of the edge the same amount. This can be achieved by first doing a equal amounts of passes on the tip, middel and heel of the blade or by covering the whole edge in every pass.

After a couple of passes run your nail over the edge PERPENDICULARLY, if your nail catches a little, this means you have created a burr. When this happens, this side of the knife is done for now. The duller you knife, the more passes you'll need to roll over the edge. Usually about 10-15 passes should do it.

4. Flip it

Now do exactly the same on the other side. Every once in a while splash some addition water on your stone to help cary away the steel filings. Once you feel the burr your done with this side.

Sharpening BARE Cookware knife on sharpening stone

4. Rinse and repeat

Now keep switching between the sides of the knife. Slightly decrease the amount of repetitions and applied pressure each cycle. For example, if you started of with 15 passes on each side, do 12 the next cycle and 8 the following cycle etc. All the way until you're at one or two a side.

5. Final passes

When you finished all passes do single passes per side with very little pressure. In these passes you should be covering the entire length of the edge in every stroke. Do about 3 - 5 alternating passes.

Congratulations! You should now have a very sharp knife. Wash the residue of the knife and you're ready to get chopping.

6. Stropping (bonus)

If you want to get your knife really really sharp, you can strop it. After stropping you should be able to shave with your knife.

get an old leather belt and put the buckle in the corner of a kitchen door, close the door. The belt should now be nice and stuck in your kitchen cupboard. Now pull the belt tight and run the knife over the back of the belt. Maintain the approximately 15 degrees and do a couple alternating passes on each side.

Your knife should now be really really sharp. So be carefull!

If you want a more comprehensive guide, Joshua Weismann has a great one on Youtube.

An ode to the Chef’s Knife

Like a painter has a brush, a chef has a knife. From humble burger to Michelin-star plated perfection. With bold strokes or minute precision. A sharp chef's knife enables the Chef to paint his plate. Of all the kitchen equipment you will ever own, nothing is more vital or more indispensable than a good knife. Most Chefs have an array of knives to choose from. But if only given the choice of one: The Chef’s Knife would be the top pick.

BARE Knife with lemons on cutting board

Like food is so much more than fuel, a Chef’s knife is so much more than just a knife. With this single knife you cut, dice, mince, chop, and slice anything from a fine steak to fresh veggies. A good knife feels right, balanced. It stays sharp and true. It looks good. It is taken care of with love. A good knife has a soul.

BARE Cookware is about that soul. Because we want to make tools that last. That inspires you to cook better. BARE Knives is about craftsmanship. Because making knives is an art. Just like cooking. Simple, but hard to master.

Rust free. Rest assured.

Why can stainless steel knives still rust?

As discussed in previous articles: stainless steel is about making the best compromise for the application. Some knives will rust right before your eyes, and others can survive in saline conditions without oxidizing. Not to worry, keeping your knives rust free is a breeze.

Rust resistance is a part of the chemical balancing act when designing a steel alloy. In kitchen knives sharpness plays a big role too obviously. Sharper is better. Some knifemakers take this to the extreme and will readily sacrifice rust resistance for a harder and sharper blade.

ABOUT CARBON AND CHROMIUM

The primary element in most alloys that increased a steel’s susceptibility to rust is carbon. The more carbon, the easier the alloy will oxidize. More carbon also means a steel that can be tempered to be harder.

To compensate for this chromium is added. The more chromium, the more rust resistant a steel is. However, chromium also decreases the steel’s ability to take and hold a sharp edge. So too much can be a bad thing.

The steel we use at BARE Cookware is very rust resistant. We’ve struck a balance between hardness and rust resistance. Our steel is hardened to 58 HRC while remaining rust resistant. But just like any steel can rust if subjected to certain conditions. Let’s take a look at risk factors for rust forming.

ACID, SALT, MOISTURE, HEAT

Acid, salt, and moisture will all act as a catalyst and speed up oxidization. Acid can reach kitchen knives in numerous ways. Think fruit-juice, vinegar, and even the moisture that naturally occurs on your skin. Salt is used in just about every dish, moisture is as abundant in a kitchen as is heat.

A special mention should be made about sea-air. In coastal regions the air is both humid and high in minerals (salty). Extra care should be taken to store knives in a dry area.

HOW TO CLEAN RUST

Eventually rust can form on any steel, even stainless steel. So how to keep your knife gorgeous and rust free? It is important to scrub off any surface discoloration before the oxidation starts to eat into the steel. We advise to do this with a scrubbing sponge and some dishwashing detergent. If that is not strong enough a piece of steel wool can be used.

Only when the rust is more developed would we ever want to break out the big guns. Think fine grit sandpaper and brake cleaner. It should be clear that this is always to be avoided. That brings us to our most important point to keep your knives rust free.

HOW TO PREVENT RUST

Luckily preventing rust is a simple 3 step routine:

1. Clean the blade by hand after every use. A quick rinse will usually suffice.

2. Dry the blade before storing it.

3. Never ever put a high-quality knife in the dishwasher.

BARE Knife in dishwasher with red X

Do not postpone this. Do not leave your kitchen knives lying around dirty. It is unsafe, unhygienic and promotes oxidation. After years of following this simple habit we've yet to see any rust on the BARE Knives we personally use. Interested in more knife care? Here you go!

Knife types: the basics

Anyone who’s ever set foot in a specialty knife shop or even a specialty kitchen shop will know: there are a lot of different knives. In this post, we’ll go over the essential knife shapes. We hope to give you a sense of direction. What knife to choose for what? Let's understand the basic knife types from a functionality standpoint. Then we can look at more in-depth properties that define knives. Properties like steel type, hardness, and grind type. 

Broadly speaking we distinguish two types of knives: standard and specialty. Standard knives are multi-purpose knives that can be used for a plethora of tasks. Specialty knives only have one purpose but are extremely efficient in that one purpose.  

When choosing a knife you logically want to start with the knives that do the most. Like a Chef’s knife. This will give you the most value for money. Only after that, do you have your daily tasks covered you’ll want to expand into specialty single-purpose knives. 

So what are the essentials? Let's start with the holy trinity of western knives. 

1. Chef's knife

The most versatile and popular of all knife types. The Chef’s knife has its name for good reason. This is the daily driver of any chef. The chef's knife can perform about 90% of tasks in a kitchen. Check out our detailed article on the things you can do with a Chef’s knife here

2. Paring knife

For smaller work like peeling or whittling vegetables, this is an indispensable addition to a Chef’s knife. We use it for all sorts of small cutting tasks, even dicing onions works well. 

3. Serrated knife

Or the bread knife. Really only necessary for cutting hard-crusted bread. But since that task is so common and difficult without a bread knife we still consider a serrated knife to be essential. We would not recommend using a serrated knife for anything other than bread or pastries. A good serrated knife is long and tall. This keeps slices straight and allows you to efficiently saw through large loaves. 

4. Utility knife

Sometimes you need a delicate touch. The Utility knife is perfect for cutting fruit and breaking down vegetables. If a Chef’s knife seems bulky, it is time for the Utility knife. Great for cutting small vegetables or herbs.

From these three knives above we’d recommend branching out to include some Japanese-style knives. Here are a couple of solid basics. 

5. Santuku

A very popularized shape. The santoku is slightly smaller than the Chef’s knife. It also has a straighter blade profile. As such it lends itself better for vegetables and chopping with an up-and-down-forward motion (vs the circular motion used with a Chef’s knife). This knife is almost as versatile as a Chef’s knife and could even be used as a replacement for it. 

6. Kiritsuke

One of our favorite knife shapes. A Kiritsuke is usually longer than a Chef’s knife. This is just a gorgeous knife type. The straight front, low point, and flat blade profile make this knife particularly suited for push chopping and for finely dicing herbs. The extra size over the Chef’s knife comes in handy when handling large products or when making even slices through fish or meat.

7. Nakiri

A knife for greens. The nakiri has a straight cutting edge, allowing for a push-cut motion straight down to the cutting board. This knife is particularly suited for cutting vegetables into thin strips or slices. Subsequently, those slices can be stacked and cut into strips. The tip of this blade has a slight rounding that makes it easier to lift the handle up after chopping down. The rounded tip also helps the knife plunge-cut straight down into harder vegetables. 

With the first 3 knives above 99% of your kitchen work can be done easily. The next 3 we would consider a luxury for the home cook. After that, we would recommend looking for specialty knives for those tasks that you find yourself doing frequently. We haven't covered boning knives, cleavers, steak knives, and many more. We’ll cover some specialty knife types in the next article.

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