Single bevel cooking knives.

Who here uses and likes them, and what do you use them for?

Did you know they come left or right handed? Makes sense now, but I had no idea until yesterday.

Also, when you have your knives professionally sharpened, do they ask you if you’re left or right handed? Does that matter in the case of double beveled knives?

Only the fileting knives used for taking the skin off of a piece of fish.

I received a set of these as a gift once. I should have known, receiving knives as a gift, that there would be a catch. The entire set–bread knife, carver, half a dozen steak knives…was left-handed and worse than useless for my purposes. Philosophically I can see the niftiness of a blade that tracks straight through whatever you’re cutting while sloughing stuff to the side, but practically it’s a fine detail wasted on most normal people.

I have a single-bevel grafting knife. I sharpen it myself. It doesn’t really work all that differently from a double-bevel knife, IMO.

I’ve never used one in the kitchen.

That’s not how they work however, they track off to one side, it takes skill to adjust for this to make them cut straight. Double bevel should track straight, a thin blade would achieve much of your desired results without the learning curve.

All serrated knives are single bevel, right? I recently got into making bread, and the facebook group I’m on mentioned left handed bread knives, which I initially thought was a joke. But it makes sense now that I think about it.

Anyway, I use a single-beveled serrated knife for cutting bread. As far as I know, it’s the only single beveled blade I own. Well, maybe some steak knives, but they don’t really count.

I consider serrated knives a separate animal, they do not act like single bevel though may deflect like one, nor would single bevel knife be ideal for bread cutting. Serrated knives turn a slice action into a rearward (inward push) action.

From my close observation, and much cash invested, the knives used to slice fish for sushi are single bevel.

I can’t remember seeing a double-bevel serrated knife, but that might just be because I wasn’t paying attention.

It would be at least physically possible to make a knife that had relatively wide serrations or scallops that were on alternating sides, but would it cut that much better than current models? Maybe it would even cut worse. And how much more difficult or expensive would it be to make?

Someone has probably done it. Custom knife makers like to try out ideas, and there are certainly some enthusiastic (or obsessed) customers out there who seem to have lots of money. On the other hand, maybe if there were experienced knife makers here they’d tell us why alternating left/right serrations is impractical or useless.

Next time I make left-handed bread, I’m getting one of those. :wink:

If you know what is the best kind of knife for slicing bread, I would be glad to learn about it. Every time I try to slice fresh bread I end up smashing it. :frowning:

That’s how they make saws.

I think the reason they don’t make knives like that is for sharpening reasons. To sharpen a serrated knife you just sharpen one side, like I guess you’d sharpen these other single bevel knives we’re talking about. Alternating bevels would be very difficult to sharpen. I guess people don’t normally sharpen saws?

I’m only slightly acquainted with knife sharpening though, and not at all with knife making.

Saw teeth generally aren’t made with a similar technique to serrated knives, because saws accomplish their job differently. Saws can be and are worked on to maintain their sharpness, but it’s a whole different kind of activity from sharpening knives.

And with reasonable serrations (i.e fairly large and symmetrical curves), you can certainly sharpen the serrated side of a knife. But it’s much more tricky, and in practice I think it makes more sense to only buy an inexpensive knife if you want serrated, and to just buy a new one when it gets dull.

Get a good-quality electric knife. Bread is the only thing I use mine on.

Get a specific bread knife, 10"+ seems the best to me. I bake lots of bread, hard /soft crust, and my 20 year old Fiskar works just great. For the soft stuff, make sure you squeeze from the side and don’t hurry. $10 to $20 for a perfectly usable knife.

Most bread knives I’ve seen are single bevel.

Also bread knives work well for slicing roasts and tomatoes in a pinch.:slight_smile:

I have one I use for fish and carpaccio. It cost more than all my other knives combined. I love it - I get it professionally sharpened.

Note that the good ones aren’t flat on the non-bevel side, they actually curve away slightly (hollow-ground), so there’s a bit of an air pocket created and slices fall away easier.

If you press down on a bread knife, the bread will be smashed no matter how good your knife is. Use a back-and-forth slicing motion, with only enough downward pressure to keep the knife in constant positive contact with the bread.

There are serrated knives with large harsh-looking serrations, where the curve of the serrations look sort of like the arches of an old fashioned bridge (but sharper :)). Some of those are very nice. For example, 10-inch bread knives like Mercer Millennia, Tojiro, and Victorinox are all around $20-25, and should cut very well for a long time.
Note: If you decide to buy a really expensive (hundreds) knife, let it NOT be this one. Serrated knives are more of a commodity and less of an heirloom.

Try flipping the loaf over and start cutting from the bottom. The bottom “corners” of the bread are usually stronger than the top, so you can hold on tighter. Just don’t hold so tight that you mash the bread flat.

This works. I generally turn the bread on its side and start with a bottom corner, which has about a 90% no-smush success rate.
Is there any real reason I, as a home cook who only occasionally wants to remove something’s skin, would want a single-bevel knife?

Unless you start habitually making a kind of food (example:sushi rolls) where a single-bevel knife makes things quite a bit easier, then no - your good sharp knife is a good sharp knife, so use it. Taking care of your good knife and making sure it’s kept sharp, is far more important than which angle it’s set up for.

If you become a very serious student of a certain style of cooking - I mean taking a lot of courses and so on - then your instructors might tell you to use the same kind of knife they do. Until that day comes, you’re fine.