The serrated knife is probably one of the most common knives that can be found in any household. At the same time, it is also one of the most misused knives out there.
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Serrated knives are ideal for cutting through foods with a hard exterior and softer interior, such as a loaf of crusty bread. Following the same principle of a saw, its blade catches and then rips through anything. But not everything!
You need just three types of knives to do everything in the kitchen and a serrated knife is one of this important trio. My grandmother thought differently, she loved so much cutting with a serrated knife. She probably used it more than anything in the kitchen. In fact, I can’t recall her using any other knife.
Also for me, the serrated knife was the first knife I learned to cut with, and I remember very well how enjoyable it cutting a tomato was, I remember it went through it so nicely and smoothly. Unfortunately, I also remember trying to cut a slice of cheese and struggling with it (but I did not give up till the end!).
You see back then, I did not know any better, I only learned to cut with this knife. I had no clue what I was doing. So I thought this struggle? It’s normal because I had only learned to work with the one knife that my grandmother used so lovingly.
What are the things you should be cutting with a serrated knife?
- As mentioned earlier, Tomato, especially overripe tomatoes. Hard from the outside but soft on the inside. You can cut a tomato very nicely and easily without having to put any pressure or effort.
- Any type of squash or melon is ideal for a serrated knife, basically any vegetable or fruit with similar characteristics to a tomato. If its soft and fleshy interior protected by a membrane or skin that has to be punctured before you can slice it, you should use a serrated knife. Eggplants are also a perfect example, so you get the point.
- Bread is probably the number one food that most of us use this knife for. But because serrated knives do such an excellent job of cutting bread that sometimes I have the feeling people tend to classify it into this singular task. You can do so much more with this knife.
- Dissecting up a roast is also much more comfortable with a serrated knife because you can easily cut against the texture of the meat. Most steak lovers also favor a serrated knife blade on their steak knives because it just takes less effort.
- Chocolate – The sharp little teeth on serrated knives make quick work of a block of chocolate that we need to break into smaller pieces.
- Cake – Any other knife shreds tender cake to pieces and showers us with crumbs.
- Pineapple peeling. This knife’s sharp teeth make it easy to slice through the pineapple’s tough skin, thorny leaves, and its core.
- Slicing ice cream sandwiches and iced desserts. Serrated knives shine when cutting through foods with different textures — like ice cream sandwiches that are usually hard on the outside with a soft, smooth center.
- Cutting cake layers. Together with your spatula, a serrated knife can be handy if you plan to slice a cake or cut it into thinner layers before frosting and finishing. The long blade enables you to make a single, smooth cut through the cake.
- Steak. I had mentioned steak earlier, so it’s only logical it would be on my list. A steak is not a steak without it being juicy. And using a serrated blade to cut a juicy steak, helps the steak to remain juicy. Where another knife would require form you o put more pressure, a serrated blade does not.
- Rope, I know the odd one in the group. A knife with a serrated edge is perfect when you need to cut a rope, cordage or twine. Even though a very sharp plain edge can provide similar results, serrations make the task far less exhausting (especially when one needs to make repeated cuts over an extended period).
Common misuse of the serrated knife.
My grandmother is probably the first person that comes into mind. But I have seen quite a lot of people using a serrated blade to cut vegetables. If you remember I have mentioned something about push cuts and slice cuts, well this is the place where the type of cut makes the difference.
Most, if not all, vegetables require to be cut with a push. You can use a slice motion and still cut perfectly fine, but it will not alone take you much more time, but you might as well lose water and limpness of the ingredients.
Plain vs serrated knife which one is better?
If you ask me, everyone should have both of them. Even if you think you can perform all your tasks with either of the two, I believe you should use them for what they are meant for. This is not only applicable to these two knives but for all types.
There is no knife on the market today that is perfect for everything. Which brings me to the following point. What are you supposed to use these knives exactly for?
It’s simple. A plain chef knife is used to do push cuts and for chopping. While the serrated knife is used for slice cuts, does this mean you cannot use a plain knife to do slice cuts? No, it only means that the serrated knife would perform better.
I know this explanation sounds simple, but that’s because it is that simple. In case you are not convinced, try it out. Try to do exactly what’s written here. And with time, you will see or better, feel the difference I can assure you.
What is the advantage of a serrated knife?
The advantage of having this knife is mentioned a few times throughout this article. But I wish to clarify something. If one would ask me, do you really need to have this knife in your house? My answer would be yes. Can you do it without one? My answer will also be yes.
Ask yourself this, do you prefer to struggle when cutting something or have it easy? These types of knives were made for a purpose, so why not use them? Why make your life not easier? Of course, that is if they have been sharpened correctly and kept that way.
When was the serrated knife invented?
Maybe not something related to this topic but I thought I’d share it anyway. The serrated knife was invented by Syracuse resident Joseph Burns in 1919. This revelation came to him while working on a scallop-edged glass-cutting device, a design he thought would be useful to cut bread. I guess it’s safe to say he definitely made a knife that is perfect to cut bread.