The bread knife test
Bread is cut easiest with a bread knife. Contrary to a plain edge knife, the edge of a bread knife is serrated. These are used as a saw to glide fast and smoothly through the hard crust and it doesn't squish the soft bread inside together. On this page you will read more about the effect of the serrated edge.
A serrated edge really works
In our assortment there is a great variety of bread knives. We distinguish 4 different sorts of serrated edges among these knives. You can see the difference very well on these pictures below.
- Wüsthof Xline has a breadknife with very fine serrations and height differences among them. (Used for the test: Xline breadknife, blade length: 23 cm). This product has since been discontinued and replaced with the Wüsthof Classic double serrated bread knife.
- Kai uses a saw cut on their serrated edge for the bread knife. (Used for the test: Kai Shun bread knife, blade length: 22,5 cm).
- Wüsthof Super Slicers are sold by various brands. These knives are known for the 'reversed' serrated edge. The hollow part of the serrations is turned outward. (Used for the test: Wusthof Gourmet Super Slicer, blade length: 26 cm).
- The classic serrated edge of a breadknife has a pattern with the tips turned outward. This is a continuous pattern in the most common form for breadknife serrations. (Used for the test: Wusthof Ikon bread knife, blade length: 23 cm).
As for practice
In practice all types of serrated edges on bread knives seem to function rather well. The saw cut edge from the Kai knife glides most smoothly through dense bread like spelt bread. The crumbs skip away a bit further in comparison with cutting with the other knives. The Super Slicer doesn't have as strong a saw effect as the other edges and demands most pressure when used. To compare, we have also tried a plain edge knife on bread. The breadknives are a lot more pleasant and effective for cutting bread. The Xline knife with very fine serrations overall scores as the best breadknife out of this test. It doesn't dig in to the hard bread the way the Kai knife does, but it also reduces the amount of crumbs which dance around significantly. Out of all the knife, the Xline breadknife causes the least crumbs of all.
We have also tested the knives on softer loaves (soft white buns without crust). The knives perform nearly the same on these loaves. The harder the bread is, the more evident the differences are.
All bread knives in our assortment are naturally of a very high quality. Every good knife set requires a high quality bread knife. The differences between the different kinds of serrated edges are most evident when cutting dense bread. The saw cut edge of the Kai series cuts easiest and crumbles most. Following up, the fine serrations of the Wüsthof Xline knife and then the classic serrations have the best overall cutting performance. A Super Slicer is also a terrific bread knife, but the other serrated edges slightly surpass it's effectiveness. However, in the end the differences are so subtle that we would suggest you to choose a bread knife which matches your knife set. Yes, appearance does matter!
How does a serrated edge work?
The serrated edge of a bread knife increases the cutting force because the force is concentrated on the tips of the serrations. The cutting surface becomes smaller, while the force you exercise on the knife will be equal to handling a plain edge knife. The force is thus spread over a smaller surface to increase the pressure on the bread.
A bread knife doesn't lose it's edge as fast as a plain edge knife. This is because the serrations of the knife 'protect' the actual cutting edge of the knife. Sharpening a bread knife is difficult, but certainly not impossible. Check out our information pageabout this.
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