You’ve got an impeccable loaf of crusty bread sitting before you, butter and other toppings at the ready. But how do you carve out the best slice? A dull butter knife won’t do and a chef’s knife is far too wide––not mention it lacks the grip needed to cleave its way through cleanly rather than compressing the airy crumb to mush. It’s the perfect opportunity to break out the classic serrated bread knife.
A serrated edge––the kind that looks scalloped with small teeth rather than a straight blade––is perfect for slicing through even the crispiest baguette. Why? Because those small teeth are able to hold on like those found on a wood saw and cut rather than slipping over a tough exterior. And the space between each one reduces the surface tension so as to slice rather than smash. (For the same reasons, they’re also great at slicing tomatoes cleanly.)
Though they are an essential piece of cutlery, there are infinite variations on the humble design. From handle type to overall length, it can be difficult to choose. That’s why we’ve rounded up our four favorite models available on Amazon so you can get slicing (and eating) in a flash.
1. Miyabi Kaizen Bread Knife
Miyabi Kaizen’s blade is the katana sword of bread knives. Made using the best traditional methods, it is hand-honed from 64 layers in a wavy flower Damascus pattern surrounding a VG10 super steel core and ice-hardened to Rockwell 60. Like many traditional Japanese knives, it has a narrower edge than its Western counterparts measuring an extremely sharp 9.5 to 12 degrees. The elegant D-shaped handle has a wood grain pattern that nods to the heritage and traditional methods used to craft it.
Pros: Its thin design and hardened steel construction can cut through just about anything.
Cons: The curved design might not be the preference of every user.
2. Wüsthof Classic Bread Knife
Created with a full-tang, triple-rivet design and the company’s signature German engineering, this example of Wüstof’s excellent cutlery will immediately become a part of your cookware rotation. Featuring a 10-inch blade, its high-carbon stainless steel is not only about 20 percent sharper than other kinds of steel but is also better at retaining its razor-like cutting edge. Its scallops are relatively shallow with a rounded silhouette that is excellent but may not be the grippiest of the models mentioned on this list.
Pros: The length 10-inch blade is large enough to slice through generous loaves.
Cons: Some users may not like the rounded serrations of this blade and prefer something with more grip.
3. Shun Classic Bread Knife
Shun hand-forged this beautiful serrated blade using a proprietary formula that makes for especially sharp stainless steel. The additions of cobalt, carbon and chromium enhance its properties even further adding strength, durability and corrosion resistance. Its ergonomic D-shaped handle is made from ebony-finished pakkawood, which is water-resistant, while the blade itself is bead-blasted to reveal the traditional Japanese method of layering steel and its stunning rippled appearance. It’s this merger of high tech and heritage that makes this blade a cut above most.
Pros: The layers of steel throughout the blade give it a beautiful aesthetic.
Cons: At 9 inches, it might not have the reach of some other examples from our list.
4. Mercer Millennia Bread Knife
Engineered with an ergonomic, non-slip grip and textured finger points, this ultra-sharp bread knife is designed with both performance and safety in mind. Made from a single piece of metal, it has a full-tang, triple-rivet design that’s tough enough to withstand years of use. Plus, the bolster and finger guard are perfectly calibrated so it stays balanced while in use for both comfort and efficiency.
Pros: It could be a great choice for cooks with smaller hands.
Cons: The shorter blade won’t be a match for larger loaves.