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If you ask most chefs about knives, they will likely say you only need three knives to run a successful kitchen: a chef knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife. Bread knives serve a niche role in your slicing endeavors. They are serrated, which gives you that edge when cutting through a crusty loaf of bread or a ripe tomato. You don’t need to apply the pressure to the job like you would with a straight-edged chef knife. The teeth act as saws that make quick work of tough melon skin and rugged butternut squash peel, whereas even a sharp chef knife would struggle.
Because of their specific role in your knife arsenal, they don’t get as much use as the chef knife, the workhorse of the kitchen. This alleviates the problem of sharpening, which can be onerous and expensive. They also can double up as a meat carving knife for those fall-off-the-bone rib roasts or tender briskets.
From offset styles to double-serrated edged, these are the best bread knives.
Best Overall: Mercer Culinary Millennia Wide Wavy Edge Bread Knife
What We Like: Affordable, clean slices, comfortable grip
What We Don't Like: Hard to cut thin slices
There is a lot to love about the affordable Mercer Culinary Millennia Bread Knife. The 10.5-inch, stamped high-carbon steel, Japanese-style blade is super sharp and slides through bread like butter. And, the blade tapers toward the tip adding a slight edge to control when slicing.
The design is simple, functional, and durable. The handle is made of a slip-resistant combination of plastic and rubber. There are textured finger points and a finger guard for added protection. The handle also comes in eight colors, from black to purple to yellow, so you choose the one that suits your personality best. And, the longer blade can accommodate many different size foods like lengthy, crusty baguettes, or even a full-sized watermelon.
Blade Length: 10.5 inches | Handle Material: Santoprene and polypropylene | Blade Material: High-carbon steel
Best Electric: Hamilton Beach Electric Knife
What We Like: Affordable, comes with a storage case
What We Don't Like: Blade needs hand-washing
Most widely used for carving roasts, an electric knife can also be a valuable tool for bread, cheeses, and vegetables. The Hamilton Beach Electric Knife features a plastic handle designed for comfort, 10-inch stainless steel blades, and a convenient carrying case for storage.
Ease of use is the star of this model. It turns on with a simple trigger, provides 100 watts of power, and the two reciprocating, serrated blades do all the work, effortlessly carving any type of bread or meat on hand. It also comes with a stainless steel carving fork for those occasions when you are slicing more than bread. The blades easily eject for a quick hand wash after use.
Blade Length: 10 inches | Handle Material: Plastic | Blade Material: Stainless steel
Best Offset: Victorinox Fibrox Pro Serrated 9-Inch Offset Knife
What We Like: Sturdy, good for large hands
What We Don't Like: Blade may rust
If you are somebody who suffers from wrist strain, an offset bread knife might be the choice for you. Offset blades offer a unique angle that alleviates pressure on wrists when slicing, and they can be especially good for people with larger hands. The Victorinox Fibrox Pro Offset Bread Knife is crafted from stamped stainless steel for durable, sharp performance.
The proprietary Fibrox handle is ergonomically designed for a solid grip and low strain for those multi-loaf slicing sessions. It is slip-resistant and stays securely in the palm of your hand. And, the advantage of an offset knife beyond reducing wrist strain is the amount of leverage you get on the bread before knuckles even come close to the cutting board.
Blade Length: 9 inches | Handle Material: Fibrox | Blade Material: Stainless steel
Related: The Best Knife Sharpeners
Best Splurge: Shun Classic 9-Inch Bread Knife
What We Like: Gorgeous, clean bread slices, sturdy
What We Don't Like: Expensive
Known for their razor-sharp edges and smooth performance, Shun knives are a go-to when shopping for a Japanese-style blade. And, it helps that they are gorgeous. The handle is crafted from durable pakkawood, and designed with an ergonomic D-shape and bolster that makes for ultimate comfort in your hand.
Honed from proprietary VG-MAX "super steel," the blade consists of 34 micro-thin layers of stainless steel. The edge has a slight curve creating an easy rocking motion when slicing and protecting your knuckles from grazing the cutting board. The Damascus-style blade is beautiful, but it is also incredibly sharp, corrosion-resistant, and has wide teeth that make smooth, even slices. And, Shun will sharpen your serrated knife for free as long as you buy from an authorized dealer—you pay for shipping and handling, but Shun experts hone and sharpen your blade.
Blade Length: 9 inches | Handle Material: Pakkawood | Blade Material: VG-Max steel
Best for Sourdough: Victorinox Swiss Army 10.25-Inch Bread Knife
What We Like: Comfortable grip, very sharp
What We Don't Like: Utilitarian appearance, long blade is difficult to store
Versatility is the quality this knife exudes. The thin blade with sharp teeth slices bread adeptly but also makes quick work of crusty sandwiches, executes paper-thin tomato slices, and deftly carves roasted meats. The blade has a slight curve which allows better control and balance while cutting. And, the Fibrox handle has a soft, grippy feel, making for a comfortable, and secure cutting experience.
The Victorinox Swiss Army Bread Knife features a stamped, high-carbon stainless steel blade that has been ice tempered to provide maximum edge retention and sharp cuts. Crafted in Switzerland since 1884, Victorinox blades are known for their workmanlike performance and durability.
Blade Length: 10.25 inches | Handle Material: Fibrox | Blade Material: High-carbon stainless steel
Most Flexible: Tojiro Bread Slicer
What We Like: Thin, flexible blade; affordable; comfortable grip
What We Don't Like: Unwieldy length
Crafted with long-lasting high-carbon stainless steel, the Tojiro Bread Slicer has a thin, stamped, Japanese-style blade and a natural wood handle with stainless steel rivets for a comfortable grip. The blade is corrosion-resistant, and feels springy in your hand, making easy work of odd-shaped melons or delicate pastries.
Like other Japanese-style blades, the Tojiro is razor-sharp. It deftly slices through bread with minimal pressure. The flexibility of the blade can be a hindrance with harder-edged foods. The blade can bend or bow, but the sharp teeth should still get the job done. And, when presented with a ripe tomato, that flexible blade will enable a thin, clean slice with little effort. The durable materials and intuitive design will keep this blade sharp for a long time.
Blade Length: 9.25 inches | Handle Material: Wooden | Blade Material: High-carbon stainless steel
Related: The Best Knife Sets
Best Edge Retention: Wusthof Classic Double Serrated 9-Inch Bread Knife
What We Like: Extremely sharp, well-balanced
What We Don't Like: Expensive
Known for razor-sharp edges, German craftsmanship, and sleek design, Wusthof delivers a durable, reliable bread knife to add to your kitchen arsenal. The Classic Double-Serrated 9-Inch Bread Knife features a full tang with riveted handles, full bolster, and finger guard for ultimate comfort and safety. And, the high-carbon stainless steel is precision forged for heft and longevity.
Wusthof’s proprietary edging technology ensures it produces sharper knives with better edge retention, especially important with a bread knife that has serrated edges. The bonus on this model is the double serrations—crusty loaves stay flaky on the outside and tender on the inside, and the teeth on this knife slice a tomato cleanly with ease.
Blade Length: 9 inches | Handle Material: Polyoxymethylene (POM) | Blade Material: High-carbon stainless steel
Related: The Best Steak Knives
If you are looking for an affordable, reliable Japanese-style bread knife, we recommend the Mercer Culinary Millennia Wavy Edge (view at Amazon) because of its sharp edges, high-carbon steel blade, and comfortable grip. If wrist strain is a concern, try the Victorinox Fibrox Pro Serrated 9-Inch Offset Knife (view at Amazon) for maximum comfort and a reliably sharp blade.
What to Look for When Buying a Bread Knife
When shopping for a bread knife, be sure you are looking at blade length. Blades usually fall between 8 and 10 inches plus the handle length. A shorter blade may offer more control, but a longer blade can cover larger loaves. The common wisdom is the longer the blade, the better because it offers versatility with foods other than bread and efficiency when slicing a full loaf. But, an important consideration is the flexibility of the blade—a long blade does no good if it bows from pressure when tackling a big job.
Straight or Offset
The difference here lies in handle position. All serrated knives have the same ridged edge. The offset knife has a handle that is positioned slightly higher than the blade giving the knife an L-shape, whereas traditional serrated knives have a straight profile.
There are a couple of advantages to this variation in shape. The knife takes less pressure to use because of the added leverage, and less stress is put on your wrist when slicing. This ergonomic design makes the knife easier to use over long periods and protects your fingers and knuckles from hitting the cutting board or blade.
Shape of Serrated Edge
Though all serrated knives have the same edge, the serrations can differ in shape. They are either scalloped or pointed. Scalloped serrations have rounded edges, no actual sharp points, and tend to be best for softer products like brioche. Rounded edges require less maintenance but also are less sharp. Pointed serrations have sharp edges that move through resistant peels, crusty sourdoughs, and tougher vegetables easily. Pointy edges are more effective when slicing but also create more crumb.
The gullet, or space and depth between serrations, is an important consideration as well. A bigger gullet means deeper space, a larger cut, and easier blade movement. Less serrations mean deeper gullets, and coupled with sharp teeth, you have the best tool for slicing bread, tender meats, ripe tomatoes, or even feisty pineapples.
Can you use a bread knife to cut meat?
It depends on the cut of meat. The teeth on a bread knife are serrated and tend to tear the product they are cutting. Sawing is appropriate for a crusty loaf of sourdough or even a tender roast that is mostly falling apart already, but not the best choice for a delicate piece of fish or a firm steak.
Can you sharpen a bread knife?
Serrated knives are created with an eye for long-term sharpness without actually sharpening. The teeth make the job of sharpening onerous. You have a couple of options if your blade is dulling. You can either purchase the tool, a serrated knife file, or you can send it off for professional sharpening.
Unlike straight-edged knives, serrated knives rarely require sharpening. They get less use than a chef knife, and they are usually only ground on one side with a single bevel. The result is an incredibly sharp edge that retains its saw-like cutting abilities for a long time.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Carrie Honaker is a food writer who has wielded many knives over the years. As a restaurateur and avid home cook, she knows the importance of finding the right knife for your grip and needs. She loves her Wüsthof Classic Bread Knife for its beauty and functionality. Her work has appeared in many publications including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.
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