How To Sharpen A Bread Knife: Safely And Damage Free
When it comes to bread knives and other serrated blades, people tend to treat them as disposable. Once the teeth have worn down and the sharpness is gone, they are disposed of and a new one purchased in its place. The truth is, sharpening a bread knife isn’t difficult and a dull bread knife surely doesn’t warrant disposal. Learning how to sharpen a bread knife can be as simple as sharpening any other blade in your kitchen cutlery set.
The Difference in Serrated Knifes
Bread knives and serrated knives differ very much from your typical kitchen knife. Rather than a smooth cutting edge, a serrated knife is lined with sharp teeth. While you won’t use a bread knife nearly as much as you will a chef’s knife, they still play a very important role in your kitchen. A serrated blade is designed for both those hard to cut items and the extremely delicate jobs that you need done quickly. Brad knives also come in a variety of different sizes.
When cutting bread, you may need a much larger knife, depending on the size of the loaf. However, if you are using a serrated knife to cut more delicate items, such as soft vegetables, you will want a much shorter blade.
Never heard of cutting vegetables with a bread knife? This may sound strange considering it is a bread knife but the serrated edge on a bread knife works wonders for hard to cut items. Foods that are extremely soft or tough work well with a serrated blade.
For example, tomatoes are hard to slice without squishing when you apply pressure. The teeth of a serrated blade quickly grips to the skin and slices through without the added pressure. The same goes for foods that have a tough exterior, such as pineapple, watermelon, and butternut squash.
Maintaining a Bread Knife
As mentioned before, many people feel that bread knives are more disposable. For this purpose, they purchase cheaper ones that won’t break the bank. For those who invest in a quality bread knife, they tend to send them off to a specialty shop for proper sharpening when it is needed. Don’t let this put you off, sharpening a bread knife at home doesn’t have to be as big of a deal as some have made it out to be.
No, you cannot simply sharpen it the way that you would a chef’s knife but you also won’t have to sharpen it nearly as often. When it comes to sharpening a bread knife at home, you have several options. It really comes down to personal preference and which one you feel the most comfortable with.
Tapered Sharpening rod’s
These sharpening rods are similar to other sharpening rods but they have special tapered edges to fit the different sized teeth on a serrated bread knife.
This is a specialty tool that is designed to make sharpening easier. This method is very similar to using a rod and will also have tapered rods involved to specially fit serrated blades.
Many electric sharpeners are now designed with a special slot for sharpening serrated edges and is one of the simplest sharpening procedures.
Ceramic Sharpening Rod
This is very like the other items, except the rod is ceramic and can be purchased specifically to fit the size of your serrated knife teeth.
Sharpening a Bread Knife Using a Tapered Sharpening Rod
For this how-to tutorial, I will show you a step-by-step guide on sharpening a bread knife with a tapered sharpening rod. While electric sharpeners are preferred by many, they are costly and not always as dependable. A sharpening rod gives you more control over every aspect, including safety.
What you will need:
- Serrated knife of your choice
- Tapered sharpening rod designed for serrated edges
- A sheet of fine grit sandpaper
- A wet stone for sharpening the non-serrated portion of the blade
1.) To start, you will need to locate the side with a beveled edge on your bread knife. One side of the knife the face of the blade will continue with the same angle until it reaches the edge. The other side will have a downward angle just before the serrated edge, IE the bevel. The sharpening tool should only be used on the beveled side.
2.) To begin sharpening, you will place the rod in one of the serrated teeth grooves. Choosing the angle at which to sharpen is often easier with a serrated knife because you can follow the angle of the bevel as the guide. In most cases, this will be 13-17 degrees in comparison the edge. For a more fool proof guide, trace around the teeth with a permanent marker, You will know that you are at the right angle to sharpen the teeth when the marker is removed during sharpening.
3.) Be sure to choose the angle on the sharpening rod that best fits your serrated teeth or is only slightly smaller.
4.) Move the sharpening rod in short strokes through the tooth several times. Then run your fingers over the backside of the tooth to check for metal shavings. Once you can feel metal shavings the tooth is sufficiently sharpened.
5.) Continue sharpening each tooth or groove one at a time.
6.) Once you have sharpened each tooth, you will need to file away the metal shavings left behind. To do this simply run the back side of the knife over the sand paper with minimal pressure.
7.) Once you have finished, you can the go back and sharpen the non-serrated portion of your knife if it has one by using the whetstone or other sharpening tool just as you would for a chef’s knife. Be careful not to hit the serrated portion on the sharpening stone.
Sharpening a serrated blade at home can easily look like a complicated task and the first time around, it may even seem just as complicated. Once you get the hang of the sharpening process it should easily fall in line with your other sharpening rituals.
Do you have a pro tip for sharpening and maintaining a bread knife? Tell us all about it in the comment section bellow!