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Cookware

What’s the Scoop (or Scallop) on Bread Knives?

obillo | Nov 23, 201705:50 AM     6

Ready for an upgrade, I prepped by plunging into Amazon just to see what was in the market. Even restricting myself to a 10-inch minimum, I was pretty well overwhelmed, and the result was a lot of questions and preferences. Comments welcome. First, I say ‘scalloped’, not ‘serrated.’ The former reflects actual appearance; the latter suggests the rubbish crudely stamped with small, close-spaced indentations offered in cafeterias to people who’d rather rip their food to bits cut it. I know I’m in a minority here.
Prince range: astoundingly wide, as expected, from hundreds-of-bucks rarities made by purple-robed Japanese monks to ten-buck slab-sided skeevies made in Chinese prisons.
Blade length: I’d want a 10” minimum, but quite a few 12” were on offer, even a couple of 14”, probably for sheet-cake fanatics. But length seems important for two reasons: to reduce “sawing” and protect knuckles: almost all blades I saw were quite narrow. For the same reason, I’d prefer a fat handle. I think.
Some handles swoop upward markedly. These look as if they might be fine for use below standard (36”) counter height, but not otherwise, except for basketball players and varsity rowers.
Handedness: almost all are for righties--still, as a lefty I’ve never been troubled by a right-handed bread knife (but I’ve never been comfortable with righty Japanese santokus, etc.).
Anyone ever tried sharpening a bread knife? They seem to stay sharp for a really long time, but I imagine sharpening could be done with a tiny ceramic rod. Maybe even with a cylinder of zillion-grit wet-or-dry sandpaper.
Wüsthof (how I love saying that name) has a couple it calls ‘double-serrated’—there are tiny scallops within the main scallops. Anyone used these? Can they be sharpened? There’s a strange looking 17” model with extreme, pointy teeth offered by Pets Island (say what?); FYI, it’s really 12” with a 5” handle.
Many have the faux-Granton edge, which in my experience is useless. (Never tried a real Granton, though.) Some blades are straight, some are curved—the latter look as if they might cut just a tad more efficiently, but might they be less versatile? What say you?
Comments welcome and appreciated.

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