As a self-described bread fanatic, I've worked my way through many a bread knife, carving into boules of crusty sourdough bread and hunks of sesame-dusted loaves. I've wielded thick knives, long knives, narrow knives, curved knives, and dull knives, but the only one I would recommend over and over again to fellow bakers and bread snobs is the Mercer Culinary Millennia bread knife.
The first time I gripped the handle of this knife, I knew I wouldn't be tirelessly sawing into a loaf. When I attempt to cut through crusty bread with an ordinary bread knife, I'm left with uneven, ragged slices—thin on the corners and thick in the middle—or my knife gets caught in the middle, forcing me to yank it out and starts afresh. But my employing the Mercer Culinary knife, I can chop right through; no pushing, pulling, or prodding required.
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It's constructed out of one piece of high-carbon, stain-resistant Japanese steel, forged with a razor-sharp edge. The ergonomic handle, built from thick rubber-type materials, is durable and comfortable, so your hand won't get tired if you happen to be slicing a lot of bread. The bottom of the handle even has textured points to rest your fingers, which not only helps grip the knife better, but also prevents slips.
To buy: $23; amazon.com
I'm not the only bread baker and gourmand whose knife preferences have changed for the better. Currently Amazon's number one best-selling bread knife, it's picked up nearly 9,000 five-star ratings on the site, with shoppers declaring it the "ultimate bread knife" and saying it "punches far above its price." And though high-quality bread knives usually start at $50, this knife is just $23 on Amazon.
"One of those rare devices that is perfect and not expensive!" one shopper said. "I baked a hard crust loaf of sourdough bread, lay the knife on top which is tough and hard, moved the knife the tiniest bit, with almost no pressure except gravity, and that knife just sliced through, seemingly by itself! It was sorta miraculous and has continued to practically auto-slice since."
"I make all of my bread homemade and I can't believe I've waited this long to buy a decent bread knife!" another wrote. "This knife is perfect all around. The handle is comfortable and it slides through bread like butter. For years I had some crappy bread knife that I had to saw back and forth that I could never get clean, straight cuts, so finally I got around to updating my second most-used knife and I can't believe the difference! I can cut a perfect slice in one or two motions. I will never use another bread knife again."
If you're like me and require a serious blade to slice through all that hot sourdough emerging from the oven, you're going to want to test out Mercer Culinary's beloved $23 bread knife.
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