8 best bread knives to make light work of more than just loaves

To help slice your sourdough perfectly, brands such as Victorinox and Robert Welch have the serrated blades you need 

Stacey Smith
Thursday 29 October 2020 12:15
When putting our knives to the test we tried them out on a variety of bakes, each time checking how much pressure we needed to apply and how uniform our slices were
When putting our knives to the test we tried them out on a variety of bakes, each time checking how much pressure we needed to apply and how uniform our slices were

If you spent lockdown perfecting sourdough, you’ll know that you need a good bread knife to do your creation justice.

With its tough crust and squishy interior, bread can be a tricky object to cut without squashing the whole thing flat. In order to slice through your loaf with ease, you need a dedicated bread knife that’s up to the job.  

The typical bread knife has a long, serrated blade, enabling you to glide through stacks of sandwiches in one stroke.  

It should also make it easier to get pleasingly uniform slices. It’s versatile too, doubling up us a carving knife (you’ll wonder how you ever cut through crackling without one) and they also work particularly well with pineapples.  

When putting our knives to the test we tried them out on a variety of bakes. From those with tough crusts to the super squidgy, we also sliced our way through bagels and rolls, each time checking how much pressure we needed to apply and how uniform the slices were.

We’ve rounded up a selection of super-smooth slicers whatever your budget.

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Tomita Japanese bread knife

With a choice of two blade lengths (22cm or 30cm), this Japanese bread knife from Tomita is similar to Opinel’s version (below) but we think it’s that bit better. The long, serrated-steel blade is generous and sharp, cutting through our bread with ease, and we found the dark wooden handle both good-looking and easy to grip. It comes with a good quality plastic sheath, which we store the knife in when not being used, to keep it super sharp. A beautiful buy, we think this would also make a lovely housewarming gift. 

Opinel wooden handle bread knife

This family-run French company is known for its excellent value, smart, functional knives. The beautiful beech handle is a little lighter in colour than the Japanese version above and the stainless-steel blade a little shorter at 20cm – which some will prefer, particularly if you tend to go for little loaves or bagels. Strong and efficient, this is simply a great bread knife weighing in at 250g.

Zwilling pro bread knife

The brand of choice for many professional chefs, the Zwilling range doesn’t come cheap but having tried their bread knife, we’re confident it will last for years. The 20cm blade has been made with ice-hardened steel to make it extra tough without being brittle (stopping it from chipping) and features a bevelled edge, which helped us cut neat slices every time. The handle is good quality plastic, with an exposed tang (the portion of the blade that goes into the handle). Overall the knife felt balanced and well weighted (222g).

Lakeland select grip Japanese steel bread knife

If you want an affordable option that will get the job done, this own brand knife from Lakeland is ideal. Crafted from Japanese stainless steel, the 20cm blade is powerful and has undergone an ice-hardening process (but at a fraction of the cost of Zwilling). The grippy rubberised handle makes it safe to use even if you have wet hands. Excellent value and it comes with a three-year guarantee. 

Robert Welch signature bread knife

To make sure they were really hitting the nail on the head, Robert Welch called in a bunch of professional chefs to ask for feedback, It decided on a sharp German stainless steel for the 22cm blade, with a full tang for optimum balance. The ergonomic black plastic handle is comfortable to use and makes it dishwasher safe (although we’d always recommend washing by hand). Like all knives in the range, it comes in a gift box. 

Global g series bread knife

A blow-the-budget option for the serious chef, this brand is used in many top kitchens around the world. Fully stainless steel, right down to the dimpled handle, this is a classic bread knife shape with a 22cm blade. The serration has been set up for right-handers and the design makes sure you’ll get a straighter slice. Beautifully weighted (136g) and super sharp, this is a dream to use. 

Victorinox Swiss classic bread knife

Better known for making swiss army knives, the brand also produces good quality kitchen knives. Sure, the handle is a little plasticky, but it’s ergonomic and the 21cm blade is efficient. Overall, it’s pretty light at 107g. It also comes in a wide range of colours, including orange, yellow, green and pink – making it nice and easy to see in the drawer. 

Pallares bread knife

Beautifully simple, this 22cm blade has a wide scalloped stainless-steel blade, which handled most bread well, without too much pressure. The stripped-back pale boxwood handle is crafted in Catalonia, specifically at the cuchillería Pallares workshop, which was set up by a couple of brothers and is still a small family-run operation. 

The verdict: Bread knives

For us, the Tomita Japanese bread knife is absolute perfection. Not only were we happy with every smooth slice, but it’s also a looker too, and we think a fantastic price.

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