Becky Luigart-Stayner

Ideal for foods hard on the outside, chewy on the inside.

Marge Perry
August 15, 2008

Serrated knives, with their scalloped, toothlike edge, are ideal for cutting through foods with a hard exterior and softer interior, such as a loaf of crusty bread. The principle behind a serrated knife is similar to that of a saw: The teeth of the blade catch and then rip as the knife smoothly slides through the food. It cuts cleanly through the resistant skin and juicy flesh of a ripe tomato without crushing it. Crusty bread is easier and neater to cut using a serrated knife because the crust will splinter less.

Three More Tasks for a Serrated Knife

Slice whole citrus fruits: Because citrus skin is tough and slick, the serrated blade is best for this task.

Cut baked phyllo dough: The blade gently saws through the delicate pastry so it crumbles less.

Slice a layer cake: A serrated knife is thinner and more delicate than a chef's knife and cuts cleanly through tender, moist cakes.

Owner's Manual

Cleaning: While many manufacturers claim their knives can go in the dishwasher, you should always wash knives by hand. Washing in the dishwasher can dull the blade. Use a soft sponge and warm, soapy water to maximize the life and performance of your knife. And avoid soaking knives in water; prolonged immersion can loosen the handles.

Storing: Keep your knives in a knife block, on a magnetic strip designed to hold knives that's mounted somewhere safe, or in a special drawer insert that has slots for the blades. Never store them loose in a drawer―the free movement could result in nicked or dulled blades, as well as nicked hands when you reach in to pull them out.

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