No cup of coffee will ever be complete without a slice of freshly baked bread. With bread being a staple food for almost every breakfast table around the world, we need the right tool to use for us to have a delightful slice of it every time, a bread knife. But as a home cook, I will only settle for the best bread knife available in the market.
One of the things I really despise is when I end up crumbling a good cake or squishing a perfect loaf of bread to eat with my coffee. It’s a mess and I end up having to do a major clean-up afterwards. I never get to slice bread well if I don’t have a bread knife with me. With that said, I bring you a list of my top bread knife picks that I’m sure, you’re going to want to have with you every time you are craving for a slice of bread.
Bread Knife 101: What You Need to Know
What is a Bread Knife?
As the name suggests, a bread knife is a special knife designed for the purpose of slicing bread. If you hate the idea of slicing bread (like me) because it ruins the bread and it makes you feel like you’re sawing, it’s probably because you’re using a knife that isn’t meant for slicing bread and believe me, it makes a big difference
Why are bread knives serrated?
A serrated bread knife is a knife that has a sawtooth edge. It means that the blade of the knife has a dentated edge. These types of knives deal with cutting through items or materials that have a tough exterior but with a soft interior.
The blades rip right through the outer crust (especially food) and slide through the soft interior, creating a smooth slice. It is best for cutting bread, and fruits and vegetables too.
What are the advantages of using a bread knife?
Serrated knives have the scalloped edge that latches on the surface of the food. It then rips the surface and smoothly cuts through the softer interior of the food. The scalloped edges allow your knife to cut through a juicy and delicate food without crushing it. It prevents the food from crumbling into pieces and also retains the integrity of the food. Here is how it can properly slice through certain delicate types of food:
- Moist cake: it can easily slice thin layers of cake without making the cake fall apart.
- Crusty loaf of bread: it slices right through the crust and smoothly eases through the soft bread without crushing the bread in the process.
- Whole citrus fruits: it will simply slice through the tough skin and create a clean cut of lemon or lime or any other citrus fruit.
- Plump fruits and berries: it can make thin slices of fruits like delicate tomatoes, berries, and even overripe fruits without squishing them.
Characteristics of a Great Bread Knife
Blade Type and Quality
In choosing the right type of bread knife, you need to check out first of all the quality of the blade. A great quality knife is made out of high carbon stainless steel (that’s how I prefer my knives to be made out of). There are actually three main types of steel used to make knives: stainless steel, high carbon steel, and high carbon stainless steel.
- Stainless steel is sturdy and maintenance-friendly. It doesn’t rust easily so it’s safe to wash it in the dishwasher. However, it easily wears out and needs frequent sharpening.
- High carbon steel is a strong material that works well even with extreme temperature differences. It also requires very little maintenance because it can hold its sharpness for a long time. However, it easily gets discolored and rusty.
- High carbon stainless steel is the hybrid of both stainless steel and high carbon steel. It has both the good and bad qualities of both metals.
On a personal note, I would really suggest that you get a knife that is at least 8 inches in length. Smaller bread knives don’t serve a lot of purposes. A longer knife is more multipurpose than you think. Besides, it will enable you to evenly cut a big loaf of bread.
Handle and Grip
You need to find a bread knife that has a handle with a comfortable handle that you can easily grip and hold.
Serration Size and Spacing
This is also important if you decided to get a serrated bread knife. When I pick a serrated bread knife, I would prefer having a knife with larger spacing. A knife with really tiny serrations often cause bread to crumble in the long run and they easily get dull too.
How to Maintain A Bread Knife?
Cleaning a serrated knife is not that hard. In fact, like any other knife, I can simply pop it in the dishwasher and I’m good to go. Although it’s pretty easy to just put it in the dishwasher, I don’t often wash my knives there since the dishwasher liquid and the temperature levels in washing the knife can shorten the lifespan of knives. But for extra care, I hand wash my knife under running water. Here’s how I do it:
- Get a washcloth or a soft sponge.
- Dilute a few drops of dishwashing liquid in water.
- Wash the knife from tip to the handle.
- Rinse it under running water.
NOTE: If there are some gunk stuck on the edge of the knife, soak the knife until the gunk slides off. Then, wash it as usual.
When the knife starts to get dull, I need to sharpen it. Sharpening a serrated knife is totally different from sharpening a typical flat edged knife. It needs a rod-shaped sharpener. Most rod-shaped sharpeners are tapered to give way to different sizes of serrated edges. Since serrated knives have different tooth sizes, you may want to purchase an entire set of sharpeners if you also have a selection of serrated knives in the kitchen. Personally, I prefer just getting a long tapered rod sharpener since it can already sharpener almost all sizes of serrated knives out there.
NOTE: The biggest mistake that most people do is that they sharpen the entire edge like they would with a flat edged-knife. This is only a temporary solution and you may end up ruining the serrated edges in the long run if you keep doing it that way. So, let me show you how you should do it:
- Step 1: Get a good sharpener, I do prefer one that is ceramic but you can also use other files.
- Step 2: Hold onto the knife well.
- Step 3: Hold the rod in a 13 to 17 degrees angle against the knife.
- Step 4: Slide the rod in each groove downwards or upwards.
NOTE: I suggest that you file the scalloped edges in one direction, it will create a more even sharpened tooth. When you just rub the file on each groove, you may not be able to get equally sharpened grooves.
- Step 5: Keep sliding and feeling the gullets or groove until it is sharp.
REMEMBER: using the tapered rod, don’t go past the size of the gullets. If you do, you may end up creating uneven groove sizes.
5 Best Bread Knives For Your Kitchen
Zelite 8-inch Infinity Bread Knife
Zelite’s own prized bread knife giving you a clean and easy slice of bread without the pressure and the bread crumbs.
Material: Made with 67-layers of high carbon stainless steel, this razor-sharp bread knife sure is highly durable. The knife prides itself as a Japanese steel blade, making it a long-lasting knife that you can use with great quality bread slicing ability.
Blade Quality: There is absolutely no doubt that with 67 layers of reinforced steel means that this blade has a long lifespan. Despite it being strong, it’s also pretty light and fairly easy to handle. The blade is thin, offering superb flexibility which is why I find this an awesome knife to use in slicing a cake into layers. The blade is also rust-resistant and less prone to corrosion. With blade quality that doesn’t easily dull in the long run, this is a top contender for me when it comes to picking the best bread knife in the planet. Despite it being designed as a bread knife it also has the ability to saw through cartilage and other stronger material in the absence of butcher knives and the like.
Blade Type: The blade boasts a Japanese Tsunami Rose Damascus Pattern. This pattern is widely known for its ultimate edge retention. I really like this knife mainly because it has a smooth slicing ability. I feel it sliding over anything I slice.
Length: The Zelite Infinity Bread Knife is 8 inches long. The length of the blade makes this a great knife. Longer knives are better to handle than shorter ones because of their versatility. And in this case, the knife is very well-balanced with an 18-degree slicing angle.
Handle: I find the knife overall aesthetically interesting. Its beautiful design is crafted to perfection with its rounded handle. The handle has three rivets keeping it intact, and if you do use the knife for heavy purposes, the handle will surely prevent your hand from having cramps.
In a gist…
Overall, this blade surely is a great bread knife mainly due to its durability and longevity. It has a gentle slicing power making it an easy pick as one of the best bread knives to have and own.
Zyliss Bread Knife
This bread knife brings a professional bread knife to any happy home cook’s kitchen at an affordable price.
Material: The Zyliss Bread Knife actually has a selection of bread knives that offer blades of different types. I can select whether I would prefer a stainless steel or a high carbon steel material. Personally, I use the high carbon stainless steel because it is sturdy and flexible at the same time.
Blade Quality: when it comes to picking out the blade, this sure offers a flexible use. This is perfect for slicing through really tough crust. The high-carbon steel is made of supreme quality and offers a non-stick solution to moist cakes and bread, even frozen fruits.
Slicing is a breeze since the knife really is very light. Although it doesn’t seem balanced, it is very easy to handle and use when slicing different types of food. With the blade being very thin, it doesn’t mangle up a huge loaf of bread. And for that particular reason, I like this brand a lot, too.
Blade Type: The blade has a pointed edge. This is perfect for slicing up soft fruits and vegetables. The blade has larger spaced serrations preventing the blade from crushing delicate bread.
Length: The Zyliss Bread Knife is 8.5 inches long. It is capable of making this knife simply easy to manage and use for various uses. My favorite use for this knife is mainly for slicing up frozen fruits. Out of all the knives in my list, this is one that doesn’t or rarely lets food stick to it when slicing.
Handle: The Zyliss Bread Knife comes with a plastic handle with a comfortable grip and a plastic sheath to protect the knife. The handle, however, doesn’t offer up much knuckle space, so I recommend that you slice it in an angle every time.
In a gist…
This is a knife for those who are saving. When you’re looking for a professional bread knife with the right price, this is a sure win. It has great quality and it also has superb slicing quality.
Mercer Culinary Millennia Bread Knife
Brought to you by the expert forgers of Hagane Japanese Steel in the Western world, this Mercer bread knife is a must-have.
Material: Mercer is a brand that I really trust when it comes to making supreme cutlery. And this case is no different. The Mercer Bread Knife is made with quality Hagane high-carbon Japanese Steel. The blade is made for precise cutting, designed to cut through tough surfaces but retain the integrity of fragile and soft food.
Blade Quality: The blade is second to none when it comes to comparing it with other Hagane blades made in North America. It follows the traditional Japanese blacksmithing technique making this bread knife’s blade superior to most of its kind.
Since this is a forged knife, the knife is surely durable and made to last for a really really long time. My own Mercer knife has been with me for half a decade and the quality is still supreme (of course, it comes with proper maintenance and care). The blade quality also shows in slicing tender soft bread, moist cakes, and even tough foods like meat and frozen fruits.
Blade Type: The curved blade with scalloped serrated edges is a great feature in this knife since with scallop edges provide a groove that will prevent any food from sticking to the surface of the knife. This is especially true when dealing with sticky food like cheese and juicy fruits like berries. The slightly curved blade also provides flexibility, making this a great knife to use in slicing layers of various types of food. A great example would be slicing a massive sandwich filled with meat, tomatoes and veggies hugged between two slices of toasted bread. The knife can easily slice through the sandwich without mangling the bread or squishing the entire sandwich.
Length: This bread knife is 10 inches long. Honestly, it is also my preferred length since you can do a lot of things with a long blade. This makes the blade versatile and very flexible. The length also adds to the balance of the knife which makes it easier to cut bread and other stuff.
Handle: One of the things I love about the Mercer Cutlery brand is the handle. The handle is very comfortable. It offers an ergonomic grip making the knife very easy to use.
In a gist…
This is an awesome knife. It is very comfortable to the touch and very gentle to the food. The knife is also light on the hands and very easy to maneuver, especially in making special bread cuts. It’s not only a good quality knife it is highly affordable too.
Shun DM0705 Classic Bread Knife
Hand-forged in Japan, this bread knife brings class and finesse to every slice of bread you eat.
Material: Forged in Japan, the hype is real. The Shun Classic Bread Knife is made with Hagane stainless steel. It is forged with 16 layers of prized Japanese steel with a stunning Damascus blade design giving that authentic rustic look.
Blade Quality: I can’t get enough of the design of this knife but other than the stunning look, there are more things to mention about this bread knife. The blade itself is a work of functional art. It is extremely durable and designed for precision cutting.
The blade can be used to slice through tender meat and with the Damascus design, air pockets prevent meat and tender fruit slices from sticking to the knife. One awesome thing to look forward to about this knife is that it is very subtle in slicing your food. When you slice through a freshly baked bread, it reduces the pressure that you have to put to slice the bread. It also prevents the bread from crumbling or from getting mangled in the process. I get a thin clean cut slice of bread with this knife all the time.
Blade Type: It has waved serrations that make the knife extremely versatile and can be used to slice other types of food aside from bread. In addition, the scalloped serrations make this knife very efficient in performing its job.
Length: This 9-inch handcrafted blade has a smooth length the lets you cut through larger pieces of bread. The length lets me cut through cakes for layering. Since this is a personally forged knife, the knife is gentle and broad but falls on the heavy side. It has a cutting angle of 16 degrees for you to produce better cuts every time.
Handle: I adore the Pakkawood handle. It adds to the authentic rustic look of the knife. The handle provides a good and comfortable grip. It also allows you to have a great hold of the knife even though it is a bit heavy.
In a gist…
This knife has the best edge retention amongst all of the knives in my list. It is great in slicing delicate food and even meat. It is handcrafted in Japan by expert knife smiths and is very unique and high-quality.
Victorinox Swiss Army Serrated Bread Knife
With more than a century-old history of forging blades, this is a blade that will never disappoint. It brings fine slicing quality fit even for clumsy hands.
Material: Created with over a century old expertise, Victorinox Swiss Army Serrated Bread Knife is forged to perfection using high quality lightweight European high-carbon steel. The steel is specifically used for lighter, more flexible blades. They are made to be thin but sturdy.
Blade Quality: The blade is perfect for a lot of uses. From slicing bread to making thin slices of meat. The quality of Victorinox is absolutely unquestionable. The blade is sharp and thin enough to ease through soft loaf bread and the serrations make it easy for me to rip the thick crusts with a clean smooth cut.
Blade Type: The blade is curved with a pointed serration. Pointed serration is ideal for slicing bread and cutting through the tough exterior of crusty bread. The pointed edges prevent the knife from ever tearing your food apart. Delicate bread won’t have to suffer from sawing, hacking or crumbling when using this knife.
Length: this is the longest knife in our list, and this is great for bigger slicing needs like layering a cake, cutting through massive loads of bread and even using it to make thin slices of meat. The length is highly ideal for multiple uses which makes this knife not just a wonderful bread knife but also a versatile kitchen tool.
Handle: I really like the handle of this knife. It has an ergonomic grip with a gentle curve that lets my hand hold onto it well. The good thing about this is that it can cater to various hand sizes. The blade also adds balance to the knife, making it easy for me to slice and cut.
In a gist…
This is a great knife for multiple uses. It is very reliable, lightweight and well-balanced. It’s a great tool to use in the kitchen although, it is a bit expensive. Nevertheless, it’s worth every penny if you need a sharp, long, sturdy bread knife.
Comparison Chart for the Best Bread Knives
Type of Serration
Type of Blade
67 layers of high carbon stainless steel
Flat design Damascus Design
High carbon stainless steel
Hagane High-carbon Japanese Steel
16 layers of stainless steel
Curved Damascus Blade Design
Lightweight High Carbon European Steel
My Final Thoughts
Personally, I love all these five bread knives but there is one knife that really stands out. I am a big fan of the Mercer Culinary Millennia Bread Knife. And for that, I would really call the best bread knife overall. It is not just a premium grade knife but it is very affordable. The quality is superb and it is one of the knives that lasted a really long time in my kitchen. It has the best value for money because it answers all of my bread slicing needs. It is the most frequent tool I use whenever I am slicing a freshly baked bread for my morning cup of coffee.
I would also suggest buying the Zyliss Bread Knife for if you’re on a budget. Aside from being affordable, the quality is also good for everyday use. And, in case you’re looking for a professional premium bread knife, the Shun Classic Bread Knife is perfect. This is great for bakeries since it provides the perfect slice and ease in slicing bread, cakes, and pastries.