Whether you’re a professional chef in a top restaurant or simply a DIY home-cooking enthusiast, having the right chef knife set is essential. However, if you don’t keep your knives sharpened properly and care for them well, you might as well just reach for a butter knife. The team from Messermeister wants you to get the best use out of your cooking knives, which is why we’ve collected some important tips for keeping them sharp.
Here’s our guide to knife sharpeners and proper knife maintenance.
Use a Honing Steel
If you’ve recently purchased a new set of chef knives, then using a honing steel will be your first step to keeping them as sharp as possible (like they were the day you bought them). You should use your honing steel every time you take out your knife to hone its edges and keep it in shape. In more technical terms, a honing steel aligns the knife-edge, allowing it to cut through proteins and other ingredients with ease.
To use your honing steel, hold the knife in your hand and lay it against the steel at a slight angle. There should be gap of about a ¼ inch between the spine of the knife and the rod. Next, gently slide the knife along the length of your honing steel while drawing the edge from heal to tip. You should not need more than five to ten passes on each side. This will help you maintain a sharp edge on your knife longer. And, because it will help you to keep the edge in proper alignment, you can maximize the time between sharpening.
Use a Water Stone
Messermeister recommends using a clay matrix water stone to sharpen your knives. This type of stone is more forgiving and makes the sharpening process faster and easier.
There are a variety of water stones out there that come in different grits, which describes the coarseness of the stone. Often, you’ll use a coarser grit to sharpen the edges and then a finer grit to thin them out and add the final finesse to your knife.
Avoid Electric Grinders
You might be tempted to use an electric grinder due to its efficiency, however, we do not recommend this approach. Electric grinders can cause serious damage your knives, including creating chips and divots that will adversely wear them down. When you invest in a quality set of knives that you want to last a lifetime, we consider using an electric grinder to be one of the worst things you could do to preserve them.