question on a knife

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by slicer 333, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. slicer 333

    slicer 333

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    when using a serrated knife i have read the motion to use is a sawing motion( back and forth) or a long pull But seen where people also use a serrated knife like a chef knife when cutting items to. Example for what some call a low cut ...tip on board, back handle of knife drawn back then a forward down to slice through food.......this i usually do with a chef knife bec. of the belly. But now see a serrated knife use the same way....tip on board, back of handle of knife drawn back and then a forward down to slice through food.......nothing like a saw motion back and forth. Could some one explain why a serrated knife is used this way .....beside the way i been reading back and forth saw.  Or share there thoughts or ideas.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  2. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    Think of it this way: every  knife is serrated, if you get down to the microscopic level. Whether you go back and forth in the cut, or just in one direction, depends on what you're cutting, what sort of knife you're using, and what results you want.

    Examples:
    1. If you're cutting crusty bread, a couple quick back-and-forth motions does the trick nicely, and means you don't have to push down and crush the loaf.
    2. If you're cutting fish, a lot of back-and-forth is likely to tear up the surface.
    So there's really no right answer. I for one would pretty much never use a serrated knife in the manner you describe, because I can't imagine why I'd be using a serrated knife in that case. I mean, you're talking about chopping or mincing of some kind, with that point down on the board. Why wouldn't I use a chef's knife or something like that?

    The big thing about a serrated blade is that you have to have a lot of lengthwise motion in every cut or it won't do much, whereas a razor-sharp regular blade doesn't always need much--but it does need some: if you go truly straight up-and-down, you're guaranteed to crush the food, however subtly.

    Does that help at all? If not, can you clarify a little more what you're asking?
     
  3. slicer 333

    slicer 333

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    i know what you are saying but did see this happen with some teachers knife classes...where unfortunately you cant ask them questions bec... it was free. so when i seen this and a chef teacher showing it i was totally taken back.
     
  4. danslice

    danslice

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    I have seen a number of my colleagues use this technique.  Mostly for large batches of mirepoix where the end result is to make stock or some sort of puree where the dice doesn't have to be exact.  I've never really liked using a serrated knife this way, but if I were to play devil's advocate, I would say that people use a serrated over a chef knife for volume stuff so they don't have to spend time sharpening their knives.  I agree with ChrisLehrer, use a chef knife.
     
  5. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    What bugs me about your query, @slicer 333  , is that someone teaching knife skills shouldn't be doing this. It's bad technique. As @Danslice  says, there are reasons why people might cheat this way, and I'm not going to fault them: I don't know their situation and so forth. But it's clearly not the right  way, and it seems to me you should be teaching the right  way, not how some people get by.