Few tools are as helpful and satisfying as a good bread knife. For convenience and for the sake of safety, you should own a good bread knife.
What Makes A Bread Knife?
A bread knife is generally defined by having a full-length blade (over 7 inches long) with a single-side sharpens serrated edge.
The handle of a bread knife can be standard (inline with the blade) or offset (setback from the cutting surface).
The end of a bread knife will normally be rounded off into quarter circle, rounded, or similarly blunt.
A bread knife is a lot like a large tomato knife, except with a blunt end.
Bread knives can cost anywhere from $10 to well over $100 depending on the manufacturer, the quality of steel used in the blade, and the type of handle.
Best Bread Knives For Home Kitchens
In our estimation a bread knife should be a sharp, sturdy, safe-to-use knife that is excellent for cutting all types of bread. It needs to be around 10 inches long to get through a nice, large boule of sourdough, strong enough to cut a thick crusty, and sharp enough to cut a soft, bubble-filled crumb without smushing the loaf. A bread knife should be able to cut, but is best used like a saw, with minimal pressure applied and the sharp serrations doing all the work.
A bread knife should be affordable as it’s not something you can easily sharpen at home and the total use of a bread knife will not approach that of a chef’s knife. Also the difference between the best and worst bread knives is smaller than for many other kitchen tools.
Pallares Solsona Bread Knife
One excellent option is the Spanish-made Pallares Solsona bread knife (pictured at top). I’ve owned one of these for a few months now and it’s been superb. This is about the sharpest bread knife I’ve ever used and it’s paired with a beautiful boxwood handle.
The blade is thick enough to get through a tough sourdough with no flex and it will follow the line you set for it, making nice straight cuts.
On the downside, this knife is on the expensive side and is not dishwasher safe. This is a luxury bread knife with great style and a blade to match, that is made by a heirloom company.
- Price: $65.00
- Length: 10 inches
Victorinox Swiss Army Serrated Bread Knife
While the price of the Victorinox knives have greatly increased over the years, they remain fantastic knives. The Victorinox 10-inch chef knives are still our most-used cutting tools each day, so it’s no surprise that the company’s 10-inch serrated bread knife is excellent as well.
The top features of this knife include its sturdy blade (its reasonably sharp as well), the excellent Fibrox handle which lasts for years and years, that it’s dish-washer safe, and that it’s extremely comfortable to hold. And the 10.25-inch length is just about perfect.
This knife is also sold in an offset handle model, if you prefer to keep your knuckles a bit further from the cutting board. We don’t typical recommend offset knives, as they are harder to store and people are less familiar with them so they can be uncomfortable to use (despite that being the opposite of their intention).
- Price: $40
- Blade Length: 10.25 inches
More Affordable Alternative: If you like the looks and features of the Victorinox but are on a budget then check out the Mercer Culinary bread knife, which is quite similar but sells for under half the price. You won’t get the Fibrox handle and the knife doesn’t look as nice, but this knife is all about value, which is where is exceeds.
Opinel No. 116 Bread Knife
Opinel is knife for their wonderful picnic knifes and pocket knives, but they also make the top-notch No. 116 bread knife. This knife has a real wood handle and a X50CrMoV15 steel blade for sharpness. The blade is curved, giving it saber-like appearance.
Like the other high-end European knife in this article, the Pallares Solsona, this knife can only be hand-washed thanks to its handsome beach wood handle. This knife is on the lighter side and the blade could be heavier, but it’s beyond classy looking and it performs well, though it’s not ideal for the toughest of loaves.
- Price: $40.00
- Blade Length: 8 inches
More Affordable Option: If you like the looks of the Opinel or the Pallares Solsona, many people have opted for the $27 Tojiro Bread Slicer. This knife also has a steel blade and a real wood handle. At 9.2 inches long, it’s just about the same size as the other two as well.
This knife is made in Japan — a country that takes its cutlery quite seriously — and is also not dishwasher-safe.
- Price: $27.00
- Blade Length: 9.2 inches
Wusthof Classic Bread Knife
Having owned and used the entire Wustof Classic series, including the 9-inch Classic bread knife, I can tell you with conviction that it’s a good knife. It’s sturdy and it lasts, plus it has a classic German knife look and a comfortable handle. The full-tang handle gives the knife a nice weigh and great balance.
While this all sounds good, I can say this bread knife is quite expensive (about $90) and I don’t think it’s worth the money. Some time ago it was one of the top bread knives available, but as the cutlery world has expanded out Solingen, we’ve seen prices drop and the quality of lower priced knives skyrocket. While this was once a no-brainer recommendation it’s become something better suited for a registry or gift.
One thing I will say is that Wusthof’s warranty is excellent and they will stand behind their blade and handles more than any other knife maker I know of.
- Price: $90.00
- Blade Length: 9 inches
More Affordable Option: If you want that classic Wusthof look but don’t want to spend upgrades of $80 you can opt for the 8-inch Cuisinart triple rivet bread knife, which will look almost identical when it’s sticking out of a knife block. It’s a similarly highly rated knife from a reputable manufacturer, it’s just a bit shorter and lacking the Solingen steel.
Can you dishwasher a bread knife?
Many bread knives are dishwasher safe, and the manufacturer will make this very clear on the packaging. This means that the steel of the blade and the material of the handle will not degrade if the knife is put in a dishwasher. That noted, it's not advisable to dishwash a bread knife as the blade will be dulled if it's frequently knocked again plates, glasses, and other hard objects during the dishwasher cycle.
Is a pointed or scalloped (wavy) serrated blade better for cutting bread?
Pointed. Recent years have seen a growth in scalloped serrated blades, sometimes known as wave serrations, but the curved shape can cause the blade to glide over a hard surface like bread crust. For this reason standard or pointed serrated blades, are recommended. The points grip the bread and slide through it like a saw, where a waved serrated can be very good for soft vegetables like tomato and zucchini.