What is a French knife? (It’s Not What You Would Think)


There are dozens if not hundreds of different types of knives in the world. It’s sometimes hard to keep on track about all the different terms and appearances about each one. In the restaurant world, there is one knife that gets the most questions about what it is, and it’s called a French knife.

This article will teach you what a French knife is, where it is used for, and additional information about knives in the restaurant world. But first, what is a French knife?

A French knife, also known as a chef’s knife, is the main cutting tool for food preparation. In fact, a French knife is the general utility knife in most kitchens in modern days, even if it was originally designed mainly for slicing large pieces of meat.

So a French knife is known to all and the name is only used less than the name chef’s knife.

In general, a French knife has a blade 8inches (20cm) long and 112 inches (3.8 cm) wide; however, the diameters can vary slightly between knives.

The most usual material for a French knife is stainless steel, but other popular ones, such as steel, carbon, and ceramic. All these materials have different pros and cons, but stainless steel is the most popular because it is so easily maintained, which is extremely important, especially for busy kitchens.

When it comes to the handles of a French knife, there are also many materials there. The most used handle materials are stainless steel, plastic, and wood. Again, all of these have different properties, but stainless steel or plastic is the usual restaurant kitchen, whereas you can find more wooden handles at home kitchens.

French knife construction methods

Now, let’s take a look at the 2 main construction methods of chef’s knives. Let’s start with forged ones.

Forged

When talking about that a French knife has been forged, it has been constructed from a single bar of steel. This is done by heating the bar of steel into such a soft texture that it can be pounded and shaped into the shape of a blade.

A skilled blacksmith can do this by hand, or a machine can also make it. This is heavily shown in the price, and you can even guess which way it is done. As you might suspect, the cheaper one is made by a machine.

In most cases, a forged knife French knife is a bit heavier than a stamped knife, mainly because it is constructed from a single bar of steel.

When it comes to the average price of a forged French knife, there are both costly ones and really cheap ones. It depends on how it is forged, what additional materials have been used, the brand, and many more factors.

See a cheap forged example French knife

See an expensive forged example French knife

Stamped

On the other hand, a stamped French knife means that it has been constructed by stamping or cutting the needed piece of steel from a large sheet. After the required cut has been made, it is honed to the needed style and heat-treated for extra durability.

Stamped knives are usually lighter in weight, and because they are easier to construct, their average price is lower than with a forged one.

This doesn’t by any means mean that a forged knife is always better than a stamped because both can be handcrafted or made in a factory. Also, there are too many other variables in place, so if you want a decent knife, you should look at its features more than worry about how it was made.

Cheap example stamped French knife

Expensive example stamped French knife

What is a French knife used for

a French knife is used for practically anything, even if it was originally designed for disjointing and cutting large meat pieces. You can use a French knife for chopping, cutting, and slicing vegetables, meats, bread, and seafood. You can even smash garlic with it!

Which knife is most appropriate for chopping vegetables

A Chef’s knife is by far the best knife for chopping vegetables because it is designed specifically for chopping and slicing. The length, width, and design make it the optimal tool for fast and efficient cutting while remaining safe. A Chef’s knife is also ideal for cutting meat.

How do you properly chop

Place your desired ingredient on the cutting board, and take a firm but giving grip of your knife. Place your fingers on your ingredient while bending your knuckles and cut the ingredient alongside your knuckles so you can ensure that you won’t cut in your hand. This way, you can easily chop even blindfolded.

Check out the video below for visual learning!

Best French knife brands

There are many great French knife brands out there; however, three of them are above the else. Henckels, Canghsan, and Wüsthof are among the superior ones by far. This is because of their quality construction, ergonomic designs, and overall reputation in the restaurant industry.

Read also: 13 Best Knife Sets For Business And Home

Conclusion

At first, when you don’t know what a French knife is, it is a surprise that it actually just means a chef’s knife. At least it was for me when I first found out about it. Anyways, I hope that this article was useful to you and you now know more about French knives, and knives in general!

Omar Abdalla

I’m the owner of JRS and while I love working in a busy restaurant, I also enjoy more peaceful and relaxed cookouts at home.

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