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Knife Exercise

Anything worth doing, is worth doing slowly.

In this module, we will examine:

1. How NOT to cut yourself
2. How to recognize a two dimensional image of a knife
3. The three most common materials used to make knives
4. The importance of a proper grip on a knife
5. Basic cuts and shapes
6. Terminology used in cutting
7. Knife techniques

GETTING STARTED

Do this online form about some weird French words that describe cutting techniques and knives.

Weird French Words Form

KNIVES

When working in a kitchen, many different types of knives are used for different tasks. The metal that a knife is made of is important, since the metal must be able to take and hold a very fine edge.

1. Carbon Steel – this is the traditional favorite because it can be sharpened to an extremely sharp edge. Its disadvantages are that it corrodes and discolors easily, especially when used with acidic foods and onions. It even discolors some foods (such as hard-cooked eggs) and can leave a metallic taste.
2. Stainless Steel – This type of steel will not rust or corrode, but it is much harder to sharpen.
3. High-Carbon Stainless Steel – This alloy combines the best aspects of carbon steel and stainless steel. It takes and edge almost as well as carbon steel, and it wont rust, corrode or discolor. Knives made of this material are relatively expensive.

ANATOMY OF A KNIFE

The tang is the portion of the metal blade that is inside the handle. The best-quality, most durable knives have a full tang, meaning that the tang runs the full length of the handle through to the end of the knife.

You will need to know how to identify these 7 aspects of the knife

TYPES OF KNIVES

The French or Chef Knife

1. French or Chef’s Knife – most common knife used in the kitchen; used for chopping, slicing, dicing and so on. Blade length of 10 inches is most popular for general work. Larger knives are heavy for cutting and chopping.

The Salad Knife - plastic won't discolor the tender leaves

2. Utility or Salad Knife – Narrow pointed knife 6-8 inches long. Used mostly for pantry work, cutting and preparing lettuce, fruits and so on.

The Paring Knife

3. Paring Knife – Small pointed blade about 2-4 inches long. Used for paring and trimming vegetables and fruits.

The Boning Knife

4. Boning Knife – Thin, pointed blade about 6 inches long. Used for boning raw meats and poultry.

The Carving Knife - longer than a Chef knife, skinnier and bends easier

5. Slicer – Long, slender flexible blade up to 14 inches long. Used for carving and slicing cooked meats.

The Bread Knife

6. Serrated Slicer – Slicer with serrated edge. Used for cutting breads, cakes and similar items.

The Butcher Knife - rounder than a cleaver

7. Butcher Knife – Heavy, broad, slightly curved blade. Used for cutting, sectioning, and trimming raw meats in a the butcher chop.

The Scimitar or Steak Knife

8. Scimitar or Steak Knife – Curved pointed blade. Used for accurate cutting of steaks.

The Cleaver - flater than the butcher knife

9. Cleaver – Very heavy, broad blade. Used for cutting through bones when butchering meats and chicken.

The Oyster Knife

10. Oyster Knife – Short, rigid, blunt knife with a dull edge. Used for opening oysters.

Clam Knife - smaller than an oyster knife

11. Clam Knife – Short, rigid, knife with a slight edge. Used for opening clams.

A vegetable peeler - don't you wish they were all monkey peelers?!

12. Vegetable Peeler – Short tool with slotted, swiveling blade. Used for peeling vegetables and fruits.

A Steel - for honing, not sharpening a knife

13. Steel – Not a knife, but an essential part of the knife kit. Used for truing and maintaining knife edge.

The Knife Stone, for shapening knives

14. Stone – Usually a rectangular piece of stone with a slight grit to the touch and used for dragging the knife edge along in a uniformed way to achieve an edge on a knife.

HANDLING THE KNIFE

The Grip
the proper grip gives you maximum control over the knife
1. it increases your cutting accuracy and control over the knife
2. it prevents slipping
3. it lessons the chance of an accident
The type of grip you use depends in part on the type of job you’re doing and the size of the knife. The grip illustrated in this picture is one of the most frequently used for general cutting and slicing. Many chefs feel that actually grasping the blade with the thumb and forefinger in this manner gives them the greatest control. This grip is called the pinch. Holding the knife may feel awkward at first, but practice will make is seem natural.

the pinch

the pinch

THE GUIDING HAND

While one hand controls the knife, the other hand controls the item being cut. Proper positioning of the hand will do 3 things:

1. hold the item being cut – item held firmly so it will not slip
2. guide the hand – the knife blade slides against the fingers. The position of the hand controls the cut.
3. protects the hand from being cut – fingertips are curled under, out of the way of the blade. This is called the claw grip.

the claw grip #1


the claw grip #2

VEGETABLE CUTS

macedoine measures 5 mm × 5 mm × 5 mm and is produced by slicing the baton into sections

medium dice measures 1 cm × 1 cm × 1 cm

large dice is a knife cut measuring 2 cm × 2 cm × 2 cm

Baton is a basic knife cut measuring 5 mm × 5 mm × 4-6 cm.

Allumette is a basic knife cut measuring 3 mm × 3 mm × 4-6 cm

Julienne is a basic knife cut measuring 1 mm × 1 mm × 4-6 cm

Brunoise is a basic knife cut measuring 1 mm × 1 mm × 1 mm

OTHER CLASSIC CUTS

Carré large dice 4 cm cube
Vichy short, very thin stick less than 2mm thick slice
Frite French fry 1/2″ x 1/2 ” x 3″
Pont-Neuf steak fry 3/4″ x 3/4″ x 3″
Mignonette stick 3/8″ x 3/8″ x 2″
Mirepoix rough cut 1″ average
Chips/Rondelle/Bias very thin slice 1/8″ slice
Gaufrettes waffle 1/8″ thick; perforated
Oblique roll cut 45° angle cut
Paille straw Finely shredded
Parisienne Paris style Sphere shape: 1″ average
Noisette pazelnut Sphere shape; 1/2″ to 3/4″
Tourné Olivette olive like 7 sided; 1″ to 2″
Tourné Chateau castle like 7 sided; 2″ to 2 1/2″
Tourné Fondante melting 7 sided; 3″ or more

WHY WE CUT UNIFORM SHAPES AND SIZES

1. ensures even cooking
2. enhances the appearance of the product (eye appeal)
3. shows skill and technique
4. intimidates fellow cooks 😉

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