Kako izbrati kuhinjski nož

Kako izbrati kuhinjski nož -  Oblika in materiali – Splošna pravila pri izbiri noža – Osnovne razlike med jekli – Prednosti rezil iz laminiranega jekla – Pred nakupom kuhinjskega noža

Kljub popularnosti setov kuhinjskih nožev, ki jih imamo doma, ponavadi večino dela opravimo samo z enim, največ dvema nožema.  Pri nakupu se osredotočimo le na en kuhinjski nož; takšen, ki nam dobro leži v roki in  ga lahko sproščeno uporabljamo. Če se v kuhinji pokaže potreba po drugačnem rezilu, lahko kupimo dodaten, namensko bolj specifičen kuhinjski nož ter si tako sami počasi oblikujemo svoj set.

Oblika in material

Osnovna oblika kuhinjskega noža se v zadnjih 10.000 letih ni veliko spremenila, zato nož ostaja rezilo z ročajem. Velik napredek se je zgodil na področju materialov (predvsem jekla) in postopkov  njihove obdelave.
Danes sta kvaliteta in cena kuhinjskega noža opredeljena:
- s kvaliteto jekla,
- z metodo, po kateri so jeklo spremenili v rezilo in utrdili,
- s tem, kako ostro je rezilo in koliko časa lahko to ostrino ohrani ob pravilni uporabi, kar je predvsem pogojeno s prvima dvema točkama,
- s tem, kako pogosto je treba nož brusiti in kako zahtevno je brušenje,
- z uravnoteženostjo rezila z ročajem in občutkom noža v roki,
- s kvaliteto ročaja in izdelave.

Kuhinjski nož je  nepogrešljivo kuhinjsko orodje, kjer sta na prvem mestu funkcija in ergonomičnost. Pri dnevnih kuhinjskih nalogah se mora »odrezati«. Takoj za lahkotnostjo rezanja, je pomemben tudi estetski vidik.

Splošna pravila pri izbiri oblike rezila

Širše kot je rezilo, bolj je namenjeno rezanju zelenjave in sadja in ni toliko primerno za prostoročna opravila, kot je npr. lupljenje. Ozka rezila so bolj namenjena rezanju surovega mesa in niso namenena hitremu sekljanju.

Kuhinjski noži, primerni za velike kose mesa, so yanagiba, sujihiki in ožji gyuti.
Če bi želeli vsestranski nož za rezanje večjih količin mesa in zelenjave, bo gyuto odlična izbira. Če ste bolj zelenjavni tip, bo boljša izbira santoku. Še bolj zelenjavno usmerjena modela pa sta na primer nakiri in usuba.
Pri večini kuhinjskih nožev je ostrina ključna za lahkotno rezanje brez uporabe sile; takšna rezila pa so ponavadi tanjša in občutljivejša za vse vrste težjih opravil, kot so na primer sekanje kosti, filetiranje ribe, odpiranje kokosa. Za težja kuhinjska opravila potrebujemo  primerno debelejši kuhinjski nož, kot je deba ali težja sekirica.

Osnovne razlike med jekli

Večina današnjih nerjavečih kuhinjskih nožev ne ohranja ostrine prav dolgo, ker rezila niso bila kaljena oziroma  obdelana z metodo, ki jeklu da trdoto. HRC ali Rockwellova lestvica je danes najpogostejši način označevanja trdote jekla. 56 HRC je spodnja meja, ki jo mora doseči jeklo na spodobnem kuhinjskem nožu.
Nerjaveči nož pod 56 HRC ne bo samo zelo hitro izgubil ostrine, ampak ga bo tudi veliko težje nabrusiti. Kuhinjski noži z napisom »stainless« imajo zelo visok odstotek kroma (Cr) in nizek odstotek ogljika (C), zato niso dobra izbira.
Če želite popolnoma nerjaveč kuhinjski nož, izberite rezilo iz jekla z nekoliko manjšim odstotkom kroma (Cr) in dodatkom Vanadija (V) ali molibdena (Mo), ki je bilo kaljeno na vsaj 56 HRC.
Ko pri nakupu noža ni podatka o vrsti,  kvaliteti in trdoti jekla, gre ponavadi za nerjaveče jeklo z velikim odstotkom kroma (Cr) in premajhnim odstotkom ogljika (C<0,5%). Jeklo z velikim odstotkom ogljika (C>0,8%) ostane ostro dlje časa, tudi brušenje je enostavnejše, vendar rezilo s časom razvije patino, ker ni dodanega kroma (Cr). Nerjaveča jekla z velikim odstotkom ogljika (C>0,8%) in kroma (Cr>10%) ostanejo dolgo časa ostra, so pa malo težja za brušenje.
Vrhunec današnje ponudbe so tehnološko izpopolnjena orodna jekla, ki lahko vsebujejo izredno velik odstotek ogljika (C<3%), hkrati pa zadosten odstotek kroma, da ne rjavijo. Kuhinjski noži iz takšnih jekel ostanejo najdlje ostri, so pa zahtevnejši za brušenje.

Prednosti rezil iz laminiranega jekla

Pri teh kuhinjskih nožih je rezilo sestavljeno iz dveh ali več različnih jekel. Navadno gre za sredico iz kvalitetnejšega, zelo trdega jekla oblečeno v zunanjo plast mehkejšega nerjavečega jekla. Prednosti kuhinjskih nožev iz laminiranega jekla so, da zaradi trde sredice ostanejo zelo dolgo časa ostri, zaradi mehkejšega zunanjega jekla pa se lažje brusijo. Zunanje mehkejše plasti sredinsko jeklo tudi ščitijo pred zunanjimi dejavniki. Če se bo pojavila kakšna pika rje, bo to na sami konici rezila, kjer sredica pride na dan in kjer jo z rahlim brušenjem brez težav odstranimo. Kuhinjski noži, ki so oblečeni oziroma laminirani iz več različnih jekel, imajo prav poseben videz - valovite plasti vidimo kot letnice; takšen vzorec imenujemo damast.

Enostransko ali dvostransko brušeno rezilo

Klasičen nemški ali francoski glavni kuhinjski nož je brušen na obeh straneh rezila, po navadi pod enakim kotom nekje med 20 in 30 stopinjami. Takšen kuhinjski nož ima zadovoljivo, ne preveč občutljivo ostrino in je primeren za levičarje in desničarje.
Japonski kuhinjski nož (gyuto, santoku, itd.) je brušen pod manjšim kotom, med 12 in 18 stopinj, poleg tega pa je velikokrat sredina ostrine nekoliko pomaknjena v levo ali v desno (npr. 70/30). Takšen kuhinjski nož je veliko ostrejši,  je pa bolj občutljiv na udarce oziroma grobo uporabo. Pomaknjena sredina ostrine nož prilagodi levičarjem ali desničarjem.
Tradicionalni japonski noži so brušeni izključno enostransko; dolga položna klančina okoli 12 stopinj na eni strani in rahlo konkavni del na drugi. Takšna geometrija omogoča polovičen, veliko ostrejši kot in večjo ostrino. Enostavnejši je za brušenje, hkrati pa je namenjen izključno levičarjem ali desničarjem.

Cena

Manj je več, bolje en dober nož, kot set slabih.

Koliko denarja je potrebno odšteti za dober kuhinjski nož? Cena kuhinjskih nožev srednje velikosti (18 cm rezilo) z enostavnim ročajem in rezilom iz spodobnega jekla, se začne pri približno 50-60 €. Daljše rezilo pomeni več jekla in višjo ceno. Po navadi pomeni 1 cm daljše rezilo 5-15 € več za isti nož. Bolj dodelan in uravnotežen ročaj nanese še kakšen dodaten evro. Ročno kovani kuhinjski noži iz eksotičnih laminiranih jekel in do popolnosti obdelani ročaji znanih izdelovalcev, lahko dosegajo cene nekaj tisoč evrov. Dober kuhinjski nož vas bo spremljal in razveseljeval skozi celotno kuharsko kariero. Dober uravnotežen lesen ročaj s srednje velikim (približno 18-20 cm) laminiranim rezilom iz dobrega preverjenega vg10 ali 19c27 jekla, vas bo stal nekje med 120 do 180 €.

Pred nakupom kuhinjskega noža razmislite o naslednjem: 

- kakšen tip noža želite imeti (glede na jedi, ki jih pripravljate),
- ali mora biti rezilo iz popolnoma nerjavečega materiala, ali vas nekaj patine ne bo motilo,
- ali se želite naučiti sami brusiti nož,
- kako velik kuhinjski nož boste lahko sproščeno uporabljali,
- ali želite z novim kuhinjskim nožem opravljati kakšna posebna opravila,
- koliko denarja ste pripravljeni dati za dober nož.

Za konec še citat japonskega kuharskega mojstra Morimota: »Dober kuhinjski nož še ne naredi dobrega kuharskega mojstra«. V kuhinji boste vi in vaš kuhinjski nož, vendar tudi najodličnejši nož ne bo nadomestil pomanjkljive tehnike rezanja.
Svetujemo, da se rezanja lotevate zbrano, vadite različne tehnike rezanja, sekljanja in filetiranja… predvsem pa pazite na prste!

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HOW TO CHOOSE A KITCHEN KNIFE

How to choose a kitchen knife – Design and material – General rules for choosing a knife – Basic differences between different types of steel – Advantages of laminated steel blades – Before purchasing a kitchen knife

Despite the popularity of kitchen knife sets we have at home, the major part of work is usually performed using only one, maximum two knives. When purchasing a knife we should concentrate on only one kitchen knife – such that fits our hand comfortably and is easy to use. If a different blade is necessary in our kitchen, we can buy an additional, more purpose-specific kitchen knife and in this manner create a personal set of knives.

Design and material

The basic design of a kitchen knife has not dramatically changed in the last 10,000 years, thus a knife remains a blade with a handle. In the field of materials (especially steel) and their treatment there has been a great progress.

The quality and the price of a kitchen knife are nowadays determined by:
- the quality of steel,
- the method used for transforming steel into a blade and hardening,
- how sharp the blade is and how long it maintains its sharpness if correctly handled, which primarily depends on the first two points,
- how frequently it is necessary to sharpen the knife and how demanding this process is,
- the balance between the blade and the handle and how the knife feels in hand,
- the quality of the handle and the manufacturing.

A kitchen knife is an indispensable kitchen tool, with two main features: functionality and ergonomics. In everyday kitchen tasks it has to “cut the mustard”. Besides the simplicity of cutting, the aesthetic aspect is another feature to take into account.

General rules in choosing the blade design

The wider the blade is the more it is designed for cutting vegetables and fruit and the less suitable it is for general tasks, such as paring. Narrow blades are more suitable for cutting raw meat and not for fast chopping.

Kitchen knives suitable for large pieces of meat are yanagiba, sujihiki and the narrower gyuto.

If you want a multi-purpose knife for cutting larger quantities of meat or vegetables, gyuto is an excellent choice. If you prefer vegetables, you should choose santoku. Even more vegetable-oriented models are for example nakiri and usuba.

For simple cutting without using force the sharpness is of key importance for the major part of kitchen knives. These blades are usually thinner and more sensitive for more difficult tasks, such as cutting bones, fish slicing (filleting), or opening a coconut. For more difficult kitchen tasks we need a suitably thicker kitchen knife, such as deba or heavier cleavers.                                                            

Basic differences between different types of steel

The majority of present-day stainless kitchen knives do not maintain their sharpness for a long period of time, because the blades have not been tempered or treated using techniques of steel hardening. HRC or Rockwell scale is currently the most common way to determine the hardness of steel. 56 HRC is the lowest hardness level of steel in a decent kitchen knife. A stainless knife under the level of 56 HRC will not only lose its sharpness fast, but it will also be more difficult to resharpen.

Kitchen knives marked as “stainless” have a very high content of chromium (Cr) and a low content of carbon (C), and are therefore not a good choice. If you want a completely stainless kitchen knife, choose a blade made of steel with a lower level od chromium (Cr) and addition of vanadium (V) or molybdenum (Mo), which has been tempered to at least 56 HRC. If you cannot find data on the type, the quality and the hardness of steel when buying a knife, it is usually stainless steel with a high content of chromium (Cr) and a too low content of carbon (C < 0.5%).

Steel with a high content of carbon (C > 0.8%) remains sharp for a longer period of time, its sharpening is easier, but the blade develops patina, because there is no addition of chromium (Cr). Stainless steel with a high content of carbon (C > 0.8%) and chromium (Cr > 10%) stays sharp for a long period of time, but is slightly more difficult to resharpen.

The top of the present-day offer is presented by technologically perfected tool steel, which can contain an extremely high content of carbon (C<3%) and at the same time a sufficient content of chromium, so that it does not rust. Kitchen knives made of this kind of steel remain sharp for the longest period of time, but are more difficult to resharpen.                                                  

Advantages of laminated steel blades

The blades of these kitchen knives are made of two or more different kinds of steel. Usually the core is made of very hard, quality steel covered with an external layer of softer, stainless steel. The advantage of laminated steel kitchen knives is that due to their hard core they remain sharp for a very long period of time, and due to their softer external layer they are easier to resharpen. The softer external layers protect the core steel from external factors, as well. In case of formation of some rust, it usually appears on the tip of the blade where the core comes out and where it can be easily removed by light sharpening.  Kitchen knives which are covered or laminated in different kinds of steel have a special look – bending layers look like growth rings; this pattern is called Damascus.

Chisel ground or double-bevel blade

A classic German or French main kitchen knife is ground on both sides of the blade, usually under the same angle of approximately 20 to 30 degrees. This kind of a kitchen knife has a satisfactory, not too sensitive edge and is suitable both for left-handed and right-handed users.

A Japanese kitchen knife (gyuto, santoku, etc.) is ground under a smaller angle, between 12 and 18 degrees, and very frequently the center of the edge is moved slightly to the left or to the right (e.g. in proportion 70/30). This kind of a kitchen knife is much sharper, but at the same time much more sensitive to strikes or rough use. Moving the center of the edge to one or the other side makes the knife suitable for the use by left-handed or by right-handed users.

Traditional Japanese knives are ground exclusively on one side; a long flat bevel of approximately 12 degrees on one side, and a slightly concave surface on the other side. This kind of geometrics enables a half-size, much sharper angle, and consequently higher sharpness of the knife. The knife is easier to resharpen, and at the same time it is suitable for use by either left-handed or right-handed users.

Price

How much does a good kitchen knife cost? The price of medium-sized kitchen knives (18 cm blade) with a simple handle and a blade in decent steel starts at approximately €50-60. A longer blade means more steel and therefore a higher price. 1 cm longer blade usually means €5-15 more for the same knife. A more elaborated and balanced handle adds a few more euros to the price. Hand-forged kitchen knives made of exotic laminated steel with perfectly elaborated handles made by well-known manufacturers arrive to the price of several thousands of euros. A good kitchen knife will follow and highlight your entire culinary career. Less is more – it is better to have one good knife than a set of bad knives. A good, well-balanced, wooden handle with a medium-sized, approximately 18-20 cm long, laminated blade made of good, verified, vg10 or 19c27 steel will cost between €120 and €180.

Before purchasing a kitchen knife consider the following: 

- what kind of a knife you want to have (taking into consideration the dishes you prepare),
- if the blade has to be made completely of stainless steel, and if you can tolerate some patina,
- if you want to learn how to sharpen a knife yourself,
- how large a kitchen knife can be for you to be able to use it in a relaxed manner,
- if you want to perform special tasks with the new kitchen knife,
- how much money you are prepared to pay for a good knife.

To conclude with, we are giving you a quote by Japanese chef Morimoto: “A good kitchen knife will not make a good chef”. In your kitchen there are you and your kitchen knife, but even an excellent knife cannot make up for the lack of cutting skills.

We suggest you to tackle cutting in a concentrated manner, to practise different cutting, chopping and filleting techniques, etc., but above all to watch your fingers!

Arhiv člankov

Rezilo in človeška vrsta sta zelo trdno povezana skozi ves evolucijski razvoj. Druge vrste ne potrebujejo ostrin, saj so z njimi rojene.

Povprečen kuhinjski nož v naših kuhinjah je ponavadi cenejši nož, kupljen v veleblagovnici. Znamka je neznana, a kvaliteto in tip jekla označuje napis "stainless". Zahvaljujoč TV prodaji so zelo popularni noži z žagico ali pa noži, ki prerežejo železni drog, opeko, paradižnik v zraku...

Kako izbrati kuhinjski nož -  Oblika in materiali – Splošna pravila pri izbiri noža – Osnovne razlike med jekli – Prednosti rezil iz laminiranega jekla – Pred nakupom kuhinjskega noža

Japonski kuhinjski noži so se razvili iz enostavnega težkega rezila, podobnega debi, v mnogo dobro premišljenih oblik za točno določena opravila. V veliki klasični trio spadajo deba, usuba in yanagiba.

Japonski kuhinjski noži zahodnega tipa se od tradicionalnih japonskih kuhinjskih nožev razlikujejo po klasičnem zahodnem ročaju in po rezilu, ki je brušeno na obeh straneh.

Takšno obojestransko brušeno rezilo je močnejše od enostransko brušenega in primerno za levičarje in desničarje.

Kuhinjski nož je v svojem bistvu kos jekla z ročajem. Dober kuhinjski nož je iz dobrega jekla. Na kvalitetno jeklo je treba gledati kot na osnovo, potencial, ki ga s kovanjem, toplotno obdelavo in geometrijo rezila izkoristi le najbolj izkušen mojster.

Oster nož bo gladko prerezal sestavine. Top nož bo poškodoval stene celic mesa, zelenjave, ribe... S spreminjanjem teksture sestavin se spreminja tudi okus!