A sharp kinfe is important in fermentation

What’s a knife got to do with it?

While fermentation only requires the most basic of tools in the kitchen, one thing is essential–a sharp knife! Yet, many of us may have knives that cannot even cut through a tomato without difficulty!

I was one of those who did not think of the importance of a sharp knife until I did cooking school. I never really gave knives much thought in general. I grew up using whatever knife was able to get the job done. It was when we were given a knife skills assignment that I realized there was more to a knife. 

A knife to suit you best

To someone who likes writing on paper, I easily likened a sharp knife to a newly sharpened pencil or to a favorite ballpoint pen. It is a tool that when handled properly, can make the learning process more rewarding. In the same vein that I would take time in picking out a pen, I realized that in fact, there is a knife that would suit me best.

I have discovered that I like the santoku knife best. I handle it better than a chef’s knife. It’s a versatile general-purpose kitchen knife originating in Japan, although this brand is designed in Australia and is said to be made of Japanese steel. Typically, chef’s knives are 8″ to 12″ in length, while Santokus are 5″ to 7.9″ shorter. So even though santokus feature a boxier build, chef’s knives are heavier to hold.
Mabi got her Sakai Takayuki nakiri knife when she visited Japan to study miso making. She specifically wanted a knife from Sakai because the city was once known for Japanese sword making. Nakiri knives are double edged, and thanks to their straight blade, nakiri knives are ideal for julienne, brunoise, and other precision knife cuts for vegetables. This knife is also a great tool for cutting into very hard-skinned produce like pumpkins, so quite perfect for a vegan.
Mabel got a complete knife block set from one of her godmothers on her wedding and she’s embarrassed to admit that she didn’t really pay much attention to all 21 pieces of them. (“I would need to hold a steak dinner regularly for 10 people just to make use of the steak knives in the set!”) What she ended up using most of the time are these chef’s knives that she has on regular rotation when she prepares meals for the family. She’s also partial to this small turning knife for fruit and veg. 
Having a sharp knife is important for several reasons.

1.   A sharp knife makes working in the kitchen more efficient. When using a dull knife to slice ingredients, you may find yourself having to saw the food repeatedly rather than being able to make single, smooth cuts. This can be time-consuming and frustrating. Which brings us to the next point.

2.    Using a sharp knife makes the process more enjoyable. When we can easily and quickly cut through ingredients, it makes the cooking (and fermentation) process more fun.

3.    Handling a sharp knife is safer. With a dull knife, you are more likely to slip and cut yourself. A sharp knife requires less pressure to cut through ingredients, so there is less chance of an accident.

4.    A sharp knife helps improve the presentation. It is said that we eat first with our eyes. This means that the visual appeal of food is often the first factor that determines whether or not we will enjoy it. When using a sharp knife, you will produce clean and uniform cuts as opposed to the rough hacking you would have to do with a dull knife. When aiming for perfectly diced vegetables or portions of fruit, a sharp knife will be your best ally.

5.    A sharp blade is essential in having good knife skills. All four previous factors considered, a sharp knife will most likely encourage you to do more food prep. With a bit of practice and technique, your food will not only look better if not great when served, but will also cook (and ferment) evenly.

 In fermentation it is important to cut your vegetables roughly around the same size so that the time they take to ferment will be similar. A sharp knife helps ensure this.

A sharp knife is an important tool for any cook and fermentation enthusiast. It lets you work efficiently and in turn makes the entire experience more enjoyable. With a sharp knife, you can quickly and easily prep your ingredients, saving you time and energy in the kitchen. Additionally, a sharp knife can help you create more consistent results in your cooking and fermentation. So if you want to make the most of your time in the kitchen, be sure to keep your knives sharp.

Have you found your perfect knife? Let us know in the comments

Leave a Reply