Sharpening knives is a necessary cooking skill to learn. A strong knife not only cuts or slices food well, but it also helps you to work faster and more safely.
We will discuss several ways to sharpen your knives. Either at a sharpening workshop or at home. Choose whatever suits you best.
But first, I will explain some major points you need to understand before getting into the how-to section.
What are the advantages of sharpening your knives?
Working with sharp blades allows you to use less pressure without destroying your ingredients. which can show in the slices that come out when you complete your meal preparations.
It is worth noting that delicate components, such as herbs and soft vegetables, would hold their fresh appearance. Since they were not crushed by the rusty knives.
Furthermore, dull knives can squash the skin and interiors of certain foods, inducing color changes and wear off.
On the other side, a dull knife slows you down, while a sharp knife makes cooking easier and more enjoyable.
Sharp blades can increase the ability to navigate and monitor the movement of your blade when working. Allowing you to cut and slice through food more easily and rapidly. This minimizes the likelihood of hurting yourself or losing the integrity of your ingredients.
On the other hand, Dull blades are more likely to slip, reducing the power and stability of your knives. When using them by sliding between your fingers and injuring or hurting you.
I agree this would be an essential value since a complete set of priceless yet dull knives is ineffective. A few rounds at a sharpening shop would cost more than a collection of stones that could serve you a lifetime.
When you sharpen your own blades, you can adjust the bevel of the edge to fit how you use each one.
Besides, You can also decide how finely the cutting edge is honed.
How to know if your knife is sharp?
Although the most robust knives can dull with repeated use, put your blade through the paper test and see if it still needs to be sharpened. Holding one side of a folded but not wrinkled sheet of paper.
Now we will move to main point of our article.
Why do we need to sharpen our knives?
Using a dull knife is a nightmare for most professional chefs. Since cutting with them is more challenging and demands more effort. Increasing the risk of slippage and causing injury from missing the cutting mark.
On the other hand, sharpen knives create more even and accurate cuts which result in more proper cooking time.
Yet, most of the top-rated knives may get dull. But that is not a problem since maintaining their sharpness is relatively easy. And can ultimately impact the efficiency of your meal preparations.
Below I have mentioned some sharpening procedures that you can carry to assist you in keeping your knives sharp and ready to use.
How to sharpen your knives with sharpening steel?
Step 1: Positioning the Sharpening Steel
For using the steel sharpener correctly and properly. You have to hold down the steel with your nondominant hand firmly from its handle.
Positioning the opposite end on the surface of your workstation. Apply maximum pressure to guarantee that it is stable and controlled, limiting any chances of slippage or shifting.
Try maintaining the same position throughout the entire procedure.
Step 2: Properly Hold the Sharpening Steel
To make sure that this process works. You have to hold and properly place the steel to increase the ultimate protection for your fingertips.
you have to wrap them around the knifes handle while wrapping them to avoid any contact with the edges.
This position will increase your ability to have full control and force. while running the blade up and down against the steel
Step 3: Angle the Sharpening Steel
Keeping the same amount of pressure on the steel, start running the knife against it in a sweeping motion. While positioning one side of the knife at the angle of 15 degrees, lightly contact the steel tip.
Gently slide the blade down the steel rod’s length. Then, just before you hit the countertop. Move the edge back up to the top of the handle, but leave the other side of the blade in contact with the steel pole. Glide downward again.
what are the top tips to consider when using sharpening steel?
- When sharpening your knife with a sharpening steel, make sure the length of the steel is longer than the length of the blade being sharpened.
- After sharpening, thoroughly wash and dry the steel. ensuring that no metal residue falls into your food while cutting or slicing
- Always make sure the knife you’re using is razor-sharp. Cutting on a plastic or cutting board will help you become accustomed to the sensation of using a sharp edge.
How to sharpen with an electric sharpener?
The most effective and convenient technique to sharpen your blades is electric sharpeners. Since they polish, refine, and reshape your edges.
Electric sharpeners feature between two or three motorized grinding wheels with numerous levels of grits and coarseness.
Chef’s Choice Trizor XV Edge Select Professional Electric Knife is one of the best electric sharpeners on the market. And is highly recommended by all professional chefs.
Step 1: Begin by pressing the knife’s heel as close to the grinding wheels as possible. Pull the knife towards you, allowing the blade to slide slowly until you reach the tip of the edge.
Step 2: The blade should be angled at 15 to 20 degrees. When the knife handle is moved through the slot and aligned to the grinding stone, the sharpener automatically adjusts the angle.
Step 3: Due to the extreme reliability of electric sharpeners, you need to run the blade through the grinders twice on either side. To refine and polish the knife’s edges.
Step 4: when you’ve done grinding your blade with the coarsest stone, Change to a finer grit and slide the blade’s two sides twice. And keep going until you get the shape you want.
what are the top tips to consider when using an electric sharpeners?
- An electric sharpener is not suitable for those knives that feature a safety bolster. Since this may result in an uneven grinding of the knife’s heel, and that can damage your blade.
- To ensure the maximum quality out of your sharpener. It would help if you made sure that the blade would fit perfectly into the grinder before starting sharpening.
- You need to be extra cautious during the sharpening procedure. Since using electric sharpeners may remove extra metal from the blade than you need.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of electric sharpeners?
- Sharpening knives with electric sharpeners are fast and quick.
- For extremely damaged blades. Electric sharpeners accomplish the job more effectively than manual ones.
- Requires no experience and more straightforward to use
- Suitable for all types of blades, even serrated knives
- You may feel not in full control over the sharpener
- They tend to be a bit on the expensive side
How to use a manual sharpener?
The most affordable and straightforward technique to maintain the sharpness of your knives and longevity is the manual sharpeners. Also referred to as the pull-through sharpeners.
Manual sharpeners are designed with two grinding slots. One is the coarse grit for sharpening. And another fine grit for polishing and refining.
One of the best manual sharpeners available on the market. And is recommended by most experienced chefs is the Chef’s Choice 463 Pronto Diamond Hone Manual sharpener.
To get the maximum of your sharpening. follow these instruction
Step 1: place the knife in the course slot of the sharpener, starting from the heel up to the edge tip. Then, applying even pressure, slide your blades about six or seven times.
If your blade is really damaged or chipped, then slide them for extra times.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of manual sharpeners?
- It provides you with more control over adjusting the sharpening angle you desire.
- Manual sharpeners are more affordable devices.
- They suit best most kitchen knives.
- They are safer to use since you can monitor the speed. And power during the sharpness procedure.
- Lighter, portable, and compact
- It is a useful skill to learn as it allows you to sharpen your knives any time you need.
- It needs more effort and energy while using.
- It needs more time to sharpen than electric sharpeners
- Not suitable to sharpen serrated blades
How to use a whetstone knife sharpener to sharpen your knives?
The first step is to straighten and clean your whetstone sharpening stone. Since after frequent usage, they produce an even grit that can hurt your knives. For more information, see our article on how to clean and use whetstone sharpeners.
Then, you have to go through the different kinds of whetstones. And decide which one serves your knives best. Then, you can look at the best whetstone sharpener to choose which one you will purchase.
Once you have figured out the correct angle to sharpen your knife using a whetstone sharpening stone. You can start by following these steps. Yet you need to read and understand the instructions provided with the stone before using it.
Step 1: place your sharpening stone on a wet towel on a flat surface. To ensure that it will not slide during sharpening.
Step 2: start lubricating your stone (if needed) as the instructions recommend. Then begin to sharpen with the top coarse side since it is the fastest way to return the knife into its proper shape.
Step 3: adjust your sharpening angle at 22.5 degrees. And begin to slowly slide the knife in a flowing motion down and across the stone. Starting with the heel up to the tip.
Step 4: depending on the dullness of the blade. Repeat this motion five times. Then repeat on the other side and do the same until you reach the sharpness you want.
Step 5 : flip your stone to the finer grit and repeat the same steps as above.