Japanese vs. German Knives: Which One Is Right for Your Kitchen?

Japanese Gyuto Nakiri German Wusthof Knives

 Japanese vs German Knives: Which One Is Right for Your Kitchen?

As any home cook or professional chef knows, having the right knife for the job is essential in the kitchen. With so many factors to consider, choosing the right knife can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to the two heavyweights in the knife-making world: Japan and Germany. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Japanese vs German knives, their differences, and which one may be right for your kitchen.

Japanese knives are famous for their sharpness and delicacy, and they’re often considered works of art. These knives are crafted using high-carbon steel that is heated and folded multiple times, resulting in a hard and sharp blade that is a little more difficult to sharpen, but retains its edge longer. The manufacturing technique produces a thin and delicate blade that is perfect for precise cuts of fish, meat, or vegetables. Japanese knives are also known for their unique blade shapes that are designed for specific tasks. For example, the Gyuto knife, like the MITSUMOTO SAKARI 8″ Japanese Gyuto, is the Japanese version of a chef’s knife that combines the shape of a traditional Western chef’s knife with the lightweight design of a Japanese knife, while a Nakiri knife, like the Shun Cutlery Classic Nakiri Knife, is designed for precise vegetable cuts.

In terms of handle comfort, Japanese knives usually have a traditional wooden handle that’s lightweight and ergonomic, fitting comfortably into the hand. However, this type of handle may not be as durable as other materials and may require more maintenance. Japanese knives are often more expensive due to the complex manufacturing process and high-quality materials used in the manufacturing process.

On the other hand (or actually IN the other hand), German knives, like my favorite workhorse knife, the WÜSTHOF Classic IKON 8″ Chef’s Knife, are known for their durability and versatility and is easier to sharpen. These knives are made with softer stainless steel and have a thicker blade that’s good for more heavy-duty tasks like cutting through bones or tough meat.  Also, German knives often feature a wide, curved blade that allows for a rocking motion when cutting and slicing through meats or vegetables.

In terms of handle comfort, German knives often have a heavier handles made of durable materials like rubber or polymer for a comfortable and secure grip. While this type of handle may not be as traditional as a wooden handle, it’s more durable and requires less maintenance.

Which One Should You Choose?

When deciding between Japanese and German knives, it ultimately comes down to personal preference, cooking style and the type of food being prepared. Japanese knives are ideal for precise cuts and delicate tasks, while German knives are more versatile and can handle a wide range of tasks. It’s important to consider factors like blade sharpness, durability, weight and handle comfort before making a decision.

Despite having used German knives throughout my life, I have been gravitating towards buying and using Japanese knives more frequently these days, and the reason are:

  1. Sharpness: Japanese knives are known for their incredible sharpness due to the harder steel used in their construction. This allows for precise and clean cuts, especially when working with delicate ingredients like fish.
  2. Lightness: Japanese knives are generally lighter and thinner than German knives, which makes them easier to maneuver and control. This can be particularly beneficial when performing intricate tasks like chopping herbs or making small cuts.
  3. Precision: The blade shape of Japanese knives tends to be more slender and tapered than German knives, allowing for more precision and control when cutting. This can be especially useful when filleting fish or performing other detailed tasks.
  4. Versatility: While traditional Japanese knives are designed for specific tasks, such as the deba knife for fish or the nakiri knife for vegetables, many modern Japanese knives are designed to be versatile and can handle a variety of tasks.
  5. Aesthetics: Japanese knives attend to be more visually appealing than German knives, with intricate and beautiful designs and finishes.

That being said, both Japanese and German knives are highly regarded by professional chefs and home cooks alike for their unique features and exceptional quality. Despite their differences in manufacturing process and design, both types of knives share an appreciation for craftsmanship and attention to detail. Whether you choose a Japanese or German knife, investing in a quality knife that fits your needs will make all the difference in the kitchen.

No matter which style of knife you choose, it’s important to make sure it stays in great shape and selecting an appropriate wood cutting board is just as essential as selecting the right knife, as it will affect the lifespan of your knives, as well as your food preparation skills and safety. A cutting board plays a vital role in maintaining the sharpness of a knife blade. When you use a knife on a hard or rough surface, such as a countertop, glass, ceramic plate or even a plastic board, it will quickly become dull due to the friction and impact. However, a good wood cutting board provides a stable surface that absorbs the impact and reduces the friction between the knife blade and the surface, thus preserving its sharpness for longer. By using a suitable cutting board, you can prevent your knife from becoming dull quickly, reducing the need for frequent sharpening and prolonging its lifespan.

When all is said and done, opting for a sturdy German knife or an elegant Japanese knife and selecting an appropriate cutting board can significantly enhance your kitchen experience and make meal preparation an enjoyable task.

The Best Cutting Boards for Your Knives – A Comprehensive Guide

Cutting Board with carrots green peppers

The Best Cutting Boards for Your Knives.

Selecting the best cutting board for your knives is critical when shopping for a board. The boards protect your countertops from scratches and damage caused by knives and provide a stable surface for cutting fruits, vegetables and meats. However, not all cutting boards are created equal. Coming in a variety of materials, each has its own distinct perks and drawbacks. In this article, we’ll discuss the different styles of cutting boards and which is most suitable for protecting and maintaining the delicate edges of your knives.

  1. Wood Cutting Boards

Wood cutting boards are the most traditional and popular type of cutting board. They are made from hardwoods such as maple, cherry, and walnut. Wood cutting boards have a natural beauty and warmth that many people find appealing. They are also durable and can last a lifetime if properly cared for.

When it comes to using knives, wood cutting boards are a great choice because they are relatively soft and forgiving. They do not dull knives as quickly as harder surfaces like glass or stone. The natural fibers in the wood also help to absorb the impact of the knife, which can reduce the risk of chipping or breaking the blade.

However, wood cutting boards do require some maintenance to keep them in good condition. After each use, they should be washed with mild soap and warm water and dried thoroughly to prevent warping or cracking. They should also be oiled regularly with food-grade mineral oil, like Thirteen Chefs Foods Grade Mineral Oil, to keep the wood from drying out and to maintain their natural beauty.

And when it comes to wood cutting boards, there are three types: end grain, top grain and side grain cutting boards. Read More …

How to Make an Air Fryer Your Best Friend in the Kitchen

 Instant Vortex Plus 6-Quart Air Fryer

If you’re looking for a kitchen appliance that can do it all, then look no further than the air fryer. I was initially resistant to adding another appliance to my kitchen, but I’m so glad I changed my mind and decided to give the Instant Vortex Plus 6-Quart Air Fryer a try. This, the most highly rated air fryer, is an incredible appliance that can fry, bake, grill, and roast – all with little to no oil. Plus, it’s quick and easy to use, and clean-up is a breeze, making it perfect for busy weeknight dinners or last-minute gatherings.

In this blog post, I’ll give a quick overview of everything you need to know about air fryers – from what they are to the benefits of using one. I’ll also share some of our incredibly simple favorite air fryer recipes that are sure to please the entire family. So, whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there’s something for everyone!

Read More …

The Official Cookhacker T-Shirt is Here!

Well it’s finally here. Be the envy of all your favorite food lovin’ friends when you wear the official Cookhacker T shirt…now on Amazon. It’s available in five different colors and comes in in Men’s, Women’s and Kid’s sizes.  I guarantee if you wear this shirt when preparing one of the great recipes on Cookhacker.com, like our Sous Vide Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin, the results will be way tastier than if you just wore a generic shirt while cooking. It’s also a really cool shirt to wear when visiting your favorite restaurants and hangouts. Help spread the word…Cookhacker has the recipes, secrets, tips and tricks to help a good home cook become a great home Chef.


Sous Vide Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin with the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker

My new favorite cooking “toy” is my Anova Sous Vide machine…it’s the ultimate Really Cool Kitchen Tool.  Everything I’ve made so far (steak, chicken and pork) has come out perfectly every time with restaurant quality results…it’s kinda idiot-proof! All you do is just attach the machine to any pot, add water and click start, put whatever you want to cook in a sealable bag (any ziplock-type bag will do), remove the air, drop it in the water and set the timer!  You can also use the free wirelessly Bluetooth connected Anova Culinary app on your phone to find your recipe and cooking settings for exactly how you like it done, and just hit the “Start” button and the Anova goes to work.  Shown here is my Sous Vide pork tenderloin. I just marinated it in teriyaki for a few hours, placed it in the Sous Vide bath and after an hour at 136°, I removed it and seared it on all sides for 2 minutes in a screaming hot cast iron pan. It was tender, perfectly cooked from end-to-end and incredibly tasty. I know this sounds like a gushing paid-for review, but it’s really not…I just love it that much.









OXO Good Grips Grater…My New Favorite Really Cool Kitchen Tool

This is my new favorite Really Cool Kitchen Tool…the OXO Good Grips Box Grater has:

– Sharp, stainless steel blades for easy grating
– Medium and fine grating surfaces, and slicing surface
– Slim construction conveniently fits into drawers
– Soft, comfortable, non-slip grip

…but the BEST thing about it is that you can catch, measure and store whatever you’re preparing in the storage container that clips onto the bottom of the grater, and then seal the freshly cut/grated ingredients with the included lid. It’s perfect for grating and keeping the mozzarella fresh before adding it to my Caramelized Onions, Sausage and Mushroom Sourdough Pizza.

The Secret to Perfect Pancakes – A Mathematical Solution!

Foodgawker-Pancakes-Blog-FinalI always have a problem preparing the right amount of batter for the number of pancakes I want to make. Some apparently very hungry math students from the University of Sheffield have swapped calculus for the kitchen and developed  an interactive Perfect Pancake Calculator to make the prompt preparation of perfect prize-winning pancakes a piece of cake (alliteration!). You just enter the number and thickness of the pancakes you want and it gives you the exact amounts of the ingredients you need. One minor problem…Univ. of Sheffield is in England, so the measurements are metric!


Simple Knife Sharpening – The Best Tool for the Job

I love my knives and, as incongruous as it might sound, a sharp knife is a safe knife. When a knife is dull, more pressure is needed when using it and that increases the chance that the knife will slip and do some damage…a sharp knife is not only much easier to control, but it really adds to the joy of food preparation.

Sharpening a knife using a sharpening stone is best left to professionals. It’s a great skill to learn, but it takes a lot of practice as it’s tough to get the proper angles. The Accusharp Knife and Tool Sharpener is an inexpensive, safe and easy to use tool that makes knife sharpening a pleasure. It has diamond honed tungsten carbide sharpening blades set at the proper angle so you can’t make a mistake, and in about 10 seconds, you have a nice, sharp edge.

The are a lot of myths and facts about knife sharpening, but if you use the right knife for the job and you keep it sharp, you’ll find food prep to be a pleasure.

No need to go crazy buying knifes. I recommend starting out with a good quality 8″ chef’s knife (the workhorse!), a 3″ paring knife, a 5 1/2″ boning knife, 5″ Tomato/Utility Knife, an 10″ serrated bread knife and a honing (sharpening) steel. Just make sure you store them properly (I love my magnetic knife holder) and you should be ready to tackle any kitchen cutting job with ease.

The Most Important Tools in Your Kitchen – Your Knives

A sharp, well balanced knife that feels good in your hand is a pleasure to work with and makes cooking that much more enjoyable…when the right knife is used properly, it really makes you feel very “cheffy”. I’ve already posted how to sharpen knives and keep them sharp, and the amazing chart below (which I totally copied from Kitchen Kapers) really helps you figure out exactly what knife to use (or buy) for the job at hand.

There is need to go crazy buying knifes. I recommend starting out with a good quality 8″ chef’s knife (the workhorse and the most important tool in your kitchen, imho), a 3″ paring knife, 5″ Tomato/Utility Knife, a 10″ serrated bread knife and a honing (sharpening) steel. Just make sure you store them properly (I love my magnetic knife holder) and you should be ready to tackle any kitchen cutting job with ease.

Style of Knife Shape of Knife Ideal Job for Knife
2 3/4″ Peeling Knife For peeling of all round vegetables – potatoes, onions, etc.
3″, 4″ Paring Knifes For paring, peeling and slicing small fruits and vegetables.
5″ Tomato/Utility Knife (Serrated) For tomatoes, salami, croissants.
5 1/2″ Boning Knife For separating meat from bone, cooked and uncooked. The smaller the size of the meat (or bone) the more flexible the blade should be and vice versa.
5″, 6″ Utility Knives As the name indicates, for many, but not for all cutting jobs. Peeling, slicing, chopping, carving.
8″, 10″ Carving/Slicing Knives For carving medium sized roasts and fowl, cutting large vegetables, fruit.
6″, 8″, 10″ Chef’s Knives For chopping and dicing. The knife handle is rocked up and down with one hand while the fingers on the other hand rest slightly on the back of the blade, towards the tip.
8″ Bread Knife (Serrated) For cutting bread or any other food of soft substance with a tough skin or crust.
5″, 7″ Santoku Knives For slicing and chopping. Hollow edge allows air between blade and item being cut for extra thin cutting. Unique edge must be sharpened by professional.
Cleaver For chopping through joints or bones.
10″ Sharpening Steel For sharpening the knives. A sharp knife will provide maximum safety. Use the sharpening steel regularly, preferably every other time the knife is used.

Caramelized Onions, Sausage and Mushroom Sourdough Whole Wheat Pizza

SMO PizzaGot a few pizza questions recently, so I just wanted to re-post a pizza story I did a while back. This was, of course, made from scratch (here’s the recipe) and it really tasted just as good as it looks. One of the most important tricks to making a great pizza is using a pizza stone (or even better, a pizza baking steel, which is what I use exclusively now)…it’s hard to bake a great crust without it. Both the stone and the steel have a greater thermal mass then either a glass or metal pan and therefore hold and distribute heat much more efficiently. The stone is also porous, so it absorbs moisture from the dough as it cooks, all of which contributes to an amazing crisp, uniformly browned crust. Also, definitely get yourself a pizza peel…they’re inexpensive and make putting the pizza in and taking the pizza out of the oven a breeze.

Pizza stones and steels are available just about everywhere, and come in a variety of sizes and shapes (and prices). They should be put in a cold oven, then preheated for at least 30 minutes after the desired oven temperature (I recommend 500°) is reached before using. Because the stones are porous and absorb liquid, the stone should never be washed with soap…just a dry brush or some plain, warm water if needed. Both the stone and the baking steel are ideal for baking bread.

t stone or piece of ceramic or earthenware used to evenly distribute oven heat to pizzas or other baked goods, more or less mimicking the effects of cooking a pizza in a masonry oven. Such bakeware has more thermal mass than metal or glass pans. The porous nature of the stone used also helps absorb moisture, resulting in a crisp crust.
Suasage, Mushroom, Caramelized Onion Pizza ready for oven
Ready for the Oven

Nothing better then homemade pizza and this crust is simple and delicious. If you need sourdough starter, check out my bread post from last week. I prefer thin crust pizzas (being from the New York area…where we make REAL pizza), but if you prefer a thicker crust, it’s all here in the printable recipe. This is one of those recipes that appears to be a little vague at first, but once you try it and get the feel for how the dough should come together, it’s simple and quick to replicate whenever you get the urge…which for me, seems to happen about 3-4 times a week lately. And since the recipe makes 3 crusts which freeze incredibly well, you actually don’t have it make it that often. Just take one out of the freezer, and in about 3 hours, it’s ready to roll. The crust is also vary versatile and can be used in dozens of different ways. Just the other day, I topped one with just caramelized onions, crumbled goat cheese and drizzled some olive oil on it and it was amazing. It also makes a great calzone!

Please click here for the printable recipe.