Keep Your Knives Performing At Their Best
Owning a nice kitchen knife is a lifestyle investment. You need to take good care of it like giving regular maintenance to your car to keep it at their best.
Whether to hone or sharpen your knife depends on the condition of the edge. Honing basically pushes the edge of the knife back to the center and straightens it. It corrects the edge without shaving off much, if any, of the blade's material. Sharpening actually takes a small amount of steel off the blade and creates a new edge. Sharpening can be done less frequently than honing -- just a few times a year depending on how often the knife is used.
How To Use A Honing Steel?
1. With your non-dominant hand, place the honing steel point-down, with the tip of the steel resting on a dry firm surface such as a cutting board.
2. Use your dominant hand to tilt the knife against the honing steel and make sure that there is a 14 degree angle between the knife and the steel. If you are honing an Asian styled knife, tilt the knife to a 10 degree angle.
3. Place the knife with the heel of the knife towards the top of the honing steel and gently pull the blade toward you while gliding it downward, ending with the top of the knife at the bottom of the steel. Be sure to maintain the correct angle as you go. A fairly sharp knife may only need 2-3 repetitions, while a dull knife will need more.
4. Place the knife on the other side of the steel so you can sharpen the other side of the knife and repeat the process.
5. It is important to clean your knife after honing so as to remove any steel shavings.
Note -- When using a honing steel, you need to make sure that the steel is at least as long as the blade.
How To Use A Whetstone?
Whetstone is a gentle and an effective way to sharpen knives. SHAN ZU whetstone consists of a combination of high-quality abrasive grits. Much like other sharpening techniques, whetstones offer a coarse grit (for sharpening) and a fine grit (for honing). The coarse grit is used to grind away material from the blade, allowing it to reset the edge. The fine grit can be used for regular maintenance or after sharpening in order to realign the microscopic teeth on the blade.
To sharpen a knife using a whetstone, submerge the whetstone in the water about 5 minutes so that the whetstone can fully absorb moisture. Place the whetstone on a flat, stable and slip-resistant surface with the coarse side facing up. Move the blade back and forth across the whetstone several times, tip to heel, at the correct angle for your knife. While sharpening, it is important to continually spray water on the whetstone to keep humidity and prevent the temperature from being too high. Small particles will release from the whetstone and form an abrasive substance when in contact with water. Repeat on the other side of the blade. Once this is completed, flip the stone over to the fine side and repeat the process. The fine side will take off any leftover steel. Finally, wipe the knife with a wet cloth or rinse it with water, and rinse the whetstone directly with water and put it in the air to dry.
Benefits of Sharpening & Care
To Be Precise: A sharp knife tends to cut food with precision. It slices through food like a breeze without squeezing so that it retains the texture and intact cell structure of delicate dishes like sashimi. In other words, to keep your knife in great shape contributes to well-sliced ingredients and better tasting food.
To Increase Productivity: Keeping your knives at their best makes the cutting work much easier, which means that you can work faster and get the cook prep done at a quicker pace.
Safer To Use: A sharp knife cuts food effortlessly unlike a blunt or badly aligned knife needing more force and thus slipping away easily. A lovely sharp knife is, therefore, a lot safer to use. And a knife with proper care minimizes bacteria breeding and needs less maintenance in the end.