Five high quality chef’s tools and a sharpening steel, plus a fine hardwood 10 slot knife block–with this set from J. A. Henckels you get all the essentials and room for more. The assortment includes a 4″ paring knife, 5″ serrated utility knife, 7″ Santoku knife, 8″ Chef’s knife and a 9″ sharpening steel and stainless steel kitchen shears.
The quality of the Classic Forged knives is a big step above their economy line of stamped steel products. The strength of a knife and its edge holding potential depend partially on the forging process. Cheaper knives are stamped from rolls of pre-sized steel; forged knives are hammered from bars. The difference in quality results from the stretching of the crystalline structure of the steel. The more it’s stretched and distorted, the higher the tensile strength.
The knives come pre sharpened but will require some touching up at home. Most will be familiar, but anyone who hasn’t used a Santoku will be in for a welcome surprise. The thin Japanese style blade is ground with multiple hollows, and makes a nearly perfect slicing knife. The hollows let sliced products slip away from the blade, though its effectiveness is open to debate. The compact inclined hardwood block sits on non skid feet, keeping it above the damp of the countertop.
The stainless steel full width tang blades and gap free polypropylene handles are dishwasher safe, but Henckels recommends handwashing to reduce blemishing of the steel and protect the cutting edges.
All this being said, we still prefer the Forschner knife set we reviewed earlier. That set will hold an edge longer, so check it out before you commit to this one.