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A Santoku Knife Edge: Not Just for Looks

Fine Cooking Issue 71
Photo: Scott Phillips
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It all started with the santoku knife, the Japanese-style blade that has become the “in” knife in the last few years. A santoku is defined by its shape—a blunted front and flat cutting edge—but it usually has another distinctive feature as well: a row of shallow dimples on the side of the blade. These depressions, called kullenschliff or a Granton edge, reduce friction and help prevent food from sticking to the blade.

As a result of the santoku’s popularity, manufacturers have started adding the dimpled edge to other knives, too. Now you can get a kullenschliff edge on all sorts of knives. Besides the fact that it looks cool, we appreciate a kullenschliff chef’s knife for slicing potatoes, which usually stick to the blade when cutting. For slicing other foods, it perhaps has a subtle advantage over regular knives. But don’t feel compelled to run out and replace all your good knives. Much more important than dimples is that your knives are sharp and frequently honed.

To buy the knives shown here, try the following sources: The Wüsthof 7-inch santoku is $87 from Professional Cutlery Direct. The Granton 10-inch chef’s knife is $70 at The Knife Merchant. The LamsonSharp 6-inch utility knife is $65 at Sur La Table.

It’s hollow, but is it hollow-ground?

Many people use the term “ hollowg-round” to refer to dimpled knives. This is incorrect. In the knife trade, the term hollow-ground refers to how the cutting edge is ground, and it tells you nothing about whether the knife has dimples on its side or not.


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