Like many other things in the kitchen, knives come in all shapes, sizes, and types. But which one is best? The blade is in the eye of the beholder…and THAT sounds like it would hurt.
High carbon knives used to be the best choice for professional chefs, and many still prefer them. The biggest advantage of high carbon knives is that they are made of a soft metal. This means they are easy to sharpen and THAT makes them great for cooking. On the downside, similar to cast iron, they can rust and stain with exposure to water and acids. This becomes exceptionally troublesome in coastal climates because of the proximity to salt water.
More modern than high carbon, stainless steel knives are more resistant to stains, as the name may lead you to believe. Stainless steel is also a harder metal and harder to sharpen. Many stainless steel knives claim to never need resharpening. Generally, these knives are serrated and rely on the sawing teeth of the blade rather than the sharpness. I, personally, have a set of these. They have, indeed, maintained the ability to cut food well for many years.
Many of the more popular knives in the market today are a hybrid combination of high carbon and stainless steel. Making them a nice mix between the two…slightly softer than stainless steel and slightly more stain resistant than high carbon.
Another type of knife that has grown in popularity is the ceramic knife. These blades are formed creating knife blanks under high pressure that are then cooked to hardness. They are much more hard than stainless steel. This means they will hold their sharp edge longer than metal knives, but they are near impossible to sharpen correctly on your own. Kyocera, a manufacturer of ceramic knives, offers a service where you can send in ceramic knife to get sharpened and they’ll send it back to you. A little time consuming, but definitely better than knowing there are no options at all.