Friday, 22 February 2013

Equipment: Wusthof Classic Knives

If you're experienced in the artistry of the charcutiere, then - to be honest, and as is already obvious - you'll learn next to nothing here, apart from the fact that I'm a bloody idiot. However, if you - like me - are stood gazing into the abyss that is charcuterie, then it's nice to know that the curing I have done thus far hasn't required any special equipment. It has all been done using items that were already in the kitchen, my household fridge and the cheapest coarse sea I could find. The only thing I had to go out and source was Prague Powder #1, and I found a bloke in the UK on fleabay selling it. Since then, I've also discovered that Sausage Making sells it as Cure #1. I've ordered some bits from them, so I'll report back on the service!

These initial experiments have allowed me the time to start sourcing the equipment I need to move on to bigger and better things. Therefore, I shall be keeping up a running commentary on equipment, suppliers and costings for the whole sorry shambles that I am heading in to.

One thing that I will stress at the start is that I was fortunate to have a good set of knives! I bought my Wusthof Classics a few years back, and everything I've done so far has been simplified by the fact that I own them.

As someone who cooks a lot of Asian food, I appreciate the trend for Japanese knives. These items are great, very light and very sharp. They're pricey, but so are the Wusthofs. However, you try to go through a bone with a Japanese knife, and before you can say, 'Oh shit, I've put a knick in the blade of my significant investment', you will have put a knick in the blade of your significant investment. Go through a bone with a Wusthof, and it laughs in your face, screaming, 'C'mon, you tart, is that the best you can do?'

Japanese knives are sharp. You'll know it, because you'll spend ages sharpening them. In my experience they lose an edge too quickly. Wusthofs take longer to sharpen, because the blade is thicker, but they'll stay sharp for an age, even if you abuse them.

The Classic has a one-piece carbon steel construction, with a fully tanged triple-riveted handle. The steel is alloyed to keep them clean. The balance is fantastic (well, for me it is), and when the marketing bumph bangs on about how sharp they stay, it's bloody true!

The boning knife is the one that gets most use, along with the Santoku. A slicer would be good too. I'd recommend those as a minimum. To give you an idea of how good Wusthofs are, I don't have a slicer and use the fish filleting knife - usually one of the flimsiest knives in any set of knives - to cut really thin slices of bacon, and it does so with minimum flex.

One last point; I have paid for all my Wusthof Classics with my own money, and have no association whatsoever with Wusthof, aside from owning a number of their knives. These views are my own, based upon using the kit, and I have had no inducements to write this. That said, if anyone from Wusthof reads this dribble, I've got a real yearning for a 10 inch narrow slicer, ja!

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