For those of you who are familiar with a cheese knife set, you know there are quite a few different cheese knives out there.
That or perhaps you watch a lot of horror movies.
I used to do the latter, but thankfully I’ve moved on, which brings me to the topic at hand: cheese knives. Why so many?
Well that’s an easy question to answer: there are close to one bagillion types of cheeses out there. They vary wildly in taste but can be categorized according to whether they are soft, semisoft, semi-firm or hard. A good cheese knife set will be able to handle any cheese.
Let’s start with the skeleton knife. This is a really, really creepy looking knife, and it’s absolutely brilliant for cutting soft cheese. The large holes, i.e. lack of surface area, prevent the cheese from sticking to the knife and scalloped edges keep the cheese from imploding on itself as it’s being cut.
Next up is the two-handled cheese knife (image). This burly knife spans about 12 inches and is used and looks like a two-man lumber saw, cutting back and forth through semi-hard and hard cheeses. I haven’t seen many cheese knife sets that include this monster but I guess most people don’t have to cut gigantic bricks of cheese often.
The hard cheese knife (image) resembles a mini shovel and is used in pretty much the same way: for digging pieces of cheese off of a brick of hard cheese, most often parmesan. Unlike the two-handled cheese knife, this one is standard to all cheese knife sets.
The all purpose cheese knife (image). Hmmm. Wonder what this could be used for? While most skeleton knives have forked edges, you will always find them on the all purpose cheese knife, which is used to cut semi-hard cheese. The fork at the end is for transferring cheese from the cutting board to one’s mouth…I mean plate.
For most of my life, I thought the cheese plane was the only cheese tool out there. It’s the cheese slicing prototype, created by Thor Bjorkland in the early 20th century. While not all cheese knife sets include the cheese plane, it is not uncommon to find it in the mix.
Finally, the offset cheese knife (image). It isn’t any more functional than the other soft, semisoft and semi-hard cheese knives, it’s just more convenient. The shape of the blade will save your knuckles from making contact with the brick, and that’s a good thing.