Cheese cutlery – How to use cheese Knives
Cheese is one of the oldest and most loved foods in the world. It’s no surprise that with the popularity of cheese, various cheese knives have been developed to help enhance the cheese-eating experience. But with so many different cheese knives available, it can be daunting to figure out which ones to use for different cheeses. This guide will provide an overview of the most common types of cheese cutlery, their uses, and tips and tricks for getting the most out of your cheese knives. Whether you’re a cheese connoisseur or enjoy a platter of cheese and crackers, mastering the art of cheese cutlery will surely elevate your cheese-tasting experience.
This cheese cutlery guide will help you how to use cheese knives for the best experience and choose the right one for any situation.
I love cheese and wine and enjoy making excellent meals with them, even at short notice. I have a lot of cheese and wine equipment in my kitchen. If you have cheese knives, it’s good to know what each one is for. Each knife has its use to give you the best experience. This guide tells you what each knife is for, so you can choose the best one for any situation.
Do you really need cheese knives?
No, you don’t need special tools to enjoy cheese, but if you like to share cheese with guests, cheese knives can be helpful and make your cheeseboard look nicer.
You can, of course, use regular knives, but there is just something about having the right tools for the job!
Some designers have figured out which knives work best with different food textures. This means that certain knives, graters, and slicers have been specifically designed to work best with different kinds of cheese in terms of texture, thickness, and flavour. If you love cheese and eat it often, these specially designed tools could significantly improve your experience. Before you go out and buy a new set of cheese knives, check your kitchen drawers to see if you already have some that were given to you in the past. You might be surprised at what you find.
Each cheese knife performs a purpose and is built to perform it well.
Different types of cheese require different kinds of knives. The more blades a knife has, the easier it is to cut hard cheese. It’s a good idea to have both hard and soft cheese knives. For soft cheese, use a butter knife. For firm cheese, you might need a paring knife. For aged cheese, a cheese plane is often best.
Offer a different knife with each cheese!
Using a separate knife for each cheese type is proper etiquette when serving a cheese platter. Using the same knife on all cheeses will mix their flavours.
Soft cheeses like Brie or Camembert can stick to the knife when cut. To avoid this, use a knife with a thin blade or a cheese knife with holes, or if you don’t have a cheese knife, dip a sharp cook’s knife in hot water.
Cheese planes or slicers are suitable for slicing semi-hard or hard cheese.
Cheese cleavers or spades are great for cutting hard or firm cheese into wedges or chunks.
The cheese fork can hold a block of cheese in place while cutting and is suitable for breaking hard or aged cheese into smaller pieces.
Here's a quick guide on what they are and how to use the kinds of knives in the most common cheese knife sets.
Narrow Blade Pronged Cheese knife / Pronged Cheese Knife Fork-tipped spear
A narrow-blade pronged cheese knife, also known as a pronged cheese knife or fork-tipped spear, is a type of cutlery used for serving and slicing cheese. It is designed with a narrow blade and two or three prongs at the tip. The blade is thin and sharp for cutting through hard and semi-hard cheeses, while the prongs are useful for picking up and serving sliced cheese. The blade is sharp and small, with two prongs, so you can cut the cheese and then pick it up without touching it – which is handy and hygienic. The blade and prongs are generally made of stainless steel or another durable material that can withstand frequent use and washing. A narrow blade pronged cheese knife is a must-have tool for cheese lovers, whether entertaining guests or enjoying a cheese plate at home.
Pronged knife with holes
A pronged cheese knife with holes is a specialized tool for cutting and serving soft and hard cheese. It has prongs for serving and breaking up cheese blocks and holes to stop the cheese from sticking to the blade. Overall, a pronged cheese knife with holes is essential for anyone who enjoys entertaining or serving cheese as part of their regular meals.
Perforated Soft Cheese Knife / Open blade knife / Open work blade knife / Soft Cheese Knife
This knife is designed to cut soft and sticky cheeses such as Brie and Camembert. These knives are characterized by their sharp, wedge-shaped blades, and perforations on the blade are designed to reduce friction while cutting and prevent the cheese from sticking to the blade and becoming crushed or squeezed during cutting. The knife is suitable for soft and semi-soft cheeses and is very sharp. You can use it for wrapped baked Brie. It might look funny, like Swiss cheese, but it’s meant to be that way. This knife is essential for any cheese lover or professional chef who wants to serve perfectly cut slices of soft cheese every time.
Narrow Plane Knife Thin Knife Trapezium Knife
This knife is like a flat cheese knife but has two sharp sides and is rectangular. It can be used differently because it’s sharp at both ends. You can use it for flat cheeses or press it into hard cheeses and cut wedges with a long, sharp end. The shape of the blade also makes it easier to apply pressure while cutting through harder cheeses. It’s made to cut and chip hard and semi-hard cheeses like Swiss, Comté, provolone, Gouda, Jack or Cheddar with precision without crumbling or breaking them.
Parmesan / Heart knife / Small Spade knife / Hard Cheese Knife
This knife is designed to cut hard cheeses through its dense and firm texture. It has a short, wide blade, making it easy to break up hard cheeses into bite-sized pieces. You can also use the pointed tip of this knife to pick up the cheese and eat it. This knife is best used for Parmesan, aged Gouda, Romano and pecorino cheeses but may be challenging to use on a cheeseboard. Remember, you don’t cut hard or very hard cheese with this knife; you break it!
Narrow Blade Cheese Knife
A narrow-blade cheese knife is excellent for hard or semi-hard cheeses like cheddar or gouda. The handle may be made of wood, plastic or metal and is designed to provide a comfortable grip. Letting the cheese come to room temperature first when using a narrow-blade cheese knife is best. Place the knife at the edge of the cheese and slice it down through the block, cutting as thin or thick slices as desired. With the correct technique, the narrow-blade cheese knife can provide an elegant presentation for a cheese board or a delicious addition to any snack or meal.
Mini cleaver / Cheddar Cheese Knife / Cheddar cleaver/ Semi-hard cheese knife
This knife is specialized for cutting hard and semi-hard cheese, such as cheddar, Gouda, Colby and Swiss. It has a wide and rectangular blade that helps with balance and applying force. The mini cleaver is smaller than a traditional cleaver knife, making it easier to handle and control, especially when cutting smaller portions of cheese. The big blade helps with making clean cuts. To use it, place the sharp edge facing down and gently press. The handle is designed to keep your knuckles safe. It’s important to keep the blade sharp, as a dull blade can damage the cheese and make it difficult to slice cleanly. Overall, a mini cleaver is an essential tool for cheese lovers, ensuring that each cut is precise and effortless.
Flat Cheese knife / Cheese chisel knife / Flat Blade Knife
This type of cheese knife looks like a paddle with a sharp edge that is good for cutting hard cheeses such as Parmesan, Romano, Asiago and aged cheeses like cheddar and Gouda. You can use it for semi-soft cheeses like Manchego, Havarti, Emmentaler, and Gruyère.
You can use it by pressing down on the cheese board when cutting. This knife can make clean slices or break off chunks, depending on the type of cheese you’re using. It is handy for cutting large portions of hard cheese. Whether you’re a cheese connoisseur or enjoy a good slice of cheese on your sandwich, a cheese chisel knife is an essential tool that no kitchen should be without.
Spreader / Soft Cheese Knife / Wide Blade Knife / Cheese Spreader / Spatula knife
This knife is good for spreading soft cheeses like ricotta, cream cheese, butter, dips, pâté, pesto, mustard or other spreads onto bread, crackers, or other foods. It typically features a flat, wide blade that is curved at the end, which is not sharp enough to cut slices but is excellent for spreading soft cheese. Cheese spreaders are available in various sizes and styles, from simple plastic or stainless steel versions to elaborate designs made from wood or other materials. Some cheese spreaders may also feature decorative handles, such as those made from colourful polymer clay or other materials, making them a stylish addition to your cheese board or other serving platter. Whether hosting a dinner party or enjoying a snack at home, a cheese spreader can be useful for creating delicious and appetizing snacks and meals.
Cheese Plane / Cheese Slicer
A cheese plane is a handy tool used to cut thin, uniform slices of cheese, similar to a paddle with a slot near the base. It is similar in appearance to a potato peeler, but it has a flat, angled blade that allows for easy slicing of cheese blocks. It’s best for semi-soft and semi-hard cheeses like Swiss, fontina, or Gouda. Slicing hard or young cheese into thin slices makes a better presentation and consistency for sandwiches, cheese plates, and more. To use a cheese plane, place the blade at an angle on the top or side of the cheese block and draw it towards you. The slices fall onto the plane’s spatula-like structure, making it easy to serve or plate. You can adjust the thickness by adjusting the angle of the blade. There are different slicers for different cheese hardness. Once you are finished, wash the cheese plane thoroughly to prevent any lingering cheese residue from affecting the flavour of future slices.
Cheese Fork / Serving Knife
A cheese fork is a utensil with two prongs used to pick up and serve pre-cut pieces and hold large blocks of cheese. It is designed to pierce and lift soft or semi-soft cheeses without breaking them. It is also helpful for cutting and breaking up harder and firmer cheeses, poking at soft and crumbly cheeses such as blue cheese, feta, or Cotija, and transferring them to a plate. This fork is also helpful for serving fruit, even though it’s not technically a knife. The prongs may be curved or flat, depending on the type of cheese being served. Most cheese forks are made of stainless steel or silver and can be plain or ornately decorated. Cheese forks are typically used at formal events or dinner parties when serving a cheese platter or a cheese course. They allow guests to easily portion and enjoy their cheese without touching it with their hands, providing a hygienic and sophisticated serving option. If you have a cheese knife set or plan to get one, consider getting a cheese fork.
A cheese grater is a helpful tool for shredding cheeses like Parmesan, Romano, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, and cheddar. Cheeses with varying textures, such as soft, semi-soft, and hard, can all be grated using a cheese grater. Cheese graters have different sizes of razors on multiple sides, making varying sizes of shreds. Some cheese graters also have different hole sizes that can be used for different grating needs. It typically consists of a metal drum with a handle and sharp holes on its surface. If a recipe asks for shredded cheese, it’s better to grate it yourself to enjoy its unique taste. Most cooks own some variation of a cheese grater for their kitchens, such as table graters, small graters with handles, and double-sided graters. Smaller handled or table graters are ideal for serving extra cheese at mealtime or shredding other foods. Cheese graters can be used for pizzas, pasta, salads, and sandwiches. They are an essential tool for most home cooks and professional chefs alike. Proper handling and cleaning of cheese graters is necessary to ensure hygienic use and maximum longevity.
Cheese Wire/Bow knife
This cheese wire is a fancy tool in the guide to cheese knives. It helps cut soft cheeses into thin and even slices without squishing them. It works well on semi-soft to semi-hard cheeses like cheddar and mozzarella. You can use it to make a Caprese salad with basil and tomatoes. It is made of a sturdy wire tightly strung between two handles, which can be made of metal, wood or plastic. To use it, the cheese is placed on a flat surface, and the wire is gently pressed into the cheese and pulled toward the user’s body to get a clean slice. As the cheese is sliced, it maintains its shape and texture, allowing for a perfect presentation. Cheese wire is a popular tool in commercial kitchens, where cheese needs to be sliced quickly and efficiently. It is also commonly used by cheese connoisseurs and enthusiasts, allowing for precise and uniform cheese cuts.
Harp wire Cheese Cutter
A harp wire cheese cutter is a specialized tool used to cut cheese into uniform slices. It can cut different cheese types. Its handle is easy to hold, and the wire is very thin, typically made of taut stainless steel. The result is a clean, even slice of cheese ideal for entertaining or cooking. Harp wire cheese cutters are commonly used in restaurants and homes alike. They are easy to use, require minimal maintenance, and are a great addition to cheese lovers’ toolkits. Whether making a cheese board for a party or simply preparing a snack, a harp wire cheese cutter is a must-have item that can make your life easier and your cheese slices more beautiful.
The Cheese Griolle is a simple wooden tool made for serving Swiss Tête de Moine cheese. The tool has a crank knife that slices thin cheese shavings when turned. The cheese is placed over a spike, and the handle is cranked to create thin crinkles in the cheese. Tête de Moine cheese must be carefully handled to bring out its intense flavour. Using the Cheese Griolle to slice the cheese into very thin curls or rosettes helps to aerate and increase the surface area of the cheese, bringing out its flavour. You can’t achieve this flavour by cutting Tête de Moine into chunks or slices. The Cheese Griolle can also be used to shave chocolate into petal-shaped shavings.
Slim Blade Cheese Knife / Brie Knife / The Slim Blade Knife
This knife is suitable for cutting soft and sticky cheeses like Brie, goat cheese or Halloumi. Its very thin blade makes it easy to cut through these cheeses without crushing or compromising its shape or sticking to the blade. The knife can have a very sharp blade or fine teeth. The sharp, pointed tip allows for easy piercing and slicing of the outer rind without causing any damage to the delicate interior. It is also designed to be more comfortable to hold and use by placing the blade away from the handle. This way, your knuckles won’t hit the cutting surface while using it. This type of knife offers precise cuts and a clean presentation. It is an essential tool for cheese lovers and hosts who want to impress their guests with a beautifully arranged cheese board. With its unique design, the slim-blade brie knife is a must-have tool for cheese lovers or anyone who enjoys entertaining.
A Gorgonzola cheese knife is like a spreader for soft blue cheese. It’s long and bendy like a palette knife but with a thicker blade to cut through the cheese rind. A Gorgonzola knife has a narrow blade that allows for precise cuts and a soft edge that prevents the cheese from breaking. The blade is curved and narrow, explicitly designed for crumbly and creamy cheese like Gorgonzola and Camembert. The knife is also typically made from stainless steel, which prevents the cheese from sticking to the blade. To properly use a Gorgonzola knife, it is important to cut the cheese at room temperature, as cold cheese may break. The knife is held at a slight angle to the cheese, and the user should make slow, even cuts to prevent crumbling. People love it because it works well with different types of cheese and is excellent for serving on a cheese board.
A Stilton spoon is a specialized cutlery item used for serving Stilton cheese. The spoon is usually silver-plated or made of stainless steel, and its design typically features a long, narrow and curved handle with a small scoop or spade-shaped tip on the end. This shape helps to extract the crumbly blue cheese easily. You can start from the middle of the block and scoop some tasty paste. The specialized spoon is functional and adds an elegant touch to the cheese presentation. It is often paired with other cheese knives and serving utensils to create a complete cheese board experience.
This is a knife meant for cutting hard cheese. It is made to press down and cut through big pieces of cheese into smaller ones. As the name suggests, this knife is meant to be used with both hands, which provides a better grip, leverage, and control when slicing through hard or soft cheeses. This knife makes cubes or strips of semi-hard cheese for snacks and parties. The blade of a Two-Handed cheese knife is typically long and sharp, with a curved or pointed tip that allows the user to pierce through cheese rinds easily. The blade is also wide, which makes it easier to slice through larger pieces of cheese in a single motion. You use it with two hands to avoid getting your fingers near the blade. That makes it easier and safer to cut straight pieces. Two-handed cheese knives are often made of high-quality materials such as stainless steel, which makes them durable, easy to clean and resistant to rust. They come in various sizes, designs, and styles, including traditional and modern ones. This knife is excellent for hard cheeses like fontina, Asiago, and Jarlsberg. Whether you are a professional chef, cheese enthusiast or simply love to entertain guests, a Two-Handed cheese knife is a must-have tool in your kitchen.
Cheese Rind Cutter
This tool helps you cut hard cheese by scoring its surface. You can use it by poking the edge of the cheese and dragging the tool across the surface of the cheese. A cheese rind cutter is a specialized tool designed for removing the outer layer of cheese. The rind of a cheese can be tough and difficult to cut through with a regular knife, but a cheese rind cutter has a sharp and serrated blade that easily slices through the tough exterior. Using a cheese rind cutter, you can remove the inedible rind from various cheese types, including hard and semi-hard varieties like cheddar, gouda, and parmesan. This tool is handy for cheese lovers looking to create cheese boards or those who prefer their cheese without the rind. When using a cheese rind cutter, it’s important to use caution and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Keep the blade sharp and clean to ensure efficient and safe use. You can enjoy your favourite cheese without the pesky and unappetizing rind with a cheese rind cutter.
I hope my easy tips will give you the confidence to step into the kitchen and prepare delicious meals to eat with a handful of close friends.
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