The ultimate bread knife?

When it comes to food preparation, the bread knife has historically been something of an afterthought in the annals of great blade design. It’s probably fair to say that the basic edge formula – serrated and ground on one side of the blade only – doesn’t actually leave much room for improvement. In fact, while a chef’s knife that can take and hold a really sharp edge never comes cheap, budget bread knives often slice as well as those at the top end. Sometimes, dare I say it, better. I’ve used a Kitchen Devil that’s almost as old as I am and that glides through the toughest crusts with ease. It’s ugly, but it works.

Nonetheless, if money were no object, the Robert Herder Grand Moulin would be my weapon of choice.Robert Herder Grand Moulin bread knife

Robert Herder knives are made by hand using time-honoured techniques in Solingen, Germany, also known as ‘the city of blades’ thanks its lengthy history of manufacturing knives, scissors and razors. The Grand Moulin (or ‘Big Mill’ – the company’s trademark being a windmill) has a slightly curved blade which, like all Herder knives, is thinner than many. Although heavier knives give the appearance of quality, many professionals prefer lighter, thinner blades which cut quickly and cleanly (and are better suited for long periods of use). When all is said and done, though, the fact is that this is as much a work of art as a knife.