You don’t need a $100 knife to cut through that baguette

Ikea Bread Knife

Let’s talk about bread knives! If you and I ever walk by a bakery or find ourselves enjoying a baguette together (which sounds like a great scenario, by the way), chances are you’ll hear my Bread Knife Speech. That’s where I talk about the importance of a quality bread knife for five minutes straight.

Hear me out: a good serrated bread knife makes life so much easier and crusty French bread so much more enjoyable. Sunset food editor Ellen Fort agrees, telling me earlier today that “you don’t know the difference a great bread knife makes ‘til you have one.”

An excellent bread knife should saw through any tough boule, baguette, or ficelle crust without compressing or squishing the bread’s soft, fluffy interior crumb. Since bread knives have a shorter lifespan — around five years — compared to non-serrated knives (Have you ever tried to sharpen a serrated knife? Leave that to the professionals.), they’re pretty affordable. This 9-inch stainless steel blade from IKEA is $17.99, and it gets the job done well. It’s become one of my kitchen staples and a shining example that a superior bread knife doesn’t have to be expensive.