What is a Cheese Knife?

Shannon Kietzman

A cheese knife is a kitchen tool designed for cutting cheese into slices. It is similar to any typical knife in that it has a handle and a blade, though the design of the blade and the material used to make it are typically different. It should not be confused with a cheese slicer, though both serve the same basic purpose. A cheese slicer contains a thin handle with two tines at the top that are spread far apart from one another. A firm wire is stretched between the two tines, and it is this wire that is used to cut through the cheese.

A thick wedge of fontina cheese.
A thick wedge of fontina cheese.

A cheese knife, on the other hand, has a thicker handle that is intended to be held in the same was as a standard knife. The blade of the cheese knife, however, is almost in the reverse shape of a typical knife, as it starts out thinner at the top of the handle and gradually widens as it reaches the tip of the blade. In addition, the blade of a cheese knife is typically somewhat square in shape, rather than curved or tapered. This design is somewhat similar to a cleaver.

Sliced goat cheese.
Sliced goat cheese.

The typical cheese knife also has various sized holes in the blade. This allows the cheese to be cut more easily and helps prevent it from sticking. The type of material used to make the blade is also important, with stainless steel usually being the best choice. This is because stainless steel makes it easier for the cheese to slide off the blade without getting stuck. This feature makes it possible to create uniformly sized and shaped pieces of cheese that are not damaged in any way. This is essential for any chef who is serious about his or her craft, as presentation is nearly as important as taste.

Cheese wheels aging on shelves.
Cheese wheels aging on shelves.

In addition to being ideal for cutting cheese, a cheese knife is also often a good choice when cutting boiled eggs, cake, or even butter. Essentially, any food that typically leaves residue on a traditional knife is better cut with a cheese knife because of its unique design and ability to prevent food from sticking.

Slice of havarti cheese.
Slice of havarti cheese.
A cheese knife is ideal for slicing boiled eggs.
A cheese knife is ideal for slicing boiled eggs.

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Discussion Comments

bobadee

Help, Gift rec'd but what is it? It's a piece of cutlery that looks like a table knife with a tapered six inch blade that ends with two small (3/16 inch square) tines. The blade has what looks like a bottle opener close to the handle. This piece came with a sugar scoop and church key opener all in a fancy silk bag. giver will be here June 10! Help! Bobadee

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