Cooking is exciting
When you do it with sharp cutlery – you enjoy the process … which is the most important while you are preparing the food.
In opposite, apart from being annoying, using a blunt knife to cook can also be very dangerous. When using a blunt knife, you’re forced to apply additional force which can destroy your ingredients or worse, result in you injuring your fingers. This is why it is very important to make sure the edge of your knife is always sharp, whether you’re a home cook or a professional chef.
The best way to make this possible is by sharpening or honing your knives regularly.
Time to find out how to make cooking even more pleasant. Time to find out if your knife has a pulse.
Here you can learn here:
- What is honing
- The best time for honing
- How to hone
- Types of honing rods
- What’s next
WHAT IS HONING
A hone, also known as steel, is a tool made of either ceramic or steel and shaped like a rod. A hone is used to maintain the sharpness of a sharp knife. It is not meant to sharpen a dull knife.
The reason why your cutlery has become dull is because the knife edges tend to flop over themselves with continuous use, which reduces the effectiveness of the knife.
Generally, knife honing does not presuppose metal removal. Some hones come with a diamond surface that can get rid of metal and you can use ceramic hones to remove small quantities of metal, but hones are not generally used for metal removal.
If it is properly done, the edge becomes microscopically thin, running from the heel down to the tip. Despite the fact that steel is used to make it, it is still very thin, so using it to cut food and hitting it against a cutting board will eventually destroy it, rolling it over to the sides, and as time goes on, the metal along the edge becomes weak, eventually making the knife dull.
Returning the fatigued metal to its original position in order to realign its edges is the main purpose of the hone. This can be for a certain period of time, but the duration is determined by several factors.
You should have your own honing or sharpening cycle if you want to keep your knives constantly sharp. For example, it could be SHARPENING-HONING-HONING-SHARPENING or HONING-HONING- HONING-SHARPENING.
The cycle can start with honing and continue until it stops being effective.
THE BEST TIME FOR HONING
If you notice that the knife does not feel the way it used to feel, you should probably hone it. You can hold up the edge of the knife under good lighting conditions to check for signs of any rolled metal. The bits of metal that have become fatigued and displaced will reflect in the light, so you’ll definitely see everything. Doing this makes the dullness visible.
You can also feel that your previously sharp knife starts to bite or latch on to the food you’re using it to prepare. Or you begin to notice new resistance.
So, it is time to stop utilizing dull cutlery that prevents you from enjoying your cooking experience.
HOW TO HONE
1. Hold your knife and your honing steel
If you’re right-handed, you can use your left hand to hold your hone vertically at the level of your waist. Then put down a chopping board to anchor the lower part of the hone. Use your right hand to pick up your knife and position the knife’s heel against the upper part of the hone where it jams the handle.
Look for the angle, for most knives 20 degrees is okay, and then run the knife across the rod from the top down to the bottom and from the heel down to the tip in your direction using reasonable pressure.
You should not use too much force to press it down neither should the pressure be so light that it makes the knife fall from your hand, it should be somewhere in between.
You can determine the right angle by holding the knife at about 90 degrees, you then move it upward in other to reduce the angle by half making it 45 degrees and cutting it halfway again, this will put you within the ballpark. The knife’s blade should not come in contact with the hone.
2. Move the knife across the honing steel
Slide the knife across the hone from the top to the bottom ten times on both sides, and then lift the knife off the hone while returning it back up. Next, you repeat the entire process but with less pressure, the pressure should be just enough to maintain that particular angle and ensure that the blade is steady.
3. Test the sharpness of the knife
At this point, you can try cutting paper with it to know whether there is any form of improvement. You can also use tomato to test it. If you notice that the edge has been re-aligned, then you continue using your knife and put the hone aside, because you’re through with your honing for the day. If you don’t notice any difference, then try again.
Don’t bother to increase the pressure because it will not make any noticeable difference. Do it for about 7 to 10 times for each side with less pressure, then test it.
4. Can honing stop working?
Honing will eventually stop being effective at a point regardless of how skilled you are and the quality of the hone. Steel honing is not meant to sharpen knives, it is meant to maintain the sharpness of a knife that is already sharp. Sharpening gets rid of fatigued metal.
If the knife stops responding to the honing, then you should know that it has become dull and you can’t bring back the sharpness no matter how much you hone it. This can happen between 1-3 months or more in between sharpening.
TYPES OF HONING RODS
The stainless steel honing steel is known as the classic version of steel. Ceramic rods or the ones embedded with diamond sharpen the knife and remove the steel, thereby reducing the life span of the knife. An abrasive diamond coating removes a more substantial quantity of metal during honing, making stainless preferable for daily honing. Unlike ceramic rods, stainless steels do not shatter when dropped.
WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT?
JUST IMPROVE THE EDGE OF YOUR KNIFE
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