It is Saturday night, you are attending a fancy dinner party, and the host brings out a beautifully arranged cheese board. You notice on the tray or perhaps even at your table setting there is a funny-looking knife with a hook or prong at the end of it. What is the hook on a cheese knife for? Even though this is a hypothetical situation, do not worry; we have discovered the answer for you.
The hook on the end of the cheese knife is used to serve cheese slices without touching them with your fingers. While not all cheese knives will have this feature, this particular cheese knife is versatile and suitable for serving many types of cheeses, particularly semi-firm to firm cheeses.
Besides researching how to use the hook on a cheese knife accurately, we have investigated other areas of interest in cheese knives. Continue reading to learn if a cheese knife is sharp, what the holes in a cheese knife are for, are cheese knives necessary, and finally, how to properly cut cheese.
How To Correctly Use The Hook
A hooked cheese knife is a multi-purpose tool that allows you to plate your cheese without the need for both a knife and a fork. It is pretty straightforward to use a cheese knife properly. You use the knife to slice your cheese. Then, with a hand twist, use the hook to stab your cheese as you would with a fork. This allows you to move the cheese off the board and onto your plate.
It is important to note that if the cheese board being served is a communal type tray, you would not want to use the cheese knife to cut different cheeses or spear accompaniments such as cornichons. This would cause cross-contamination. If your cheese course is served to each individual, feel free to use your knife however you see fit.
Watch this short video to better understand how to use a hooked cheese knife:
Is A Cheese Knife Sharp?
There are a variety of cheese knives available, just as there are a variety of cheeses. Most cheese knives are sharp as they need to either slice or chip away at a block of cheese. The only cheese utensils you may encounter that aren't sharp would be the two-pronged cheese fork, a cheese wire, and a spreader knife. The spreader knife is a rounded utensil great for spreading very soft cheeses, such as goat cheese, onto either crackers or a baguette slice.
What Are The Holes On A Cheese Knife For?
The purpose of holes on the blade of a cheese knife is to help reduce friction and surface area. These types of knives are best for cutting soft cheeses such as Brie or Camembert. The idea is that these holes will help keep the cheese from sticking to the blade.
Fortunately, even if your slice of cheese does stick to the knife, you can easily poke your finger gently through a hole to release the cheese. This allows the cheese to retain its shape, which makes it more aesthetically pleasing to eat.
Are Cheese Knives Necessary?
Are you interested in serving a cheese course but wondering if it is essential for you to invest in a set of cheese knives? The answer is no; cheese knives are not necessary. However, they are an excellent tool to have especially if you entertain guests often, eat a lot of cheese, or are fans of soft cheeses.
Benefits Of A Cheese Knife
There are several benefits of having a cheese knife or cheese knife set in your arsenal of kitchen tools. These include:
- Easier to cut cheeses for best presentation and flavors
- It helps create more balanced portions
- Prevents the cheese from sticking to the blade
If you want to invest in only one cheese knife, we suggest buying a soft cheese knife as these types of knives are rather versatile. They can easily slice soft gorgonzola, semi-firm Havarti, or a firmer cheddar.
This stainless steel 10-inch knife features friction-reducing holes and a pronged end, making this the ideal tool for cutting all sorts of cheeses.
How Do You Properly Cut The Cheese?
While it can be stinky at times, it is essential to cut all varieties of cheeses correctly. There is a ridiculous amount of cheese on the market, and they all need to be cut in different ways.
While we do not have time to cover how to cut all the varieties, we will instruct you on cutting some of the more popular cheeses you will commonly find on a cheeseboard.
No matter what type of cheese you are serving, one tip to follow is to take the cheese out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving. The reason for this is that the cold will lock up the fat where all the flavor of the cheese lives. Allowing the cheese to come to room temperature will release the full flavor of the cheese.
How To Cut Brie
Brie is a soft cheese that has a bloomy rind, or in other words, is a food-safe moldy exterior. Whether you decide to eat the rind on Brie or not is a personal preference. Regardless, take the entire slice of Brie, and if you don't want to eat the rind you can leave it behind on your plate. Using a soft cheese knife, slice the Brie into small triangular wedges, much like you would a pie.
Another critical tip when cutting any wedge-shaped cheese is never to cut off the nose or center point of the cheese. The reason for this is that the cheese's center is where the cheese's flavor is the strongest. Since you want to share this flavor experience, radial cuts from the center ensure that everyone enjoys all aspects of the cheese.
How To Cut Gouda
This Holland-based cheese can have a buttery, mild flavor or a sweeter flavoring depending on how long it has been aged. The rind of this cheese is inedible wax, so you will want to cut the rind off before serving this cheese. How you cut gouda is up to you. You could slice it into strips or take a cheese planer across the surface and serve paper-thin shavings of this creamy cheese.
You can use this cheese planer to slice thin sheets of cheese effortlessly. Click here to view this product on Amazon.
How To Cut Cheddar Cheese
This cheese is a real crowd pleaser because it is familiar territory for many of us. Whether you get your cheddar from Vermont or Wisconsin, we suggest going with a sharp cheddar to really wow those taste buds. To cut a block of cheddar cheese, you can use a cheese knife or even a regular chef's knife. The way to cut this type of cheese is a matter of preference.
Some prefer cubes of cheddar, while others think a small rectangular slice is a more manageable serving of this dense cheese. No matter how you slice it, this firm cheese can easily be served with the hook on your cheese knife.
How To Cut Parmigiano-Reggiano
This very firm cheese is typically aged for two years and has a sharp, complex nutty taste with a very salty flavor. To cut this type of cheese, you want to use a special cheese knife with a drop-shaped blade called a cheese spade. This unique blade allows you to chisel chunks of the cheese off the block. Serving Parmigiano-Reggiano is fun because you don't have to cut perfectly uniform slices to enjoy this cheese.
This dishwasher-safe cheese spade makes chiseling hard cheeses a breeze. Click here to view this product on Amazon.
How To Cut Blue Cheese
If you are going to serve smelly cheese, the sharp and salty flavors of blue cheese is a popular choice. This crumbly, semi-soft cheese comes in all sorts of varieties, such as Stilton, Gorgonzola, or Roquefort.
To properly cut a blue cheese, a cheese wire is an optimal tool for the job. Position the wire where you want to slice and firmly push down. Small triangular servings cut from a larger wedge allow your guests to enjoy this cheese in all its stinky glory.
To summarize, the hook on a cheese knife creates a multi-functional tool that, while not necessary, is beneficial to cutting and serving cheese. We hope you found our guide to cutting different kinds of cheeses helpful and that you feel more confident the next time you encounter a cheese course.
Are you crazy about cheese? Check out these articles to learn more about serving a cheese board.