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Forged and Stamped Cutlery

What Are The Differences?

Forged and stamped kitchen knives have both their own advantages and disadvantages.  It usually takes an expert to be able to differentiate forged from stamped cutlery based just on pictures.  This article will discuss the differences between the two kinds of cutlery.

Forged Knives: A Quick Note On Hot-Drop Forging & Modern Forging

Hot-drop forging is the old-fashioned technique of forging.  This process is similar to what you might see in movies, when a blacksmith pulls a sword from a blazing furnace and uses a hammer to beat it into shape.  The beginning piece of metal, the raw material, is in a rough way shaped like a knife already and is very “old” looking.  The crucial part of forging involves shaping and smashing the hot steel as this builds and strengthens the metal by “forging” the molecules into a useful shape.  One characteristic of forged knives is their unequaled strength.

It is rare to find hot-drop forged cutlery these days, however.

Modern forging is very similar except the raw material that begins the process is just a rectangular piece of metal and is hammered with machines.  From this rectangular piece, a piece is cut in the shape of the knife.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Forged Knives

The first advantage is that the steel is made stronger by forging.  The blade is made less flexible, though, due to the forging process which compresses the molecules together.   This does however make the knives keep their edge alot longer as a result of the increase strength and hardness.

A bolster is created for each knife during the forging process.  The mound of metal between the blade and the handle is the bolster.  This provides hand protection and offers a safe location for the fingers to rest during the use of the knife.  A bolster is one identification mark of a forged knife. One can be certain that a bolster signifies a forged knife.

The lower flexibility of forged cutlery makes it easier sharpen them.  There will be no problems when you hold it the blade firmly against a sharpening steel because the blade does not twist.  However, this characteristic makes it a drawback for when one needs a super flexible knife to fillet fish.

There are really no too many drawbacks of forged cutlery.  One of these is the expensive price scale that this has though.  However, buying forged knives are definitely worth the investment as they will last for a longer period of time.  Check out the Wusthof Classic knives to see an example of a great set of forged knives.

How Stamped Knives Are Made

Large, continuous sheets of stainless steel are used to make stamped knives.  This process works by cutting piece of the sheets of steel in the shape of a knife, just like when you use a cookie-cutter.   The knife finished by adding a handle and then sharpened and polished.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Stamped Knives

Stamped cutlery does not have the glorious reputation of forged cutlery.  Chefs and cooks almost always prefer the latter than the former.  However, despite this wide opinion, stamped knives have their own benefits.

Stamped cutlery is cheaper compared to forged cutlery.  This fits best for people who do not want to spend alot of cutlery or do not have the budget for it, yet still want a good set of knives.  The same kind of steel is used with stamped cutlery.  So if do cook alot and need quite a few different knives for different jobs, stamped is a great option if your budget is lower.

The first disadvantage with stamped knives is that they do not have the strength that forged knives have because they have not undergone the forging process.  They are much more flexible and do not last as long as forged.

Stamped knives also do not have bolster.  Bolsters are one thing that you can use to distinguish forged knives from stamped knives, although there are some forged knives (like some Japanese knives) that do not have bolsters.  It is easier to cut yourself when you handle a knife that doesn’t have a bolster, but there are quite a few people that actually prefer knives without bolsters.

Personally, I don’t care either way.  I have knives with a bolster and some without and I don’t have a preference.

The flexibility of stamped knives makes sharpening on a whetstone very difficult.  It can be done but it requires more skill.  An electric sharpener however works great when it is used with either forged or stamped knives.

Stamped knives certainly have their use and potential, especially if you prefer a flexible boning knife or you are on a budget.  There are plenty of good quality knives you can purchase that are stamped that you will be very happy with, like the Wusfhof Gourmet knives for example.

Conclusion

Forged knives and stamped knives can be differentiated generally by the presence of a bolster.  Forged knives have a bolster while stamped knives do not.  Forged knives are generally more dependable as they are stronger and easier to sharpen.

Stamped knives are cheaper compared to forged knives, and they work best when an electric sharpener is used for sharpening.

That’s pretty much all there is for the most part.  There are plenty of reasons to choose either type.  Just make sure whatever you choose that it is from a reputable company.

Help My Kitchen Guide

How To Choose The Right Roasting Pan

If you are confused about choosing the right roasting pan, you came to the right place. When I first began to get serious about cooking, I already had a cheap roasting pan that I had used but I knew that I needed better equipment.

So after doing research I felt better about what I’m looking for, and once I purchased a quality roasting pan I never looked back.

And I think it’s important for Help My Kitchen to have some information for those out there that are confused about what features of the pan are important.How To Choose The Right Roasting Pan

It is interesting to note that most cooks only consider a roasting pan when one is needed for the Thanksgiving turkey. And to be honest, that is why I originally bought one.

But now that I have a good one, I use it ALOT more than just for Thanksgiving! :)

A roasting pan that is high quality will make your cooking experience a better one, and I learned that after finally using a good pan and moving away from the one I spent 20 bucks on. It is a big decision to invest in a high quality roasting pan, but once you experience the difference in your cooking and in your cleanup you will not look back!

What about the size?

The size of the roasting pan does matter. The food should be able to get into the pan comfortably without being in contact with the sides. There should be enough space once the food is in to allow air circulation, and so the underside turns brown.

Try not to use pans that are too large as this will make the poultry and meat juices burn because there is too much surface for the juice to accumulate. You don’t want a thin layer along the bottom of the pan because it will burn easier, you want it to “pool up” a bit. Of course if you add herbs or vegetables alongside the roast, then you can opt for very big pans.  My pan is pretty big and I often cook small stuff in it, so that is exactly what I do…I just add a bunch of veggies and I’m good to go!

What about the depth?

The roasting pan’s height is crucial as you really need it to be deep enough for a few reasons. Its height should be sufficient when braising to avoid hot splashes or if you are using it often as a water bath. Having too high sides will cause the hot air to quickly rise and food will not be cooked properly and cooked through thoroughly.

The side height should be 3 to 4 inches so that the drippings will be grabbed easily by the pan. Potatoes and vegetables will be accommodated in this depth of the roasting pan as well.

Ever roast something and get alot of smoke?  That is likely because the juices are splashing around and hitting the bottom of your oven!  If you use a pan with sides that are high enough, that won’t be an issue.

Shape is Important Too!

A rectangular pan is generally the most effective one. Try to buy one that has its corners rounded as reaching in is made easier when making sauce or gravy, like the Cuisinart roasting pan.  This is because the rounded corners make it easier to handle when you use a whisk in the pan when working with the gravy.

Use the Ruler before Being Ruled by Wrong Pan

Some of us succumb into impulsive buying and this includes buying a pan that is not appropriate for the size of the oven. There is nothing worse than bringing home a pan that doesn’t fit in the oven, so make sure you do a bit of homework before you buy anything.

The oven’s internal dimensions should be measured to ensure that then pan you buy fits properly. When you measure, make sure the width that you measure is the narrowest width.

Don’t forget this step before you buy a big roasting pan!

The measurement labels on pans are often misleading, and if you read some Amazon reviews in particular of some products you will see some people complain about this. The pan’s interior is the usual reference for these measurements, but the additional thickness of the walls of the pan makes a difference in the last measurement of the pan. Because of this the pan will sometimes not fit.

While the thickness of the pan is usually so small that is doesn’t matter, the handles are actually the biggest concern. Make sure you include the handles in measuring the dimensions of the pan as this can increase the pan’s height and/or width quite a bit.

Make Sure You Get a Hold on the Handle

Roasting pans also differs when it comes to handles. When it comes down to it, the design of the handles is a matter of preference.

Some pans have handles that horizontally extend out from the pan’s sides that makes ease in holding them. However, the oven’s cooking area is reduced when you have these kinds of handles because these types of handles ultimately increase the overall size.

Calphalon roasting pan

The Calphalon pan, pictured to the right, has horizontal handles but they curve in towards the pan.  This is to prevent the pan from taking up unnecessary room in the oven.

Another kind is the one that rises up vertically. This is normally space saving but it makes lifting

out of the oven a more difficult job. You can easily get burned when you have vertical handles like this because the handles are closer to the heat element at the top of the oven.

The best thing to do is to have both kinds of pans for different recipes. Buy a pan that does not

have handles for cooking light foods that make lifting in and out of the oven an easy task, like chicken thighs or a small roast. On the other hand, buy another that has handles to carry the weight of a large turkey or ham.

Heavy or Light?

A heavy roasting pan has many benefits over a lightweight pan. A lightweight pan is not as safe to use as it easily twists and warps. If you are handling the pan when it’s not and it twists, the juice could spatter at you.

A heavier pan will result in a better cooking process overall, as this produces an evenly distributed heat.

A heavier pan will also work better when you are moving the pan from the oven to the stove top to deglaze the pan and make a sauce. A thin pan will not take the heat from the burners at all so if you’re pan is thin and not heavy-duty you will not be able to do this.

Choose Your Own Metal

Cuisinart Stainless Steel

Cooking needs a metal that is safe for food preparation. The best two metals are the heavy stainless steel and copper.

There is aesthetic beauty to enamel-coated cast iron but is usually too heavy for handling.

Aluminum can warp easily and is reactive with any acidic ingredient.

Anodized aluminum is good for cooking but its dark surface makes it difficult for you to judge whether the food is cooked already. Complete cooking is indicated when juices of meat or chicken are running clear and this is difficult to see when the pan is dark.

Are Non-Stick Roasting Pans a Good Choice?

Cooking is generally easier when non-stick surfaces are used. This is best when omelets and pancakes are prepared, but of course this only applies to saute’ and omelet pans and not roasting pans. The cleanup is usually a breeze as well.  But in my opinion, you do not need your roasting pan to be non-stick at all.

Non-stick is not fit in roasting especially if you cook gravy in it as well. Easy pan deglazing requires a “sticky” surface and this cannot be provided by a non-stick pan. Good flavor is developed when the juices of the meat “stick” and cook in the pan, and this will not happen in a non-stick pan.

In general good roasters are not non-stick.  This is what you want to get.

Rack Inclusion

It is your personal preference to include a rack in a roasting can. There are both advantages and disadvantages in including a rack in a roasting pan.

Using a rack can prevent a chicken or turkey’s underside from becoming wet and sloppy, for example. Air circulation encourages good, even roasting and drippings will drop more freely and collect better for making a sauce.

On the other hand, a rack can make lifting the meat out of the pan a little more difficult because it can be awkward if what you are cooking is large. It’s also possible that the juices can disappear and burn.

My opinion?  Get a rack and use it!  Then see what you think.  I use mine all the time.

There are other options for a rack, like sitting your food on a vegetable bed. Also keep in mind you can also get a flat-rack which sits on the pan’s floor.