Pointed serrations slice anything hard outside and soft inside. Drop-forged, hardened stainless steel. Cherry wood handle. Handmade in Solingen, Germany. (
Rather than the push-through chop straight edged blades excel at, the notched teeth of a serrated knife allows you to slice with a gentle sawing motion. Serrated blades are best for trickier textures, like anything hard on the outside but soft on the inside — crusty breads, bagels, and tough skinned but juicy tomatoes. A serrated knife works well for delicate cherry pies, the complex layers of a toasted turkey sandwich, or the rigid texture of a cured meat.
Windmuehlenmesser knives are formed by drop-forging, a process in which enormous hammers slam down on very, very hot stainless steel bricks, compressing them into hard, dense knife blanks. It is a forceful and ancient practice — most industrially produced knives are stamped out of sheets of metal like a cookie cutter — but a knife that comes out of these grand, ground-shaking machines is far from flimsy.
Made with a hardened stainless steel alloy, the Windmuehlenmesser knife is rust resistant with good, sharp teeth. At 182 mm (7.16 inches), the relatively short blade sacrifices being able to saw through a watermelon for better maneuverability with more manageably scaled foods.
Serrated knives are excellent for slicing, and can be a solid stand-in when your straight-edged knife feels dull, but they don't work as well for chopping and mincing when full contact between the edge and the chopping board is key.
Always hand wash knives, and particularly serrated knives. Avoid putting them in the dishwasher. Exposure to harsh detergents, clanking around against other dishes, and sitting wet in the machine all contribute to degrading the knife's edge. Time in the dishwasher will also bleach and dry out the handle.
Serrated blades keep their edge longer than straight edge knives, in part because the teeth keep the inside curve of the scalloped edge from ever hitting the cutting board. However, they require specialized tools and skills to sharpen. Unless you know your way around the edge, it is best to send these in to a reputable professional when they begin to dull, which, depending on use, can take a couple of years.
Windmuehlenmesser uses native German cherry wood that has a beautiful grain and doesn't get slippery in your hand when wet. Using a cloth, apply a bit of quick-absorbing edible oil to the dry knife handle every once in a while to seal the pores in the wood and to keep it nourished.
Stainless steel knives don't need immediate care or maintenance to keep the blade shiny and rust-free. But if you leave your knife in salt, water, or acids long enough it will stain or rust. With normal use, you shouldn't have to think about it.
In Europe, the evolution of the kitchen knife was closely intertwined with sword-making, and Solingen has been synonymous with blades for centuries. To preserve the integrity of this tradition, in 1930, the city issued a decree that commanded any blade that associated with the Solingen name meet high standards for materials and sharpness. Windmuehlenmesser is only one of five companies allowed to associate with the city's pedigree.
The company was founded in 1872, by young up-start Robert Herder. Descended from a line of steel tempering workers in Bergische Land, Herder decided to venture beyond tempering into the craft of knife-making, and moved to famed Solingen. Four generations later, his family still runs the company, and their knives are still made as they were over 100 years ago. The company's sweet and simple motto: "Good knives are made by hand"
Each knife is ring tested for sharpness and finish before leaving the factory.
After drop-forging forms the blanks, the steel is tempered: a heating and cooling process that hardens the metal. This is a critical step, because a harder metal can take a thinner and sharper edge, and Windmuehlenmesser's grinders work to enhance the capacity for sharpness of their metals. The cherry wood handle is riveted to the blade extension, then blue-glazed for a smoother surface. Blue-glazing is a finishing technique carried out almost solely by Windmuehlenmesser's master grinder, Wilfried Fehrekampf.
All Windmuehlenmesser's knives are handmade by skilled master craftsmen, journeymen and apprentices. Wooden handles are hand-milled on-site, and scrap wood chips are given to paper and particleboard manufacturers for reprocessing.
The industry is not waste-free, but Windmuehlenmesser works to keep the amount of waste in their production process as low as possible. Steel scraps left over after the blades have been cut are sent back to the steelworks to be reused. Their grinding shop works in a closed water cycle with nitrate-free coolants for grinding. Fine steel chips in the grinding water and abrasives from the grinding stones are filtered out by an on-site filter, and the water is returned to the cycle.
Still a family-run operation.
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