Does Cutting Bread Blunt My Bread Knives?

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 02/24/19 •  3 min read

Cutting several loaves of bread in a day – even if those are the incredibly crusty types like a baguette – won’t blunt your bread knife. After all, that’s what this particular tool is made for. But your knife, just like any hardy tool, will go through wear and tear after a certain period, depending on the frequency of use.

One misconception about the bread knife is that this doesn’t go dull.
The truth is, it does. It just takes longer compared to straight-edged ones, thanks to the serrations.

Unknown to most, it’s the cutting surface that causes more ‘damage’ to the blade than the food.

This is the reason why it’s a must to use proper wooden boards, not just your granite countertop, for most of your slicing, dicing, and chopping. And even then, the board will still dull the knife’s edge.

The serrations on a bread knife prevent the edge from touching the board, preserving its sharpness for longer.

A proper bread knife will have a serrated edge, a blade with lots of little teeth on it. This allows you to cut through the crust by working almost like a saw, with each tooth getting a chance to cut on each side of it before slicing easily through the softer dough under the crust.

(See more: my favorite list of the best bread knives everyone should know about)

There is science behind this, using a serrated knife will increase the amount of force used to cut the bread as more force is concentrated at each serration or tooth.

Obviously, if the bread is stale or very hard then you do run the risk of damaging the blade teeth and serrations by perhaps bending a tooth or breaking the tip of it but that is the only real risk you have unless the knife blade itself is very weak.

Over time and with use, any knife will lose some degree of its edge and this applies to bread knives as much as any other kind of knife. It can be difficult to sharpen a bread knife due to the serrated edge but it can be done by using a sharpening tool such as a ceramic sharpening rod.

However, you should only sharpen on one side of the blade. A good quality electric sharpener may also do the trick. You can, of course, use a sharp non-serrated knife to cut bread but it will be far more difficult to break through the crust and it will not slice the dough as easily, neatly, or sharply.

As a result, your slices may have a more crushed and squashed appearance, especially if the bread is very fresh. A non-serrated knife used regularly on bread will lose its edge much quicker than a serrated blade.

Ryan Leavitt

Hi my name is Ryan Leavitt a Marine Corps Veteran and currently an over the road trucker (Long Haul). I am no expert chef but am enjoying preparing my own meals on the road and testing all the different knives.