The Ultimate Guide to Cheese Knives and Cutting Techniques

Cheese, in all its diverse and delicious forms, is a staple of culinary delight around the world. Whether you’re hosting a sophisticated wine and cheese party or just indulging in a quiet evening snack, knowing how to properly cut and serve cheese can elevate the experience. The right cheese knife and cutting technique not only enhance the presentation but also ensure that you get the best flavor and texture from each variety of cheese. Let’s explore the different types of cheese knives and the techniques for cutting cheese like a pro.

Types of Cheese Knives

1. Cheese Cleaver

   – Best For: Hard and semi-hard cheeses (e.g., Cheddar, Gouda).

   – Features: A wide blade with a sharp edge, resembling a mini cleaver.

   – Technique: Use a firm downward motion to cut through the dense cheese. The weight of the cleaver helps in making clean, even cuts.

2. Cheese Plane

   – Best For: Semi-hard to hard cheeses (e.g., Swiss, Parmesan).

   – Features: A flat, thin blade with a handle, designed to shave thin slices.

   – Technique: Hold the cheese steady and slide the plane across the surface to create uniform slices. Ideal for sandwiches or garnishing.

3. Soft Cheese Knife

   – Best For: Soft and semi-soft cheeses (e.g., Brie, Camembert).

   – Features: A thin, often perforated blade to prevent sticking.

   – Technique: Gently saw through the cheese to avoid squishing. The holes in the blade help reduce friction, ensuring clean cuts.

4. Cheese Spreader

   – Best For: Very soft cheeses and spreads (e.g., Cream cheese, Chevre).

   – Features: A flat, rounded blade, perfect for spreading.

   – Technique: Scoop a portion of the cheese and spread it smoothly over crackers or bread.

5. Parmesan Knife (Almond Knife)

   – Best For: Very hard cheeses (e.g., Parmesan, Pecorino).

   – Features: A short, stubby blade designed to break off chunks.

   – Technique: Insert the point of the knife into the cheese and apply pressure to break off small pieces. This technique highlights the crumbly texture.

Cutting Techniques for Different Cheeses

1. Hard Cheeses

   – Cheeses: Cheddar, Gruyère, Manchego.

   – Technique: Use a cheese cleaver or chef’s knife to cut even slices or cubes. For large blocks, cut the cheese in half first for easier handling.

2. Semi-Hard Cheeses

   – Cheeses: Gouda, Edam, Provolone.

   – Technique: Use a cheese plane for thin slices or a cheese knife for thicker wedges. Let the cheese sit at room temperature for easier cutting.

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3. Soft Cheeses

   – Cheeses: Brie, Camembert, Feta.

   – Technique: Use a soft cheese knife and make sure to wipe the blade between cuts to prevent sticking. Serve in wedges or small portions to maintain shape.

4. Blue Cheeses

   – Cheeses: Roquefort, Stilton, Gorgonzola.

   – Technique: Use a wire cutter or a thin-bladed knife. Cut into small, manageable pieces, as blue cheese tends to crumble.

5. Fresh Cheeses

   – Cheeses: Mozzarella, Ricotta, Burrata.

   – Technique: For Mozzarella, use a serrated knife to avoid crushing the delicate texture. Ricotta and Burrata are best served with a spoon.

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Tips for Serving Cheese

– Temperature: Always let cheese come to room temperature before serving. This brings out the full flavor and aroma.

– Presentation: Use a wooden or marble cheese board for a rustic, elegant look. Arrange cheeses from mild to strong to guide your guests’ palates.

– Accompaniments: Pair cheeses with fruits, nuts, honey, and charcuterie to enhance the tasting experience.

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Conclusion

Mastering the use of different cheese knives and cutting techniques not only makes serving cheese easier but also enhances the overall dining experience. Whether you’re cutting a hard-aged cheddar or a creamy brie, the right tools and methods can make all the difference. So, equip yourself with the right knives, follow these techniques, and enjoy the delicious world of cheese with confidence!

Food stylist & founder of One Board Gal. Known for creative food tips and simple cheese board inspiration. I am dedicated to helping you bring a lot to the table by sharing tricks, tips, and education for your next gathering.

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ABOUT ME

My name is Abbi and I am the CEO (Cheese Eating Officer) behind One Board Gal. I am a California native who ended up in the Midwest. How might you ask? Check out that story on our About Us page by clicking the picture of me above!

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