Recommended knife for chopping chocolate?

netarcDecember 6, 2005

I received a Shun Santoku 6.5" in the mail today - what a piece of art, I'm stunned! Haven't had a chance to use it yet (kitchen's being worked on again ... sigh), but hope to do so soon!

Question for you folks - I oftentimes cook/bake with chocolate, requiring chopping up thick bars of chocolate into smaller pieces. I'm wondering, though - will using the Shun on thick/hard chocolate bars dull it all the faster?

If so, I'm wondering if it'd be worthwhile to get a different (& cheaper) knife for this purpose? What type of knife is best, then, for chopping chocolate? A decent 7" chef's knife, perhaps?

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kudzu9

I take good care of my knives, and I'm reluctant to regularly chop something as hard as some chocolate can be with my chef's knife. Maybe I'm too cautious, but I'm still expecting many decades of use out of my 30+ year old German knives. When I want to "chop" chocolate, I simply use a cheap grater with the biggest holes I can find.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2005 at 5:33AM
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English_Cottage

Netarc,

Use a bread (serrated) knife, and it doesn't even have to be terribly sharp. In fact, when I bought a new bread knife, the old one became my "oficial chocolate knife" :).

    Bookmark   December 6, 2005 at 9:59AM
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chiefneil

I use a cleaver. Chopping dark chocolate is a bear, so I like the extra weight and height of the cleaver which gives added stability and lets me use two hands (one on the back of the blade).

    Bookmark   December 6, 2005 at 6:22PM
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mustangs81

I have a chocolate chipper.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chocolate Chipper

    Bookmark   December 6, 2005 at 9:52PM
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Twinkledome

Netarc: You are going to absolutely love your new Shun.
I just chopped, actually shaved, chocolate using my Shun Santoku. I sliver or slice small pieces. It cuts it beautifully. I use the part of the knife closest to the handle. I wouldn't use it like a cleaver, though.

I recently read somewhere, I can't remember where, that these knives don't need sharpening like many of the other brands. Just use a steel on it each time you use it.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2005 at 10:17PM
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danihoney

Hi all, I'm just breezing through and saw this thread, hope you don't mind my butting in. I was just reading through one of my magazines yesterday where someone recomended using a basic chisel from the hardware store. It has a sturdy handle and the "blade" has the perfect angle for breaking apart chocolate or frozen liquids. And there cheap! Just a thought!

Danielle :o)

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 1:59AM
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mustangs81

Danielle, Good catch. I like repurposed tools.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 7:11AM
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chiefneil

I think the problem with the chisel method is that if you tap it with a hammer, the force will make the chocolate fly apart. Plus the chisel is a rather small tool, so it would take a while to chop a pound of chocolate into tiny bits. With a knife or cleaver the force is more controlled, and you can chop chocolate along the entire length of the blade, say 6", versus the 1" length of a typical chisel.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 5:10PM
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kbuzbee

Are we talking a wood chisel or a masorary chisel here? Chisels can be 4" wide so they are not necessarily "small" tools. Wood chisels are much sharper and would, it seems, be the better choice. Perhaps the ideal combination would be to use a wood chisel to knock a large block of chocolate into 1/2" bits then cut the more managable pieces with a knife/cleaver. Like Twinkledome I generally shave chocolate using a small chefs knife. Works fine and chocolate is not going to damage a knife but if you need more oomph a chisel should surely give it to you. Me, I bench press 350# and have more than enough oomph to cut chocolate.

Ken

    Bookmark   December 11, 2005 at 11:41AM
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teresa_nc7

I used a small cheese cleaver to chop over a pound of bittersweet chocolate this morning. It worked fine, but I'd love to find something similar and just a bit larger if I were chopping lots of chocolate frequently - which I don't do.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2005 at 12:23PM
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franktank232

I had this problem lately...I just used my man hands to break it up.

It was an 17.5oz of Valor.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2005 at 1:56PM
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solarpowered

My daughter uses our Shun santuko to chop chocolate. It works quite well for that purpose.

BTW, the Cannoli Cake in the Good Housekeeping dessert cookbook, with chopped Lindt 70% cocoa dark chocolate mixed into the cannoli, is to die for! :-D

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 5:08PM
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deanb

I would suggest using a Chinese cleaver or a 10" German style chef's knife for chocolate. Your Shun santoku has 15 degree bevels and even though it has very hard steel (about RC-60) cutting hard chocolate is not good for the edge. I think it is easier to control a heavier knife with about a 20 degree bevel angle when cutting chocolate. I picked up a Chinese cleaver for cheap about 20 years ago and it works great.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 8:58PM
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