How to Sharpen a Bread Knife With a Steel

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When it comes to sharpening kitchen knives, you probably have your favorite tools that you use all the time. But you may have a serrated knife that needs a little attention.

It doesn’t have to be a difficult task, but it does take a bit more thought than sharpening an ordinary blade. Luckily, you don’t have to throw out your serrated bread knife when it gets dull; here are some ways to resharpen it and get it back to working its best.

How to Sharpen a Bread Knife

Serrated knives are a kitchen wonder: they slice tomatoes, crusty breads and tender cakes effortlessly without squashing them or smushing them into crumbs. But just like any other edge, they need to be honed occasionally to maintain their sharpness.

The good news is that a serrated blade is not nearly as hard to sharpen as a plain blade. With a little care and effort, you can keep your serrated knife sharp for years to come.

You can do it at home with the help of a few simple tools. A ceramic sharpening rod, for example, will give your knife a nice edge while making it easier to cut through food.

Sharpening Steel

A steel is an excellent sharpening tool for knives. It’s a rod made of steel, ceramic or diamond coated that can be used to hone blade edges and make them sharper.

Depending on the type of steel, honing rods are flat, oval or round in cross-section. They can be up to one foot long.

Honing steels are typically made of carbide-based materials, such as silicon carbide, or a ceramic material, but they can also be a diamond-coated metal that has diamond dust bonded to the surface.

To sharpen a knife with a steel, slide it down the rod at a 15-degree angle using light to medium pressure. Repeat about half a dozen times, alternating sides.

Serrated blades can be difficult to sharpen, especially if they’ve been used for a while. But it’s easy to regain a great edge on your bread knife with the right tools and techniques.

Ceramic Rod

A ceramic rod is a great tool for sharpening serrated knives. They come in a variety of thicknesses that fit different serrated knives.

The key to using a ceramic rod to sharpen a serrated knife is getting it into the right position inside each scallop (or gullet) of the blade. You can find this by holding the knife with the tip pointing away from you and laying the ceramic rod flat in each scallop.

Repeat this process several times to get an even edge throughout each gullet. Then, check the knife for any burrs, small pieces of metal that are sticking to the blade and causing it to be duller than it should be.

A ceramic honing rod is more effective than a steel rod at readjusting the knife’s edge, but it can be a bit brittle. For this reason, you should always use a ceramic rod over a steel one when sharpening harder knives like Japanese style.


One of the most versatile knives in your knife block, a bread knife is used for a wide range of cutting and slicing tasks. The knife’s long blade and serrated edge allow it to make clean, consistent cuts.

If you want to keep your bread knife sharp, there are a few things you can do. First, a whetstone can help you bring back the knife’s former shine.

Second, a file can help you remove any burr that has developed in the serrations on the reverse side of the blade. This will allow your knife to stay sharp longer.

A file can be found in many different sizes and shapes. Make sure to choose one that matches the width and curvature of your serrations.

Ken Onion

Ken Onion is an innovative knifemaker whose work has revolutionized the industry. Born in 1963, he hails from Kaneohe, Hawaii, and invented the SpeedSafe assisted opening mechanism for Kershaw Knives - earning him a position as Premier Knife Designer with them.

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