Zwilling J.A. Henckels makes several lines of knives. The "Pro S" and "Five Star" are their top lines. Henckels actually makes a more expensive line with metal handles. Costco never sells Henckels top lines. "Four Star" and "International" are the names of other lower lines of knives that Henckels sells. The only difference between the "Pro S," "Five Star," and "Four Star" is the handle. The "Five Star" has a larger, but lighter, S-shaped, phenolic "ergonomic" handle. Many people think the "Pro S" line has better balance, even if the handle is not as comfortable as the "Five Star." I'd like to see Henckel's make a "Five Star" with a heavier handle. The "Pro S" has a very small handle on their Santaku knife.
Henckels is not an expensive knife. Among professional knives, it is mid-range. There are brands like Viking that are much more expensive than Henckels. People who say Henckels knives are expensive are used to buying low-quality knives. With a quality knife you can easily cut a soft tomato into slices.
Most professional cooks like Wusthof knives better than Henckels. And Wusthof top-line knives sell for the roughly the same price as Henckels. I am not a professional cook, but I like the feel of Henckel's knives better. I suggest going to a Williams-Sonoma and trying out the feel of the two knife brands, before buying.
Forschner makes a cheaper set of very good knives. Forschner knives are made by Victorinox. Victorinox makes the famous Swiss Army Knife. Unlike the PRO S, Forschner knives are stamped, not forged. Cooks Illustrated recommends the 10" Forschner bread knife over both Henckels and Wushtof.
THE SHARPENING STEEL THAT COMES WITH THIS SET IS NOT "PRO S" QUALITY." I would, therefore, complain to Henckles about faslely advertising this set as a "Pro S" set. I recommend getting Henckels'"Pro S" sharpening steel. At first you will find using a steel awkward. The more you use a steel, the easier it will become. When using a steel, know that an angle that is too steep is better than one that is not steep enough. If you use an angle steeper than 15 degrees you will not hurt the blade. Using an angle more than 20 degrees can permanently damage the edge.
THE WOOD BLOCK THAT COMES WITH THIS SET HAS SPACES FOR EXTRA KNIVES. THIS IS A BONUS! Knives you might want to buy separately to add to this are are: Chef's 6" (wide or narrow blade), Chef's 10", Chef's 12" and a knife similar to the knife made famous by Rachel Ray on the Food Network, the Santoku granton.
The Santoku granton is now the hottest knife on the market. "Santoku" describes the shape of the blade. "Granton" refers to the culls on the side of the knife. Not all Santoku knives are granton. The experts seem to favor the Wushtof Santoku granton. The Henckels Five Star is slightly longer and heavier. I like the weight of the Henckels. It feels like a lot more knife. I, also, prefer Henckels' handles. You are not supposed to sharpen a knife with a granton edge. The Pro S handle for the Henkles Santoku is way under-sized.
It is a lot, lot cheaper to buy Henckels knives in a set, than to buy them individually. They are twice the price when you buy them individually. THIS SET HAS AN EXCELLENT CHOICE OF KNIVES, AND FOR THIS REASON IS THE BEST HENCKELS SET.
J.A. Henckels customer service is good, not excellent, about replacing knives. On a one time basis, they will replace damaged knives even if you are at fault. You should never buy Henckels knives at their list price. You can always buy them "on sale," and J.A. Henckels will only credit you for their sale price, even if you paid their list price.
These knives cannot be left to soak. Even if they are completely submerged in fresh water, they will rust. And they should not be washed in the dishwasher. These knives need to be babied.
I highly recommend buying a large Boo's wood cutting board to go along with these knives. You use this board to cut vegetables. You should, also, buy a professional grade NSA cutting board to cut meat and fish. You can damage the edge of quality knives by using cheap plastic cutting boards with hard surfaces.
If you buy a large wood cutting board for cutting vegetables, you will be able to leave your cut vegetables on the board in piles, instead of putting them in "prep bowls," and save time cleaning up.
I own this knife set, and would repurchase it if I lost the one I have. Though, I might consider buying the Five Star version of this set. The handle on the Santoku "Pro S" knife is too small for my hand. So, I purchased a Five Star Santoku. The handle on the Five Star Santoku is much larger than the handle on the Pro S Santoku. So, now, the handle for my Santoku knife does not match the rest of the handles in my set.
THIS SET CONTAINS:
AN 8" CHEF'S KNIFE USED FOR CHOPPING, DICING, AND SLICING VEGETABLES. YOU CAN USE IT TO SLICE A PIZZA.
A 6" SERRATED TOMATO KNIFE FOR SLICING TOMATOES AND BAGELS.
A 4" PARING KNIFE FOR PARING FRUITS AND VEGETABLES.
A SISSORS for opening plastic packages, cutting string and such.
A 9" BREAD KNIFE. This knife can also be used for cutting bagels, tomatoes, chocolate and a variety of items. The serrated blade is useful in many places.
A 9" CARVING KNIFE.
A 6" UTILITY KNIFE
A 9" SHARPENING STEEL that is not Pro S quality.
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