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MAC Bread Knife? Really?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'd like to ask why people like the MAC bread knife so much on this forum.

I bought one myself after many a recommendation here on this forum, and I have to say I'm not too impressed. My main complaint is with it's ability to grab crusty bread. I made my first few loaves of bread recently, all very crusty (nytimes "no-knead" bread), and the scallops just slide over the top until i really crank up the force--which gets me nervous.

I haven't yet used it for a big roast, and I imagine it would do a fine job, but I can't help but think I would have been better off getting a forschner slicer and bread knife for about $40 cheaper overall. I'm still tempted to do that simply based on performance.

My best guess why people like them is because they are one of the few bread knives that you can actually sharpen, but how long would it really take for a Forschner or other decent serrated knife to get significantly dull? I understand that the scallops also prevent tearing, but who really cares when it's bread were talking about? it's not like you're cutting razor thin slices of bread...

Speaking of sharpening the MAC, I have never sharpened a one-sided blade before and have some experience sharpening two sided blades. Any tips and tricks?
post #2 of 17
I've used a MAC breadknife for about, oh, 9 years now with no complaints. The "key" is using it the way Harold, the MAC Knife man, taught me, let the knife do the work!

Don't "push down", push through the bread in a smooth even stroke.

Result? Clean, neat slices with minimal tearing or crumbs.

BTW, I have yet to "sharpen" my bread knife ;)
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #3 of 17
If my advice was part of the reason you chose an expensive knife that you don't like -- I'm sorry. But, I still like the knife quite a bit and consider it worth the extra price as compared to, say, a Forschner Rosewood.

The MAC 10.5" was revolutionary as the first bread knife -- from a major manufacturer -- to set the teeth backward, so the knife cuts on the draw rather than the push.

It's an excellent cake and pastry knife, useful for crumbless splitting, not just serving.

No bread knife should require more than very occasional sharpening, but the MAC is more sharpenable than most.

The MAC requires less pressure and makes fewer crumbs cutting crusty bread.

Peter's right. All saws (including bread knives; and, if there are exceptions they don't leap to mind) cut best with light pressure and a soft grip. Let the knife do the work and you'll make straight, smooth cuts. The MAC functions extremely well in a skilled hand.

Worth the tariff? I'd say so.

BDL
post #4 of 17
If your really unhappy with the bread knife, then the Forschner is a reasonable buy; it's cheap enough to justify having two bread knives.

Also, I wouldn't give up on it right away. Many things in life require just a little bit of love and understanding, if you stick with it you'll probably be impressed with the results.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Born again slicer

OK, I take back part of my statement. I gave it some more chances and a little more love and understanding and I actually do love the MAC now. It didn't see a whole lot of usage for everyday small bread cutting tasks prior to me baking my own bread since i was lazy and would rather use a small serrated knife that I can throw in the dishwasher, or not even wash at all. So after my original bitter post, I stopped being lazy and tried to use it any time I had to cut bread, no matter how small the task. Turns out that it really is a joy to use. The feeling of cutting bread without the abrasiveness of tearing it has a certain zen quality to it. And really, let's get real, that's why all of us are here on this forum talking about which hundred dollar knife is sharpest, right? If all we cared about were strictly practical uses of knives, we would all probably own Forschner everything = ~$30 per knife that gets the job done. Furthermore, we probably wouldn't care so much about the subtleties of a great dish, either.

I still contend that very thick, hard crusts give it trouble--but only slightly more so than a serrated knife--and once you've broken the crust, it glides right through the cut. Plus the slices do come out looking nicer using the MAC. So I guess it's a good tradeoff.

Basically, I don't want to deter anyone from buying this knife from this post, because I do love it now.
post #6 of 17
Love it when a good plan comes together.

BDL
post #7 of 17
Ah, "Grasshopper", you've reached a plateau, next you'll be "snaching the pebble from my palm" ;)
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #8 of 17
How does one sharpen the MAC bread knife?
post #9 of 17
Even with heavy use a bread knife should require very infrequent sharpening. Once a year would be surprising. Once every three years or so, would be more like it.

Once wavy and/or serrated knives need sharpening, they're usually sharpened in one of three ways: Service; round sharpening hone (looks like a round file, but finer), wave by wave; and sharpening machine or pull through capable of sharpening serrations.

BDL
post #10 of 17
Thank you for the response. Sharpening a bread knife once a year sounds pretty good to me. I have to attend to my Forschner more than that, but it is used a lot on very crusty bread.
post #11 of 17
Depending on the knife some serration patterns can be sharpened on the backside on a stone. I have 2 knives with pretty similar serrations, a Kershaw Kai Pure Komachi bread knife and a Shun Elite bread knife. I sharpen the Kai with my yellow Edgemaker Pro, the honer. It works very well and removes very little metal, and keeps my bread knife sharp enough to easily shave hair. That said, while it works terrifically well I'd be reluctant to use it on my Shun Elite's SG-2 blade.

I don't have the Mac but I've long considered getting one. I expect it would perform very much like the ones I have as the serrations are very similar, but the Mac is an inch and a half longer. The extra length would occasionally be nice when cutting large bread boules and such.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #12 of 17
I'm pretty spoiled by my Kai & Shun; I don't care for the Fibrox bread. Overall the Forschners are decent for cheap knives but they don't hold an edge all that well.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #13 of 17
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #14 of 17
I've been a big proponent of the Wusthof Super Slicer.
It was the first knife I'd seen with the reverse serrate, so it has rounded teeth instead of points.
I've used them for a couple of years with great results and thought there couldn't be a better slicer.

I just got a Mac 10.5" and I have to say, it's my new favorite.
Similar blade feature that I loved in the Super Slicer, but with the added advantage (at least to me) of a curved blade.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #15 of 17
Korin has the Mac on sale,


Japanese Knife - MAC Knife
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #16 of 17
Regular price at ChefKnivesToGo is cheaper than Korin's sale price. Plus Mark gives you free shipping. A no-brainer, for sure.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #17 of 17
Use Korin's initial stone sharpening.
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