Knife Cutting Skills Are Paramount.
There are many different knife cuts and types of cuts. While you may not use all them, it’s important that you know how to use the various cut types in a cooking environment. Having the right knife skills and know-how to create cuts such as brunoise, matchstick or batonnet will help you improve your knife cutting skills. Not only that but also improve the visual appeal and professionalism of the food you cook.
Why Proper Cuts are Important
Different Types of Knife Cuts
- Large Dice
- Medium Dice
- Small Dice
- The Baton
- The Batonnet
The Basic Types of Knife Cuts
Much of the reasoning behind the different cuts ties into the ability to cook accurately. The second reason being aesthetically. Keeping these in mind will help you determine what type of cut is appropriate for the dish you are cooking. This will help you become a better cook. A diced carrot takes longer to cook than an equally sized dice of celery. Knowing this is vital for ensuring consistency in your cooking. On top of that, it gives a visually appealing look to your recipes.
“Once you get into the routine of making your own stocks you will learn that much of the waste will be transformed into delicious stocks.”
Squaring Off Your Items
Speed, Waste, Uniformity
If you want speed and low waste, you’ll lose uniformity.
If you want low waste and uniformity, you’ll lose speed.
If you want speed and uniformity, you’ll have more waste.
Understanding these conditions, you will come to settle on a spot that is comfortable for you. Many industry professionals will settle somewhere in the middle.
The Essential Cutting Board for Knife Cuts
The Culinary Cook has collaborated with several chefs in the industry as well as readers on our site to create the Culinary Cook Professional series bamboo end grain cutting board. Using this cutting board will ensure pinpoint cutting accuracy, as the grid pattern supports cuts down to a julienne cut right up to a large dice. Not only does it provide a cutting guide for vegetables, but it also provides a ‘cheat sheet’ for conversions, cooking temperatures, ratios and more. Its a must-have for any serious cook.
The Top 10 Used Types of Cuts
Now that you have been adequately prepared, let’s begin by working on identifying some of the different types of cuts that are most commonly used in the kitchen. There are more than the 10 listed here, however, they are either rarely used or have faded from everyday use.
To get started, the best way is to pick up a bag of carrots and start cutting. You will find that the thickness of your chef knife plays big into how easy it is to make precision vegetable cuts. Weight and size can play a factor. I have had chef knives I have loved but were too heavy to wield effectively and had to downsize.
Let’s get started on squaring off your carrot.
Start by peeling the carrot, removing the ends. Then, slice the carrot into segmented lengths of 4cm (2in.). Taking one of the segments, you will slice one end to produce a flat surface. This surface will then be laid flat, and you will continue the process for remaining sides. Your carrot segment will come out looking like a 3-dimensional rectangle. Now that you’ve squared off your carrot, you’re ready to start producing the type of cut you’re after.
1. The Julienne Cut
The julienne is a type of cut that is stick-shaped and very thin. Cut from a squared off item, you will then slice that item length-wise at a thickness of 1-2mm (1/16 in) leaving you with thin rectangular cuts. Then, take the thin slices and apply the same technique. You will end up with Julienne (Or matchstick) knife cuts!
Dimensions: 2mm X 2mm X 4cm (1/16in X 1/16in X 2in)
2. The Brunoise Dice
The Brunoise dice is the smallest dice you can have. While you can mince to a smaller dimension, this knife cutting method refers to the smallest uniform size available for dicing. This method is simple and only adds an additional step to the Julienne method. Take your julienne cuts and bunch them up with your hand. Then cut the julienne into equally shaped dice. That’s it! While simple, it does take a long time to master. Get crackin’! Great for Soups.
Dimensions: 2mm X 2mm X 2mm (1/16 in X 1/16 in X 1/16 in)
3. The Small Dice
The small dice are similar to the brunoise, but it is slightly larger. Start by following the steps to Julienne your item. You want to slice your squared-off item at a thickness of 3mm. Now it’s only a matter of finishing off the dice as you would the Brunoise!
Dimensions: 3mm X 3mm X 3mm (1/8 in X 1/8 in X 1/8 in)
4. The Batonnet
You’re probably starting to notice a pattern here. We start with squaring off our item, slicing it to the thickness desired, and then going from there. The batonnet is no different, but what the purpose of knowing these cuts are they are standard sizes that you’ll see in most professional recipes as well as recipes posted on TheCulinaryCook. Let’s continue. The Batonnet is no different, and we are aiming for a larger stick-cut. The batonnet is used when serving a larger portion of an item such as a vegetable side, to gain height in your dish, or to provide imposing linear appeal to an otherwise linear-absent dish.
Dimensions: 6mm X 6mm X 6cm (1/4 in X 1/4 in X 2 in)
5. The Medium Dice
The medium dice type of cuts are derived from the Batonnet and the only added step is slicing the batonnet to produce cubes. This size is called a Medium Dice.
Dimensions: 6mm X 6mm X 6mm (1/4 in X 1/4 in X 1/4 in)
6. The Baton
The baton type of cuts is the largest stick-cut you can cut. It is used for crudites and for presentation purposes. While not used as much as the rest, it is the foundation for the more common Large Dice.
Dimensions: 12mm X 12mm X 6cm (1/2 in X 1/2 in X 2-1/2 in)
7. The Large Dice
The large dice types of cuts are primarily used for stews, long-cooking dishes and for mirepoix in stocks. The large dice is important, because it is relatively quick, has a great imposing nature and looks professional. When cutting a large dice, you will tend to have a higher waste when trying to get nicely cut pieces using the method describing how to square off your item. Remember when doing any cutting or dicing to use the method best suited for your dish.
Dimensions: 12mm X 12mm X 12mm (1/2 in X 1/2 in X 1/2 in).
8. The Paysanne Cut
The paysanne types of cuts are included here to show you that while cubed items are common, sometimes you would prefer a slimmer, flat, square item. This is called the Paysanne. This is achieved by creating your desired stick-cut size, then slicing thinly to produce a thin square. Typically used for larger cuts, this method can be applied to smaller cuts and dices as well.
Dimensions: 12mm X 12mm X 3mm (1/2 in X 1/2 in X 1/8 in)
There are different types of cuts that you can use as well.
9. The Chiffonade
The chiffonade types of cuts are used when slicing very thin items such as herbs or leafy vegetables such as spinach. Cutting en chiffonade is a really simple process. Start by stacking the items you are looking to slice. Then roll up the items, producing a cigar-shaped roll. Once it’s rolled, start slicing to produce a nice chiffonade suitable for garnishing and other purposes.
These are the knife skills you can practice with and get a good understanding of. Once masted, you can move onto more advanced methods of cutting, slicing and dicing including butterflying, deboning, carving, and working with difficult objects.
10. Tourner/Turned Cut
This type of cut is an advanced cut that relies on the use of tourne knife. It is a football-shaped cut used primarily for presentation. It shows off the skill of the cook and is a prestigious cut to use as it is time-consuming and requires attention to detail and high-level knife skill. It is also quite wasteful and has a high cost.
Results come from practice, so get out there and start practicing your knife skills!