What, you ask, is a bench knife?
This is a bench knife.
It’s not exactly a knife, although some people do use it to cut bread dough. It also goes by the name “dough scraper”, which more aptly describes the way I use it. You know that thin layer of dough that gets left on your counter after you knead? I use my bench knife to loosen that and also to scrape those bits neatly into the trash can.
Mine also gets a lot of use during the early stages of kneading, especially if I’m dealing with an enormous pile of bread dough. Basically, it functions as a really wide, stiff hand that won’t stick to soft bread dough. You can see me using one in that way here.
In addition, it’s good for liberating granola bars(or brownies, or anything similar) from their pan…just methodically push the bench knife between the glass and granola bars. Once that’s done, and the bars are cut, you can use the bench knife to get that difficult first row of bars out. It’s like having a really wide spatula.
Oh, and you can use it to cut granola bars, brownies, and all their cousins. When you’re cutting your baked goods in the pan, it’s much easier to use than a chef’s knife, since it doesn’t have a long handle (long handles tend to bump into the edges of the pan, making it impossible to cut all the way through to the bottom of your bars).
I just remembered one other way I use my bench knife…to clean up spills. Sometimes I drop an egg on the counter, and I can just slide the bench knife right under the egg to lift it up and add it to whatever I’m making (assuming my counter was clean!). I do the same thing whenever something goopy gets spilled onto the floor. The bench knife makes it easy to scoop up most of the mess, leaving just a bit for me to wipe with a washcloth.
The best thing about one of these handy-dandy items is that it’s not going to make you part with much of your cash. Mine was less than $10, and I’ve been using it since I got married, which was almost 12 years ago. This one, made by Good Grips, is only $8.99 and would do a very respectable job for you. If you’d prefer an all metal version, you could get this one, which is similar to mine.
So, if you’re even an occasional baker, go get yourself one of these. You won’t regret it.