A toaster is an easy-to-use small kitchen appliance for toasting slices of bread with electrically conductive spirals. How to choose the right one for your home and not to make a mistake?
The important quality of toasters is to make toasts without oil. Dried bread is healthier than fried bread.
If you plan to toast bread and buns, get a regular toaster (website). All the appliances have several holes – 2 or 4. For safety reasons, choose a metal housing, the plastic one does not hold the high temperature well and gets really hot.
If you plan not only to toast sliced bread but also bake it, buy a toaster grill, having checked the functions beforehand. For a high cooking speed, choose a device with convection or infrared heating. Think about where you want to place it, as some models are pretty sizable.
Toasters are divided into 3 categories:
- Manual. Cooking has to be controlled by yourself. To toast the bread on the other side, the knob/handle that turns it over is rotated.
- Semi-automatic. These are equipped with a switch to protect the appliance from overheating in case of abnormal operation. Control the toasting process by temperature.
- Automatic. Control the process of toasting bread. They have a thermostatic switch or timer which makes toasts to pop out.
From the History of Toasters…
In the 4th century B.C., the ancient Egyptians learned how to bake bread by roasting it on both sides over the coals. The Romans, who spent a lot of time in military campaigns, fried bread at the stake. “Tostum” is Latin for “burning.” Gradually conquering new lands, they passed this custom on to other nations, including the tribes that inhabited the Foggy Albion.
Later, when the colonization of America began, the British introduced the “toasts” to the settlers and it became the national treasure of the Americans. The very first toaster was created by a British company in 1893. Then the iron wiring burned and sparkled, and the bread tasted like fire.
The toaster was reborn in 1909, in the U.S., which brought a lot of income to Frank Shaylor, who patented the invention. His toasters baked bread with no burnt taste or smell. However, there was one inconvenience, on the end of the cord, there was a metal base which was screwed into the socket of electric lamps, and the toasts had to be constantly monitored to ensure they did not burn. (Source)
In 1919, the devices that automatically switch off at the end of the operation appeared, and in 1926, toasts learned to “pop out” on their own. In 1933, private bakeries established the production of sliced bread which was specially designed for toasters, and in the 40-60’s of the last century, the devices were standardized. Since then, a toaster has undergone design changes and received a perfect construction, taking into account the requirements of modern times.
Which Type of Toaster to Choose?
When choosing, the following functions play a significant role: the way bread is loaded inside, cooking control availability. Toasters can be horizontal or vertical. The most popular are with vertical loading some of which have extended functionality: roasters (toaster + oven), sandwich makers or conveyor toasters. What is the best choice?
If you plan to make toasts, take a device with vertical loading. Manufacturers of such equipment work in the lower price segment. The advantage is the heating of sliced bread and bakery products.
If you need advanced device functions, buy a sandwich maker or a mini oven. It comes with horizontal loading and is functional. In addition, it makes hot sandwiches or baked goods, even cooks meat dishes. Then there are also conveyor toasters, available with horizontal loading. However, they are more suitable for public catering than for home use – being highly productive, they make up to a 100 toasts per hour.
Need a small device that won’t take up much space on your kitchen countertop? A sandwich toaster will do. It makes toasts, hot sandwiches, pancakes with stuffing, hot rolls or tacos. There are spacious sandwich toasters that can feed a large family and are suitable for a small cafe. If you still want a toaster, for a large family, choose the one with four holes (see here).
- Defrosting or heating function, automatic control of toasting and bread slices position, toasting of small slices of bread. Defrost is useful if the bread was kept in the freezer.
- Heating function. The special grid, on which the bakery products are placed, ensures even heating.
- Centering function. It ensures that the slices are evenly toasted. Helps to place a slice of bread in the center and toast it evenly on both sides.
- The function of burning out illustrations. Children will be delighted if they receive a toast with a smiley face for breakfast.
- Memory function. You do not need to set the mode the next time you make toasts.
- Infrared sensors. Set instead of the usual timers. Provide temperature control. The ceramic heater prevents the smell of hot metal from spreading when the appliance is running.
How to Properly Maintain a Toaster
After use, disconnect the toaster, let it cool down and then clean it. Pour out the crumbs through the hole on the plate, remove and wash it. If there is no plate, turn the cooled down device over and shake out the crumbs.
Do not use abrasive cushions and powder detergents – they will scratch the housing. Use a universal cleaning agent. Apply it to a paper towel and rub stains. The cleaner will dissolve the stains with no problems.
When choosing a toaster, pay attention to the features and material. It can be made of an aluminum alloy, stainless steel, or high-quality plastic. Pay attention to the thermal safety features to avoid burns when the appliance is in operation. Ask the retailer if the appliance switches off automatically when small pieces of bread get inside.
- Toasters must not be placed near flammable objects or covered during operation. Always unplug it after the toasts are ready.
- Do not toast anything except bread (with no seasonings) or bakery products.
- Avoid any water contact.
Have a good shopping experience!