I am perhaps a gourmet about my toast - it has to be just right, which I define as:
Recommend this product?
- Even toasting on both sides of all slices - no under-toasted spots,
- Consistent degree of browning on both sides of all slices,
- Bread surface hot enough to melt butter rapidly,
- Hot but still moist in the center of each slice of bread.
At the outlandish price of this toaster, I had expected it to be essentially perfect on the above criteria, but was disappointed.
The first one I brought home failed miserably on all criteria, and I had to use one notch down from darkest to even get it to brown the bread (I tried several varieties of whie and brown bread). I returned it, and the store replaced it with another.
The second one was fairly good on the first two of my requirements, with the exception of one slot, which undertoasts one side of one slice consistently. Unfortunately, it still fails the latter two requirements.
On analyzing the problem, I concluded that because the toaster has unusually wide slots (good for bagels, etc.), the heating wires are too far apart to toast normal bread well. There is nearly an inch between the bread and the heating elements on either side, and so the toaster winds up baking the bread more than broiling it.
To get the outside surface hot enough to brown bread, the too-distant elements have to heat the bread for quite a long time (compared to my Oster 2-slice), and so the inside of the bread dries out.
Further, because the heat transfer to the bread is too slow, the outside suface does not get hot enough to melt butter quickly (again, compared to the inexpensive Oster).
I returned it for a refund.
Bottom line was that there is a apparently an engineering trade-off between having wide slots to accomodate thick stuff, and doing a good job of toasting normal bread. I don't toast thick stuff, so for me, this toaster does not do a satisfactory job of toasting normal or thinner slices of bread.
Update - 5/2010 - I finally figured out why these and many other toasters do such a lousy job of evenly toasting both sides. The issue is that in order to accommodate both thick and thin slices, there is a mechanism that moves the supporting wires on the sides together, to clamp the bread and hold it evenly.Unfortunately, no toaster I have ever found with this feature moves the wires together at both the top and the bottom, only at the top, so the bottom of the slice is always closer to one side of the elements than the other.The result is that one side of the bottom of the bread will almost always be darker than the other.I'll keep seeking the perfect toaster, but the Breville definitely isn't it. At this point I am seeking a toaster that does NOT toast thicker bread or bagels, specifically so that it will toast normal bread better.
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Amount Paid (US$): 145