Sue’s Kitchen Introduction To Making Toast Using A Toaster
This breakfast favourite might sound simple to produce, but, At first, the thought of making toast with little or no sight can seem quite a daunting prospect. However, if you buy the correct toaster for your needs and use a bread specifically sold to make toast, with practice a good result will very soon be achieved.
Buying and choosing the right equipment – Choosing a toaster
Buy the style and size of electric toaster which best suits your needs. There are numerous models available, with either a stainless steel or plastic finish.
Most toasters have a “cool wall”, meaning that the outside of the front, back and sides, won’t get hot during toasting, however, this excludes the inner top metallic area housing the slots where the bread is inserted.
The small two slice or two slot toasters are ideal if you just need to make toast for yourself. They have a carriage lever at one end which pushes down to lower the bread to start toasting. They have either a rotary knob or notched slider browning control to set the time or temperature and a separate small push button to stop or cancel the cooking process.
Larger, longer toasters have variable slot widths for toasting thicker bread, buns, bagels, croissants, toasted sandwiches etc, with room for four large slices of bread. Some have two carriage levers, one at each end of the toaster, with a separate browning control and cancel button enabling just half the toaster to be used, quite independently.
Some toasters have cord storage slots on the base while others have automatic cord rewind, meaning that the cable can be stored, out of sight or out of the way when not in use.
Make sure that your toaster has non-slip rubber feet underneath to prevent any unnecessary movement when its in position and being used.
Check the location and ease of removal of the crumb tray or trays, some simply slide out while others are held in place by a small screw which needs to be turned, allowing the tray to drop down before the toaster can be emptied.
Sue’s Kitchen – Using Your Toaster
First of all, familiarise yourself with your toaster when its unplugged.
While its cold you’ll be able to check out the controls, feel where to
insert the bread, and get used to how to press down the carriage lever, which
won’t stay right down until the toaster is plugged in. If
your browning control needs to be marked to denote its settings and it doesn’t
slide or notch into position or have a flange or protrusion, use bump-ons or
hi-marks, applying one marker dot on the body of the toaster with the knob in
the off position, or at the lowest possible setting, with
a mark on the knob at the same point. In other words when the knob is
turned to off or zero, you will have two dots, in a vertical line one immediately
below the other. By marking the knob and toaster like this, the
toaster can always be left at a safe setting when not in use. Then mark
the settings on the body of the toaster with bump-ons. I would suggest
initially that you denote one or two fairly low temperatures, changing markings
when you are happy with the result. As the knob is turned round, the tactile
mark on the knob is matched up with the relevant settings. If
your browning control knob does have a notch, protrusion or flange, you can
use this reference, only needing to mark the relevant settings on the body of
the toaster, then turning the knob round until its raised or notched point lines
up exactly with your bump-ons or hi-marks. Now, when you’ve decided on the setting needed for the type of bread
you are going to use, you will then mark the body of the toaster at that point.
So, as you turn the knob around the dot on it will line up with the right
number or position for your preferences, be they to make toast with frozen thin
sliced bread, or for those chunky muffins or bagels.
Selecting the right bread
There are many types of bread which are baked specifically to give good even browning results when making toast, so at first I would advise using one of these. there may well be a little trial and error involved before you find the right kind to suit you and your toaster.
My advice would be to select a medium sliced white loaf for toast to start with, then once the correct browning temperature has been obtained for this type of bread, you can then go on to make other choices from the vast array of other toasting products on the market.
Practice Using Your Toaster – After you have familiarised yourself with the toaster controls and have discovered the metallic area in the top housing the bread slots which will become hot when its in use, I’d like you to have a trial run without plugging in the toaster. This way, you’ll become confident with its use and know exactly how to insert your bread and remove your toast, safely and easily.
Start by positioning your toaster safely on your worktop with the carriage lever at the side, so that the slots in the top are running across lengthways, from right to left in front of you. Position the power cord safely on the worktop at the rear of the toaster furthest away from you, Making sure that the rubber feet on the toaster are sitting flat and level, with no part of the cable trapped underneath.
Set your browning knob to one of the marked lower settings. Pick up two slices of your chosen medium sliced bread for toast, locate the slots in the top of the metallic area of the toaster and gently drop one slice into each slot. At this stage, before the carriage lever is lowered, you should still be able to feel the top edge of each slice sticking out above the top of the metallic area in the centre of the toaster. This will show you where to feel for the toasted bread, after it has toasted and popped up.
If you can’t feel any bread sticking out above the slots, try turning the slice round, dropping it in again and feeling for the top edge. There should be just enough bread showing or sticking out so that you can pinch it easily between finger and thumb and lift it straight out. By doing this you’ll no, how large a slice your toaster will take and which way to insert the bread. Don’t under any circumstances try to bend the bread to make it fit or force in a slice that won’t easily slide into the slot, as it will only jam inside the toaster and won’t pop up properly when toasted.
Now, with your bread inserted and sitting correctly, lower the carriage lever with one hand and hold it down, it won’t stay in its lowest position when the toaster isn’t plugged in, so, with your other hand, feel how much the bread drops down inside the body of the toaster. There should not be any bread protruding above the top of the slots. Practice raising and lowering the lever and feeling exactly what the bread does.
Practice lifting the slices in and out so that you know exactly where the top edge of the slice will be after the bread has been toasted. It might help to keep your hand flat to locate it, preventing the tips of your fingers from accidentally touching anything hot. As guidance, you could always find the front cool wall of the toaster first, then lift your hand up, then drop it down, keeping your fingers flat, over the top of the bread in the toaster. When you come to make the toast for real, the warmth emitted from the top will also act as a guide.
Please remember that the centre of the top of your toaster, the sunken metallic area, will get hot when you’re making toast, even though the top raised outer edge and sides will only be slightly warm.
Get used to turning your browning control knob or slider from its zero or off setting to the approximately marked correct lower toasting position then back again. Locate the cancel button, just in case you need to stop the toasting process.
Before Making the Toast
Position your toaster on your worktop with the power cable furthest away from you. Plug it in and make sure that the toaster is sitting level and securely and that no tension is being put on the cable.
Switch the power socket on. It is extremely important that you remember once that plug is in and the switch is on, your toaster is live to the electricity supply, and you should never ever insert your fingers or anything metallic into the slots or body of the toaster.
When you are toasting, if the bread gets stuck inside, press the cancel button, jiggle the carriage lever to try to dislodge it, but if this doesn’t work, always switch the power off and unplug your toaster before taking any further action.
Making the Toast
Now, with your toaster positioned safely on your worktop, plugged in and switched on, set your browning control to a fairly low position, insert your bread, making sure that it slides in easily and sits centrally in the slots, lower the carriage lever right down and you’ll notice that this time it will lock into its lowest position and stay down.
if you hold your hand above the top of the toaster you will feel some warmth as it begins to heat up and toast. There may also be a hot smell too which often emanates from new appliances and your user manual or booklet will probably mention this too.
As the bread begins to get warm, you’ll probably notice a doughy smell which will gradually change to a baking bread smell, then to the more well browned bread aroma of toast.
I can’t be more specific than that but if you are at all worried that the toast is smelling a bit smoky or too well done, simpl, press the cancel button to immediately stop the toasting process, it will pop up the carriage lever, cut the heat source and lift up the bread.
When the toast is ready and pops up, you’ll hear the clunk as the carriage lever is released. Now, carefully locate the top edge of the bread with the flat of your fingers first, then grip the top edge of each slice between finger and thumb to lift it out.
Well, does it feel like toast? We all like our toast browned to a different degree. To know how much it has browned, gently press on the slice with your fingertips, if it feels very soft without a rough browned surface, you’ll know that it isn’t brown enough and will probably be too doughy to eat.
The firmer and rougher the top surface, the more brown the toast. The more the bread gives when you press it the less done it is. Please remember this is personal preference and the only way you are going to get it right is by experimenting with the browning control setting.
I wouldn’t advocate putting the bread back in to toast again unless it is very underdone as this may result in over toasting or burning it.
It is always best to have a warm plate to hand, and your choice of soft spread. Transfer the toast straight onto your plate, dot with soft spread or butter, then with a flat-bladed knife, quickly spread it over evenly, giving the bread quarter turns for an evenly spread result. The longer the toast is left to cool, the softer it will become as the spread is absorbed, so eat it as quickly as you can for the best crunchy flavour.
Get into the habit of unplugging your toaster immediately after use, this will prevent the carriage lever being depressed accidentally while its still plugged in.