I know you think this headline is clickbait, but I’m not bullshitting you. I used Balmuda The Toaster just once before I tucked my Cuisinart two-slicer under my arm, marched down the stairs of my four-floor walkup, and abandoned it on the sidewalk with a note that read ‘It works!’ It felt a little like leaving a baby on someone else’s doorstep. Okay, maybe maybe more like trading in my 2009 Honda Civic—a bumper car—for a Porsche 911 Carrera—sleek, flashy, and impeccably built.
I had my doubts: How much of a difference can a toaster really make? Just wait and see. I’ll do all the talking, but Balmuda will blow your mind as a beacon of style and design.
What Is Balmuda The Toaster?
Think toaster oven to the umpteenth degree. This Japanese-made appliance uses steam to transform the act of toasting. Add 5cc (1 ml) of water with the included measuring cup—more like a mug befitting a Chihuahua—to the inlet atop the machine before each use (except for Oven Mode). That water travels to the boiler heating element, turning it to steam, which circulates within the chamber, creating a layer of moisture that envelops your bread in a moist little hug. Place bread top side facing out on either the toasting rack or baking pan for anything that might drip (like pizza). You know how every loaf has a peak? You want that closest to The Toaster’s door.
Because moisture heats faster than air, The Toaster crisps the exterior while locking in moisture from within. The result? An interior that’s airy and fluffy, and an exterior that’s crisp and crunchy. I’m no scientist, so I can’t tell you why but this method seems to not just preserve but restore aroma and flavor…like bread was just pulled from the belly of an oven.
This isn’t one-dimensional toasting that renders slices hard and flavorless (or worse, burnt). Because you can set the mode and its corresponding toast time, you skirt around scorching; temperature control is the game changer here. Add a little olive oil to next-day pita and voilà—The Toaster resurrects its pillowy softness. It breathes new life into that heavily seeded bread crystallizing in the back of your freezer. Oh and those days’ old scones starting to dry and harden? Warm, crumbly, and light after a toasty couple of minutes.
Why We Like It
You don’t have to be an Iron Chef to enjoy really good kitchen appliances. In fact, we’d argue if you’re not an exceptional cook, investing in a toaster oven is just about the smartest thing you can do—especially since Balmuda The Toaster is so damn handsome and so damn versatile. It encapsulates Japanese design; the aesthetic is minimalistic, the structure is sturdy yet ergonomic, and there’s a tie to nature. While in use, the interior chamber glows a warm orange, like the embers of a wood fire. The dials and door have a nice heft yet don’t resist or stick. You’ll find yourself standing in front of its window watching your slice of bread transform. It’s mesmerizing and deeply satisfying, without the effort of actually baking.
Now for function. Bread is, well, its bread and butter, but you’ve got different mode settings depending on the carb.
- Sandwich Bread Mode: Slices of anything from Wonder Bread to Dave’s Killer Bread 21 Whole Grains and Seeds and English muffins. Medium temps heat both sides evenly; no need to flip or rotate. Try Chocolate Banana Toast.
- Artisan Bread Mode: Slices of big, beautiful, rustic loafs like boule, rye, sourdough, and the like. Moderate-to-high heat yields a crunchy exterior and light middle. Your bruschetta and Avocado Toast will never be the same.
- Pizza Mode: Bagels, toast with toppings, and pizza (room temp, refrigerated, or frozen) get a dose of high heat to melt cheese and crisp add-ons like pepperoni. Give Ham and Cheese Toast a go.
- Pastry Mode: Scones, croissants, danishes, tortillas—really any kind of baked good basks in moderate heat to warm without browning. Make Ice Cream on Toast With Roasted Berries, Chocolate, and Olive Oil.
- Oven Mode: Cookies, lasagna, potatoes, frozen food…truly this is a mixed bag because the function mimics an oven. Remember, no water/steam is involved. The Toaster can sustain 350, 400, and 450° F to cook or bake. You can have Chocolate Fondant in 15 minutes.
A lust-worthy kitchen essential that has the brawn to justify the beauty, Balmuda The Toaster is a big win whether you’re gifting or purchasing for yourself.
[$329, available in black, white, and gray; balmuda.com]