My Cuisinart toaster has performed well for the last 10 years. Only recently I’ve been wondering if it’s showing signs of age, maybe not toasting quite as efficiently as it used to. At least for now, it’s nothing that can’t be fixed by toasting one more time on a short cycle.
Perhaps the potential impending demise of my Cuisinart made me linger when I recently came across a “smart toaster” with some groovy-sounding bells and whistles: promises of faster toasting, a new heating element design, and what the manufacturer calls “smart toasting algorithms” .”
I was particularly interested in the faster toast making. Toast lovers tend to like it when slices are done to their preferred level of doneness on the outside but still moist and chewy on the inside, not an ugly slice that breaks in the middle when they take a bite . Speed could definitely help achieve the perfect balance.
Instead of the dials, handles and buttons commonly found on most toasters, Revolution Cooking’s two-slot toasters are controlled by a touchscreen and—brace yourself—come with a $350 to $400 price tag, which is pretty embarrassing considering competing two-slot toasters cost between 30 and 100 bucks.
Touchscreen roasting is an interesting change room. On the Revolution, that screen is cleverly placed on one of the toaster’s two narrowest faces. This arrangement allows you to set the narrow side of the toaster forward so that it does not take up too much counter width. You choose between options such as bread, bagel, instant waffles, toaster (à la Pop-Tarts) or English muffins and then the desired level of “toastiness”. The two slot DKK 270 I looked at has all these options, which comes at its more basic DKK 180plus individual bread-specific options like sourdough, multi-grain cinnamon rolls and a gluten-free option.
It sounded fun. Who doesn’t want the best for their toast? Unfortunately, I had a hell of a time with the basics…like getting the $400 toaster to toast well. Just getting strong and consistent results from store-bought loaves of white bread and sourdough—the meat and potatoes of most toast, if you will—was a bit beyond the Revolution’s capabilities.
When you choose what you’re toasting and the desired skill level, the Revolution’s screen shows what your toast should look like when it’s done. I had some Franz sourdough at home, and whether it was on the bread or sourdough setting, it never really came out like the picture on the screen. Typically it was undercooked (especially if using frozen bread and the frozen setting) and uneven. Worse, the toaster often left the bottom half inch of a slice untoasted, and it often had trouble getting one of the bottom corners done. If I re-toasted on the shortest cycle to fix some of these issues, my toast usually came out burnt.