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Why Do Toasters Toast Unevenly?

Toast is a great morning addition to a breakfast plate, but when it doesn't toast evenly it's disappointing. Toasters all the world have been producing unevenly toasted bread probably since it was invented in 1893.

That's entirely too many pieces of subpar toast! This issue has left people thinking about why toast never quite toasts properly. Even though toasters have transitioned throughout the years, the results have basically stayed the same.

The toast becomes half toasted leaving a less than a desirable piece of bread. Sometimes the middle is crisp and the corners aren't toasted or the one side of the bread is toasted more than the other.

So why exactly do toasters toast unevenly?

Toasters in the modern age are boxy devices featuring two or four slots for the bread of any choice. Inside the slots are metal wires that heat up to produce heat to brown the bread. When the bread is put into slots a level is pushed down and locks into place to keep the bread down.

It's been speculated that the spacing of the internal wires inside the toasters is the culprit behind the problem. This does seem to be likely as the heat may not be distributed evenly. Additionally, the size of the slot is also a contributing factor! Smaller slots cannot accommodate larger bread and vice versa larger slots cannot accommodate smaller bread.

Kitchen gadgets often get taken advantage of. We use them on a daily basis, usually with little to no regard as to how they actually work. Toasters may be the most unnoticed appliance. We toss the bread in and turn the knob on the front and get tolerable toast. But how does it work?

As we've already established, for investigating the reasoning for uneven toast, a good approach is to examine the wires inside the toaster.

While this may come off as common sense stuff, it's really just a matter of being naive in assuming any old toaster will perform the same job. Larger bread just is not suitable for smaller-framed toasters. They end up getting shoved in the slot and usually do not go all the way into the toaster when the lever is pressed down.

On the flip side, smaller bread sits entirely too loosely in the toaster. They are not snuggly against the heating wires and result in a poorly toasted toast. The advancement of toasters has really addressed this issue as the slots tend to be a more average size to attempt fitting mostly any sized bread. It's not quite a "one size fits all" scenario, but they are trying!

Then, of course, another factor to consider is the horizontal toaster. These toasters may seem like a better choice, however, they only toast the one side of the bread. This is the side of the bread that is laying down, usually on a burner or metal heating wire.

The bread typically has to be flipped to acquire a toast on each side and that's just double the work of a traditional vertical toaster.

Is There a Toaster that Toasts Evenly?

In the world of toaster retail, it can be assumed that a more expensive toaster will toast better. This is mostly true as they have made attempts (and succeeded!) to bridge the gap of slot sizes and metal heating wire spacing to achieve a better toast.

The wires in these toasters are generally closer together and produce a more even toast. While some would argue that expensive toasters are only being bought for their names, their performance really stacks up to meet the challenge of perfectly toasted toast.

Even though wires and slots both play a significant role in producing sufficient toast, the toastiness matters as well. There are many levels of toastiness to consider, from lightly browned to almost burnt.

While it does come down to personal preference, newer models of toasters have adjusted the temperatures of their toasters to provide a better-browned surface on bread.

People take their toast seriously (it is delicious!) and there are several consumer reports and reviews on the best toasters out on the market. Reviews on products are extremely helpful for those on the hunt for something new as they can provide insight.

In the case of the hunt for a good toaster, looking at which brands can offer even toasting as well as perfectly browned bread is essential.

A quick search online will show one of the most favored, dare we say fancy, toasters are by the brand Bella. The SMEG Retro Style Toaster is a mere example of what investment into a toaster can provide.

This model is considered exceptional as it provides toasting on each side to perfect color. However, this is not the reason it is so popular. It can handle any variation of bread.

This includes gluten-free bread which tends to be dense and requires a bit more heat. But the style of it is the real kicker for me, that popping retro colored look depicts a toaster that will do the upmost professional job of toasting both sides of my toast.

In today's society, toast isn't just white bread anymore. There is a huge focus on healthier alternatives to traditional carb-heavy bread. The thickness and type of bread can alter the results from a generic toaster. So a good investment truly goes a long way!

Why Do Toasters Have a Setting that Burns Toast?

The shade of a piece of toast is very crucial to how the toast will taste. Some people prefer lightly browned bread, while others prefer a more crisp texture. One of the greatest things about toast is that it becomes brown on the surface, yet the center can still be a little soft.

There's something delicious about this combination. However, no matter how some people try, the brownness can end up, well...burnt! Toasters can burn toast a couple of reasons.

One goes back to the type of bread that is being placed in the toaster. A thicker piece of bread, such as texas toast or a bagel, require a longer toasting time.

The second reason comes from the age-old debate of the numerics on a toaster knob. People debate that the numbers represent the amount of toastiness or the minutes that the items spend in the toaster.

Well, that is sort of the same argument stated in two different ways. It has been suggested that the numbers representing minutes have been disproved. For example, if the knob is set to 2, it doesn't necessarily mean that the bread will be in the toaster for 2 exact minutes.

However, it can be considered to still be a time-based system as its instead been suggested that the numbers relate to the curving metal strip that times how long to keep the bread in. The number chosen determines how much the metal strip is allowed to curve.

While there is not a definitive answer to this, especially in the case of older models or cheaper models, it is always important to pay attention to what product is being placed in the toaster.

A thinner piece of bread should be monitored to ensure it is reaching the correct toastiness. Burnt toast may seem like a product of a toaster's design, but in reality, considering the unpredictability of the numbers, paying attention to the toast is critical!

What Does the Bagel Setting Do on a Toaster?

The bagel button is great for thick things like bagels or even delicate things like English muffins. While it is related to the amount of time needed to fully toast a thick item, it is not the same as assuming it will be in there longer with the setting of the knob at a higher number.

The bagel button is said to specifically lower the power on the outer heating elements (or the metal wires touching the un-cut side of a bagel). Instead, the power is redirected to the cut side, creating a perfectly crisp top for the addition of toppings and a lightly browned backside.

In the case of English muffins, it prevents the backside (the un-cut side) from being too toasted and gets all the nooks and crannies to a blissful crispness. Nothing beats butter or jelly or jam being nestled so perfectly among those nooks and crannies

Commonly Asked Related Questions

  • What's the defrost button on a toaster do?

Newer models of toasters have defrost buttons. This is a great feature for frozen bread. Healthier, glutenfree bread come frozen and this button can toast them straight from the freezer.

It reaches a higher temperature and increases the toasting time to ensure a perfectly warm slice. This is why investing in a better toaster can yield more consistent results as that is the main problem with cheaper or older models of toasters is that there is just not enough consistency between toasts.

  • How long does a toaster actually toast bread for?

With the discussion of toastiness and minutes on the knob lurking around, answering this is risky. However, it is estimated the average time to toast bread in the toaster sits at around 2 to 3 minutes.

There will always be a toaster out there that will produce uneven toast and is especially true for the purchase of cheaper models. While this may still be a burning issue, burnt toast doesn't have to be with careful monitoring of the toast cycle and an upgrade to this popular kitchen appliance!

Mime Petit

A home appliance enthusiast and creative writer.

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