toast – a simple pleasure

There’s something about a well-toasted piece of bread: one of life’s simple pleasures. When I was working on recipes for a cooking website, the first one I made (complete with photos) was for Vegemite Toast. Sure, it may seem a simple thing, but in my travels, I’ve seen even such a simple recipe butchered… too much vegemite; the toast destroyed by rough scraping; the toast overcooked, or too dry.

I’m also in favour of finding out how someone likes their toast – it’s a sign of respect to deliver it just so, if time permits. If you’re making breakfast for four people at once, and the toast is just a side-dish to the main event, that’s one thing, but if you’re trying to cheer up an ill friend, then it’s the little things that matter.

For me, I would err on the side of too light – the bread should be crisp, and preferably have changed colour, but I’d rather have the bread still have some of its original character than have a solid, near-burned piece. But that’s just me.

After years of wrestling with an old toaster, I now have a new one: it has a cancel button on it – not an eject button, but a cancel button, and a defrost setting. It makes a whirring sound when you turn it on, so you know that it’s actually started to heat up. I still haven’t figured out quite how long to give it, or why it doesn’t seem to toast the bread evenly, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

The strangest toaster I ever used was one that my grandmother owned. It would cook two pieces of toast at once, but there were no slots at the top. Instead, it was shaped like a capital A, and the bread would sit on either side of the A, with the heating element in the centre. (Something like this old hotpoint toaster). The trouble was, it would make soggy toast: the bread would change colour, but the inside wasn’t crisp. An odd experience. More on Old Toasters.

How do you make your toast?

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7 Comments

  1. I heartily concur! Toast made perfectly for you by someone else is one of the most delectable things. It fills a gap you never knew you had. Your vegemite toast sounds like you got it just right…

    The best toast I ever had was made for me by a friend I stayed with in England. I am not sure how he did it; I think he actually may have grilled it. But the outside was light and crispy, while the middle was white and so fluffy. It was a revelation.

    Ah, toast.

  2. I like my toast golden – not too brown, with the butter melted in (you HAVE to put the butter onwhile the toast is hot and you HAVE to use REAL butter) and a thin layer of Vegemite.

  3. I’m with Erika, I’m not a big fan of either brown toast or margarine.

    With regard to toasters, my mother used to have a old toaster with pulldown sides (hinged at the base of the toaster). It was entirely crafted from iron and would heat up to several hundred degrees centigrade during the toasting process. When pulling down the sides to retrieve your toast 3rd degree burns of the fingers were virtually unavoidable.

    re: Cancel switches and eject switches. Dave — those are for wimps. This toaster got turned off at the point and sometimes when it got aggressive at the mains. It’s the reason I don’t like brown toast — the toaster gets too hot :-).

  4. I hardly ever have toast any more because we are a non-bread household. I seem to only have it when I eat out. I like it golden and crispy with the butter all melted through it—yum!

  5. That toaster is awesome! It makes better toast than the alternative – griller toast. The trick with that toaster is to know how long to do it – about a minute the first side and then between thirty to forty-five seconds for the other side.

  6. Wow, thanks for all the comments, guys! Glad to see I’ve hit upon such an important topic.

    I grew up on toast made in the griller; it was quite a surprise to move out and find that most of the stoves I’ve lived with don’t have a separate griller, but use the oven in door-open mode as their griller. As the house I grew up in had a separate griller, all the other ovens have felt incomplete, so I’ve tended to wait until I eat out to have toast (or have someone else cook it for me).

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