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For as long as I can remember I have always had a sandwich toaster aka toasty machine. I have had various models ranging from Cookworks to Breville and out of all of them I can honestly say Breville has always performed the best.
For many years I plodded along with a old two sandwich model, which believe me was worth more than its weight in gold when the step-kids were staying at the weekend, for a quick meal I would whip out a loaf of bread, a tin of beans and a block of cheese and make seven rounds of toasties. Due to the fact it was only a two sandwich machine I did regularly find myself in the kitchen for over half an hour.
But one day the unthinkable happened the leg fell off my toasty machine, the upside was I could now employ the old phrase "we used to have one of them but its leg fell off", the other upside was that I could now search for a new toasty machine, "oh how I love my kitchen appliances". With money being a bit tight I decided to purchase a as new machine from EBay, it looked so pretty in the pictures I promptly coughed up a fiver and eagerly awaited the arrival of my toasty, but oh what a fool I was, when it arrived it looked like Noah had been using it on the ark and there was a distinct smell of damp shed and the hot plates were rusty. I contacted the seller who informed me that I was obviously mistaken the machine was as new when it left his house, I promptly realised my mistake it had obviously been sucked into the bizarre time vortex that is the UK postal system and had spent twenty years spinning around before arriving on my doorstep two days after I had paid for it. Having decided I didn't fancy waiting for Stephen Hawking to explain the complexities of space and time in relation to my toasty machine I dropped it in the wheelie bin and settled down in front of my pc to peruse Amazon, that trustworthy friend of mine.
Happily for me I found this gem the Breville VST005 four slice sandwich toaster, oh how wonderful it looked, with its sleek silver body and chunky rubber feet, I promptly coughed up my husbands hard earned money again (a fool and her husbands money are soon parted) this time £24.99 and eagerly awaited the arrival of my new toy. Luckily for me Amazon was on top form with delivery again and I received my toasty machine the very next day. I have to admit the size of the toasty machine did surprise me, it genuinely is huge W31.6cm x D36.5cm x H11.5cm and weighing in at 2.91kg. Happily all the packaging was recyclable, and a lot of companies have now started using egg box type packing to hold products in place instead of the dreaded Styrofoam.
Ok now I had got my hands on the machine I was impressed the body is made of smooth light grey plastic the feet are nice and sturdy and rubberised, the top is brushed stainless steel, there is a discreet power/ready light set in the top, the only week spot I could see was the handle for closing the machine, the plastic catch on the handle seems a bit light weight compared to the rest of the machine, but so far it has stood up to nearly a year of almost daily use. The inside of the beast has non-stick fixed plates, the room in there is amazing more than enough room for four rounds of toasted sandwiches the depth of the plates is ample I can easy get a 2cm square blob of cheese and a spoon of beans nestled on each side of my slices of bread. It is recommended that you spread the out side of each slice of bread with butter or margarine (not low fat as the water in spread makes the bread go super soggy) I use Vitalite sunflower spread and have never had any sticking or soggy issues, the bread crisps up nicely and seals the scrummy flavour inside the toasty.
The best way to use this machine is to plug it in and prep up your bread and toasty fillings while waiting for the machine to hit its prime cooking temperature, this is indicated by the power light switching from orange for on to green for go. The toasty machine usually takes five minutes to go from on to ready to cook, you then open up the machine, slap your first slices butter side down on to the non-stick plates then carefully nestle your filling into the dents, then place the top slice on top, also butter side out, once this is done carefully close the lid and lock it shut using the plastic catch, this can sometimes be a bit of a squeeze when the machine is full but just persevere and the catch does hook on.
Now comes the difficult bit... the waiting as tasty aromas fill the air and the butter sizzles, occasionally there is the dreaded sound of cheese leakage, this is detectable by an increase in cheesy aroma (the nice cheesy aroma) and louder sizzling, sometimes a bit of cheese oozes its way out, like marshmallow man in Ghostbusters, but fear not your patience is rewarded after 8-10 mins open up the catch and you are presented with four rounds of culinary heaven, not just for me also for the kids and hubby, honest!!
So, before you go and scoff your toasty, unplug the machine and leave it to cool, once cool give it a wipe around with a warm soapy cloth and then dry it with a soft tea towel to remove and debris left behind then close the lid, hook the power cord around the four rubber legs and pop it away, due to its size I have to admit it is hard to find somewhere to store it, it takes up a whole shelf in a cupboard and doesn't balance on its side to well, so mine sits on top of the microwave till I need it again.
A few small tips for getting the most out of the toasty machine are, read the manual, always use a plastic heat proof spatula to remove your toasted sandwich, don't scrub it clean with abrasive material, allow to cool before wiping down and putting away, only use when sober, don't put your hand on top of the machine while it is on, it gets hot, don't put your hand or any other body part in the machine, mafia style, while it is on as you will get very burnt, don't cook any other food stuff in the sandwich maker it is called a sandwich maker for a good reason, not a bacon crisper or egg scrambler, (teenage son take note) and no you can't warm your socks up on it on a cold winters day.
Over all I have to say I think this is a must have for any kitchen. It is well made and from a well established company and I expect it will give me many years of good service.
Some suggested fillings are Cheese, cheese and onion, cheese ham and onion, cheese and tuna, cheese and chicken... There is a pattern here!! If anyone has any filling suggestions please inbox me, or leave them in the comments section.
Here are a few technical details for those of you in review land that enjoys reading them. Non-stick plates, cut and seal system (not really noticed this), stands upright for storage (I beg to differ on this point), cord wrap and non-slip feet, clean hinge design, four slices, power on and ready to cook lights and cool touch (no its not).
I am knocking off a star for not being cool to the touch.
Thank you for reading my not much sleep and too much coffee induced review XX
I have owned a sandwich toaster for a number of years now, my one and only purchase being a green Breville 4 slice model which came as part of a 3-piece set including a kettle and toaster. The kettle and toaster have long since been disposed of and I have had a number of kettles and toasters since. The sandwich toaster however, lasted years, probably due to the fact that like my smoothie maker, I kept forgetting about it!
Every now and then I spotted it languishing in the kitchen cupboard and would dig it out, use it and think why don't I have toasties more often, I will use it more often etc. However despite my good intentions, I ultimately forgot about it again for another few months, until eventually I got it out to use and it would not work anymore. It was time to purchase a new one.
I didn't rush out right away to buy a new one, as it wasn't exactly high on my list of priorities, but when my daughter presented me with a shiny new Breville sandwich toaster, I was very grateful.
~~ Breville VST005 ~~
Breville first introduced sandwich toasters back in the 70's when I was a child. I can still remember my mum buying one and it was all new-fangled and exciting. I think we had toasties every day for a week!
Not a lot seems to have changed since then in regards to sandwich toasters and I didn't think there is much else you can do to improve them, other than change the design a little now and then, but I was surprised to find a couple of improvements here with this model.
This model holds four slices of bread, thus making two toasties. There is also a smaller two slice model available.
It comes with a 12 month guarantee and full instruction booklet.
On unpacking the sandwich toaster from its box, I was impressed with its appealing design in silver-grey. It looks neat, compact and quite stylish. I would be quite happy for this to sit on my kitchen worktops if it wasn't for the fact my kitchen is small and I don't like the worktops cluttered. It is a shame I have to store it in one of the cupboards as it does match my other kitchen appliances.
There were three things I noticed immediately which are an improvement from my previous Breville sandwich toaster. Firstly the cable wraps around the 'feet' for storage, which has made storing it upright in the cupboard easier, as the cable doesn't get in the way of anything. Also the hinges are externally positioned which makes cleaning easier as melted cheese etc no longer leaks onto the hinges and speaking of cleaning, the best thing of all is that the plates are removable, which makes cleaning this sandwich toaster so much easier than before. The plates are easy to remove and replace by pushing up the plastic tabs at the top.
So, it's top marks for the design from me.
~~ Using the sandwich toaster ~~
When I came to use the sandwich toaster, I noticed another improvement. The bread actually fits into the toaster plates and it seals the sandwich just like is shown on the box. No more having to cut the crusts off before or after making a toastie! This is something that used to annoy me with my previous model.
When you plug it in a red light shows on the top of the sandwich toaster which changes to green once it is ready to use. I butter the outsides of medium sliced bread as I find that is the best size to use personally, then add my fillings and close the lid which fastens securely on the handle at the front. It is important that you remember to butter the outside of the bread to prevent it from sticking to the plates and Breville advise you do not use a low fat spread or one which has a high water content. If you prefer, you can brush the plates with cooking oil, but I personally prefer to use butter.
I found the lid closed easily enough, but if you overfill your sandwiches you may find it won't shut securely or your sandwiches may leak. I have managed to make cheese, onion and ham toasties without any problems, so you can make an adequate toastie here in my opinion. I haven't experienced any of the filling leaking, however, my daughter did when she got over enthusiastic with the cheese.
After around 3 minutes the sandwiches are toasted to just how I like them, although the instructions state 4-5 mins. I haven't had any problems with the toasties sticking to the plates, they remove easily, without any effort or mess. The sandwiches are sealed well and are easily separated with a knife.
As mentioned earlier, the plates can be removed for cleaning which is a bonus and they are dishwasher safe too. I find the toaster overall is very easy to clean, however, if you do experience some cheese leaking out then cleaning takes a little more effort, but at least it stays clear of the hinges unlike previous models. The outside can be wiped with a damp cloth.
Ensure the plates are fitted securely when popping them back in, as a couple of times when I first used it I had not fitted the top plate back in securely and when I opened the lid, it fell down on top of the sandwich and I had to lift it back up with a knife. It was too hot to touch of course, so I had to wait for it to cool down before I could fit it back in place or make anymore toasties.
Overall, I am really happy with this sandwich toaster and hopefully won't forget I own it!
I cannot find any fault with it and therefore will give it 5 stars for its design and ease of use. It is currently available on Amazon priced at £27 with free delivery, which is a saving on the RRP of £37.99.
Short name: Breville VST005