Product Type: Breville Sandwich Maker
Newest Review: ... is? So, we have a sandwich toaster, and I have to admit that when we use it it does work well. You butter your bread, you put one s... more
Started off great - now terrible
Breville TR52 Super Clean Sandwich Toaster
Member Name: Tortelloni
Breville TR52 Super Clean Sandwich Toaster
Date: 13/08/10, updated on 13/08/10 (97 review reads)
Advantages: Great crunchy toasties
Disadvantages: Badly deteriorated over time
Don't be mistaken in thinking this is one of the cheapest toasters around as it isn't, you can get them for around £5 now, this one cost about £40, which I was happy to pay as I was expecting quality. It is a full size model, rather than one of those mini models that only allow you to make baby toasties. It's very stylish looking with a nice silver finish and contrasting black feet, wire and catch. Inside is also black. The feature of this model is that it is easy clean, which basically means that the toasting plates can be removed by flipping a few buttons. So lets start from the beginning. When you fancy a toastie or two, you first need to plug the toaster in (there is no on/off buttons) and an orange light will show. When a green light appears next to it you will know that the toaster is heated up enough and ready. This takes around 4-5 minutes.
When preparing the sandwhich, you need to either butter the outside of the bread or put oil on the plates, as the manual advises to prevent it sticking. I choose to butter the bread as I can imagine oil going all over the place, but I've never tried so that might not necessarily be the case. Then, once your sandwhich or sandwhiches are ready, you need to open up the toaster with an oven glove as a whoosh of hot steam will come out. You have to leave it shut when preparing as otherwise it will take forever to warm up. Since there are loads of different bread shapes and sizes you might then need to line your sandwhiches up so they get properly toasted. Anything that isn't metal or a knife with a handle will do fine. Once you're happy with the positioning (I'm maticulous) you need to jam the lid down on them and you will hear a satisfying sizzle. The lid needs to be squashed right down and the clip pushed shut with the other.
No timer or clock is built in so you will have to find something else to time the cooking if you don't wish to rely on guesswork. How long they are done for is entirely personal preference, 2 minutes is fine for 'soft and gooey' but I like to cook them for 6 minutes for 'nice and crunchy'. Once the time is up you again need an oven glove and the same knife you put them in with to lift them back out. Typically, the butter that you put on will be splattering and sizzling all over the place and will be all over the inside of the toaster. The toaster seals the sandwiches really well with nice crusty edges, and after 6 minutes they go a brilliant brown colour. However after six minutes sometimes depending on the bread there can still be softer yellow patches that haven't quite came into contact with the plates. The inside will be hot and steamy and stays like that for quite a while, though will vary depending on what you use. The toasties can also be very greasy because of the lubricant you have to put on the outsides of them to stop them sticking and tearing.
To clean afterwards, you just press two catches on each plate and lift them out. You can them rinse them in the sink and put them back if they aren't stubbornly dirty, or just put them with the washing up. I have never had them need to go in the washing up though and just give them a quick rinse and dry them with a dish cloth and they are ready to go again.
After all that it sounds like a great product, which if thought about better when designing it would be. The first problem is the plates. Quite simply, the paint (or whatever coating is used) has been peeling off them in hunks over time. Which basically I'm slowing eating bits of. At first it only happend to one part of the bottom plate, then it got bigger, then the paint started coming off the other plate and I think there is more bare surface than paint. It makes it look like a horrible cheap knock off basically of a proper Breville. Secondly, the easy clean plates might be easy to clean as you can just drop them in the sink after use, but this means that they are not connected directly to the unit and thus lots of old dirt, food and oil seeps into it and has made the heating elements and all of the visible area around it filthy, rusty and plain ugly. Old crusty food also accumulates in the plate catches and hinges which is nearly impossible to get out.
Lastly, this didn't happen at first so I know it's not me doing something wrong, but all the fat from the butter applied to the outside of the sandwiches and any grease that may come from cheese etc inside the sandwhiches all seeps out of the back and onto the counter as a disgusting yellow gloop. This all collects around the feet and wires too. It builds up when cooking and continues to ooze out and make a horrible mess. I have tried taking the plates out and tipping it up, and more of it still manages to ooze out and continue to smell and make the toaster dirty again.
In all, I have only given a 3 star rating because of the nice toasties it has produced. I am really angry that Breville have given their name however to something that hasn't been thought out properly and declines in quality in only a years time. My advice is to definitely by a sandwich toaster - by all means! But - think twice before buying this one.
Summary: Try a different one