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My partner's a chef and we both really enjoy cooking so we have a large range of different kitchen gadgets, some of which are used regularly others just sit in the cupboards. After a menu change at work, there were three Breville sandwiches presses no longer needed and we were lucky to receive one for free. The Breville VST026 currently sells for £37.49 at Argos, which is my opinion is expensive, and if I was paying, I don't think this machine would of been my choice.
I have to say that this is a very nice looking piece of kitchen equipment, this is something really important to me as I like everything in my kitchen to look good and as it's used on a regular basis our Panini press is quite often on the worktop. The body of the machine is brushed stainless steel with a large black and silver handle at the front which is the width of the press making it very easy to open and close. As it's Breville and a good brand you expect a few little features and my favourite it that the press can be locked, making it very child friendly as obviously it gets very hot when in use. Inside the press are two large, non- stick, griddle hot plates which give the classic Panini look.
The press is easy to use, ours didn't come boxed as it had already been used and we didn't get any instructions but this isn't a problem. It's just a case of plugging it in and switching it on. As with a lot of machines like this there's a red and a green light on the front. The red light means it's heating up and the green light comes on when it's ready. The great thing about this particular press is just how quickly it heats up, as soon as you switch it on, by the time you've got your ingredients out it's ready to use. Then it's just a case of putting together a sandwich or Panini and popping it onto the press, putting the lid down and allowing it a short amount of time to cook.
Personally, my favourite thing to cook in the press is panini's, because I prefer toasted sandwiches done in a toastie maker so they go really crunchy around the edge. The best thing about the Breville sandwich press is that it can be used to cook pretty much anything that you would cook on a griddle pan. As this machine is out quite a lot we sometimes use it instead of our George Foreman grill to cook kebabs, chicken pieces, tortillas, even bacon goes lovely and crispy. The non- stick is a really high quality even burnt on bits of cheese aren't a problem, they wipe off easily with very little effort.
Overall, the Breville Sandwich press is a good piece of kit for the kitchen, it can be used to cook a wide range of things and the large cooking surface means that lots can be cooked at the same time. Although the price isn't extortionate it's still quite expensive for a standalone sandwich press. However, because of the quality of the plates the press can be used for effective cooking of lots of different foods and it just as good, if not better than other table tops grills.
Sandwich toasters have been around for many years now, yet I can still recall the first one in our household when I was a small child and it was something new and different. Sandwich toasters seemed to quickly captured our imaginations and fast forward to today and sandwich toasters are still as popular. I have owned two or three Breville sandwich toasters, with the latest still going strong. However, as my love for toasted sandwiches other than 'toasties' has grown, such as Paninis for instance, I began thinking about buying a sandwich press.
My daughter bought me this particular sandwich press by Breville last year. There are a couple of different ones, the main difference being size. This is the larger 4 slice sandwich press and so obviously is not the cheapest sandwich press you can buy, but is currently available from Amazon priced at £29.99 instead of the usual price of £39.99.
When I took the sandwich press out of the box for the first time I was surprised at how large it was in comparison to my sandwich toaster. At approximately 30 cm x 27 cm x 4.5 cm, it takes up more space on the worktop than a sandwich toaster, but once I have finished using it I store it away in one of the kitchen cupboards, so the amount of space it takes up on my worktop is not an issue for me personally.
Indeed the sandwich press has a locking mechanism which you slide along on the side of the handle which locks it together and it can be stored upright in a cupboard.
The sandwich press consists of two large, flat, non-stick trays. The bottom tray has a curved lip to catch any contents from the sandwiches which may leak out of the press.
The sandwich press weighs 3.6kg and the product details are as follows:
Special Family Size - room for 4 Sandwiches
Hinged Lid for Toasting Different Sandwich Thicknesses
Non-Stick Flat Plates for Easy Cleaning
Suitable for Focaccia or Ciabatta Breads
Locking Mechanism for Upright Compact Stoarage
Apart from what is listed above, this VST026 model is also fitted with a cool-touch handle, non-slip feet and cord storage and the hinged lid mentioned above, is easily adjustable to accommodate breads of different thicknesses.
The sandwich press is made from stainless steel with a silver finish and I think it looks sleek and stylish and is overall a quality product.
I couldn't wait to make my first Paninis and was more than pleased with the results.
After plugging in, the sandwich press has a light which changes colour indicating when it is at the correct temperature to use. The top plate lifts up via the handle bar which stays cool and lifts up the top plate easily and safely, you then place your sandwiches on the bottom plate and lower the top plate again.
There is no temperature control on the sandwich press and toasting the contents is down to you guessing when you think they will be ready. At first I was checking numerous times during the toasting process, but after you have used the press a few times you then get an idea of the cooking times, but of course this can still vary depending on the breads and the contents of the sandwiches you are making.
I have never had any problems making Paninis and find that the breads and their contents toast evenly.
I can easily fit four Paninis onto the plates and if any of the contents leak, then it is easily wiped away after you have finished using the press.
Speaking of cleaning, I find the sandwich press is much easier to clean than my sandwich toaster. Because the plates are flat and smooth, they are easily wiped over and any food deposits are easier to remove than when you are having to clean in between the grooves on a sandwich toaster's plates.
It is because of this, that I have never really used my sandwich toaster anymore since I got this sandwich press, as I can still make toastie style sandwiches using this machine too. The only difference being it doesn't seal the edges of the bread together as a sandwich toaster does.
The accompanying manual recommends waiting until the plates are cool before closing the machine and putting it away. This can take quite some time, so I clean the plates while they are cooling, as this also makes any food deposits easier to remove whilst the plates are still warm. Indeed a damp cloth is all I need to clean the plates on my sandwich press.
The stainless steel shell can also become a little warm, so I would recommend you do not touch it whilst in use. By not moving the sandwich press whilst in use and only touching the handle bar and no other parts of the press, you will have no problems.
I have made a variety of sandwiches, buns and paninis, using my sandwich press and have enjoyed experimenting with various fillings. I have not encountered any problems whilst using my machine and everything has been toasted evenly. The generous size of this model is ideal for families as you can easily make four paninis in one go.
I am happy to recommend this sandwich press, it is so easy to use and to clean as well as delivering perfect sandwiches. I cannot find any fault with it and for ease of use, it really is just a case of plug in and go
It gets five stars from me.
This sandwich press has a clip on the slide of the handle which means that the lid is height adjustable. This is great because it means it's not just limited to fitting sandwiches, but bulkier things can be put in there such as baguettes and paninis and they will still be toasted properly. It is also a decent size so you can toast more than one sandwich at the same time which is really useful.
It heats up relatively quickly and green light comes on to tell you that it had reached the right temperature. When the sandwich is in, the red light comes on when cooking is in progress and then the green light will show again when the sandwich is ready.
I find it really easy to wipe clean after use and even burnt cheese comes off with little effort because of the shiny non-stick surface. Like a non-stick pan, it is possible to scratch this so don't cut anything on there to avoid this.
The power cable can be wound around the base to make it a bit more compact so it can be stored away more easily when not in use. It's quite heavy and you have to find somewhere to store it when it's not being used but I don't see how it could be made any smaller and still be as effective. Maybe the sides of the base could be a little higher to stop fillings from leaking out but this has only happened to me once.
I would recommend this as it's simple to use, quick to toast and easy to clean afterwards.
Short name: Breville VST026