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I have owned a toasted sandwich maker of one variety or another since my student days. Back then I would use it for frying egg and bacon but now it is generally for a quick cheese toastie snack. I love to add pickled onions or Worcestershire sauce or anything to liven them up.
Although it worked perfectly well, I wanted to replace my existing machine a few months ago because with a family of 5 I felt it would be better to swap it for a double sandwich maker. My husband did a little research and then bought this one.
The toaster we purchased is the VST057 model. It is not exactly the same as the one shown but is the closest I could find on dooyoo. It is 750 watts with non stick plates, cord storage, a handle locking clip and cool touch feature. It has a red and green indicator light on the top to indicate when the plates are at optimum temperature and when the sandwich should be taken out.
I have been really disappointed with this machine. The surface is slightly too small for your standard sliced loaf and due to the design the bread is pushed forward when the lid is closed leaving a gap in the back of the sandwich. The result is melted cheese oozing out of the machine making a hot greasy mess and a cheeseless toasted sandwich! This makes the machine back very difficult to clean as the cheese finds it's way into every little gap.
My other major complaint is that this machine makes very poor toasties. I'm not sure whether it just isn't hot enough or what the issue is but the toasties are limp and soggy and it is difficult to seperate them because of this. My old machine produced lovely crunchy toasties which you could snap in half.
This toasted sandwich maker cost £15 and although it is not too expensive it was definitely not money well spent. I would not recommend it.
My daughter is at university and when she went off to stay in her halls of residence, we cleared out our cupboards to help her... tins, packets of pasta/rice etc..
She herself bought her utensils, plates, cups etc... as a present we bought her a sandwich toaster, a rather nice looking one on special offer. Unfortunately though, health and safety reasons she could not use it in her shared kitchen, the students are only allowed to use electrical items that are supplied in the kitchen and regularly checked over.
Therefore, this very nice looking sandwich toaster has come home and has now become an item in my kitchen, instead of hers.
In Sainsbury's this particular model today (February 2013) is £19.99, I believe we paid a similar price for it last year. It is available in many stores.
To look at, this little machine is very nice - it is cream and stainless steel. I am not usually a fan of stainless steel in the kitchen as it can look very smeary, if not cleaned and wiped over correctly. However, I have to admit that this is not the case - If you give the surface of the casing a firm clean by wiping it over with a cloth and detergent, then use a piece of kitchen roll or a clean tea towel to dry it/buff it off, I find that the sandwich toaster stays looking very clean and nice.
The sandwich toaster has two lights on the front, to advise you when the toaster is hot enough to add the sandwich to it.
Sorry if this is a Grandmother sucking eggs moment, but to use a Breville you make a sandwich as normal - what works for me is to not use any butter/spread inside the sandwich, just cheese/onion/ tomato/ham etc - but having evenly and lightly butter the bread on the outside.
Put two sandwiches into place inside the Breville, push the lid down firmly - there is a catch on the front, clip the lid into place and wait for about two minutes.
The bread being buttered on the outside should make sure that the sandwich does not stick to the actual hotplate - when the sandwich looks ready, using a blunt palette knife, or similar, gently lift the sandwich out of the maker. The Breville cuts the sandwich in half and seals it all round, for that reason be very aware that the filling is sealed away and will be scorching hot.
When the machine has cooled, wipe it through with a warm cloth with detergent on, then again give it a clean wipe afterwards. The machine stays hot for some time, so handle with care.
Beeville's have a one year manufacturer's guarantee, which is reassuring.
Once cool, it can be put away, stored in a cupboard.
A downfall of Sandwich makers can be that their non stick coating can come away and the sandwich burn very easily or it becomes very hard to get the sandwich out of the machine. As yet this has not happened to this model, but we do have a Panini maker, which I use in preference as it is easier to use and easier to clean.
In conclusion, probably a dearer model than I would have bought for myself, but it was a gift - but at £19.99 it is a fair price - it works very well and is easy to clean.
Short name: Breville VST039