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In a timer toaster, a mechanical timer controls the toasting process. Most timer toasters tend to be pretty expensive, like this one from SMEG that guarantees your toast or bagel will pop up automatically after the toasting time is finished. Still, you have peace of mind knowing that the numbers on your device actually do refer to minutes.
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Toasters are one of kitchen appliances on my counter that I have confidence in, most of the time at least. I always seem to have problems with my blender not crushing ice or my coffee pot not starting, but I can pretty much guarantee that my bread or bagel will pop out of the toaster exactly the way I like it. Which is great, because there are so many toast recipes that go beyond breakfast.
But cut to a hotel breakfast, where I toast my bread on the same number setting I do at home, and it comes out charred and inedible. This has happened more than once and always has me wondering, what do the numbers on a toaster mean, anyway? So, I did some research.
What Do the Numbers on a Toaster Mean?
The first thought that most of us have is that the numbers on a toaster dial refer to minutes, or the amount of time your bread is in the toaster heating up before it springs up. Though this is true for some toaster models, it’s not always the case.
Capacitor toasters—the kind of toasters most of us own—run on a circuit that cuts off once the capacitor (a device inside your toaster that stores energy) is charged to a specific voltage. So, the numbers on these toasters refer to a resistance rate, or the time it takes for the capacitor to charge, in turn changing how long the toast actually stays in your toaster.
Bimetallic strip toasters
Bimetallic strip toasters are usually older models, and run on a circuit system connected by a bent strip. When the heat gets too high, the bimetallic strip will bend to a point where it no longer connects to the circuit, and out pops your toast. The numbers on these models control the level of electricity you’re using; a lower number means a higher electric current, which will heat up and cut off the circuit quicker and toast your bread only briefly.
Not sure which toaster is best for you? Choose the best toaster for your kitchen based on our Test Kitchen’s professional recommendations.
Why Can’t I Make Perfect Toast?
Though you’re now educated on the variety of toasters and dial functions, it’s still going to be impossible for you to toast a piece of bread perfectly every time.
The perfect toast depends on the kind of bread you’re using just as much as it depends on your toaster. The moisture in the bread plays a huge factor in the final toasted product, and this varies from white to wheat, as well as how old your loaf is.
Residual heat from constant usage is also a factor to consider. If you’re popping in piece after piece of bread for family brunch, heat might build up and brown your bread increasingly with each toast.
Toasters are a more complex than they look, so we recommend that users take a good look at the manual. Then, check out some of the most common mistakes you may be making with your toaster. And if you’re still having troubles with your appliance, here’s how to make toast without a toaster.
But what even IS browning?
It’s a common belief that the timer on your toaster is just that–a timer. However, the Today FM lads Dermot and Dave debunked this earlier in the year after they set their toast to two minutes, but it popped way earlier.
According to Scott, the timing is all down to the toasters bi-metallic strip, two pieces of metal which heat up and expand so it begins to curl under the stress. The purpose of the dial is to dictate how far it can curve before the toast is ejected.
In modern appliances, this is done through a circuit containing resistors and a capacitor and a variable resistor that makes the toast pop up once the charge reaches the set voltage.
Some other fun toast facts:
- Stale bread toasts faster than fresh bread.
- You should wait 30 seconds between toasting two pieces of bread to make sure they toast uniformly.
- Yesterday’s bread contains less moisture so will give crispier toast.
- Sweets and cakes toast way faster so use a lesser setting.
- The thickness of bread greatly affects the outcome of browning.
who invented the timer toaster
Charles Strite invented the modern timed pop-up toaster in 1919.
Furthermore, how did the first toaster work? A single exposed heating element (nickel wire woven through sheets of mica) toasted the bread. Temperature could not be controlled, and the bread had to be turned manually. At first, the electric toaster was primarily used in restaurants because the majority of homes had limited access to electrical power.
Keeping this in view, who is the inventor of the toaster?
How did Alan MacMasters invent the toaster?
The Eclipse. MacMasters had developed a machine which could toast bread using iron wires. MacMasters‘ design saw bread sit on a rack while electrical current passed through the wires, heating them and toasting the bread.
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