Food Trends

This Japanese Toaster Is a Must-Have for Bread Lovers

Balmuda toaster oven

Join me on a journey in time, back to April of this year, when we were baking at least one loaf of bread a week and churning out pizzas, cookies, and pastries from scratch. We all love our baked goods, but making the last slice of toast taste as fresh as the first is a tall order. If your freezer is full of loose loaf ends and forgotten slices, there's one appliance that can breathe new life into all of them: the Balmuda toaster oven.

I'll be the first to admit that the price tag is on the steep side. That said, this isn't an appliance for casual gluten-lovers—it's the big leagues of toaster technology. Balmuda uses steam (which you generate by pouring a tiny cup of water into a spout at the top of the oven) to "envelop the bread, lightly toasting its surface, while keeping its inner moisture and flavor from increasing." In food terms, that means that days-old pastries and bread can taste like new.

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To buy: Balmuda Toaster Oven, $330; amazon.com

There are several precise settings, like pastry, pizza, artisan bread, sandwich bread, and oven mode, all of which have user-friendly icons. Pizza mode toasts strongly from above to preserve the chewy texture while keeping the base as crispy as when it came out of the oven. The artisan bread setting gives a crisp exterior while protecting the inner elasticity of your finest boule and sourdough.

I tested the toaster on a bagel that time forgot (freezer burn and all). I was amazed by how a few minutes on the pizza setting turned my favorite poppyseed Russ & Daughters sandwich to its flavorful, fluffly former life. I was equally impressed by its ability to (dare I say it) make day-old pita bread from my favorite neighborhood Israeli spot, Miss Ada, taste even fluffier than it did when it was delivered.

The oven comes in both black and white and takes up a small amount of counter space for a hyper-efficient toaster oven (14 inches wide and 12 inches deep). If you're regularly reheating pizza and pastries and want to enjoy great toast every day, the cost is well worth the investment. Have I intentionally left fresh bread out on my counter just to thrill myself with the magic of this toaster? Not yet. But have I regretted doing so accidentally, ever since this appliance came into my life. Absolutely not.

To buy: Balmuda Toaster Oven, $330; amazon.com

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