Community Message Boards
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: ISO Someone who subscribes to Cooks Illustrated Web Site

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Snellville, GA
    Posts
    1,207

    ISO Someone who subscribes to Cooks Illustrated Web Site

    I was wondering if you could check to see if CI gives any recommendations for toasters. I have tried a Dualit and been unhappy because it burned the edges by the time the center was toasted. I'm trying out a Cuisinart now, but am not sure it will fly either.

    Hoping someone out there can help. I subscribe to their magazine but can't justify the money for the web site.

    TIA
    Bonnie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    24,224
    Glad to help...This first one has no date with it:

    Toasters



    Of the ten toasters we tested, we highly recommend three models. The Krups Toastronic Deluxe 118 was a top choice because its extra-long slot holds up to three bagels at once. This cool-touch toaster is available at Williams-Sonoma (PO Box 7456, San Francisco, CA 94120-7456; 800-541-2233; www.williams-sonoma.com). Krups also operates a consumer hot line (800-526-5377) that can lead you to the nearest retail source.

    Our other top choice is the Farberware Electronic T2020, which also holds three bagels in one long slot, operates consistently, and stays cool during use. This toaster is sold at Macy’s, Stern’s, and Strawbridge & Clothier (or you can locate another source by calling Farberware at 718-863-8000 and asking for sales).

    The Maxim Widemouth ET-6 is our best buy. This toaster has two wide slots and works dependably. It is sold at Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, A & S, and other large department stores and housewares shops. Maxim operates a consumer hot line (800-233-9054) that can direct you to a retail source in your area.


    This one is from 1994 and has a .pdf file that I may be able to email you if you're interested:

    Building a Better Toaster Add to Favorites
    Written: 9/1994

    Krups and Farberware combine consistency and convenience to come out on top, while the most expensive model bombs.




    Toasters

    In 1994 it’s hard to see how making a decent toaster can be all that difficult — manufacturers have had almost a century to perfect a machine that does nothing more than darken bread. But after setting off my smoke alarm four times, tossing out dozens of pieces of charred toast, and watching other pieces go flying across my table, I realize that many manufacturers still have not figured it out.

    Fortunately, however, some companies, most notably Krups and Farberware, make toasters that do just what they should — toast bread evenly from top to bottom, front to back, and do it time and again without much of a pause between batches.

    I reached this conclusion after testing ten of the newest wide-slot, cool-touch toasters to evaluate their consistency and ease of use. With each machine, I first toasted two bagel halves to check whether the slots could accommodate the three-quarter inch thickness. While the halves would fit into every model, in some cases the fit was uncomfortably tight.

    After the bagels popped out, I tested the doneness settings of the machines by putting in two slices of toast at a time, three times in a row, at a medium setting, followed by two slices on a light setting and two slices on dark. In evaluating the results, I relied not on specific color definitions (light, medium, and dark), but on how consistent the results were. All toasters take some getting used to, but once you’ve found the color you like, the settings shouldn’t have to be adjusted every morning. Unfortunately, some of the toasters couldn’t produce six consistent medium slices; others couldn’t produce light toast once they were warmed up; and others couldn’t make dark slices without burning them.

    I also noted how fast the toasters worked, but that didn’t turn out to be much of a distinguishing factor. Generally speaking, two (or four, depending on the model) pieces of toast took about one and one-half to two minutes to prepare on a medium setting.

    Don’t Use Top Settings
    In the course of the tests, I noticed that — with the exception of one model that could not produce a dark slice of toast at any setting — all the toasters burned bread when set at their highest setting. To get dark toast, it was best to set the dial between four and five if the top setting was six. I also tried toasting frozen pastries; I theorized that the darkest settings, which always seemed to set off smoke alarms, must be for frozen foods. But even frozen items came out charred at these settings. The Krups, the Farberware, and the Maxim did the best job of thawing and toasting pastries.

    I discovered that many of the toasters that boast of being cool-touch barely qualify as such. For example, the Toastmaster is hot enough to burn skin if touched for more than a few seconds. But the Krups and Farberware excel here, with outer shells that are never more than warm to the touch.

    The Krups and Farberware models also stood out for another design feature, one that all toasters should have — long cords (forty-four and forty inches, respectively) that coil up underneath the toasters for storage or to make the cord shorter, which is especially important when children are around. Contrast this with the Toastmaster’s cord, at a paltry twenty-two inches.

    The length of the toast slot or slots also sets a few toasters apart; once again, the Krups and Farberware came out on top with eleven-inch slots that can hold three bagel halves or two slices cut from the center of a round sourdough loaf. The width of the slots also became an issue for toasters that lacked an automatic centering device to hold slices upright in the center of the slot. Without this feature, bread falls to one side of the slot in the Black & Decker and Toastmaster, and gets considerably darker on that side.


    And this is an update for the 1994 article:

    Toasters
    Written: 12/2005

    Can You Buy Something Decent for Less Than $30?


    This article appeared in the December/January 2006 issue of Cook's Country, sister magazine to Cook's Illustrated.
    This is an update of the September 1994 article Building a Better Toaster.

    Look in any fancy catalog and you'll see some pretty expensive toasters. For $250, you can buy a lot of features -- pretty knobs, sleek design, vibrant color -- but in our experience that money doesn't necessarily buy you a good slice of toast. With such a seemingly reasonable goal in mind, we selected 12 two-slot toasters that ranged in price from $15 to $30 and put them to the test.

    How they Work: Toasters use infrared radiation to toast bread. To produce that radiation, wires made of nichrome (an alloy of nickel and chromium) are wrapped around mica sheets on either side of the slot. The radiation is produced where the wire comes in contact with the mica sheet; the more wires, the more heat, the darker the toast. When you press the lever a timer is set; when the timer goes off, the slots are released and the toast pops out.

    Even Coverage: The best toasters, we found, had a good number of wires (about nine per slot) that were evenly spaced, allowing for even toasting. Low-rated brands either had too few wires (which translated into spottily browned bread) or had wires that were clustered at the bottom of the toaster (which caused the bottom of the bread to burn).

    Consistent Performance: Some models failed in this regard, turning out toast that was too dark immediately following a pair of perfectly toasted slices, or vice versa.

    "Special" Features: Do you really need a special setting for pastry or waffles? No. We were equally unimpressed with the "bagel" setting found on many toasters. We did like the defrost setting, which defrosted and then toasted bread in one cycle.

    Summing Up: We learned that extra features and fancy designs don't make a good toaster. The Farberware FST200 ($19.99) may not be much to look at, but it consistently delivered evenly brown toast, which really shouldn't be too much to ask. Unfortunately, for most toasters it is.

    Highly Recommended

    Farberware FST200
    Price: $19.99
    Comments: We were able to brown toast to five different shades, from no color to deep, dark brown. The plastic exterior stayed cooler than the exterior of any other toaster, and the defrost feature worked perfectly. One downside: With the controls on a long side, this toaster took up more counter space than most.

    Recommended

    Sunbeam 6253
    2-Slice Toaster
    Price: $29.99
    Comments: We were mostly unimpressed with the array of special features on this model (everything toasted just fine at the basic toast settings), though we did like "defrost" and "reheat," which warmed cold toast without adding more color.

    Oster 2-Slice Toaster 6325
    Price: $29.99
    Comments: Though the slots on this model were long, we did have some trouble with thick bagels. Consistency was good at all but the highest setting, but the exterior of the toaster got very hot. The defrost setting, however, worked well, and the settings were mostly distinct.

    Black & Decker Classic Chrome 2-Slice Toaster T6000
    Price: $29.99
    Comments: We were disappointed with the defrost feature on this model, which left bagels cold in the middle at all but the highest setting. Consistency, however, was mostly good.

    Recommended with Reservations

    Toastmaster Cool Touch Bagel Perfect TT2CT
    Price: $19.99
    Comments: Consistency was an issue with this model, as the bread sometimes had wide strips of white at the top or was spottily browned. Still, we were able to produce five distinct shades of toast for the five settings. The slots were just a bit too short, causing the bread to catch sometimes on the way down.

    Hamilton Beach Classic Chrome Extra-Wide Slot Toaster 22559
    Price: $29.99
    Comments: The higher settings of this model were much better than the lower ones, producing mostly consistent toast at varying shades of brown. The chrome got very hot, and the dial was difficult to read. Both "defrost" and "reheat," however, worked perfectly.

    Not Recommended

    Proctor Silex Cool-Touch 2-Slice Toaster 22450
    Price: $14.99
    Comments: While consistency was good with this model, we simply couldn't get dark toast in one cycle. Even at the highest setting, the toast was only golden brown. In addition, the bread barely fit into the slots and sometimes needed a little help going down.

    Cuisinart Electronic Cool Touch 2-Slice Toaster CPT-120
    Price: $29.95
    Comments: Consistency was a serious problem with this model, which toasted bread more heavily on one side, and even that unevenness varied from batch to batch.

    GE Classic 2-Slice Toaster 106808
    Price: $24.83
    Comments: We liked the large slots and excellent defrost and reheat features, but the toast was often spotty and uneven. Without a "cool-touch" feature, the exterior of this chrome model got very hot.

    Rival Bagel Wide Cool Touch Toaster TT9270
    Price: $17.97
    Comments: The bread didn't quite fit into this toaster, so we often had to push it down to help it along. Three batches produced at the same setting were inconsistently toasted.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Snellville, GA
    Posts
    1,207
    Thanks so much Sneezles. The first article must've been done a while back, because I checked the Wms. Sonoma and Macy's web site and couldn't find any of the recommended models. SO, I went to your next article and found the HIghly Recommended less expensive farberware FST200. It is slightly more expensive than they listed but that is because Farberware (according to their web site) has discontinued the model.) If it works, I don't care about paying a bit more.

    Thanks again!

    Bonnie

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    7,842
    If I may be so bold- is there a similiar article on food processors sneezles? I would love to see it if that is possible and not too much trouble.

    Hope you don't mind me buttting in here Bonnie!
    You think you're not ever going to be able to eat another thing, but alas, you will find yourself feeling strangely peckish around teatime. The more you eat, the more you want. That's the way it goes."

    Nigella Lawson

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    24,224
    Here ya go, Maureen! There are also a couple on mini-processors (about 3 cup capacity) and can post that if you are interested.

    Food Processors



    The winner of our ranking of food processors (Nov/Dec 2004), the KitchenAid Professional 670 has been discontinued and replaced by two larger KitchenAid models that cost less. In tests, both performed as well as the 670, but we ultimately preferred the 12-Cup Food Processor (750) to the 12-Cup Ultra Wide Mouth Food Processor (760). Despite its name, because of a safety interlock system, we found the Ultra Wide Mouth model to be more limiting. The same potato that fit comfortably into the tube of the 750 had to be laid on its side to fit into the "ultra wide" tube of the 760.

    KitchenAid 12-Cup Food Processor, regular feed tube (model KFP750): $199.95, item #310190
    Cooking.com (800-663-8810, www.cooking.com); Kitchenaid 12-cup Food Processor, wide feed tube (KFP760): $229.95, item 310176, also from cooking.com.

    Following another testing (9/2005), we now also recommend these two food processors:

    Cuisinart Pro Custom 11 (11-cup capacity): An oldie but a goodie, this model handled all tasks (especially grating and slicing) with aplomb- with the exception of preparing bread dough. However, some testers disliked the design of the feed tube. Purchase the Cuisinart Pro Custom 11 (DLC-8S), $179.95, item 101604, at www.cooking.com;

    The Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus (11-cup capacity): The newer Cuisinart excelled at most tasks, especially mixing bread dough. But it suffers from the same issues with the design of the feed tube as its older sibling. This Cuisinart (DLC-2011), $199.95, item 167047, can also be purchased at www.cooking.com.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    7,842
    Thanks sneezles- very helpful info.
    You think you're not ever going to be able to eat another thing, but alas, you will find yourself feeling strangely peckish around teatime. The more you eat, the more you want. That's the way it goes."

    Nigella Lawson

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •