HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >

I Want to Toast a SINGLE Piece of Bread

ambrose Sep 7, 2007 07:16 AM

Is there a toaster out there that will toast a single piece of bread properly, i.e. that will give toast that is uniformly dark on both sides?

Some time ago I purchased a Cuisinart toaster at Wegman's. It's great as long as you toast two pieces at once. It fails miserably with one piece. One side of the toast is brown while the other remains almost untoasted. A friend of mine bought the inexpensive Farberware FST 200 (recommended by Cooks Illustrated) and if anything it's worse than the Cuisinart at toasting one piece of bread.

If you've found that magic toaster, let me know! I'm getting tired of toasting a piece of bread at a low setting, then toasting again with the piece reversed.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. b
    beccaboo RE: ambrose Sep 7, 2007 07:49 AM

    Hi, ambrose,

    I just bought an Oster that has settings for toast, bagel, frozen and warm. Adjustable for darkness/lightness on a one to seven scale. Makes one "perfectly toasted" piece for my husband's breakfast every morning.

    10 Replies
    1. re: beccaboo
      Cheflambo RE: beccaboo Sep 7, 2007 07:59 AM

      With all due respect. ANY toaster will toast one piece of bread. If your toaster gets one side really brown and the other side not so much so ... you may need to have it repaired or replaced. Have you tried using a toaster oven?

      1. re: Cheflambo
        ambrose RE: Cheflambo Sep 8, 2007 03:57 AM

        I always flinch when someone starts a message 'with all due respect'. :-))

        Actually, the problem I described seems to be fairly common. After I purchased my Cuisinart, I read a lot of on-line customer reviews about toasters. Many of them described this very problem.

        At least the Farberware hints at the problem.."When toasting a single slice, the bread or toaster food may be placed in either Toasting Well, but may toast slightly darker on the inside than on the outside." 'Slight' does not describe the difference!

        I'm wondering if there isn't a basic design problem in these inexpensive toasters. If you have one that performs well, I'd appreciate knowing the make and model number.

        And no, I have not tried using a toaster oven because I don't want one. I just want a decent toaster that will toast one piece of bread.

        1. re: ambrose
          chocchipcookie RE: ambrose Sep 8, 2007 06:14 AM

          Dualit. Works every time. You just have to remember to switch the setting to 1 slice . They are not inexpensive though but you'll have it for the rest of your life. I have had mine for about 9 years. And I know this sounds old from my posts but when you buy it at Williams Sonoma, it is a liketime warranty.

          1. re: chocchipcookie
            ambrose RE: chocchipcookie Sep 8, 2007 07:19 AM

            Thanks for this info. I find it interesting that you have to tell the Dualit that you want to toast one slice of bread. I believe this corroborates my suspicion that less expensive toasters just can't do one slice well.

            1. re: ambrose
              mpalmer6c RE: ambrose Sep 10, 2007 12:12 PM

              Yeah, I finally got so teed off at supposedly quality toasters that I sprang for a Dualit. Works great. For best results, put bread in topside down. I also reverse the bread halfway through -- easy to do since it uses a lever, not an automatic mechanism, to raise or lower. Highly recommended.

              1. re: mpalmer6c
                CrazyOne RE: mpalmer6c Sep 11, 2007 11:02 AM

                LOL, if you have to reverse it halfway through, it clearly is still doing something unevenly.

                1. re: CrazyOne
                  ambrose RE: CrazyOne Sep 11, 2007 11:16 AM

                  My reaction too! In fact, that's exactly what I'm doing right now with my lame Cuisinart. I haven't tried putting the bread in upside down though!

                  I think I'll wait for more information on these expensive Dualit models.

              2. re: ambrose
                Justpaula RE: ambrose Sep 12, 2007 11:47 PM

                LOL. I have never thought about this subject in my life and when I first read your post, I thought it a bit odd. But, yes, I must admit that if a manufacturer provides suggestions for one slice toasting then this is a highly valid question. And, if I were you, I would certainly go with the Dualit for identifiying with you! :)

            2. re: ambrose
              grnidkjun RE: ambrose Jan 27, 2011 09:40 AM

              what about a toaster that is designed longer lengthwise to accommodate two slices in one well.
              Wouldn't that work? It would be the same application of heat whether it held one or two slices at all times.

              1. re: grnidkjun
                cariola RE: grnidkjun Jan 27, 2011 10:15 AM

                I've been online and on the phone for 2 hours trying to locate a Braun Multi-Toast or a Hamilton Beach 22408, both long slot models. I can't find either one anywhere. I've been on hold for Hamilton Customer Service for the past 20 minutes. Apparently they will sell them direct, but only through Customer Service via phone.

        2. rossgrady RE: ambrose Sep 8, 2007 08:03 AM

          Sure, get any toaster that only has one slot. I have a Cuisinart (I have two, actually, because they were $15 (refurbished) on some website, and all the reviews suggested that they were incredibly unreliable, so I ordered two so I'd have a backup) with one slot that's long enough that I can put in two normal-sized slices of bread side-by-side.

          The one I have (this one: http://www.epinions.com/hmgd-Toasters... ) has this problem where the eject mechanism gets really touchy, so half the time you go to push the lever down & it makes this scary buzzing noise & refuses to stay down.

          But it definitely makes toast that's roughly the same level of doneness on both sides. I would assume that other manufacturers' single-slot toasters might also be similarly effective.

          The reason a two-slot toaster doesn't do well with single slices is that the whole interior space is generally open (i.e. the slots aren't insulated from one another) and thus with one slice of bread in one slot, you're getting 3 sets of heat-wires irradiating one side, and only 1 set on the other. Unless, as another poster suggests, you get one that lets you disable one slot.

          Whereas a single-slot toaster only has one set of wires on each side (duh) and thus behaves the same regardless of how much bread you stuff into it.

          1. Scrapironchef RE: ambrose Sep 8, 2007 12:58 PM

            Here you go, designed to toast only one slice at a time and lets it do double duty as a post it note.


            1 Reply
            1. re: Scrapironchef
              ambrose RE: Scrapironchef Sep 9, 2007 05:52 PM

              Could be the solution! Please post a photo of the other side of the toast. :-))

            2. c
              CrazyOne RE: ambrose Sep 9, 2007 06:01 PM

              We had been using more toast and heating up the whole big oven to make it, so were looking at toasters. I had been eyeing this Braun that has one big slot and seems to work quite well http://www.amazon.com/Braun-HT600-Imp... But I wasn't sure if it was worth it to spend 50 bucks or so on the toaster. It's just $47 now, and I think it used to sell for $60 or so.

              Anyway, broke down and bought a $20 Oster 2-slice at Costco. They had it in red, which helped sell it (we have several other red items in the kitchen). It seems to do fine, although it's hard to tell just how even it is because usually the bread I'm toasting is wheat or otherwise somewhat dark.

              Still, for 20 bucks, I'd say it's more than adequate. And with Costco, if it was horrible, I could take it back. But we're keeping it. It's probably the same Oster mentioned in the first response.

              But it does seem if the toaster only has one slot, it should eliminate the possibility that it must need two pieces side by side to work properly. Of course, it still won't work if it doesn't brown evenly in the first place, but the Braun I linked seems to be good at that. Really versatile, you can get all kinds of oddly shaped bread in there or even warm rolls on a rack you can put over top.

              1. choctastic RE: ambrose Sep 10, 2007 07:48 PM

                What about just toasting it in a pan on the stove? That's what I do since I don't have a toaster. Very even browning.

                1 Reply
                1. re: choctastic
                  ambrose RE: choctastic Sep 11, 2007 11:17 AM

                  Well, yes.....but I do have occasions when I want to make two, or even four pieces of toast. This is not really practical for me.

                2. n
                  nerdgoggles RE: ambrose Sep 12, 2007 12:22 PM

                  Dude. Just flip the toast half-way through. No toaster is ever going to be perfect.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nerdgoggles
                    Sharoneonta RE: nerdgoggles Jan 28, 2011 07:55 AM

                    Yes, this one.

                    Life's problems...I tell ya.

                  2. Chuckles the Clone RE: ambrose Sep 12, 2007 11:37 PM


                    1. c
                      cariola RE: ambrose Jan 27, 2011 08:09 AM

                      I SO hear you! I'm about to return my third toaster. After reading reviews, it sounded like this KitchenAid was going to solve the uneven toast problem, but it's just as bad as the cheap one I bought at WalMart. Why is it so hard for manufacturers to make a toaster that actually does the job? I'm tired of tossing out bread that's brown on one side and white on the other, and I'm tired of having to stand guard on it to turn it halfway through. As to those who say this is to be expected, all I can say is that I had a 2-slice toaster for over 15 years that toasted perfectly. Now none of them do. I suspect it has something to do with the fear that two elements heating side-by-side may be a fire hazard. I don't know. I'm going to give a single-slot toaster a try.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: cariola
                        Scrapironchef RE: cariola Jan 27, 2011 09:20 AM

                        Every time I see one of those inane Dyson vacuum commercials talking about how he's worked for years re inventing a product that has many great working examples I wonder why he doesn't tackle something that really needs help - the toaster.

                        1. re: Scrapironchef
                          cariola RE: Scrapironchef Jan 27, 2011 10:16 AM

                          Brilliant idea! (I do love my Dyson vac.)

                      2. s
                        sueatmo RE: ambrose Jan 27, 2011 10:23 AM

                        I make toast using my stovetop grill pan. I do this when my toaster oven is occupied. Start the grill pan on med heat, and back it off to med low. I turn the toast frequently--in other words I pay attention to it.

                        I agree with the poster who said that no toaster is perfect. That's why I don't own one anymore. I don't think they do a good enough job to put up with.

                        1. p
                          plumtomato RE: ambrose Jan 28, 2011 08:13 AM

                          I had a cheap-o Sunbeam toaster for almost 10 years and it always did both sides evenly, even if I was only doing one piece of toast. Never had to interrupt it, flip it over, or put the bread in upside down. Now about the time it turned 10 years old, it started to pull this cute trick where it would toast my husband's toast a nice even golden color, and would blacken mine to a crisp at the exact same darkness setting, so this past Christmas it was honorably discharged from service and replaced by a two-slice-toaster-slash-egg-poacher-and-sausage-cooker my husband had been coveting for years, and it too does a decent job of toasting one slice at a time as well as hard-boiling 4 eggs at a go and making breakfast sandwiches.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: plumtomato
                            cariola RE: plumtomato Jan 28, 2011 01:45 PM

                            I just tossed a Sunbeam after about two weeks of use. I've been looking at that egg-maker thing, which has actually gotten pretty good reviews for the toast. But I just ordered a single slot Hamilton Beach. Hope it works!

                          2. breadchick RE: ambrose Jan 28, 2011 04:16 PM

                            I have a fast heat broiler, so I often throw bread, rolls, pita under there and it works if I need to do several at once. Or, I know folks that put the bread on the gas burner grate on low and seems to work for them - so if you have a gas stove maybe just toast the bread on the grate?

                            Show Hidden Posts