Toaster with adjustable temperature?
December 19, 2021 9:05 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for a toaster (not toaster oven) with a temperature adjustment. I mostly toast bagels that I keep in my freezer. The problem is the toaster's heating elements are too hot, when the surface of the bagel is done the inside is still cold. I can leave the bagel in the toaster for longer after it completes but then the whole bagel is not as hot and a bit dry.

My current toaster (Breville) has a bagel mode but it just increases the temperature of the heating elements on one side. And it has a frozen setting but this doesn't affect the elements and appears to just lengthen the toasting time.

I've considered getting a really simple toaster and connecting a rheostat, seems like that might work but I'm open to any and all suggestions (just not a toaster oven!)
posted by cosmac to Food & Drink (10 answers total)
Your choices are really a) take the bagel out the night before and leave it on the counter to defrost, or b) get a toaster with a defrost mode. (My Delonghi toaster has a defrost mode, I'm sure other brands offer this if you Google "toaster with defrost.")
posted by DarlingBri at 9:18 AM on December 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

What I do in your situation is toast it partway, let it sit, toast it the rest of the way. That way it at least comes out fully hot.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:28 AM on December 19, 2021 [3 favorites]

If you have a microwave, putting a frozen bagel in it for 40 seconds makes it hot and chewy, and then it can be cut and toasted as usual.
posted by xo at 9:32 AM on December 19, 2021 [11 favorites]

Best answer: Kenji (of Serious Eats) swears by the bagel reheating trick of running the outside of the (unsliced!) bagel under the tap, and then toasting. This may help your issue, as the surface of the bagel would need to evaporate the water before starting to burn. Effectively, you’d be heating the bagel at 100°C for a while (in a moist environment, even better), then toasting at a higher temperature.
posted by supercres at 9:48 AM on December 19, 2021 [5 favorites]

My Breville Smart Toaster oven has a bagel.setting and a button to specify that your bagel is frozen. I really love this toaster. It is a toaster oven but if you don't want to oven with it, the don't. But I barely even use my actual oven anymore.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:17 AM on December 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Defrost the bagel, then toast.

There are several popular methods of defrosting a bagel. you can let it sit on the counter for a while, or use a toaster or microwave on a low or "defrost" setting to defrost it.
posted by JimN2TAW at 12:26 PM on December 19, 2021

So the entire bagel metaverse has been covered:

- The Costco Cinnamon Raisin bagels I buy go in large Zip Lock bags in the refrigerator but still get a bit stale as the days go by. Each time I want a toasted bagel I microwave somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds depending on how recently I went to Costco, then use a bagel slicer (which wouldn't work on a stale bagel) then it goes in the toaster on the normal Bagel setting. I've been following this procedure for years, but YMMV (or I realize you may prefer to buy frozen bagels).
posted by forthright at 12:45 PM on December 19, 2021

When I have frozen bagels, I find that I don't need to leave them out overnight to defrost. Even 15 or 20 minutes is enough to make them come out well, at least with my toaster and for my taste. I take it out of the freezer right when I get up, go about my other morning business, make some coffee, and by the time I'm ready to toast it, it's thawed enough that it toasts well.
posted by primethyme at 1:58 PM on December 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

I bake my own bagels. When we had a regular toaster with numbered settings I'd do a two step process, with "defrost" set on 2 followed by "bagel" set on 4. This seemed to be the best way to handle quickly reheating a frozen, pre-sliced bagel, with it warm all the way through and not too crisp anywhere. Our toaster didn't have wide enough slots for a bagel that wasn't sliced. Our toaster did seem to reach a lower temperature in its defrost mode, but your toaster may vary. (This is an understatement; all toasters will, inevitably, vary).

That said, if you can reheat your frozen bagels whole you'll get an experience that's much closer to the texture of a fresh bagel (reheating an intact bagel keeps the crumb from drying out and restores a bit of crispness to the skin). If time isn't an issue you can do this in a full size oven, but our oven takes a long time to preheat. Last year I replaced our regular toaster with a toaster oven (which you say you don't want) and this is now a one-step* process resulting in a superior reheated bagel. The toaster oven warms up fast enough I can heat up frozen bagels in the same time it takes to boil the kettle, measure and grind coffee beans, and brew a press pot full.

* 375° F for 8 minutes for one bagel with good-sized hole, or 9 minutes for two bagels or one where the hole closed up as the dough rose. You may need to adjust the timing for larger or smaller bagels or for a full size oven. I tried Kenji's thing with the water and I didn't find it to be an improvement, but I also freeze my bagels within an hour or two of baking them so they don't have the chance to get very stale**.

** Bagels go stale fast. Faster than you may realize. I do not mess with tangzhong/yukone/yudane techniques in my bagels but the Stella Parks recipe seems intriguing if you're willing to follow her lead in search of a bagel that doesn't get stale as quickly.
posted by fedward at 3:00 PM on December 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have a Cuisinart toaster similar to this one (but in white), that has a defrost button and a bagel button. Pressing both buttons for a frozen bagel yields acceptable results
posted by TimHare at 8:55 PM on December 19, 2021

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