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Toast... everyone loves it, or at least knows someone who does. But getting that perfect slice of semi burnt bread is a task in itself, almost an art really, with half the battle being the toaster itself, which can sometimes be a hit and miss process.
Personally I love toast and have been through many many toasters, many of which have started off well but have managed to fall at many hurdles until I've eventually had to have them put down.
So my latest quest for that perfect piece of browned bread took me along anther search of a new toaster as, per usual, my 'normal' toaster had let me down and was now sitting in the recycling bin ready for the scrap metal man to come and get it.
This left me looking for a new toaster and, after a bit of a search, I decided upon a toaster which had a well known name on it, this being one of the reasons I bought it, the other being the fact that it was on offer at the time. So I ended up with this Russell Hobbs Heritage (18198).
This toaster, which, (According to the manual), has about 980watts of power, isn't the biggest and only has two slots for a couple of slices of bread at a time, so it's not really designed for large families who all love toast at the same time.
The main body is made of a 'brushed silver metal material and does get very hot when in use, so don't do what I did, don't try and pick it up by the sides just after I'd used it, and for gods sake don't pick it up by gripping into the top slots with your fingers... ouch.
The controls, which consist of four buttons, a knob and a slider, are all situated at one end of the toaster, which is pretty convenient really.
These buttons, which have a lovely little light glowing the centre when they are pressed and in use, are for defrost and reheat on the left, then there's the bagel and cancel buttons on the right.
The knob, which lies in the centre of the button layout, is used to set the length of time for the bread to stay in the toaster, giving you the option of how brown you want your bread, either slightly done or burnt to a crisp.
And finally there's the slider, which is above the knob, is to 'slide the bread in an out of the toaster, being pushed down to get the element glowing.
The slider will not stay down if the toaster does not have an electricity supply to it, so if you can't get it to stay down then make sure it's switched on at the plug socket.
It has a crumb tray at the opposite end to the controls which is supposed to catch those little crumbs that always drop from bread and toast no matter how much you shake the slice before hand. Sadly though the crumbs don't all collect in the trays as they seem to manage to appear all over my kitchen work tops.
And, as with most appliances, the name of the manufacturer is embedded on the sides, with the Russell Hobbs emblems etched above it.
Firstly, this toaster does look nice, with it's slightly curved sides, silver body and little flashes of black strips around the top, bottom and controls, but as the saying goes, looks aren't everything are they?
What I mean by that is that, for me, this is one of the worst toasters that I have had the misfortune to use, in fact, using a long fork and an open coal fire would do a better job at making that perfect slice of toast.
This one never gets it right no matter what number setting I have it on, it either leaves the bread as it was, bread, or it burns the bread so bad that only a post mortem could discover what it was before it went into the toaster.
The elements seem to have a mind of their own, sometimes heating up fully whilst other times seeming to be on strike, with only a few sections turning that trusted orange colour you need to brown that bread.
Even the settings that this offers are as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. The defrost one is supposed to allow you to put in a frozen piece of bread, which it does, then it is supposed to defrost the bread before browning it. Well, it does than on the odd occasion, otherwise, on most toasting tasks, it starts to brown the bread straight away and I'm left with a lot of semi-frozen/damp patches on the slightly brown bread.
The bagel function is about as useful as a fur coat in a desert and as reliable as a bankers promise. It is supposed to just brown one side of the bagel, with only the elements on one side heating up. But as the elements would often decided to take a day off I was left with a soggy bit of dough which had one or two hard spots burnt into it.
The reheat function's not too bad, although the art of reheating toast can be done by simply slotting the toast back into the toaster for a few seconds then pressing cancel before the toast turns black, but having the idea that there is a function to throw the toast out after a few second, just in case you become distracted by Lorraine Kelly on the Telly, (doubtful I know but...), is reassuring.
In fact, the only button, or function that I have found useful is the mid cycle 'cancel' button, which I have pressed many times in an emergency as the thin puffs of smoke begin to drift from the inside of the toaster as the bread begins to become covered in what look like little charcoal patches.
In all, I am not happy with this toaster at all and, until I get my hands on a new one, I'm relegated to sticking my bread under the grill and sitting there until it's done, turning it over mid cycle. Which then forces me to slap a dollop of grated cheese onto the toast before putting it back under, as a reward for my patience in the toast grilling palaver. (but all that cheese has gone right to my thighs now, so I need to spend more time at the gym, which I'm not happy about. Maybe I should lay off the cheese then..? No... cheese on toast, with a few splashes of Worcestershire Sauce... Mmmmmm)
Sorry, drifting there a little, (wipes dribble from corner of mouth)
Anyway, for me, this toaster is a bit of a let down and, as it sells for a whopping £30- £40, I'm glad I only paid a third of that, £12, as I would be doubly, nay 'triperly' disappointed if I'd have bought it for the full price and realised how bad it was for doing what it is designed and built to do... make toast
Apparently you can get this as part of a set from Russell Hobbs, with a kettle and a sandwich toaster in the same design, which should all go to make a nice look in your kitchen. But after using this toaster I think I'll maybe not go after this collection as I'd fear the other devices may be as 'dodgy' as this one.
This delightful stainless steel 2-slice toaster is ideal for making delicious toast muffins and crumpets / Variable browning control means you can make toast just the way you like it while a frozen setting lets you cook food straight from the freezer / There's a re-heat function too / so you can warm your toast up without burning it / and a mid-cycle cancel button lets you stop the cooking at any point / Short name: Russell Hobbs 18198