A new way to create the perfect slice of toast.

While traditional breakfasts in Japan usually consist of rice, miso, pickles and fish, everyday breakfasts for people rushing out the door to work in the mornings aren’t that different to what people eat in the West, with one of the most popular options being a thick slice of toast.

Toast here is made a little differently to the way it’s made overseas, though, with people using toaster ovens with pull-out trays rather than pop-up toasters to grill their sliced bread. Still, manufacturers are always looking for new ways to improve the toasting experience, and for those who don’t have a lot of bench space for white goods, the “Sumi Toaster” is here to save the day.

▼ “Sumi” translates to “charcoal”, and this particular toaster is said to emit the same far infrared rays used in charcoal grilling. 

The Sumi Toaster is produced by the Ayase Manufacturing Research Association, which was “founded by business owners of small and medium sized enterprises” in Ayase City, Kanagawa Prefecture, to help promote local production and boost the region.

▼ Ayase is a “small-scale factory town in Kanto Prefecture” known for machinery production.

The machinery specialists put a lot of work into creating a top-quality product for toast-making, and though the price is on the steep side, at 11,000 yen (US$100.38), the more we read about what it does, the more impressed we became.

▼ The plate is made from a lump of carbon, and can be used for vegetables and meat as well as bread.

The infrared rays emitted by the plate during cooking give you similar results to cooking over charcoal, without the hassle and mess. It’s easy to clean, it can be used on gas stoves, induction cookers and open flames, and it stops moisture in the food from evaporating during cooking, providing a slightly browned, well-cooked surface on the outside, while retaining a soft, juicy texture on the inside.

▼ The perfect texture for delicious toast.

After unboxing the Sumi Toaster and giving it a quick wash, we got out a super thick slice of bread and followed the instructions for making “Buttered Toast“.

First, we needed to heat the plate on medium heat for two minutes. Then, we placed the bread on the plate, keeping it on medium heat for one minute before turning off the heat.

Then, with the heat still off, we turned the bread over, using the residual heat to brown the other side for one minute, whilst popping a dollop of butter on the top side of the bread. All up, it took around four minutes to create our perfect toast, which looked beautifully golden brown once it was done.

As soon as we sat down and took a bite out of the toast, we could tell this wasn’t made in a toaster oven. Toaster oven toast tends to create a crisp, crunchy texture throughout the entire bread, but this…this was clearly a specialty piece of toast, displaying a satisfying crunch on the outside, with a delightfully fluffy, chewy interior.

▼ The texture of this toast was exquisite.

After devouring our first slice, we quickly made another, and this time we left it for a while to cool down so we could see if it would affect the texture. To our utter delight, the toast didn’t become soggy at all — it remained crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. This was a true testament to the cooking power of the Sumi Toaster.

▼ Even more delicious with honey.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the Sumi Toaster truly makes an excellent piece of toast. That’s not to say it’s not without its pitfalls, though, so we decided to list out its pros and cons for those thinking about purchasing it.

– The toast it makes is exquisite
– It’s easy to clean
– It doesn’t take up space
– It can be stored away easily when not in use
– It can be used for making other meals

– It requires constant attention while in use
– Only one slice can be made at a time
– After using it, it remains hot for a while and so it can’t be touched or washed immediately

Unlike a toaster or toaster oven, there’s no button to press that allows you to pop your bread in and walk away so the Sumi Toaster does require constant attention, especially when it’s over medium heat as there’s a chance your bread might become too brown during cooking.

Hitting the sweet spot with the right amount of medium heat to get to your desired level of golden-brown might also take a bit of practice, so while it’s great for toast connoisseurs looking to create their perfect slice, the Sumi Toaster might not be the right choice for those eating in a rush.

Still, if you can spend four minutes in the morning on your toast, the results will be so delicious and worth it, it’ll definitely help put a spring in your step and set you up for a great day.

The Sumi Toaster can be purchased online, and if you’re in the market for more specialty toast-making devices, there’s always this one-person sandwich press, which has been described as a “god-item” for solo diners, and this top-of-the-range TO-ST1-T bread oven from Mitsubishi, which will break the bank at 30,000 yen.

Photos © SoraNews24
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