I first noticed the Breville Smart Oven at a friend’s house when she was reheating some pizza for us. I was impressed when the preheat bell went off so quickly after she had set it. “That was fast” I said, and then bit into the hot, crispy pizza. Her result was so much better than the warmed leftovers my current toaster oven turned out. It got me to thinking that I was in the market for a better one.
My last 2 toaster ovens were disappointing. The $99 catagory hadn’t been good at toasting bread, nor reliable for baking. If you check the ratings on Amazon you will see that the field of experience reveals these disappointments on many models. In particular I laughed at an online picture of the $50 Delonghi toaster oven model, depicted with 2 Cornish game hens roasting. I wouldn’t trust $10 worth of poultry in such a unit. It was time to get serious.
The Breville Smart Oven $250 price tag costs more than double of many other models, although you can also spend more on a toaster oven. The Smart Oven is a little larger than a typical toaster oven and has an attractive but low key brushed stainless finish. You need to check your counter space if you are tight for room.
Toaster ovens have multiple cooking functions, but at the start, they should toast well. The Breville excelled at this with accuracy; there are settings for how many slices as well as darkness desired. The bagel setting adjust to browning requirements as well.
Next comes baking, roasting, and convection functions. I have successfully made muffins, cookies, stuffed peppers, and macaroni and cheese – things that in the past I would never rely upon a toaster oven for. The secret is that the Breville keeps temperature consistency. The broiler has also worked very well for browning, as a last minute touch to baked dishes.
Interestingly, Hammacher.com offers “The Best Toaster Oven” but does not use the brand name. The Wall Street Journal describes the Breville as capable of doing “just about everything we use the oven for.” I agree. I use my regular oven less now, and save energy as well.