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Old 01-05-2016, 11:27 AM   #1
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Toaster Ovens that are better for real baking

I've been searching this forum for toaster oven advice, so I hope I'm not bringing up something I should have already found....

Is there a toaster oven (<$75) that has a bake setting which heats only the bottom elements? I just bought one which heats both top and bottom elements, and sure enough, muffins come out way overbrowned on top. My old toaster oven had more headspace (and I suspect that, in bake mode, the upper elements did not heat as much as the bottom ones), so it worked better for baked goods.

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Old 01-05-2016, 11:54 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GIJane View Post
I've been searching this forum for toaster oven advice, so I hope I'm not bringing up something I should have already found....

Is there a toaster oven (<$75) that has a bake setting which heats only the bottom elements? I just bought one which heats both top and bottom elements, and sure enough, muffins come out way overbrowned on top. My old toaster oven had more headspace (and I suspect that, in bake mode, the upper elements did not heat as much as the bottom ones), so it worked better for baked goods.
I have a Cuisinart Convection toaster oven and its the same way. But I did find away around to keep the top element from coming on.

There are four settings in addition to the temperature.
1) Warm - Bottom element only and can be set to any temperature. No fan/convection.
2) Bake - Convection baking.
3) Broil - Top element only.
4) Toast - Top and bottom elements.

To bake/roast without the top element, select warm, select temp. Food will bake/roast at the desired temp without the top element coming on. No convection/fan.
I found this out by mistake, but have verified that it works just fine.

Try your oven to see.
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Old 01-06-2016, 10:03 AM   #3
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Well, I tried the "warm" setting and it does only turn on the bottom elements, but the thermostat doesn't seem to come into play. I had it set at 250 and it went to 325 before I stopped the test. (I had my oven thermometer in there) Of course, it's also possible that the thermostat is crap. I don't think I've ever had a T.O. with an accurate one. Will play with it some more. Thanks for the great idea though. It may yet help me.
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Old 01-06-2016, 11:37 AM   #4
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I have one Oster Extra Large Digital Toaster Oven in the Amoretti Test kitchen and one in my home kitchen, and it works beautifully in place of the regular oven when I don't want to heat up the kitchen. My only complaint is that it's so large, it takes 10 minutes to make toast, so I bought a regular two slice toaster.
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Old 01-06-2016, 11:42 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by GIJane View Post
Well, I tried the "warm" setting and it does only turn on the bottom elements, but the thermostat doesn't seem to come into play. I had it set at 250 and it went to 325 before I stopped the test. (I had my oven thermometer in there) Of course, it's also possible that the thermostat is crap. I don't think I've ever had a T.O. with an accurate one. Will play with it some more. Thanks for the great idea though. It may yet help me.
I can't guarantee that your oven will work as mine does. But using the warm setting on mine is for normal baking without the top element coming on.
I'm going to get out the manual on the oven to see if the manufacturer says the warm setting can be used for the bake setting?

I would assume your thermometer is fine.
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Old 01-06-2016, 12:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GIJane View Post
...I just bought one which heats both top and bottom elements, and sure enough, muffins come out way overbrowned on top. My old toaster oven had more headspace (and I suspect that, in bake mode, the upper elements did not heat as much as the bottom ones), so it worked better for baked goods.
What does the instruction manual for your new TO tell you about baking in it?
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Old 01-06-2016, 01:27 PM   #7
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All the information I can offer is to tell you what we have, but it's now 11 years old.

Our toaster oven is a GE Countertop Oven with Rotisserie, which came from Wal-Mart and was only $40.00.

It literally does "everything" and I couldn't be happier. In fact, when I had an issue with our regular stove oven, I baked two normal-sized loaves of bread in it just as nicely as if they'd been done in the malfunctioning oven.

The interior is quite large and it accommodates many of our casserole dishes and baking pans. It toasts like a charm and, as Glenn puts it, "little chickies (Cornish hens) on the ferris wheel (rotisserie)" are always perfect. Chicken on the rotisserie is great, too. It has a "keep warm" function that is handy.

It looks similar to this but is NOT convection and the door opens like a closet door, with the hinge portion at the left side. We love it.

I think if it goes belly up, I might consider the one in the link I just cited. The only thing I would have to get used to is having the door open in the "drop down" manner. I really, really like having it open away from the front bottom.
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Old 01-06-2016, 01:37 PM   #8
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I just checked my little Breville. In the bake setting, only the bottom element lights up. It does everything I want very well, but it was more than $75 as I recall. Not convection.
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Old 01-07-2016, 06:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
What does the instruction manual for your new TO tell you about baking in it?
It says to use either "bake" or "turbo bake" (convection)--both of which cause upper elements to turn on and get very red. The instructions for "warm" talk about warming only (<250 on the dial). Using it for baking would be strictly "off-label" as it were.

More experimentation necessary. I think the real problem is that the interior of this one is smaller than my broken one. I also think it's possible that the upper elements are overheating (I could swear I read on the mfr's website that the upper elements heat 50% of the bottoms when set on bake...but maybe not for this particular Oster!)
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Old 01-07-2016, 07:01 AM   #10
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It literally does "everything" and I couldn't be happier. In fact, when I had an issue with our regular stove oven, I baked two normal-sized loaves of bread in it just as nicely as if they'd been done in the malfunctioning oven.
Wow! how big is that thing? Does it make toast too or are the elements too far away? That's one of the reasons I went with a smaller one this time.

Ugh. I miss my TO from the 1980s. It lasted 25! years until one day it started shooting sparks whenever you tried to set the temp dial. RIP Mr. Sparky!
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