I had a cheap Oster toaster oven forever!!! It was a remnant of my starving student days. To say that it toasted or was an oven was a gross exaggeration. On the toast feature, it burnt one side of my bread and lightly warmed the other. And I’m not sure that you can consider something an oven if it never accurately keeps temperature. The Thing made me sad every time I used it. Being frugal, I couldn’t bring myself to throw away something that was still ‘functional.’ But, the Thing would NOT die. And I willed it. I didn’t clean it for years. I let crumbs, grime and crud build up hoping to somehow make it suicidal. Yet, it lived on.
A couple of years ago, after close to 10 years of unhappy ownership, I finally gave the Thing away. A friend who is in grad school now utilizes it. She cleaned it up. After she raised an eyebrow, it was explained that the yuck was a result of my murderous plans. It still works to this day… Well, kind of.
So, I ponied up the money for a new toaster oven. This time around, I had the means to buy something of quality. I researched and shopped around. Finally, I tentatively handed my 20% off coupon and my money to the Bed Bath and Beyond cashier. And ka-shing! I bought a toaster oven that cost five times what I originally paid for the Thing. The Breville Smart Oven (1800 watts convection) was going home with me!
So. Much. Money. Is it worth it? YES! Absolutely!
It is beautifully designed. The oven body is stainless with knobs that click just so when you are setting it. The backlit blue information screen is clear and easy to understand. And a sweet little ding tells you when it’s ready or done. I would say that it is a compact oven with a toaster feature. Not the other way around.
Being a household of two, we use it almost daily. It’s much more practical than heating up our full-size conventional oven and keeps the house much cooler. This mini oven is big enough to cook food for four, maybe more. It’s dependable and heats up very evenly and I trust it with any task that I would use my regular oven for. We use it to broil tandoori fish (four fillets at a time), make delicious whole roasted chicken, to bake pies and quiches and the list goes on.
The Smart Oven comes equipped with a pizza pan and broiler tray/cookie sheet. Truthfully, I haven’t used any of these items for what they are intended for. I prefer to bake my pizza on a preheated stone or cast iron pan. The quality of the pans provided are better than average. But, I personally like the non-stick cookie sheets from Williams-Sonoma. I had bought some for my regular oven and liked the quality, so I bought the small ones for the Breville. They are great for roasting vegetables and clean up very easily. You can also buy a small Silpat that’s perfectly sized for this sheet. It works out great for baking small batches of cookies. We have gotten in the habit of freezing pre-measured cookie dough and baking 2 at a time for a snack.
But, don’t throw those pans away. I recently used the round pizza pan to bake a large galette in the Breville!
Last, but, not least. It’s great for warming and crisping back up day-old fried chicken!