On the outside it looks just another mass produced little oven, but what comes out is both mundane and magical: perfectly toasted bread.
The ones responsible for this mini culinary miracle are Balmuda, a small appliance from Tokyo. They’ve decided to jump on the high-tech wave by creating this innovative gadget. The toaster uses steam and carefully calibrated heat cycles to transform store-bought bread into something that smells, tastes and feels like it’s fresh out of a bakery.
The toaster costs 24,000 yen (or $230), which is basically five times the price of an ordinary toaster in Japan. If you’re in Japan and want to pick one of these babies up, we’ve got some bad news for you. There’s at least a three-month wait in stores, even though the manufacturer hasn’t bought any ads since it debuted in June.
The idea behind the toaster was discovered entirely by accident. It was at a company picnic on a rainy day, warming bread on a grill, that company founder Gen Terao and his band of product designers found that the toast they were making was coming out great. After the showers stopped, they tried to reproduce it in a parking lot and realized that water was the key. |Through trial and error, they figured out that steam traps moisture inside the bread while it’s being warmed at a low temperature. The heat is cranked up just at the end, giving it a respectable crust.
So far supply hasn’t been able to meet demand, despite the goal of manufacturing 10,000 units per month. While Balmuda recently expanded sales to South Korea, the company isn’t planning to market the toaster in the U.S. or Europe just yet.