Today is National Toast Day, so have your knife at the ready to enjoy one of the nation's favourite snacks.
You'll want to celebrate with a lovely golden slice, but our research has shown that your toaster may not be up to the task.
Only 16% of the toasters we've tested score a full five stars for toasting bread evenly. That leaves a lot of households potentially putting up with less-than-perfect toast.
Toasters may be relatively simple gadgets, but the science of perfect toast is surprisingly complicated, and you might be inadvertently sabotaging your slice.
Use the tips below to make sure that you end up with the ultimate toasted treats.
Different types of bread need different toasting approaches. The density of the bread, colour and levels of moisture and sugar can all affect how quickly it toasts.Our guide below explains how to adjust your toaster for different breads.
Quick toasting guide: what setting to use for different breads
Brown bread usually needs less time in the toaster than white. This is because there's less moisture in brown bread, so it can dry out or burn more easily if it lingers too long.
Gluten free bread tends to be thicker and denser than a wheat-based loaf, so it will need a longer time on a lower heat to make sure it cooks all the way through, without burning on the outside.
Crumpets and English muffins are best enjoyed with a crispy edge and doughy inside, so opt for a higher setting.
They will need different times in the toaster, though. Crumpets can dry out easily so you shouldn't leave them in for too long, whereas English muffins are best cooked through and hot enough for butter or hollandaise sauce to melt into them.
Fruited breads have a high sugar content which means they are susceptible to burning, so need a shorter toasting time.
If you often toast smaller items, look for a toaster with a high-lift lever to stop you singeing your fingers when you fish them out. A peeking function that allows you to check toasting progress is also a handy feature to prevent you from overdoing it.
If you regularly make a quick snack for one, you might know the pain of having one side of your slice significantly darker the other.
This is because the elements in the unused slot are still switched on, and the heat can pass through into the next slot. Flipping the toast front to back mid-cycle will help to even things out.
Single-slot toasters, which have one long slot instead of two, are another way round this issue.Of the two we've tested one is significantly better than the other, though. Read our full Russell Hobbs Elegance 2 Slice 23380 and reviews to see which one is worth buying.
If you're making a second round of toast, the chances of ending up with darker or burnt bits is greater as your toaster is already warmed up.
Some toasters overcompensate by throwing their slices out early, sometimes when they're barely even browned.
Experiment with your toaster to find out how it copes with subsequent runs. Then you'll know whether to turn your dial up or down when you're toasting back-to-back.
Some toasters claim to do the thinking for you. Dualit says that its 'perfect toast technology' adjusts the elements automatically based on the temperature of the toaster, and the room it's in. To see if this really does make perfect toast, read the full
It might seem obvious, but an evenly sliced loaf is more likely to brown all over than if you've done a haphazard job.
Don't go too thin as it's likely to dry out or burn. Too thick and you could end up butchering your slice trying to wedge it in the slots.
Slightly stale bread can be saved by a toaster, but you'll get the best results from fresher slices. This way, the middle stays slightly spongy and the edges will crisp up, giving you that perfect toast texture.
However carefully you approach your toast, some toasters just aren't up to the job.We see all sorts in our tests: from patchy slices, to two completely different faces, to over or underdone toast.
The best toasters serve up delicious, golden brown toast, and should be easy to use too.