Product: Toaster
Toaster Calibration   (+19, -2)  [vote for, against]
Burnt

A camera/small LCD screen combo device on the front of your toaster where you can take "after" pictures of your toast after cooking at different temperature settings. Subsequently, when turning the burned-ness dial it will display your previous toast pictures, so you can get an early idea of how much tan, brown or black you want on your bread prior to the magical transformation.
-- leinypoo13, Dec 28 2009

Schrodinger's Toilet Seat Schrodinger_27s_20Toilet_20Seat
Just linked to this because I used the phrase "...first calibrate your toaster..." here. [hippo, Dec 29 2009]

Burning Food Detector Burning_20Food_20Detector
Could be adapted to toasters. [DrBob, Dec 29 2009]

On Food and Cooking http://www.indiebou.../book/9780684800011
Great reference on bread [csea, Dec 29 2009, last modified Dec 31 2009]

Toast by Nick Parker http://www.amazon.c...arker/dp/1853754838
Great reference on Toast [pocmloc, Dec 30 2009]

Oh, I thought you said caliber rated. http://mirach.pl/img/galery/toster.jpg
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Dec 31 2009]

Various Transparent Toasters http://images.googl...8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi
images [csea, Jan 21 2010]

Inspired ! [+]
-- bigsleep, Dec 28 2009


Unfortunately, my toaster is far too inconsistent for this.
-- DrWorm, Dec 28 2009


I am reminded of a series of "Peanuts" cartoons by Charles Schulz back in the 1960's involving a science fair project called "Toast."

It consisted of 5 (?) pieces of bread displayed on a poster and toasted in varying degrees from just warmed to burnt.

One of my early girlfriends helped me recreate this circa 1972, for a state Science fair. We placed it in a vacant location and watched the consternation of the judges...
-- csea, Dec 28 2009


A very desirable innovation. [+]
-- 8th of 7, Dec 29 2009


Tan depends on the type of bread you use, so you should have an option to tag your photos by particular brand names, or any names that you give to the bread you bake on your own.

Photographing and weighting the piece of bread before toasting it would allow one to recognize the type of bread automatically.
-- Inyuki, Dec 29 2009


Maybe an extra option could be a laser for burning a barcode onto the bread surface for automatic recognition.
-- 8th of 7, Dec 29 2009


Mmm, toast, anything. +
-- blissmiss, Dec 29 2009


8th of 7, - you don't need a laser to do that these days, you could use a toaster to do that.
-- Ian Tindale, Dec 29 2009


always wanted to select a photo and get the correctly cooked food. so tired of back-lit food image teasers that don't deliver.
-- vfrackis, Dec 29 2009


Would brown bread totally confuse this?
-- wagster, Dec 29 2009


[+] My only concern is that it takes the fun and the anticipation out of making that perfect slice of toasted bread. Teetering between getting it brown enough to be fully toasted and actually burning the bread is a crapshoot and you would lose the gratification that came with getting it right.
-- Jscotty, Dec 29 2009


Jscotty people who hunt feel the same way, they don't need to hunt animals to survive but they do. You could manually toast and get the same high
-- vfrackis, Dec 29 2009


There is a fundamental problem with toast, no less serious than that attending the reconciliation of quantum theory and relativity.

The first part of the problem, as appreciated by the poster of this idea, is that time (the normal parameter used to regulate toasters) is a very poor proxy for toastedness. Toastedness depends not only on the time of toasting, but also on the power output of the toaster, the moistness of the bread, and a host of other factors.

But colour (the option favoured by those seeking to improve on time as the predominant parameter) is also a poor proxy, since much depends on the colour of the bread before toasting. A raw slice o brown bread may be as dark as a medium-well-done slice of white.

Perhaps toastedness should be quantified by conductivity, or perhaps stiffness.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 29 2009


I contend that

toastedness = the integral of the power output of the element over time x distance from bread to element x the moistness of the bread

While this may not be totally accurate (for instance, I have failed to include either atmospheric pressure or ambient temperature) this should be sufficient for a toaster that is accurate to +/- 5%

Once you have built a toaster capable of measuring and accounting for these three parameters, you will have a far more accurate toaster than any yet built. You can use this product to corner the market (Dyson style) and then create a range of ever more accurate toasters that will measure every concievable factor in toast making, right down to measuring the chemical composition of the wheat using X-ray interferometry. The Deluxe model will be marketed directly to Bill Gates, the only man who will be able to afford it.
-- wagster, Dec 29 2009


X-ray interferometry is hardly likely to be the best tool in those circumstances.

The real point is that humans desire a certain degree of toastiness. We therefore need to ascertain precisely what toastiness is, and use that as the primary parameter.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 29 2009


I heartily applaud the initial contributions toward defining toastiness (toastedness?) and look forward to further refinements. Given the nature of the Halfbakery, I am surprised that there are so few ideas related to the science of turning bread into toast.

See [link] for a good book on the subject.
-- csea, Dec 29 2009


[csea], I have added a rather more relevant title [link]

One thing that interests me, as the user of a vintage 1960s yellow toaster, is that toastedness is more subtle than a simple one-dimensional variable. Toasting faster causes quicker browning but the heat does not of course penetrate very far. My old faithful heats up with use, so the 3rd and subsequent rounds are done far quicker than the 1st. One should also consider the temperature and density of the elements - mine has quite widely spaced resistive strips, and I suspect that a cooler but closer-spaced array would affect toastedness in a qualitative even if not quantitive sense. I will conclude by reminiscing about toast toasted on an open log fire in my parents' living room, which had a quality of toastedness I have never witnessed reproduced electrically.
-- pocmloc, Dec 30 2009


[pocmloc] Yes, theres definitely more to this than meets the eye. The toasting depth is very important - anything from a flash-burn to dutch crispbread (beschuit). The idea toaster should have two dials - one for browning and one for penetration depth. A 2mm toasting depth on a golden brown 2cm slice from a fresh loaf topped with butter and strawberry jam - mmm.
-- bigsleep, Dec 30 2009


Even with my eyes closed my nose knows when toast is done and the instant it starts to burn if I'm close enough to the toaster. I think that some form of chemical sniffer or smoke detector would be your best shot at quantifying Toastiness for the widest range of breads.
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Dec 30 2009


Bravo, all!

You have collectively identified some of the more important aspects of thermally browning bread. But I'd like to see a more quantitative study, according to the original idea.

<latin> In Panis Combusti Fidamus! </latin>
-- csea, Dec 30 2009


So a ceramic slice with an embedded grid of temperature sensors with processing and transferal chips connected to a PC via thermal protected usb cable.

Gives pretty graphs of your favourite bread cooking implement's temperament. Probably the first data collection is the most important especially if you the first up in the morning.
-- wjt, Dec 30 2009


[csea] excellent book (you got the title wrong though). Toastiness might be something to do with the concentration of Maillard compounds in the surface of the toast.
-- hippo, Dec 31 2009


//The idea toaster// is a competitor to the 'bakery?
-- pocmloc, Dec 31 2009


[hippo] Oops! Fixed, thanks.
-- csea, Dec 31 2009


I don't have a link, but I just read a news story from a Telegraph News app on my smartphone about the world's first transparent toaster going on sale this month, after 15 years of research. Just thought it seemed appropriate to this discussion.
-- 21 Quest, Jan 04 2010


I think there are several designs of transparent toaster. [link]
-- csea, Jan 21 2010


An interesting experiment might be to measure the reflection spectrum of various types of bread (white, brown, wholemeal, German Schwarzbrot, etc) at various degrees of toastedness, across a wider range of wavelengths than the human eye can perceive. Maybe there will be useful information in there that a suitable sensor could detect and use to tune the toasting process.

Alternatively, follow up on [2fries]'s idea - a severely overtoasted slice will start to give off visible quantities of smoke - but what compounds are emitted by the toast at an earlier phase?

The unique quality of toast made on an open fire is probably due in part to the smoke from the fire. Maybe a deluxe toaster could release various substances into the air surrounding the proto-toast, in an attempt to recreate some of this quality.
-- Wrongfellow, Jan 23 2010



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