Balmuda's high-tech steam toaster is a bread fiend's best friend

Water in a toaster? It sounds insane but, Balmuda, has its reasons.

Japanese electronics company Balmuda has an expensive but intriguing toaster for you that comes with a side note: it's steam-based.

In theory, adding water to a toaster sounds like the perfect recipe for disaster but Balmuda's steam toaster, priced at $329, comes with a small metal inlet that can hold water. Here's a quick look at it.


Why water? Adding steam to bread — even stale bread — can instantly add freshness. Pizzas, croissants, buns, and other baked goods do well with the addition of steam when you're heating or reheating them. But most toasters don't come with water trays. So Balmuda's toaster takes that traditional kitchen trick, which we've seen people do with wood-burning stoves for years now, and turns it into a high-tech machine.

A word of warning, though, the Balmuda costs a hefty $329. And there are far more affordable ways to enjoy a good loaf of bread. Still, if you're one of the few people whose sourdough habit from 2020 has survived into the new year and who never leaves the house to visit local bakeries, it may seem like a justifiable expense.

We've seen this before — While it sounds pretty bonkers that you can pour a bit of water in the tray of a Balmuda toaster and get yourself a nice piece of fluffy bread, the concept isn't new. Not even remotely.

In a way, the Balmuda is an extremely fancy and modern equivalent of the average tandoor. You know, the clay or metal earth oven that millions use around the world, including countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, India, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and others. The oven, often built into the ground, uses heat by way of charcoal or wood fire. Those who use the tandoor will often splash handfuls of salted water on the bread baking inside. This creates steam and a gorgeous, mouthwatering aroma.

Should I buy it? — Now herein lies the Balmuda's key problem. Fluffy toast, raised with steam, is an undoubtedly delicious way to fill your belly. Jam, butter, eggs, whichever way you like it. But do you really need a Balmuda toaster (or a tandoor) for that matter? If you truly are a bread connoisseur, perhaps spending $329 (plus shipping) on this high-tech toaster doesn't sound so bad.

But, if you'd rather save that cash, there are equally satisfying ways to toast bread by the batch or single slices. All it takes is your average oven, some olive oil, parsley, a bit of garlic (if you want), and a few minutes of your time. Voila. P.S. You can also revive rock-hard bread by using your kitchen faucet, your oven again, and some patience.