Everyone needs a toaster they can rely on. The KitchenAid 2 Slice – Artisan toaster also adds beauty and some fine features

I never realised that what was missing in my life was a toaster that lowered my bread automatically, what a fool I have been.

Previously I’ve always enjoyed the merry ‘kerklack!’ of the toaster ejecting my well done bread, and rejoiced in its simplicity after previously only noticing my toast was done when clouds of smoke made it hard to read the newspaper.

Putting the bread in though always required me to lower the lever myself, like some mediaeval peasant. Not anymore, though.

You put your bread slice into the new KitchenAid 2 Slice – Artisan toaster and the Auto Sensor kicks in to silently motor it down into the depths, while bars come in from the sides of the extra wide slots to automatically assess the thickness and secure it for grilling. A tiny beep accompanies the process.

A long slider on the front sets the seven degrees of grill time, or ‘shading’ as KitchenAid calls it. A cool blue LED light tracks across and then gradually retreats as the cooking time passes. Then with another gentle bleep, the toast proudly ascends into the room, perfectly done to your preference.

Warm as toast

Should you not be ready for your toast fix then after an interval the toaster lowers the bread again and applies a gentle ‘keep warm’ heat. You can then retrieve your toast when you want by pressing the eject button.

Of course many people like to toast bread from frozen, and this is easy with the Frozen function that gently defrosts and toasts frozen bread.

There is also a Bagel function which turns off the side panels so that only the cut surface is toasted. And then there is the bit I like best, the Toasted Sandwich function.

Toasties on demand

The toaster comes with an included toasted sandwich rack but just the one,  which seems a bit mean for a toaster costing between £189 – £229. So you have to do the process twice for two people, and the second empty slot gets hot anyway, which seems a waste of energy as well as time. A second rack is available to buy for £29.

Choosing the right thickness of bread helps get the perfect result of slightly melted cheese in the centre and grilled exterior, but if your bread is too thick the clip on the rack springs open, which is slightly annoying. Perhaps a pair of pliers might work an adjustment.

But no toaster has ever looked this good. I’ve always liked the Dualit industrial look, but this is better. Curved like all KitchenAid machines, and with the classic chrome band, it comes in a range of colours. The test model we had was in the new Pistachio colour, which is very attractive, and the paint feels very thick and resistant to chipping.

Also reassuring is the machine’s weight. You can tell this toaster is made of tough die-cast metal, even the crumb tray is solid. The guarantee is for five years, but my experience of KitchenAid products is that they last forever.

The toaster is complemented by the 1.5L Artisan Kettle, also in Pistachio or Imperial Grey which has a dual-wall construction, soft-touch handle for easy grip, a backlit water window and an innovative adjustable temperature setting which heats water from 50°C to 100°C in 10°C intervals. They can be bought together at  RRP £408, from kitchenaid.co.uk