1. PERFORMANCE First, I'd like to discuss the performance of the unit. It's brilliant! I honestly didn't have high expectations for a hot sandwich press, but I've been very happy with it over the past month. Here are some of the items that I've made the most and my remarks:
- Sandwich Wraps: Absolutely fantastic results. I can tailor the cooking time for how firm I want the tortillas to be, and the internal ingredients are nice and hot. Having a flat bottom plate and ridged upper plate gives them a perfect combination of toasting and grill marks. The ability to set a minimum height between the top and bottom plates works wonders for veggie wraps because otherwise (at least with mine) the ingredients don't support the weight of the top plate and the wraps get smashed. The tortillas slide right off the non-stick coating, and any ingredients that spill out during cooking have cleaned up very easily.
- "Grilled" burritos: Again, fantastic. Just like a sandwich wrap but with other ingredients. I've started to grill these with the fold facing upwards to help prevent ingredients (such as salsa or guacamole) from leaking out during cooking.
- French Toast: Works pretty well. I have made it three times so far, each time with the lid down but locked in the second highest position (I haven't tried just cooking one side of the toast by leaving the lid up, yet). If the bread isn't too wet, then it works very well. If the bread is very moist, though, it doesn't cook through to the center very well. With the egg, this items does make it a bit more difficult to clean the non-detachable ribbed top plate.
- Pancakes: Works pretty well. The two drawbacks are that the top plate is still being heated even though I'm not using it, and (more important for cooking performance) the temperature of the griddle portion isn't adjustable. Pancakes do come out pretty well, but not as good as on my other griddle that I use on the stove. Also, for some reason the first batch of pancakes sticks to the griddle a bit. I haven't run into that on any other food so far.
- Ham: Cooked great, but I'll never do it again because of the mess. Because of the splatter from the juices, I closed the top lid. The bottom flat plate was pretty easy to clean off, but the ribbed top plate took a while because the nooks and crannies of the ribs make it more difficult.
2. WHAT I REALLY LIKE - The floating hinge. That is fantastic and makes cooking thick sandwiches and wraps easy. - The locking height adjustments. This works wonders for less solid foods like toast and veggie wraps. - The front handle. Might seem silly to mention, but the handle stays cool and opens the press easily.
3. WHAT I WOULD CHANGE - Add a power button. I would prefer to not have to unplug it to turn it off. When the unit is heating, there is a decent spark that gets generated at the outlet when I unplug it (same thing happens with my George Forman grill) - Make the heating plates removable, at least the top ribbed plate. These clean up pretty easily, so this is minor, but it can be a bit tedious trying to clean the top plate. - Add a temperature adjustment. This is pretty minor to me because it typically works great, but for pancakes (which are shown on the box as a breakfast item), an adjustment would be nice.
4. FIT AND FINISH This is my third Breville appliance, and I was expecting the same level of fit, finish, and attention to detail on this press as I had with the other two (Breville BJE200XL Juice Fountain and Breville BKC700XL Coffeemaker). Upon opening the box, the packaging (at least of my unit) was a bit sloppy with the protective plastic bag around the press not fully covering it. After taking the unit out of the box, I noticed that the fit and finish aren't as nice as my juicer and coffee maker. For example: - Some of the bolt holes and rounded corners on the lever arms are sharp as if they weren't properly deburred. - The bottom plate has some rough patches on it - The power cord and cord-wrap on the bottom plate aren't very well design, IMO (but that's just personal preference) I mention all of that for one reason - if you are looking at this press because it is a Breville and you have a certain expectation of quality like I did, then those comments might be important to you. I did not remove any stars for this because the unit is nice - it's just not as nice as I had expected from this brand (which I think actually speaks highly of the brand).
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