Of all the culinary techniques I’ve learned over the years, I foolishly assumed I mastered how to make toast long, long ago. Once I got past the “oops, I burnt it again” phase of my youth, I was pretty sure there were no other hurdles left to conquer.
But then I stumbled upon an Epicurious article that rocked my toast-making world (a sentence I truly never thought I’d write). If, like me, you’ve spent your whole life placing bread in the toaster, waiting for it to do its thing, and then spreading butter on it, I’m sorry to inform you that we have been doing it all wrong. Except that I’m also not sorry, because a slight twist on the standard method is about to make your future toasts taste even better.
All you have to do is slather your bread with butter before toasting it. As David Tamarkin explains in his article, it will then seep into the bread as it heats up rather than just sitting on top afterward. “This creates a toast that’s richer throughout — literally top to bottom,” he writes.
However, Tamarkin warns that you probably shouldn’t try this with a regular toaster where the slices stand upright. As you can probably imagine, the butter would likely drip down and cause some cleaning and safety issues. He recommends using a toaster oven (or regular oven) instead. I tried it out with my air fryer, which is basically a mini-oven anyway.
I used two slices of bread: One that I toasted normally and buttered after, and one that I gave a generous coating of butter to beforehand. The results were undeniable. Although there was nothing wrong with my post-buttered slice, the pre-buttered one was definitely tastier and crispier as promised.
The first thing I noticed was that the bread had a more even toast across the top, no pale spots where the heat didn’t hit as well. The richer taste also wasn’t necessarily just “more buttery” — it enhanced the flavor of the bread itself by bringing the heat into the middle of the slice for an overall toastier eating experience.
We might think about this pre-butter method while whipping up things like garlic toast to go with a spaghetti dinner, but using the small tweak for ordinary breakfast toast will make the simple recipe feel so much more indulgent. Trust me, you’ll never go back to your old buttering ways after one bite!