Item: Mastrad Bread Warmer
Overall Impression: Versatile for outdoor meals in the summer and holiday meals in the fall and winter. Worth picking up if you like your rolls warm and do a lot of entertaining.
Warm bread that's fresh from the oven is pretty much the best thing ever, no matter the occasion, no matter the time of year. Wrapping warm rolls in a clean dishtowel helps hold in the warmth for a little while — this bread warmer from Mastrad takes things one step further. With its heatable ceramic liner, this basket will keep our rolls toasty from the start of dinner all the way through to second and third helpings.
Characteristics and Specs: A rattan bread basket with a ceramic warming stone that fits in the bottom. The stone can be warmed in the microwave and holds heat for up to 45 minutes. A cloth covering with drawstring closes over the bread and helps hold in warmth. (The ceramic stone is also covered with a cloth wrapping.) The basket holds enough bread at a time to serve 6 to 8 people. All cloths are machine washable; the stone itself can be cleaned with a damp sponge.
Favorite details: As someone who loves tearing into a dinner roll that's still hot from the oven, I do like being able to keep my rolls warm for longer. It's a little extra insurance if dinner doesn't get on the table right away and it's nice when one goes back for that second (or third) roll of the evening.
Potential problems: Opening the basket is a little confusing at first — rather than un-cinching the drawstrings, you pull on the little gray tabs that are in the middle. It looks a little strange, but it works!
Splurge-worthy? Yes, especially if you do a lot of entertaining
Good for small kitchens? If space is at a premium in your kitchen, this isn't an essential piece of equipment to have. However, it would stack well with other bowls and servingware, and it could double as a fruit basket or other countertop container when not in use.
File this little bread warmer under the "handy" category. Is it essential? Nah. But is it handy? Oh, yes! I think it's probably most useful in a buffet situation where people might be eating at different times or going back for seconds — or when setting out breakfast pastries for house guests who might be waking up at different times. I love the idea that everyone gets a warm roll or pastry no matter when they arrive at the table!
It may not be clear how this basket works — there's a ceramic, cloth-covered disk that fits in the bottom of the basket. You remove the disk (but leave it in the cloth wrapping) and microwave it for 30 seconds. The disk will be warm to the touch and can be picked up by cloth straps if handling it directly is uncomfortable. Fit the disk back inside the basket, pile on the rolls, and cinch the cloth over top. Guests pull on the cloth tabs (not the drawstrings) to open the basket and help themselves.
In my tests, I found this to be an effective way to keep bread warm for the length of a meal. It's a nice touch when having dinner with guests, whether the evening is formal or informal.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Emma Christensen)