Toast without a Toaster

By Carolyn Shearlock, copyright 2011 . All rights reserved.

Toast without a Toaster

I just plain like toast for breakfast, whether it’s homemade bread, bagels, English muffins or even Bimbo.  But we didn’t want a toaster aboard Que Tal, both for space and electricity considerations.  No problem — there are at least 4 ways to make toast without a toaster!

All of these methods produce good results IF you pay constant attention to the toast.  Unlike using a toaster, you just can’t pop the toast in and do other stuff while waiting for it to be ready.  The key to good toast (golden and crunchy on the outside and still soft and moist on the inside) is high heat, and that means the bread can go from white to burnt in just seconds.

Photo of camping toaster

Method 1 – Stove Top Toaster:

UPDATE:  Since originally writing this, I’ve found a much better stove top toaster — the GSI Stainless Toaster (read about it here).

When I was a little girl, I was fascinated by the way my grandma made toast on this weird little gizmo that stood on her stove.  She didn’t call it a “stove top toaster” — it was just her toaster.  (She also had a tendency to forget about the toast, and I was equally fascinated to watch her scrape the burnt bits into the sink with a knife.)

As shown in the photo, these toasters are still made by Coleman and some other companies and work just as well over a gas stove as the camping stove.  You can find them at Wal-mart and camping stores for $5 to $10.  Be sure to get one that folds flat for storage.

Also available at  Coleman Camp Stove Toaster (shown)

You can make up to four pieces of toast at a time, leaning bread against the support, and then flipping it when the first side is done.

Method 2 – Broiler:

Of course, for this to work, you have to have a broiler, which some boat ovens don’t.

  1. Move oven rack to top position.  Preheat broiler until it is red hot.
  2. Slide the rack out, place bread slices on it, then slide it back in.
  3. Keep the oven door cracked and watch for the bread to become golden – the exact time will depend on the heat of your broiler, distance to the rack and moisture in the bread.  It generally takes somewhere between 30 and 60 seconds.
  4. Slide the rack out, quickly flip the bread and slide it back it in.  (Don’t try to reach into the oven to flip the bread – it’s too easy to burn yourself!)
  5. Watch for the second side to turn golden.  It will take less time than the first side did.
  6. Remove and serve.

Method 3 – Dry in a Skillet:

I’ve used this method on occasion, but I don’t like it as well as it can blacken the pan.

  1. Heat skillet over high heat.  Skillet must be hot before you put the bread in it.
  2. Place bread in skillet without oil.
  3. Turn bread over when bottom is golden.
  4. When second side is toasted, remove and serve.

Method 4 – Grilled Bread:

This is a great way to make garlic toast to accompany a meal.  Just sprinkle the butter with a little garlic powder, or mix finely minced garlic or garlic paste into the butter.  Other good flavorings are cinnamon, onion or dill.

  1. Heat skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Lightly butter one side of a slice of bread, like you would do for a grilled cheese sandwich.  When the skillet is hot, put the bread in the pan, buttered side down.
  3. While the first side is cooking, lightly butter the second side.
  4. Flip with a spatula when the first side is golden.
  5. When second side is also golden, remove from the pan and serve.

Read more about this in Grilled Garlic Bread.

Just remember, no matter what technique you choose, you have to watch the toast constantly!

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  1. I used a camping toaster for a while but even toasting was a challenge. The broiler is fine but generates a lot of heat. I ended up toasting in a dry skillet – I haven’t had the blackening problem you mention above. I have used both a Swiss Diamond skillet and a small Teflon pan.

  2. Candy Ann Williams on Facebook says:

    Sinful , horrible for you, but really good tasting variation is to put a dab of bacon grease on your griddle/skillet then put your bread in that to toast-very good but not very healthy-LOL- I gain a pound just smelling my husband’s (as I eat my dry toast!). Hope you have a happy New Year. :-)

  3. Yum! Maybe for a special treat?

  4. Eniko Ilyes DeMarco on Facebook says:

    I use the Coleman camp toaster and a propane stove which gets very hot very quickly. Works great and makes the boat smell so good.

  5. Gloria Rooney says:

    For many years I used the empty pan method on the boat, but just bought a fold flat camping version (not the one that stands up and has four sides). The jury is still out, but I will try it.

  6. We have a keelboat, A Farr 1020, luckily it has a grill in the oven which is great.
    On our Trailer Sailer, we only have a metho stove so I use the dry pan method which is nowhere near as good.

  7. Janice Fleischmann says:

    Been using the dry pan method for years for toast, english muffins and bagels.

  8. Claudia Davis Reshetiloff on Facebook says:

    we make it stovetop in a dry frying pan…

  9. Butter each side, put in pan, brown, eat. Slurp!

  10. We use GSI outdoors toaster. All stainless and folds flat. Only makes on slice at a time but makes it quickly. Available at Amazon for about $14.

  11. Dry skillet toasting does not harm your cast iron skillet. I would never toast in Teflon. Only downside is that our 10″ skillet only fits a couple slices. It helps if you rotate and flip frequently. ( your toast, not yourself :-) )

  12. Buy a toaster that fits over the gas burner! Easy!

  13. Michael Henning says:

    I own an original gas stove toaster that now on its last legs .Bought by my parents to use in a caravan in RSA in early sixties ..its a 4 slice by not S.S. so its finally rusting away . I use it still in my home .I havent seen these for sale anywhere locally and thought of having one made. Haha you cant walk away and get distracted.. result burnt toast . I host many guests off couchsurfing and they all fascinated by this toaster.. thanks for your article

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