Innovation: The best thing since fresh bread
Form and function The Balmuda toaster oven uses steam and carefully calibrated heat cycles to turn store-bought bread into something that smells, feels, and tastes like it’s just popped out of a baker’s oven. Innovator Gen Terao Age 42 Founder and president of Tokyo-area appliance maker Balmuda, which has 50 employees
Background Terao, a high school dropout who spent a decade fronting Japanese rock band the Beach Fighters, started Balmuda in 2003, building aluminum laptop stands.
Price The toaster costs 24,000 yen ($230) and is available in Japan in stores and online. 2.
Cycles Unlike conventional ovens, Balmuda’s toaster uses thermostats to maintain precise, scorchfree warming cycles, which users can customize based on the type of bread.
Origin In 2014, Balmuda began work on a toaster after a rainy-day barbecue taught Terao that humidity could help keep toasted bread moist.
Steam With an included cup, users pour 5 cubic centimeters of water in an opening at the top of the 14-by-13-by-8-inch toaster. A tiny amount of steam traps moisture in bread as it’s gradually warmed, before the toaster finishes it off with a dose of high heat.