Zojirushi breadmaker question

bryansdaDecember 11, 2011

Does anyone here bake in their Zojirushi? Do you get a good done crust without the bottom being over done? I'm thinking of getting one as a Christmas/birthday gift and know she will use it to bake in instead of just kneading the dough. I've read in a couple of reviews that the top crust doesn't get as done as it should and the bottom is over done. I thought I'd come the people in the know and use this machine all the time.

Thank you for any information you can give me.


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My second choice would be the West Bend� 41300 Hi Rise� Bread Maker, which has great reviews. Does anyone know anything about this machine?

Thank you, Pam

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 2:40AM
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I use my Zojirushi on a regular basis, and have for many years now, and make all our breads - loaves, English Muffins, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, hot dog and hamburger buns, sandwich buns, etc. I find it's best used for making the dough and bake outside the bread machine because I have more control of the loaves (size and style) than baking in the Zo.

I also tested the Zo with a Watt-A-Meter and found it took .35 kwh of energy (.02 cents at our rate) to bake a loaf in the bread machine. It's actually cheaper for me to make a larger amount of dough in the Zo and bake TWO loaves of bread in my Sharp Microwave/Convection oven. Which only takes 20-minutes and NO pre-heating.

If I want small 1-pound loaves, a crustless sandwich loaf baked in a Pullman Pan, or make enough dough to make one loaf and an 8-inch pan of dinner rolls or 6 cinnamon rolls, baking in the machine doesn't allow those options as easily.

I recently developed a low-carb bread recipe for a diabetic friend and had to bake in the Zo and found it worked very well on all the test recipes. The few loaves I've baked in the Zo were very good, I just don't like the holes where the paddles are and find the loaves much too large for our personal use. We typically eat one 1-pound loaf of bread each week, so I like to make 1-pound loaves.

The King Arthur Flour Test Kitchens use a Zojirushi for making their dough. They say it makes dough better than by hand or with a stand mixer (which tends to aerate the dough too much). Several years ago they showed a side-by-side test of a loaf of whole wheat bread in their catalog (using the same recipe) with the dough made in a stand mixer and in the Zo and baked in loaf pans. The loaf where the dough was mixed in the Zo was about an inch taller than the loaf mixed in a stand mixer.

I generally make 100% whole wheat or multi-grain breads using freshly-milled flour. Not all bread machines are capable of mixing 100% whole wheat, and most bread machines suggest you NOT use freshly-milled flour. I can easily mix up a recipe that makes well over 2-pounds of dough, and do it week after week.

King Arthur Flour has the Zo on sale just now with free shipping and it would be my choice if you want a real workhorse of a bread machine. There are many of us who use a Zo around here, but mostly for mixing dough. I also teach bread machine classes and the Zojirushi is by far the best machine I've seen in these classes. I've also met more people who switched from another brand to a Zo than any other brand.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 5:04AM
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Thank you Grainlady, I knew you used the Zo but didn't know if you had ever baked in it. You are always a wealth of knowledge and I appreciate all of your posts. Thank you.

Would you mind sharing the recipe for the low carb bread recipe?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 9:50AM
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Pam, I've also baked in my Zo and it worked fine. I don't mind the holes in the bottom, but like Grainlady, I like to have more options so I make the dough in the machine and bake in the oven.

I make pizza crust for the kids, cinnamon rolls, burger buns, breadsticks. I find that I don't make a lot of traditional loaves, other than Elery's favorite honey whole wheat.

My only real complaint is that I don't like the crust in any of the machines as well, they seem kind of steamed, and not as crusty as I like.

I also vote for the Zo, it's a great machine and I've made so much bread in mine that I don't even try to guess any more. It's also so simple to use that my granddaughter has been using it since she was 5 or 6 and now that she's 8, I bought her a bread machine of her very own. At GoodWill, $7 I think. It's not a Zo and she reminds me of that, LOL, saying that she likes mine better than she does hers.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 10:06AM
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Thank you Annie. I've been reading about the Zo and the West Bend and both sound like nice machines. They both have what my daughter wants in one, twin blades, horizontal loaf and the WB seems to be able to handle whole wheat. It would help if I knew how much she would use it.....LOL. I gave her my bread machine but took it back once I got the Honey Wheat roll/bread recipe. Plus mine doesn't make a horizontal loaf.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 11:39AM
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The low-carb bread machine recipe isn't quite ready for "prime time". I make it once a month and "tweak" it each time I make it, but here's a list of the ingredients I use:
vital wheat gluten, almond flour, rye flour, whey protein isolate, flaxmeal, flour (1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose, einkorn, spelt or whole wheat - and I will try substituting with coconut flour next time), powdered whole eggs (or fresh shell eggs), hi-maize flour, agave nectar or palm sugar, chia seeds, SAF Instant Yeast, salt, water, kefir (or buttermilk).


    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 5:45PM
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Thanks Grainlady, that sure sounds interesting. I'm not so sure I could find all the ingredients around my small town.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 8:53PM
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I have a Zojirushi breadmaker too. I agree with Annie and Grainlady that it's a great appliance for making yeast doughs. It's sturdy and can knead 100% whole wheat doughs easily and efficiently.

It also has some great advantages over other bread machines. You can cancel the pre-heat cycle and go directly to kneading. This is especially nice when you have a whole grain dough and want to let the dough mix a bit, stop the kneading for a rest (or autolyse) period, and then resume kneading. It's programmable, so you can create your own settings -- perhaps increasing the kneading time or rising time. It's also great for baking marathons -- preparing several different doughs, one after another. The machine doesn't wear out or overheat from extended kneading periods. And the machine has definite time settings for its various cycles. It's very easy to set a timer so you can check the dough during kneading just in case it might need a bit more liquid or flour.

All that said, I have found that it does not bake very well. The sides & bottom come out over done and tough while the top is definitely under done. I've talked with Zojirushi reps and have never gotten any good advice. I've read countless reviews and tried some suggestions with no success. I've tried baking on the "light" crust setting to keep the sides & bottom from getting so overdone. However, the end result is that the top crust is barely done.

So this is what I've ended up doing: During the winter I use the Zo for making dough and bake everything in my oven. I bought a cheaper Panasonic for my "summer" baking. It does not have many of the features I like in the Zo, but the crust comes out better. It doesn't create a normal bread shape, so I usually make the smallest loaf possible in order to have slices that sort of resemble regular bread slices.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 1:48AM
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I live out in the middle of nowhere, and can assure there is very little in my low-carb bread I purchase locally. If you study the benefits of those ingredients you will soon understand why I have them in my low-carb bread, especially designed for a diabetic friend who is extremely carb sensitive. My husband's family runs rampant with diabetics, so these are now pantry items at our house and used all the time in hopes he can avoid diabetes via his diet.

Shambo hit the nail on the head when she mentioned doing a marathon baking and using a Zo. On those occasions, I make the dough until the machine stops kneading. Press the button to stop the bread machine and take the dough out and place it in a dough rising bucket for rising before forming it for the final proofing and baking. Add a new recipe of ingredients to the bread machine (which I already have measured and ready-to-go), so I have consecutive batches being made in amounts that are easy to handle and my oven will accommodate for baking. I rarely have to retard any dough in the refrigerator that way, or make those enormous recipes like my mother-in-law did using 27 cups of flour and 12 envelopes of yeast for her sweet dough recipe. I don't know how she managed to mix and knead that much dough by hand in the world's dinkiest kitchen...


    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 5:26AM
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Shambo thank you for your information. You are having the same problem with the baking that I've read about in the reviews. As good as the Zo is, if she can't bake in it it won't get used.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 8:31AM
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I've had bread machines since 1992 and have worn out my fair share. My favorite up to now was a horizontal loaf West Bend that's not made anymore. I now own a Zo mini 1 pound loaf machine and love it. Unless it's a specialty bread or pizza or roll dough, I've always baked my bread in my machine and have had no complaints. I guess I'm just lazy and don't want to mess with moving it to a pan, but I like the crust on the loaves I get from my machine.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 1:08PM
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I have baked in my Zo bread machine since I got it and the crust has come out fine. Top, bottom and sides are done nicely.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 1:27PM
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I bought my Zojirushi three years ago. Perhaps older models baked better, or, on the other hand, maybe a newer model has corrected the problems so many reviewers complain about.

I've found that the lightly done top crust is more noticeable with white flour loaves. The brown of whole wheat flour seems to mask the underdone top crust.

Because of the way all breadmakers bake, the bottom & sides of machine-baked loaves will always be a bit darker and more overdone than the tops. The problem I've run into is that with my Zojirushi, the tops are considerably lighter. I thought it was a fluke until I read so many similar reviews. And when I called Zojirushi customer service, the rep acknowledged that It was a common complaint.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 9:14PM
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How do I program the Zo not to pre-heat?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 10:48PM
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I've got the BBCC-X20. Here's what the instructions say regarding turning off the pre-heat cycle:

"During the course selection, press both the TIME and CYCLE key at the same time for more than 3 seconds to switch to PREHEAT OFF function."

"During the PREHEAT OFF function, the Display shows PREHEAT OFF, but it will not appear while it is cooking.

"To cancel the PREHEAT OFF function, press both the TIME and CYCLE key at the same time for more than 3 seconds."

As I said earlier, I find this ability useful especially when kneading 100% whole grain flours. I can get the dough through the slow knead for about five minutes. Then turn off the machine for a 20 minute autolyse and turn it back on, bypassing the preheat and going directly to kneading. It's also useful when I know everything is already at room temperature and there's no need for pre-heating.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 11:05PM
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Thnak you. I don't think the instructions on mine say that. I meant to call Zojirushi and ask but never did.
I prefer the taste of bread made with slightly cooler ingredients.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 8:20AM
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I know this post is a bit old, but thought I would post it anyway. I own a "Zo" and they are fantastic bread machines. The best feature is the fact they now have a built in heater in the lid which will give you a even crust color. They are quality built machines and you pay a bit more but are worth every penny.


Here is a link that might be useful: Bread Machine Reviews

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 11:26AM
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I have a new Zo Home Bakery Virtuoso and am trying to get the "Select Course" feature to show "Basic Wheat" on the viewer. However, it just keeps toggling between "Basic" and "Quick" white. The arrow never moves to "Wheat." What am I doing incorrectly?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 10:18AM
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I was checking around, and acording to the Educated Baker (http://www.educatedbaker.com) the Zojirushi is a great bread machine for whole breads.
Given that this will be my focus with a bread machine, I'll buy me one of these.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2014 at 9:43AM
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