Does anyone have a bread machine that bakes really well?

shamboDecember 17, 2013

Preferably one that makes a standard sized loaf. I'm thinking ahead to a birthday gift early next year. Someone who wants to start making homemade bread but doesn't want to fuss with the baking part.

I've got two machines -- a Zojirushi BBCC-X20 and a Panasonic SD-YD250. The Zojirushi does a fabulous job kneading all kinds of doughs, but it's not so great when it comes to baking in the machine. The top crust comes out much lighter than the sides and bottom. It doesn't bother me too much because I usually make rolls, buns, bagels, and boules. During the summer when it's so hot, I use the Panasonic because it bakes more uniformly. However, it's got a weird shape -- very tall, squat loaves.

So, do any of you have bread machines that make traditional sized loaves and do a good job of the baking part? With evenly browned crust (or as even as a bread machine can produce).

Just trying to get some ideas. Thanks!

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Sounds like you have two of the best machines already with a lot of "dough" (pun intended) wrapped up in them! I have an Oster that bakes like cr*p! But I've started just baking the bread in the oven and it turns out fantastic! I just could never get a decent loaf out of it baking in the machine.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 10:22PM
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I bought the newer Z machine that has a top browning element BB-PAC20 - "Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker". It has a 2# standard loaf size pan. I use it for my gluten free loaves that are difficult to look appetizing without some top browning (it has a GF setting that really works well). It has two short mixer paddles in the bottom and really does a great job of making bread start to finish, and I'm pretty picky about bread from a machine. I have 4 Goodwill finds and then I spent real money on this new one for exclusively GF. The gluten free recipes I like best are from the "125 Best Gluten-Free Bread Machine Recipes" in case anyone is interested.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 7:23AM
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I also have the new Zoji with the top browning element.
Here's a photo of my first loaf of bread, the basic bread from Zoji's recipe book. (with a slice cut off because I couldn't wait!)

And a photo of an apple spice cake:

Recently I have been choosing the darkest crust setting. These were cooked with the medium. Either way, the color is uniform on the top and sides.

I bought mine from BedBathandBeyond with a 20% off coupon. They were also available at about the same price from Amazon. Pricey, but I cannot imagine being more pleased.

I see no difference in color between top and sides and bottom in a loaf.

This post was edited by Bellsmom on Wed, Dec 18, 13 at 7:54

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 7:48AM
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I sure do wish I'd waited a year and gotten the Zo that browns the top.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 9:44AM
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Heads UP!

Amazon has an upcoming Lightning Deal on the Zo Virtuoso
BB-PAC20. Starts at 10 AM today. Remembered seeing in when I scanned thru the deals earlier this am. (Regular price on Amazon is $249--B,B&B has it listed at $279.)

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 10:04AM
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That is a great price! The Amazon deal price is $199.95 plus no tax and free shipping if you have Amazon Prime!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 11:48AM
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Oh, it sure it a good price. I had to leave the house before the deal came up so didn't know what the discount was going to be.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 3:40PM
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Who to thank first? Thanks Nancedar and Bellsmom for your testimonials. As I said, I really love my present Zojirushi because it does such a good job kneading. And I really like the standard loaf size feature. It was just the undercooked top that disappointed me so much.

Thanks, too, to Ci-lantro for the good price info. I haven't checked it out yet, but is my next stop after typing this message. If the deal is as good as it sounds, I may end up getting a Virtuosos for me too.

Nancy, thanks also for the glowing reports about the Virtuoso and gluten free loaves. One of my granddaughters has a gluten sensitivity, so we could actually make bread together when she visits. That would definitely be a fun project.

Any other opinions are welcome too. I'm off to Amazon...

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 5:35PM
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I just checked Amazon. The Virtuoso is listed at $249.95 while the Supreme is listed for $199.95. The Supreme is identical to the older model that I have. I also checked King Arthur Flour, and they're selling the Virtuoso for $279.95, so the Amazon price is better, especially if you're a prime member.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 5:57PM
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Shambo, Amazon had the Virtuoso on a 'Lightening' deal earlier today for $199.95. When I checked on it this afternoon, there were only two minutes left to claim the deal...and only 60% had been claimed.....soooo, it might be back on the lightening deal in the next few days???

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 7:10PM
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Ci-lantro, how do you "find" a lightening deal? Just look up the item? or is there someplace special to look? Believe me, I'd love to find a cheaper deal on the Virtuoso if it's at all possible. Thanks!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 10:37PM
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Amazon also has price match guarantee in case you find it cheaper somewhere else (love Amazon).

Anyway, I have a 15 year old Wm. Sonoma bread machine that produces a decent, browned loaf of bread. I'm sure they've improved on them since I got this one so might want to check into that brand. It is quite noisy, though.

I've read the Zorijushi is the best (I think Cooks Illustrated) but everything is subjective.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 10:54PM
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Shambo, on Amazon's home page--at the very top of the screen next to where it will say 'Shambo's', click on 'Today's Deals'.

The first set of 'deals' will be the 'Gold Box Deal of the Day.'

Just below the Gold Box Deal will be the Lightning Deals. There will be a bunch of these limited time deals...scroll across to see all the current ones and upcoming ones. They have a time limit on claiming the deal & completing the purchase. I think it's a couple of hours but you'll see that when you click on an item & add it to your cart.

Another tip...when you get to the Lightning Deals, look over on the right hand side of the screen--Click on 'Sort by Category' to hone in on your area of interest (vs having to scan thru a bunch of junk you have zero interest in.)

Yesterday, there were a bunch of small appliance deals (Zo, Panasonic, Cuisanart, etc.)--not so much today. :-(

Anyway, happy hunting.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 1:09PM
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Not as good a deal as the Amazon one was, but BB&B at 279 -20% with a coupon= 279-56=223 + tax. That brings it very close to the Amazon price. And BB&B has a super return policy if there is a problem.

If you don't presently get BB&B coupons you can sign up at any store or on line.

Either way, it is a wonderful machine.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 2:18PM
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"-----a Zojirushi BBCC-X20 ------ but it's not so great when it comes to baking in the machine. The top crust comes out much lighter than the sides and bottom. --------"

I wonder if it can get better if you put a few thick towels on top of the machine. Just the top of the bread compartment, not on the display panel and not on the sides.

I don't have a Zo to try it out.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 5:10PM
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DC, I haven't done what you suggested, but I did try covering the window on the inside with foil to keep any heat from escaping. No difference. I've looked at several reviews, and it seems to be a universal problem. But, as I said before, I mainly use the machine for kneading, so I'm not super disappointed myself. But for someone else, I'd like a machine that bakes more uniformly.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 11:41PM
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