ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Bread Making Machines: Zojirushi vs Panasonic Bread Makers

Updated on April 12, 2011

Do your loaves of bread turn out like bricks? Is your crust too hard/soft? Do you know what your bread machine is capable of? Here's the skinny on selecting and using a bread machine successfully.

Selecting the Right Bread Machine

Bread machines run the gamut from basic bakers to high-end machines with every bell and whistle imaginable. Before you begin to shop, think about how often you will actually use your bread machine and what you plan on making with it.

There are two basic types of bread machines: vertical bakers and horizontal bakers. A 'tall' or 'vertical' bread machine (the bread pan sits vertically and you fill it from the top) definitely will take up less room on your counter. I don't recommend these, however, as it's a bit more difficult to put the ingredients in properly and monitor how the dough is coming along. Also, your loaves will come out extremely square looking without that nice, risen top.

A 'horizontal' bread machine's pan looks like a very normal loaf pan. It's easy to work with and simple to monitor the bread as it's being kneaded. And when the loaf is done, it will look just like a store-bought loaf.

Bread machines also come in different sizes - 1 lb., 1.5 lb., etc. A 1 lb. bread machine will turn out smaller loaves that give you about 8 slices of bread. Smaller bread machines, however, make loaves much quicker -- under an hour usually for a 1 lb. loaf. So you'll need to decide if you want to make more frequent but smaller loaves on the fly, or if you're fine with waiting a few hours for your bread to bake in a larger size machine.

In any consumer publication, you will find the highest-rated bread machines are the Zojirushi. (I happen to own the Model BBCC-X20 priced at around $200.) It will handle even the stiffest dough with ease and has almost every bell and whistle you could want.

If you want a more simple and less expensive bread machine, I would suggest the Panasonic Model SD-YD250 which retails for approximately $130.

There are cheaper models. Don't do it.


What Features Do You Really Need?

These are the features that I consider must-haves in a bread machine:

  • Dough cycle
  • Dual kneading paddles
  • Viewing window
  • Crust options (light, medium, dark)
  • Horizontal pan
  • Preheat cycle

Consider these nice-to-have features only:

  • Jam, cake or other non-bread/dough cycles
  • Sourdough starter cycle
  • Custom cycles
  • Delay timer (if you want to wake up to freshly baked bread in the morning)
  • Additional ingredients beeper (lets you know when you can add ingredients such as raisons, nuts or chocolate chips)

What Can You Make?

When I bought my first bread machine, I really wasn't thinking beyond loaves of bread. I didn't realize that these also make perfect yeast dough that you can then mold and bake on your own. I now find myself using my bread machine to make perfect little hamburger buns for sliders, cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, pizza dough, bagels, soft pretzels, and much more.

My bread machine has both a quick dough and a basic dough cycle. I use whichever cycle best matches the recipe I am trying to make. When the cycle is complete, I dump the dough onto my bread board, cover it and let it rest for 10 minutes, and then forge ahead with the recipe.

And you don't need to look for bread machine-specific recipes. Just about any bread or yeast dough recipe can adapt itself to a bread machine. Most of the recipes I've tried in my bread machine didn't need any tweaking of the recipe or method at all.

Making That First Loaf of Bread

Follow these basic steps and you'll have perfect bread in no time:

  1. Make sure that all liquids are warm. I follow this rule even though my bread machine has a preheat cycle. Yeast needs warmth (around 100 degrees) to flourish and grow.
  2. Take all liquids in your recipe (oils,water, milk, eggs, butter, etc.) and put them in the bread pan first.
  3. Add the salt (and other spices except for the sugar) called for in the recipe to the liquids.
  4. Measure your flour carefully. Add the flour on top of the liquids RESERVING 1/2 CUP.
  5. Use a spoon or your hands to gently move the flour around so that all of the liquid is covered and the flour forms a 'seal' around the edges.
  6. Sprinkle the sugar around the edges of the pan on top of the flour.
  7. Make a small well in the center of the flour, being careful not to break the seal and let any liquid onto the flour, and add your yeast into the well.
  8. A few minutes into the first knead cycle, lift the cover and check the dough. Add more flour or more liquid (milk or water) a little at a time so that the dough has the proper consistency. The dough should be pulling away from the pan so that the pan is almost clean, and it should spring back when you poke it with your finger.
  9. If your recipe calls for two knead cycles, check dough consistence again at the beginning of the second cycle.
  10. Add any solid ingredients (nuts, chips, raisins, etc.) a few minutes before the end of the second knead cycle.

Bread Machine Tips and Tricks

  • If you are using your bread machine's delay cycle, do not use recipes that call for fresh ingredients that may spoil such as milk, eggs or cheese.
  • If you are making a sweet bread, you may have to tweak the recipe before trying it in your bread machine. You may need to use extra yeast or cut back on the salt. I recommend making your sweetbread dough in the bread machine, and then forming and baking it by hand.
  • If your bread rises and then collapses, you had too high a ratio of liquids.
  • When adding in solids like raisins, they will incorporate into the dough a bit easier if you also add in a few teaspoons of additional flour at the same time.
  • When making whole-grain breads, be sure to use a mix of whole-grain flours and unbleached all-purpose flour. If you don't, your loves will come out very dense and will not rise much.
  • If your crusts come out too soft, decrease the oil or butter in your recipe. If your crusts come out too hard, decrease the oil or butter.
  • If you're not having much luck baking bread in your bread machine, try duplicating the recipe and using the dough setting. Once the cycle is complete, follow your recipe from where it instructs you to "punch down the dough". Shape and bake by hand.

How To Make Foccacia In Your Bread Machine

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)