Zojirushi Bread Maker - I Love Mine
I've been making bread in a bread machine since the 1990s. I'm on my second and favorite machine - the Zojirushi Home Bakery Bread Machine model V20. The current X20 model they offer is comparable to my older model. Of the two I have owned, this one is the best performer. The motor is strong and has stood up to the rigors of regular use for the last few years.
My first bread maker was a Toastmaster Bread Box. It was okay but not sturdy enough for my needs. Frequently I experienced issues with it not baking correctly and mostly used it for kneading dough which I baked outside of the machine. After about a year of use it was ready for the garbage. I loved several of the recipes in the book that came with the Toastmaster and have adapted them with success to the Zojirushi. I shopped around for some time before settling on this brand and model and am I ever glad.
A sturdy machine
I cook and bake a lot. I use a heavy duty Professional 6 Kitchen Aid mixer if that gives you any indication of the level of baking I do at home. Sometimes I cook for dinner parties and gatherings which end up being more the size of a small crowd. My demands for quality kitchen appliances necessarily run high. There is nothing I hate more than to pay good money for a piece of equipment which I expect to last for many years, only to have to replace it within a year or so. Therefore I am willing to spend a little extra for the quality that will serve my needs and last a good long time.
The Zojirushi suits me perfectly. It has not one but two kneading blades to get the job done with the utmost efficiency. The LCD control panel is a dream to operate. So far this machine has consistently produced the quality of bread I demand. Some days I bake as many as three loaves consecutively with no problems at all. It has never let me down. I freeze the loaves not immediately needed to save myself some time later on.
A money saver
Yes, at a bit over $200 this machine is a little pricey. But as the adage goes, you get what you pay for. This machine should last me several more years. I definitely feel I already have my money's worth.
For a quality loaf of fresh baked bread from the bakery, you'll now pay about $4. I'm not talking about the mass produced, plastic bagged, full of cheap-ingredients-and-chemicals bread that you get at the discount market. I mean good quality bread that's baked in small bakeries with wholesome, top quality ingredients. It costs me less than $1.50 to make a 1 ½ pound loaf in my bread machine. That number includes the electricity to run the machine but does not factor in the cost of the machine itself. Mine paid for itself long ago. If you use two loaves a week, it will take only a year for the Zojirushi to pay for itself - less if you use it to make all your other breads too.
Quality bread & time saver
I take comfort in knowing my home baked bread is of the highest quality and freshness possible. I know the quality of ingredients that go into it. I know who baked it, whose hands handled it, and how clean the environment surrounding it is. These things are equally important to me as the money I save.
The beauty part of using a bread machine is that it takes so little time. I have my basic recipe memorized now but I used to have it on a card near my machine. It takes me 5 minutes or less to put the ingredients in, close the lid and push the start button. 3 ½ hours later I take out the bread, cool, then slice it and put it away. That's maybe another 5-7 minutes of my time.
My Zojirushi has a "completed/warm" cycle on it for times when I can't get to it as soon as it's done. It also has a delay timer on it so I can put my ingredients in, leave for the day and come home to a fresh baked loaf.
Food for the Soul
The smell wafting through my home when bread is baking is something that I cherish. Everything seems right in the world while bread is baking. When my family smells it they come running for the first steaming hot slice of bread that melts the butter the instant it's spread.
My favorite way to make bread is still the old fashioned way by hand, but I simply don't have the time right now to do it that way. The bread machine makes it easy to enjoy the freshness and quality I and my family demand without me having to expend the time to do it by hand.
If, like many people, you have a bread machine sitting in your cabinet still unused, get it out. Make friends with it. If you don't have one, I highly recommend the Zojirushi.
Bake some bread. It's good for the soul. Create some memories of bread for your family to cherish.