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BREAD MACHINE RECOMMENDATIONS, PLEASE!!

Well, hubby and I gave away our bread machine about 2 yrs ago because we hadn't used it in quite some time. So, of course, we have now decided that we simply can't live without one ;-)

Any recommendations from fellow Chowhounders?? Any and all advice/comments are welcome from your experiences!

Thank you all!!

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  1. ONe word: Zojirushi (Zoji for short).

    1. I agree, Zojirushi $200 hands down. Don't waste your money on other brands. I got mine at kingarthurflour.com, free shipping, no sales tax, great tip sheet, excellent advice line. From basic bread, I've advanced to the artisan breads. You'll find that as your skills and taste improve, you'll use it for just mixing and proofing and then baking it on a stone in the oven. heck, I even make my own hot dog and hamburger buns.
      Like you, my previous cheapo bread machine was given away. The reason was I never had a good recipe foundation and breads were duds. There's lots of bread machine cookbooks out there that are junk.
      I finally found THE defintive bread machine cookbook. It's called "The bread lover's Bread Machine Cookbook" by Beth Henspergerger ISBN 9781558321564. It has everything, the why's and the recipes. Get it and you won't regret. I haven't bought a loaf of bread in three months.

      3 Replies
      1. re: gourmetwannabe

        And I will second that book recommendation. The fundamental book to have for bread machines, from a master artisanal baker who's not sniffy about machines.

        1. re: gourmetwannabe

          I don't know that book but would enthusiastically recommend "Rustic European Breads from your Bread Maker" by Linda West Eckhardt and Diana Collingwood Butts.

          1. re: rainey

            The title of the book is actually "Rustic European Breads from Your Bread MACHINE" (helpful if you go searching on Amazon). Thanks for this tip. It's been a GREAT book!

        2. I was just checking out the Zojirushi website and they have only 2 bread machines. A regular size horizontal and a smaller, vertical one that makes mini loaves. I'm assuming I should consider the larger version?!! My husband just loves hot, fresh bread. I was reading some reviews on line (for some other brand) and some people were saying they preferred the vertical machines because the horizontal one cooked unevenly (or something along that line). Perhaps it was because it was an inferior product, or operator error?!

          The price difference between the 2 sizes is only about $30 or so. I would hate to pay the money for the small version and then wish I had super-sized!!

          Thanks for the info!!

          5 Replies
            1. re: BabyBee

              I use a Breadman machine. It has one mixing paddle instead of two, as the Zo has. When I start the machine, I always make sure the mix picks up the flour at each end of the pan with a rubber spatula. This gives me a chance to adjust the liquid, if needed. It is no big problem and only takes a few minutes.

              1. re: BabyBee

                The Zo manufacturer told me that the mini Zo was developed for 2 person households that don't eat a lot of bread. Personally, I'd spring for the regular Zo. You could use a stand mixer, but you should get a good book to go with it or go to bakery school.

                1. re: BabyBee

                  Yup- Go with the big one. I have had mine for years, and love it. I will say, however, that I only use it to make the dough. I make pizza doug and frech bread- and bought a pullman pan to make sandwich loaves. I prefer to bake the bread in the oven..

                2. Know this isn't exactly what you're asking...but do you have a Cuisinart or Kitchenaid mixer? Then you already have the machines you need to make far superior breads than a bread machine with almost no more work.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Mandymac

                    But the mixer can't mix and proof in the same container. Not to mention, the Zo allows you to customize your recipes' rising times, mixing times, proofing times to taste. The only thing that disturbs people is that you can bake in the bread pan. Then again, isn't that the same thing as putting the bread pan in the oven.

                    1. re: gourmetwannabe

                      You can also set the timer and wake to the smell of fresh bread.:-)

                      I can't compare to others but have had the Zojuirushi for over 10 years. Don't use it that often, though.

                      1. re: gourmetwannabe

                        I mix and proof in my kitchenaid mixer bowl and i can make all sorts of adjustments to the recipe, too. I just don't understand the difference between a kitchenaid and a breadmachine where you remove the bread and bake it in the oven really. can someone educate me?

                        1. re: eLizard

                          As you've pointed out, the stand mixer is perfectly capable of mixing up dough. Of course, without a stand mixer you can make bread by hand too.

                          The bread machine is just a step up in convenience because it's calibrated to mix, knead and incubate or proof the ingredients on its own once you measure and put in the ingredients. OTOH, you can stand over it as it mixes and make your adjustments with a sprinkle of flour or a spritz of water until your little knuckle is perfectly happy to let the machine continue to completion of the dough to your exacting specifications.

                          Its closed container also makes it possible to walk away from a preferment for 24 hours without it drying out or being subject to stray items dropping into the bucket as you use other ingredients in your kitchen. Nor do you need to be concerned with dropping temperatures since the machine is fully insulated and what changes occur will register inside the bucket so slowly that they won't shock the dough. And then, of course, when the sponge is fully mature, you just spend a few minutes popping in the second group of ingredients and walk away again to return to dough ready for shaping, the final rise and baking.

                          If you're happy with the results you get from your mixer there's no need to get a bread machine. I happened to already have a bread machine when I discovered the difference preferments and hand baking made. Now, I love how simple the machine makes it for me to make my own bread on a regular basis. When my machine goes (it's over 20 years old), I'll *definitely* replace it.

                    2. Well, OK then!! Zoji it is!!

                      I don't have any kind of kitchen mixer. Since my husband is a hot, fresh bread hound, I tried my hand at making the dough from scratch ... let's just say, I'm no good at it!! ;-)

                      Thank you all for your comments and advice!!