Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Sep 15, 2011 04:31 PM

bread machines

Anyone know of a really good bread machine? Not having the greatest luck with my Zoshirushi

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. what's wrong with your Zo? we've been using our Zo mini for about 4 years at a rate of about 2-3 loaves per week. the only problems we have occasionally are a bad batch of yeast or some user malfunction like forgetting an ingredient or forgetting to insert paddle...

    1. I've had my Zo for about 9 years know, and use it 3-5 times a week. I love it. I'm sorry your having troubles. :(

      1. Never touch the things myself, but my mother gave in to arthritis and bought a Zoirushi- after another one she didn't like, don't remember what. She said the recipes that came with it were pretty useless, but she developed her own recipes and it always worked fine.

        1. Zojirushi is one of the best brands; I own one myself. You should say a bit about your experiences, and then people will be able to judge the situation. What's the problem?

          11 Replies
          1. re: Bada Bing

            Been using machines for years and baked by hand before they were invented. I've been using many of Beth Hensperger's recipes from her "The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook". Unfortunately SAF yeast is no longer available and I feel that the yeast labeled Bread Machine yeast isn't an exact equivalent. Could be half a teaspoon too much but I don't really know.
            My problem is that lately the top of the loaf doesn't brown at all though the rest of the loaf os fine. That could mean that either the machine is faulty after these many years of use, or there is something wrong with the rise.

            1. re: mytymyt

              I was alarmed when you said SAF yeast is not available, but luckily it is, at least on Amazon:


              If you're using active dry yeast, then you'd need to use about 50% more to match instant. Sounds as if you're not using that, though.

              I looked at my Zojirushi manual, and its only suggestion concerning insufficient browning is to increase the sugar by a 1/2 teaspoon. But if your machine is acting differently from the way it did before, there might be more going on with it.

              In fact, I have tended to use the machine mostly for mixing and kneading and not so much for baking. On doing some Googling, I see there's no shortage of people feeling that their Zoji doesn't brown the bread as much as they'd like. Good luck!

              1. re: Bada Bing

                I've talked to the SAF manufacturer/owner/sales manager, whatever the title. He said to use volume for volume. I have always done that no matter what recipe. He also told me that SAF is the same yeast as sold by Costco and other retailers under the name of Red Star.

                Also, I have always added yeast as the last ingredient, on top of all the other dry ingredients.

                1. re: Rella

                  Was the SAF person comparing different brands of instant yeast? Or was he talking of instant yeast compared to active dry yeast?

                  I've not tested the claim, but have seen in Cooks Illustrated and elsewhere that instant yeast has a higher percentage of yeasty beasties by volume than does active dry yeast, so they recommend extra of the latter when subbing. Even if that's true, of course, the difference will sometimes be negligible--just taking a bit longer for a dough to double in size or what not.

                  1. re: Bada Bing

                    He said that SAF is the same product as Red Yeast.


                    He said to use the same measurement for regular dry yeast as instant yeast.

                    We talked at length, I was surprised he gave me so much time.

                    I realize everyone has different opinions and experience regarding active vs. instant. I am only offering mine. I've owned a number of bread machines and have made artisan bread for years.

                    1. re: Rella

                      Hmmmm. Red Star makes several kinds of yeast, and I assume that the one that matches SAF Instant would be the Red Star Bread Machine yeast, not the Red Star Active Dry:


                      Was the fellow saying that the two Red Star yeasts are interchangeable?

                      1. re: Bada Bing

                        "Was the fellow saying that the two Red Star yeasts are interchangeable?"

                        We did not discuss 'interchangeable' Red Star yeasts.

                        I still use SAF as my preferred (instant) yeast mainly because I have it on hand and am used to buying it. But I have bought Red Star active dry yeast (NOT instant) and I always use the same amount. i.e., if a recipe calls for active dry yeast 1/2 tsp., and "my" baking technique at that particular time calls for 1/2 tsp., I will never use less or more of either one. I always use them interchangeably, no matter what the recipe calls for: active or instant.

                        I have no knowledge of any other Red Star yeast "types." I have heard there is rapid, etc., and yeast in packages, but I never have bought it in decades, only when I first started making bread. I speak only to Red Star active and SAF instant in the large package. I have frozen SAF for two years and used successfully, for a year after taking it out of the freezer.

                2. re: Bada Bing

                  I only use my bread machine for mixing and kneading pizza dough. I have a Electrolux mixer, but it is certainly too big to use for a spur of the moment pizza.

                  1. re: Bada Bing

                    Tried to thank you for all your help but my email got a little flummoxed. Have ordered the

                    SAF from Amazon and will give the Zoji one more chance before calling the company.

                    I don't have the physical strength to do artisanal breads the way I did 30 and 40 years

                    ago, but rather than have that cardboard they call supermarket bread, I can still throw a few

                    ingredients together each week and let the machine do what it can.

                    1. re: mytymyt

                      Good for you. I don't have the strength to do breads, and only with the help of my strong husband am I able to continue on.

                      One thing I find great about a bread machine is its ability to make a heavily grained bread, whereas I find it almost impossible without adding too much white flour.

                  2. re: mytymyt

                    ok. so top browning comes from reflective heat. I use about 1 1/2 t of yeast - the bread rises just short of touching the top of the machine and i get a nice browning except where the glass peek window is. have you tried adding a layer of heavy foil just under the lid? it would mean blocking the view window but make sure you punch holes where the vents are so the steam can escape.
                    i get our SAF 1lb bags of yeast locally but you can also get it at

                3. I have a Breadman TR2500BC Ultimate which makes 1, 1.5, and 2# loaves. They're supposed to be horizontal, but I find them to be horizontal-ish, so I do the last rise in a loaf pan and bake in the oven.