Before we bought our first breadmaker, we hemmed and hawed, because (a) breadmakers are not cheap, (b) they are large and take up a lot of space, and (c) we weren’t convinced that we’d use it. After all, we’ve all come home with a fancy new kitchen appliance, like a juicer or yoghurt maker, used it once or twice, and then relegated it to some underused corner of the kitchen, resenting the space it occupies as it gathers dust.
We have now owned at least five breadmakers.
We make bread often. Dr. T uses the machine to make the dough for his awesome pizzas. I make our hamburger buns from dough made in the machine.
So when our old reliable breadmaker finally stopped being so reliable, I did some research into the best bang for one’s buck, breadmaker-wise. Based on consumer reviews, I found Zojirushi, a brand I had never heard of before, and fell in love.
Unfortunately, certain people in the house felt that the “Ferrari of breadmakers,” as he dubbed it, was too pricey.
So we settled for a Cuisinart machine that received some good reviews. Right from the start I was not impressed with this machine – it was inconsistent, for one thing, sometimes producing a lovely loaf and sometimes throwing up a brick; for another, it was the loudest machine I have ever heard. I couldn’t be in the kitchen while it was kneading, it was so loud!
Fortunately, the machine stopped working (and no, it didn’t have an “unfortunate accident.” I really broke, all by itself).
This time I convinced Dr. T by not consulting him 🙂
So now, sitting smugly on our counter, is the Ferrari of breadmakers:
Why is this a great machine?
For us, a breadmaker has to have a few key features – a timer, so we can have bread ready when it needs to be; a rapid setting, so we can have bread even if we have forgotten we needed some; and a dough setting, for the rolls and pizza dough. Beyond that we’re OK; in fact, there were settings on all our previous machines that we never used. Who makes jam in a breadmaker, anyway?
Well, the Zojirushi has all our required features, as well as two kneading blades, which I think means better dough; the pan is also more traditionally loaf-shaped, even more than most rectangular loaf machines. I’m also excited about the sourdough feature – you can prepare starter in the pan in about two hours, then make the bread immediately, and have fresh sourdough. You can also make the starter and keep it going, but I have tried keeping starters in the past and I fear it would not end well.
So far we’ve made a basic white loaf and a rapid whole wheat French loaf, both of which were spectacular – particularly impressive for the rapid loaf, which despite the reduced time and rapid-rise yeast was tall, light and fluffy. Yum!
Tonight’s the next big test – the pizza dough 🙂