The bread machine gets a lot of use here, at least the dough cycle does. My wife and I make all our own bread products (like buns, pitas, rolls, etc), so it seems like we are making some kind of bread all the time. I can’t even remember when I got my old machine, but it is at least 15 years old, and maybe even older. I noticed a while back that the bearing was worn out on the mechanism that turns the paddle, making it wobbly and noisy when used. I saw that as an excuse to get a newer and better machine. It didn’t take me long to settle on a Zojirushi. They gets rave reviews everywhere I look, including the folks at King Arthur who say they have 7 of them in their test kitchen!
As I said, I use the bread machine for kneading and fermenting all kinds of dough, but not for actually baking bread. One nice feature of the Zo’ is that it has three programmable cycles. I can see that being handy for sourdough recipes that need more time to rise. Or for spelt recipes that need less kneading time. I have never made any of my spelt based recipes (like the Whole Grain Spelt Pita Bread or the Spelt Sourdough Sandwich Bread) using a bread machine because my old one would have kneaded the dough for far too long, and it wasn’t programmable. But I have hopes that will change once I put the new machine to use. The Zojirushi also uses two paddles in the bread pan, unlike my old machine which only had one. That should make for improved mixing and kneading operation.
My first use of the new machine was to make something I’ve made lots of times: Moomies Famous Burger Buns. This is a recipe that was originally designed for use in a bread machine, and one that I have never made any other way. The new bread machine did a wonderful job, and the buns turned out great.
For the second time I made use of the programmable option and whipped up some of the Spelt Sourdough Sandwich Bread. I can see the first slicing tomatoes getting ripe in my near future, and that means sandwiches will soon follow. I setup a cycle for 5 minutes of kneading, and 90 minutes of rising time. The bread machine did its job well, and after that I formed the dough into a loaf and put it into a bread pan for the final rising. The finished loaf turned out great, and it was nice to put the ingredients in the pan, push the ‘start’ button, and come back 135 minutes later to a nicely kneaded and risen dough.
I can see the next use for the new machine might be to make some Whole Grain Spelt Pita Bread. Or perhaps even the Whole Wheat Sourdough Pita Bread. Or maybe some Whole Grain Bread. Our needs in the kitchen will likely dictate what gets made next, and I’m sure the Zojirushi will get a lot of use in the days to come. I hope you have enjoyed this mini review of our new bread machine, I’ll be back soon with more updates from Happy Acres.