Zojirushi Virtuoso Bread Maker
Selecting a Breadmaker can be confusing – especially if one has not previously owned a bread machine. So many choices - one paddle or two? vertical loaves or horizontal loaves? A machine that makes a 1 lb. loaf or a 2 lb. loaf? Size of the actual machine? Ease of use? Settings? Decisions... decisions... decisions!
So let's talk! We have recently tested the newest model, of the Zojirushi (pronounced zo-jih-ROO-shee) bread maker, the Virtuoso BB-PAC 20. In fact, since we have grown so attached to it, let's use its nickname, the Zo. It has moved to a position front and center in our kitchen, right up there with our stand mixer, Vitamix, Coffee Maker, and food processor. Not only are we busily making whole wheat bread for weekday sandwiches, challah for Shabbos, and cinnamon rolls (yumm) much too often, but we have also made jam. strawberry jam to be exact. So simple! Making jam was so easy, that we plan to progress to blueberry and peach jam later this summer.
Yes, the Zo is an investment ($275), but if you have the counter or pantry space available, and if you love fresh bread and preserves, we think that it is well worth the price. If you use it often, studies have indicated that over time, homemade bread costs substantially less than store-bought bread, and is, of course, healthier, (We guess that depends on your ingredient choices.)
Why did we select Zojirushi? – We compared many popular bread machines, some less costly, but liked the features on the Zo. The Home Bakery Virtuoso® Breadmaker (BBBAC20). If you plan to become a regular breadmaker...these features are important.
The Virtuoso bakes a traditional, horizontal-shaped 1 ½ - 2-lb. loaf, has dual kneading blades, 13-hour delay timer, easy to read clock, and many varied menus settings-including basic bread, wheat bread, gluten-free bread, sourdough starter, dough, jam, cake, quick bread and 3 homemade settings for custom recipes. Trust me, we are not techies, but the accompanying recipe book offers easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for each setting. Additionally, the Virtuoso has an exclusive lid heater, which makes even baking and proper browning possible. The dual paddles ensure thorough mixing and kneading and result in a higher rise. The bread pan includes easy-lift handles, ensuring quick and safe loaf removal of the loaves. And there is a large window to watch what's happening.
And, we must share one of our favorite features..the 13-hour delay timer – which allows us to go to bed and wake up to fresh homemade bread in the morning. Sounds so good, doesn't it? Yes, it's truly amazing. We also especially like the dough cycle, which is perfect for mixing up a batch of cinnamon buns, challah, and rolls.
We find the 2 lb. size loaf convenient, some to slice, some to store and even some to freeze. For Shabbos challah, the Zo delivers fresh challah in a hurry on a Friday morning. One 90-minute cycle provides enough dough to make two 1 lb. loaves. We shape them, place them in loaf pans or on our Silpat mat, let them rise for 1 hour, and bake for 30 minutes. Done! By the way, for those readers who are gluten-free, the Zo even offers a setting for you. So, dear readers, if you are in the market for a breadmaker, do consider the ZO, and share your thoughts (and recipes) with us.
To purchase click here: Zojirushi Virtuoso Breadmaker. (Amazon)
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