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 actual machine? Ease of use? Settings? Decisions... decisions... decisions!
So let's talk! We have recently tested the newest model, of the Zojirushi (pronunced 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 the 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 menu settings-including basic bread, wheat bread, gluten free bread, sourdough starter, dough, jam, cake, quick bread and 3 home made settings for custom recipes. Trust me, we are not techies, but the accompanying recipe book and DVD 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 loafs. And there is a large window to watch what's happening.
For some of the best bread machine recipes, see the following in our KosherEye recipe library: