Jul 21

Breadmaker Bakeoff, Part II

in Uncategorized

After all of that baking in both machines, how do they ultimately compare? For starters, the Zojirushi takes up quite a bit more counter space than the Breadman,
So if you’re low on counter space, this could be a problem. As far as the rest of the design is concerned, that is the only downside to the Zojirushi.
Although it does take up more counter space, the upside to that is that the bread pan that fits in it is shaped like a traditional loaf pan, as opposed to the more column-like shape of the Breadman bread pan. This produces a much more normal looking loaf of bread than the loaves that are produced by the Breadman.
(Zojirushi loaf on left, Breadman loaf on right)
An additional benefit to the Zojirushi bread pan is that the opening is so much larger. This makes it easier to add ingredients, and much easier to clean. It also means that there is room for 2 kneading paddles (as opposed to the 1 kneading paddle in the Breadman), which is much more efficient.
Another benefit to the Zojirushi bread pan is that unlike the Breadman bread pan it does not have a handle. Initially I thought this would be a disadvantage, but I quickly found that it was a good thing. Although it’s nice to have a handle to use to pull the bread pan out of the machine, every time I went to actually shake out the loaf of bread out of the Breadman bread pan, I was fighting to keep the handle out of the way, which was a total pain. The Zojirushi bread pan does not have this problem and instead provides a sturdy lip which is easy to grab a hold of with oven mitts. Another design feature that I prefer on the Zojirushi machine is how much easier it is to insert and remove the bread pan from the machine. The bread pan on the Breadman is set all the way into the machine and get be very tricky to get to lock in properly.
The Zojirushi bread pan, in contrast, sits above the machine, locks in easily, and is extremely easy to remove.
As far as actual cooking results, the Breadman does a nice job, but isn’t always consistent/predictable. I have had no problems with the Zojirushi’s consistency–everything always seems to turn out the same. When using my Breadman I always choose the lightest crust setting, and still get a pretty dark and firm crust. I used the lightest crust setting on the Zojirushi and got a much lighter crust. This is an advantage because it produces something that I would actually call a light crust, and would then be willing to use the other settings, as opposed to the Breadman, where I will never use the medium or dark crust settings because the crust would just be too dark. Both machines come with additional settings, such as to only make dough, customizeable cooking times, a bake only option, and jam making settings. The Zojirushi has the added feature of a sourdough starter which prepares a light sourdough starter in 2 hours.

One advantage that the Breadman has over the Zojirushi is price. When Mr. Fuji bought my Breadman for me about 5 years ago, it was in the $80-$90 price range. The Zojirushi weighs in at a hefty $200-$230 price range.

So which one would I personally choose and why? I would go for the Zojirushi. At this point in my life, although I don’t have an abundant amount of counterspace, the pros of the Zojirushi outweigh the cons. I am using my breadmaker enough to justify the $200 price tag. With Zojirushi I know that I am getting a piece of quality equipment that is going to give me consistent results. Plus, I love that it turns out a loaf of bread that is more traditional looking.

If you are in the market for a breadmaker, here are some things you should consider:

  • Space: How much space do you have for your breadmaker?
  • Loaf size and style: Some breadmakers make smaller loaves, whereas the Breadman and Zojirushi make loaves up to 2 lbs. in size; Style–do you care if your loaf looks like a traditional loaf or not?
  • Settings: Do you care whether or not your machine has a delay timer, where you can put the ingredients into the machine in advance and program your food to be done at a certain time? Do you want to be able to make things besides bread in your breadmaker? Do you want to be able to make quick breads, or are you only interested in making yeast breads?
  • Price: What is your budget?
  • Warranty/Durability: What are your options when something goes wrong? Does that particular brand have a good reputation?
  • How much are you going to be using it? The answer to this question can change how you look at the answers to the previous sections. If you are going to be using the machine a lot, you need to be more worried about warranties and durability and what settings you will be needing, etc.

Coming Tomorrow: Jerusalem Salad

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob July 21, 2009 at 10:15 pm

I wish I was in the market for a breadmaker, but my counter space is negligible. I will bear this in mind when I finally get a better kitchen though!


Frieda July 21, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Great post! I loved my yard sale bread maker many years ago, but it only made a 1 lb. loaf and was gobbled up quickly! I have now learned through trial and error how to make bread in the oven, but sometimes it's nice to wake up to a hot loaf of bread and maybe not heat up my kitchen on a hot summer's day!


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