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Profile for N. J. Simicich > Reviews


N. J. Simicich's Profile

Customer Reviews: 229
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N. J. Simicich "Gadget Geek" RSS Feed (Labelle, FL United States)

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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sous Vide Controller, I like it!, July 20, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
OK, first off, there are supposed to be application notes on, but I can't find them. Connect the red wire to terminal 8 on the JLD612 and the blues to 9 and 10 in any polarity. When I asked the vendor I got an answer in under 30 minutes, good support.

This is the superior sous vide thermocouple. The Dual Digital Display PID Temperature Controller. Ideal for FURNACE & KILN control has a 4 digit display - because this thermocouple is limited to 600C, it can be run in PT100 mode, or PT10.0 mode, in the latter mode, it displays 10ths of a degree F or C. Now, this does not allow you to measure temperatures that accurately (you would need to set the thermocouple to a reference source that is close in temperature to the working value and then set the offset in the controller, and most people can only use slush as a reference, atmospheric pressure makes too much difference when you boil water to measure tenths, and my Taylor 9842 Commercial Waterproof Digital Thermometer swings more than half a degree, from 31.5 to 32.3 in slush.

The value of a readout that reads in 10ths of a degree is that you can see small relative changes in temperature, drifts up and down of .1 degree F are reflected on the front panel. If you find meaningless precision bothersome, you can run the thermocouple in PT100 mode, and only whole degrees are displayed. You can ask the JLD612 to hold a fractional degree as well.

The 10ft (3M) K type Thermocouple with 8cm pole (waterproof) is a few dollars cheaper but will only display whole degrees. Also, only the probe on that thermocouple is waterproof. This thermocouple is waterproof over the entire length of the 2 meter wire, back to the last foot, where there is heat shrink tubing and lead wires. The spade lugs fit the screws on the JLD612 very well. That last foot of wire goes into the project box, like the Storage Containables by Acrylic- 4" x 4" x 7". That box is thin and kinda hard to work with, but it works and is not expensive.

In any case, as I said, for sous vide, because you can display 10th of a degree for relative changes, and because it is waterproof (with an internal braided shield and an outer plastic tube) and for good customer support, this item gets five stars. The thermocouple may be good to 600C, but the waterproof thermocouple is only good to 150C, probably because of the rating on the waterproofing. Sous vide is limited to under boiling temperatures. Someone might want to use this as an oven thermometer, frying thermometer or candy thermometer, but it is not suitable for that use.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 9, 2013 5:18 PM PST

10ft (3M) K type Thermocouple with 8cm pole (waterproof)
10ft (3M) K type Thermocouple with 8cm pole (waterproof)
Offered by lightobject
Price: $9.95

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This thermocouple works well for a Sous Vide Controller, up to a point, July 16, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this thermocouple to use with a Dual Digital Display PID Temperature Controller. Ideal for FURNACE & KILN control to make a sous vide controller. I set the PID to use a K type thermocouple. At first the thermocouple did not seem to work at all well, any particular temperature read a particular temperature on the front panel readout of the PID, so it could hold a temperature in the water bath just fine, but when I changed the temperature a few degrees on the front panel, the water bath would change temperature in response to the PID's control, and the thermocouple readout changed by some number of degrees that differed from the change as measured by two thermometers I had (which tracked with each other). In other words, you would get the offset to where it was right on at 135, but 140 might be 143 and 146 might be 144. The PID allows you to set an offset, but it is a single offset and when I had it reading with my thermometer, a temperature 10 degrees away might be 5 degrees different than my readout.

I wrote a note to the company, and they responded with a couple of suggestions, and also noted that if I could not get it working that I should return it on Amazon for replacement. So they were supporting it and standing behind it.

I then tried one of their suggestions which involved reversing the leads, and that didn't work, the thermocouple indication went down as the water warmed. When I reconnected it to use it that night, figuring I'd set the water temp with a thermometer and then the PID would hold it, and I could ignore the indication, I found that it was now tracking with my thermometer.

So, why is this a four star rating and not a five, now that it is working? Well, I was also informed by the company that this is not a waterproof thermocouple. The probe cover is stainless, that makes the probe tip waterproof, but the connection from the thermocouple to the braided cover (where the spring goes) is not waterproof. If water gets in there, it could cause the symptoms I saw. What I got was the probe, spring strain relief on the probe end, and wire - the other pictured item, which I presume was some sort of bulkhead crossing device and which I was hoping to permanently mount on a rice cooker, was not packaged with the thermocouple.

I can stick the thermocouple through the grommet in the lid of my rice cooker, which works fine. But trying to use it with my roaster gives me just too much of a chance of the thermocouple slipping and dunking into my water, making the thermocouple inaccurate.

So this seems to be a waterproof probe thermocouple, not a waterproof thermocouple. The steel cable seems to want to kink. I am going to put together another controller and this time I will use a Waterproof PT100 RTD Thermocouple for PID Temperature Controller (2M), it is stronger, it has a plastic coat that goes way up the shaft, and it is only six feet long, which is plenty. Also, people say that the PT100 is more likely to be stable because the third lead allows for some sort of stabilization, I don't understand it but, well, I will try it.

Lightobject EHS-SSR25A Heat Sink for 25 amp Solid State Relay
Lightobject EHS-SSR25A Heat Sink for 25 amp Solid State Relay
Offered by lightobject
Price: $4.25

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heat Sink designed specifically for one product, July 16, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Making a sous vide controller or almost anything else you want to heat or cool with a PID requires that you switch a bit of line voltage. The PID that many people use is the Dual Digital Display PID Temperature Controller. Ideal for FURNACE & KILN control and it has an internal relay which is capable of switching three amps at 110 volts. My presumption is that you want to use something like this at no more than 50% of its rated capacity for long life. If you were going to control an incubator where the heat would be generated by a 60 watt light bulb in a styrofoam box, I would definitely use the internal relay, but for a sous vide controller, switching a single 300 watt immersion heater like the NORPRO 559 Immersion Heater for Warming Liquids has the internal relay working at 91% of the rating at a nominal 110 volts, and more if you get a higher voltage like we do here, from our local power company.

Now if you did burn out the internal relay, chances are that you could program the PID to use the SSR outputs, and then attach the SSR, but there is a chance that burning out the internal relay would break something else that would keep the PID from working, although I think that is small. I actually think that you want to use the SSR because the SSR/heat sink combo will be more reliable than the internal relay and any single failure could cause you to lose food that would be likely to cost more than the heat sink plus the SSR would cost.

The SSR device that I believe most people use is the 25A SSR Solid State Relay DC:Input AC:Output for PID Temperature Controller since it is cheaper than others, reliable, and switches a lot more than the 15 amps that is the most that can be carried by the typical US wall plug. In order to work at or near its rated capacity and for the vendor to guarantee that it will work, that SSR requires a heat sink, and this heat sink is the one needed.

Yep, this heat sink is designed specifically to work with that SSR.

You should know that the heat sink is tapped for a metric screw which is available at ACE, Home Depot or Lowes. It is *not* an SAE thread. You might also want some heat sink paste or Permatex anti-seize lubricant. The heat sink paste is the best but the Permatex will work and help with the heat transfer from the SSR to the heat sink.

The proper screws will go through holes in the heat sink and connect the SSR firmly, for good heat transfer. You don't need to crank them down, just tighten them firmly, probably 12 inch pounds. You want 4mm screws that are not longer than about 17mm. 10mm in length would still be fine, I think. Screws that are too long will hit the next fin and not tighten, you would have to cut them and it would be a mess. It is likely that you want the shortest 4mm screw carried by the hardware store, and you do not want a hex head, there may not be clearance to tighten it. Either get a screw that can be tightened with a screwdriver or one that can be tightened with an allen wrench.

There are two slots that connect the heat sink to the enclosure. If your enclosure is plastic, I suggest nylon screws to hold the heat sink to the case, so that there is no chance of shock. You might decide not to mount the heat sink at all.

I used my SSR with a countertop roaster and with a rice cooker. Maximum draw is probably 700 watts. In neither case did the SSR get more than the smallest bit warm. If I was using it closer to the rated capacity, it would probably get a lot warmer.

I guess I believe in the use of these heat sinks - they are cheap insurance.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 28, 2011 2:12 PM PDT

Sous Vide for the Home Cook cookbook
Sous Vide for the Home Cook cookbook
by Douglas Baldwin
Edition: Paperback
15 used & new from $20.86

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the new sous vide experimenter, July 16, 2011
I've recently gotten into Sous Vide cooking, and I tried to learn what I needed to know from various places on the web...first off, the information is out there, but I looked at this scheme and that scheme, and I finally decided to make my own immersion circulator, and while I was building it, I decided to change to a sous vide controller with a separate immersion heater/circulator, if needed. But I had to invent the design because I just hadn't found those web pages or youtube videos yet.

If I'd had this book, well, I'd have felt way less like I was foundering around. Basics of everything I've learned have been in this book. Plus there are recipes that my wife thinks she'd like. And there are safety tables at the end. And some web references, which are still pretty good.

I wasted days relearning things that others already knew. I recommend this book highly.

White Cooler Replacement Faucet - Red Touch Guard
White Cooler Replacement Faucet - Red Touch Guard
Offered by OCSParts
Price: $7.85
8 used & new from $0.50

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Sunbeam water cooler had a tap fail., July 16, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My Sunbeam water cooler had a tap fail - the cooler has a hot tap that produces 190F water, so scalding is a real risk, and we have grandbabies over all the time, so I wanted a replacement safety tap. I called Sunbeam, they did not have any in stock. This was such a tap at a decent price. They come in a more or less standard size and this fit my cooler just fine.

Initially I did not know about the standard size and I didn't know if this would fit my Sunbeam, so I contacted the Amazon vendor and I asked if it would fit. They researched it and called me back in a few minutes and told me that they were almost (99%) sure it would fit. They were right. So that is good, accurate customer service. Shipment was rapid as well.

The hardest part of the installation was getting the old teflon tape off.

Lightobject EWP-2502HT6V High Temperature(100°C) Mini DC6V Water Pump, Food Grade, Sous Vide, 15 GPH
Lightobject EWP-2502HT6V High Temperature(100°C) Mini DC6V Water Pump, Food Grade, Sous Vide, 15 GPH
Offered by lightobject
Price: $13.95

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pump does what it says it will, but it will not self prime, and can be blocked from priming while submerged, July 16, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought a VCT VX-79NP - Multi-purpose Universal AC to DC Converter Adapter With Multiple Tips(1.5, 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 9 and 12V DC) - 1000mA to power this pump in a sous vide bath. This pump is fine, the power supply is a piece of junk, it produces double the voltage indicated on the power supply at all ranges and I'm not the only person who reported this in a review. This pump has 5.9 volts across the pump terminals when the power supply is in the 3 volt range. So if you have a voltmeter you can probably use this pump, but if you don't, you can't. I hooked the marked wire to red on the pump, as my VOM said that was the +.

Now, I wanted to dangle the pump into the water to have it circulate it, but that simply won't work. At the natural dangling angle, the pump captures an air bubble, and it won't prime. But if you get it primed, it works well. The large central connection is the inlet, and the small connector to the side is the outlet. Also, once the pump is primed, it will draw water up into the pump if the inlet is enough under water the it won't draw air. The listing is that this is a submersible pump and that the temperature limit for the handled liquid is 100C, but it specifies "non-submersed" and nowhere is the submersed temperature limit indicated, so I'm assuming it is OK for all sous vide temperatures, which are up to 86C, which temperature would be used for some vegetables, and which is still 14C under the limit.

The one star is withdrawn for the priming difficulty, and for the missing specification. The power supply got slammed in its own review but there would be nothing wrong with this pump if it were pumping up from the bottom of a reservoir with an elbow so that it could draw from the bottom, or an externally mounted position. I also think that it could work for my application if I could just put the intake and pump in the water, while the exhaust was level or slightly up so that it would self prime.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 15, 2012 7:59 PM PST

VCT VX-79NP Multi-Purpose AC to DC Adapter Voltage Converter 110V to 240V with Multiple DC Output Selection1.5, 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 9 and 12 Volts DC - Fixed 1000mA
VCT VX-79NP Multi-Purpose AC to DC Adapter Voltage Converter 110V to 240V with Multiple DC Output Selection1.5, 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 9 and 12 Volts DC - Fixed 1000mA
Price: $14.95
12 used & new from $8.70

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DANGER: Voltage produced dangerously high at all settings, July 16, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The voltage produced by this device at any setting only has an approximate relationship to the voltage it says it will be produced at that setting. To continue the plumbing analogy that was used in another post, you can think of voltage as the pressure, while MA is the amount of water available from the system. (coulombs of electrons). Household plumbing systems are designed to be run on 45-50 PSI, when I lived up north, and the household pressure regulator would go bad (we lived at the bottom of the hill) the household pressure would go up to 175 psi and we had all sorts of malfunctions, hammering, leaks. I finally installed a gauge so that it could be checked easily after replacing the regulator three times over six years. But this device has no has settings which you are supposed to trust, and those settings are not going to produce an acceptable voltage (pressure) for many devices. Too much water pressure could break a pipe, and too much voltage pressure could burn out your electronic device.

So the the first thing I did when I got this was: I hooked the output to my digital VOM. It read somewhere close to double or just over double for every range - and that pressure is like, well, bad for your electronic devices. I can find a range my device will work at, so I'm not going to return this, but Jerry had his speakers burn out when he connected them to his device. In his ignorance, he thought it was the fact that 1000 ma (the rating on the device) was too much for his speakers, but the amps won't go unless the volts push them, and when the volts are double, the amps are too. That is what burned his speakers out, the defective voltage indications.

When you have a device that puts out double the voltage it says it does, well, the things you hook to it might burn out even if you do everything right. Amps = power/voltage so if your device is meant to run at 6 volts and consume 5 watts, that means that it consumes .83 amps or 830 milliamps, within this device's ratings. That translates to 7.2 ohms impedance. Double the voltage to 12 (unexpectedly, because this power supply does not produce the voltage it is rated at) and you increase the amps to double too, to 1.6, and suddenly that is over the device's rating of 1 amp.

Just for the heck of it, I checked my VOM against a new AA alkaline battery, it read 1.54 volts, so the measurement of "double" is likely the charger and not my VOM. It is an Innova 3340a, not a Fluke, but not a bargain basement item either.

I then wondered if this was just an artifact of having no load while measuring voltage. No matter what it registered when there was no load, if it went back to the proper output when loaded, it would be OK. I had bought this to run a High temperature(100C) 1L/Min mini DC Water Pump. FDA approval. Ideal for coffee maker or other food process application to circulate water in a sous vide bath, so that the water would be at a more even temperature since I was seeing some stratification especially while the bath was being heated, then I measured the voltage across the pump. The voltage was 5.9, which is perfect for this pump, but I had set the power supply to three volts, so it was putting out almost double the voltage, under load.

So I'll echo the comments of another reviewer. If you do not have and know how to use a voltimeter, do not buy this power supply. I wonder if at least some of the reports of overheating are happening because the unexpectedly high voltage causes too much current to pass through the device being powered.

250V 25A Temperature Control Solid State Relay
250V 25A Temperature Control Solid State Relay
Offered by FAR CLOUD
Price: $4.37
12 used & new from $4.37

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works fine for a sous vide controller, July 9, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I built a sous vide controller by using this SSR with Dual Digital Display PID Temperature Controller. Ideal for FURNACE & KILN control. I described what I did in a review under that product. No problem, it worked as soon as I hooked it up, the SSR allows the pid to cycle the power often which allows it to control temperature better.

There is an indicator light on the SSR that lights when the SSR is supposed to be passing power. It allows you to know that the SSR is working. I also attached it to the Heatsink Heat Sink for 25A Solid State Relay (SSR) which is tapped for small metric screws (4mm, no more than 17 or maybe 20 mm long, shortest 4mm phillips screws the hardware has, probably no clearance for a hex head). I found those at ACE hardware but any hardware store would have them. The heat sink is required if you are going to use the SSR at anywhere near rated capacity, and I didn't want to be limited by how much heat the SSR was producing. Controlling a small rice cooker it does not get warm. It gets just a little warm controlling a 750 watt roaster, but not hot by any measure.

The new ones have a plastic cover.

No Title Available

79 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Sous Vide controller built, July 9, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The manual can be found at http [colon slash slash] [...] [slash] JLD612_Manual.pdf

Given that I found the manual I had no trouble connecting the 25A SSR Solid State Relay DC:Input AC:Output for PID Temperature Controller and I even used the Heatsink Heat Sink for 25A Solid State Relay (SSR) which is tapped for metric screws, available at ace. I am using the K thermocouple and I had to use the programming adjustment to square the built in display with my Taylor 9842 Commercial Waterproof Digital Thermometer which I decided to trust more than my other digital thermometer.

I inserted the PID/SSR into the black wire of an outlet strip, so that the switch on the outlet strip and the SSR can both turn off the heating elements. I stripped the white wire without cutting it and wire nutted a pigtail on which I hooked to terminal 2, then I cut the black wire and on the hot side I put on two pigtails, one to terminal 1 of the pid, the other to one side of the SSR's AC side. Then I wire nutted a pigtail on the side of the black wire closest to the outlet strip, and attached that pigtail to the other side of the SSR. I even made pigtail color match the hot/neutral black wire/white wire. I didn't touch the green wire at all, if the wall socket is grounded the outlet strip is grounded.

I used yellow/blue to attach the low voltage SSR control circuit, I read somewhere that those are colors used for things that are polarized DC when there is AC around too. Probably just junk, but I didn't want to use any of the regular 110 volt colors like black, white, green, and red (alternate hot I think).

I was sort of surprised that anyone had trouble with the SSR hookup, there are labels on two sides of the device that describe all of the outputs, the SSR output is clearly labeled, if you just attach + to + and - to - it works. The default setting is for SSR output and according to the manual, for the P100 thermistor, although mine came programmed for a K (maybe because I bought a K at the same time).

There was no wiring diagram in the manual, but they note that there is no polarity for 1 and 2, that there is no resistor unless you have a P100 in which case the resistor is in the thermistor, that the internal relay can take 3 amps at 220 volts. Again, just match plus on the thermocouple to plus on the PID and ditto for minus. If you just want this device to be a temperature excursion device (like to warn if a fridge gets too warm or too cold) you set outp to zero and control the alarms with ah1, al1, ah2, al2. In that case, SSR pins are not used at all, the alarms are controlled by relays J1 (normally open OR normally closed) or J2 (normally open only).

If your heating element for sous vide is small enough that you can use the internal relay you get only one alarm controlled with ah1/al1 and the alarm is reflected on J1. J2 is set with the SV front panel temp. For that mode, you set outp to 1.

Setting outp to 2, the default, gives you two alarms, ah1/al1 controls J1 which has normally open and normally closed settings, and J2 controlled by ah2/al2. SV controls the SSR outputs.

I am not sure I have any use for the alarms at all.

To access the basic settings, set, then set the "pass" to 0089, then set again.

To access the PID parameter setting mode, set, pass 0036, set again. But those parameters are set by using auto-tune.

To access the temperature mode to set target temps for the alarms and the sv setting, set, pass 0001, set.

One thing I like about this device is that it is self programming. I didn't know how to set pid parameters and really didn't want to learn, but you push right arrow until AT lights, and it takes the PID through a couple of learning cycles to learn how much and how quickly the device heats and cools and then it sets the PID parameters for that combination of device and heater. The overshoot is a couple degrees during learning. Takes about 20-30 minutes but that is dependent on overshoot and cooldown rate, and you would probably need to do this for any new combination of container and/or heating element. If you are using an immersion heater to heat water in a cooler, say, it should be way different than if you use a rice cooker's internal heater. Once the PID parameters are set it comes up to temp without overshooting. I would not want to listen to a mechanical relay with this, it flashes power very often, although I see that can be controlled at the expense of some stability.

I doubt it could hold temp within a degree without the learning cycle. I am cooking eggs for the morning (I guess that is the first thing almost everyone sous vides and after some web searching, we decided on 142 for however long but at least four hours.) I just checked it and it was at 141, trying to gently push back to 142. After about a minute of gently increasing the pulsing proportions, it managed to get it up to 142 without overshooting.

My plan is to use a small rice cooker for anything that fits into it, and something larger (bus pan and corner attachment with dangling immersion heaters, or a big stock pot with dangling immersion heaters) and I would probably want to write down the parameters for the rice cooker before switching to the stock pot. The immersion heaters are probably a bad idea, I should just get a bucket heater - but the cool thing is that the scheme of putting the outlet strip on the pid allows me to plug in whatever I want, so I can switch between heating devices easily. But I could read the parameters from the pid and write them down. That would allow me to put those parameters back into the PID so that I would not have to allow the PID to go through another learning cycle. The procedure is in the manual.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 2, 2013 9:18 PM PST

West Bend 2 Lb. Breadmaker
West Bend 2 Lb. Breadmaker
Offered by LnT Plus Direct
Price: $127.84
11 used & new from $87.68

14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You can't get good bread in SW Florida., July 3, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I live in the middle of nowhere in SW Florida. There are groceries around but no bakeries, and brands of bread that have texture and flavor elsewhere are baked to a soft crustless texture here. It seems to be a local thing. Store bought bread is all tasteless and crustless. Sometimes that is what you want, like when you put a hot dog on a bun, but sometimes you want to have crusty french bread, and the bread here is all crustless, the crust has the same texture as the bread.

I have bought locally produced bread that was in the shape of and sold as French Baguettes that had the consistency (crust and white) of Wonder Bread. Bread that is labeled as sourdough rye has just a slight rye flavor, and the consistency of white sandwich bread, no sourdough flavor at all. It is a mess.

I've tried baking bread by hand before, you know, make loaves and such, and I'm a miserable failure at this. My grandmother could bake good bread, but she did it by giving up one night's sleep per batch. She would make the dough at 10 pm, and allow it to rise for hours, waking up twice to knock it down and for the last time at 5 to put it in the oven, so the family could wake to bread baking. She made one kind of bread, a dark brown grey heavy bread with a thick tasty crust, sometimes in loaves, sometimes on a flat pan with no sides in a big blob, never used a measuring cup, and never had a failure. She used white and whole wheat flour and oatmeal, and never slept through a step. It was important to do this at night because it was cooler, she said. She was really not a great cook, but she could make bread. I remember using the brown bread to soak up lentil soup when I was three. The bread was strong tasting, too strong for a toddler, but the lentil soup balanced it out nicely. I ate a ton.

I began missing decent bread and I decided to get a bread machine (I owned one years ago with a round pan and a rod into the pan that they called a dough hook - the rod broke, I fixed it and it wore out after a while, so the bread maker was kaput. This machine does not have those issues, the pan is square and only the paddle at the bottom protrudes into the pan.) This is the one I got. I've used it twice so far, both times making bread from the book that came with it. It has worked great. I measure the bread differently from what is suggested in the book. First I go through the recipe and look up stuff online, so that I know how many grams of flour is in a cup, or grams of salt in a teaspoon. I take the bread machine's pan out, stick the paddle in, and put it on a Soehnle 65105, Style Digital Kitchen Scale, Silver. I then tare it and add the water called for in grams. I tare it again and add the flour called for until the scale reads the total in grams. I move on down the list, continuing to add the ingredients in grams, pressing tare between ingredients, adding the ingredients in the order called for by the bread machine. I don't measure butter in grams, I use the measurement on the sticks. And I made raisin bread so I just added the raisins using the measuring cup.

Once I've added all the ingredients, I put the pan into the breadmaker, then I put the machine into the right mode, setting the program, crust browning (medium, so far, has been great).

I decided to use King Arthur Bread Flour to start with. It has worked well. I made French bread, but I put in a little too little flour, bread flour is (as I recall) is 125-127 grams per cup and the first recipe I used I tried to measure it using their cup and came out with 120 grams per cup, which was not enough, it was a jumbo heaping tablespoon short per cup. I added 1 regular tablespoon more because I thought the dough was not right, but the top of the loaf was flat, it was not enough. Second time I pre-researched each ingredient and notated the recipe book with weights in grams, then added them all using the scale, except the butter and raisins. It was raisin bread, and I followed the bread machine recipe strictly except that I added the raisins at the start since I wanted to sleep and wake up to bread. It was great. The bread was a little sweet, and soft and crusty, the cinnamon was there but not overpowering, it was almost perfect.

Now you can't make bread days ahead of time with a breadmaker. Store bought bread will keep for a long time on the shelf. When you make bread yourself, it will get moldy in a few days. But it smells so good in the morning.

Granny would mix the bread, knead the dough, let the bread rise, knock it down, let it rise again, put it in the oven, bake it, turn it out and let it cool. This machine will do all except the last - instead it stops the oven and keeps the bread warm for an hour. And you don't need to wake up to do it, it will just keep time and make the bread.

It has cycles for regular white, french, sweet, quick (no rising - the sort you make with bisquick or self rising flour), a cycle for making jam and marmalade, sandwich bread (less crusty, like you buy in the local markets) and fast bread cycles that work in a shorter time. You also have a cycle for baking the bread a bit more. And there is a dough cycle that is used for things like bagels or pizza.

One of the things I would have wished for would have been a cycle indicator that told you what the machine thought it was doing (rising, baking, kneading, etc) or a table that would say, for this size loaf, this doneness, this crust, it kneads for this many minutes, rises for this many minutes, knocks down, rises again, bakes, cools, and how long for each, so you could look at the timer and tell where you are - so that you know when to brush the crust with egg white, or score the loaf, etc.

When you set the cycles, you can tell the machine what time you want to be done with the bread. If you want to delay the start of the bread, you determine when you want the bread to be done. Say you want to turn the bread out in six hours. You are making French Bread, which takes about three hours. You adjust the total cycle time until it reads six hours, and it then delays enough so that you are done in the total time indicated on the machine. They warn you not to use whole milk or eggs if you are using delayed start (dry milk is OK) and the delay only works on certain cycles. Also, you have to be careful about how, exactly, you add all the ingredients for delay start - the salt should not be put in to the mix near the dry yeast, and the yeast should be protected by the flour until it is dry so you make a hole in the flour, put the salt in to the side, put the yeast into the hole in the center, butter divided in four parts and put in the corners, etc.

The single paddle mixes well. The system starts by mixing intermittently, which allows the water and flour to fall back on to the paddle. Then it kneads, stopping occasionally. When you get the proportions right, it randomly moves the dough ball to each corner, which picks up any loose flour. I have not watched it bake or checked it more than occasionally. So far, the paddle has remained attached to the shaft when I've removed the bread, without taking more than a little bread with it.

The manual says that the bread machine will handle a power outage of up to five minutes without failure. If the power outage is longer, you have to recover manually. Directions are in the manual, but in some cases, the recovery is to throw away the ingredients and start over. If baking has started you can maybe recover by using the bake only cycle or by carefully transferring the loaf pan to a regular oven. If baking has not started, you probably can restart at the beginning of your cycle. I have had no outages while using the machine, I've been lucky.

If the thing breaks after a few months, I would likely buy one again. I really missed decent, crusty, bread with a texture other than sandwich.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 9, 2011 8:04 AM PDT

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