Customer Reviews: Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker, Black
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I was fortunate to have my parents decide upon a bread maker as a gift to me and allow me to pick the model I wanted...knowing I'd spent the last year actually studying the art of bread making by hand from some pros and cookbooks.

I had my doubts, however, that a machine could replace all I was learning to do... can!

Here are some highlights of why I chose this machine initially then I'll get down to what I know about it now having used it non-stop:

I had no intention of pulling a bread machine in and out of the cabinet each week so I knew for sure, if it was going to sit countertop, it needed to be stainless.

I knew I wanted the shape of this loaf. Most turn out looking like an odd rocket with the top of the loaf on one of the small sides of the rectangle which screams "odd bread machine loaf" and every slice except the first few is all square edges. This machine actually bakes a loaf that makes it look like it came from a real bread pan. Not only do I prefer the soft top and crusty edges on each slice more, but it looks beautiful if you are entertaining and serve it or offer to bring bread at a potluck.

Now, here's what I know now:

It also has a setting to make meatloaf

It DOES have a homemade course in case you want to totally change the settings for a loaf. You can program every single thing it does longer or shorter if you have some recipe of your own that you want to knead longer or shorter, sise longer or shorter, etc etc.
It has a cycle to help you make sourdough starter...just the starter with the recipe!
It has a cake setting and cake recipes. We made a great chocolate this for entertaining. I can make it prepare a warm dessert while I am busy with guests and the house smells amazing!
It has a jam course to very easily make homemade jam for the bread for you!
It has a dough course so you can let it do the hard stuff then you can shape the dough into a pizza, rolls, chiabatta, cinnamon rolls, soft pretzels, etc.
It has a setting especially for wheat bread to make it perfectly
It has a quick loaf setting that makes bread in 2 hours 18 min or the regular basic bread setting that makes it and bakes it in 3 hours 45 min.

Now some other goodies:

I have had a bread machine before with one tiny kneading arm but, let's face it, it's like kneading bread with one arm. This, when you look through the window, truly looks like the motions you'd use on your own as it has two kneading paddles rather than one.

NO TEFLON, BUT STILL NON-STICK: Fortunately, with all the reports on Teflon, they did not use a Teflon coating for this pan. (Someone said in an older review that theirs did...either they have updated the machine and removed it or the reviewer just thought it was due to it being non-stick. My manual says it is not Teflon and as a chef who avoids it, it's obviously not. I know what Teflon looks like even if someone tried to sneak it in.
There is no dark Teflon coating.) However, it's extremely non-stick and I usually merely only need to brush away a few crumbs after use. I've never had to put it in the dishwasher.

This makes a 2 lb loaf...or less. If you need more bread, it has the capacity. But I often use recipes for smaller loaves too. It gives you option. If I make a 2 lb loaf I get a great size slice that fills me up for breakfast with one slice. Also, on my old bread maker I used to have years ago, sometimes the dough would rise too high, spill over the edge and burn, this extra capacity allows for lots of rising!

It beeps near the start of the loaf to tell you you can add in raisins, nuts, etc. At this time I often add in cheese chunks. That way they don't totally melt in the preheating stage and I get some amazong jalapeno cheese bread with some bigger pieces of cheese in it.

It allows you to choose if you want your crust to be light, dark, or medium.

So bottom line...we are a two chef household. Big bakers. I've reviewed a few bread making cookbooks on Amazon this past year when I was in my bread making phase doing everything by hand...

what a waste of time! I love this machine!

My favorite thing to do is use the timer cycle. I can put my ingredients in in the morning and have it set to greet me with a warm loaf as I walk in the door from work in the evening.

But what if I work late?

It automatically keeps the loaf warm for 30 minutes if you don't take it out when it's done!

This is also great for the best way to wake up in the morning...set it at night, go to sleep and wake up to homemade bread for breakfast. If I sleep in? It stays hot.

For dinner parties I can plop the ingredients in that morning and work on prep for the meal and when guests arrive a hot loaf is timed for dinner...always a hit.

We no longer buy hamburger and hotdog buns either. This MAKES a burger as the taste of homemade buns has no equal, even if it's a portobello burger it takes good! We used to buy a loaf or two a week of bread that was "blah". Baking a loaf is dirt cheap and makes for a very cheap breakfast or snack to when enjoying a slice. And if you never want to buy a bread machine cookbook or cookbooks like I did, search the internet...tons of recipes for bread machines free! Plus, we have friends who trade us stuff like eggplant or super sweet tomatoes they grew for a loaf of bread after I got them hooked.

This shocks me how perfect the loaf is each time.

ok, so I am a raving fan...if I had to choose again, I'd pick the same one. We cook bread of some kind 2 times per week and I haven't had a bad loaf yet.

The great thing is that there are so many bread machine cookbooks that you don't have to bake the same loaf twice. Honey wheat one day, beer bread the next, dill bread, jalapeno cheese bread, sour cream bread, cottage cheese bread, Anadama, roasted red pepper...any plain sandwich becomes new for us.

It all slides out, there isnt any. And it came with a measuring spoon and cup which pretty much covers all measurements so you don't have but two of those to wash afterwards either.

Like my old machine, you need to be sure to pull off the two kneading paddles if any remnants of the loaf remained under them after baking, also the paddle can come off in the loaf like any machine...same old negatives I had before which aren't a big deal, but just be sure you don't do what I did once and bake a loaf for someone who was sick and I delivered it to them with the paddle still protruding from the botoom. With a little twist it comes out.

Conclusion: I'm coming home to a Graham bread today...made with graham flour. As usual, it's a recipe I haven't had before. I have enough bread recipes to last a loaf a day if I wanted. Always baked perfect. Love the machine.

AND I've made loaves with very low fat margarine and they are great! YOu can actually lower the calories of your bread but still maintain that homemade yeasty taste I couldn't get with store bread.

Note: if your dough didn't rise or there were flour crumbs the following can cause that in any bread maker. It only happened once to me here when my yeast was old. Replaced the yeast and no problem:

1. Old yeast. Even if kept in the freezer eventually it will die.
3. Using regular flour rather than bread flour (you can use regular flour IF you add 3-4 tablespoons of gluten)
4. Not adding ingredients in the order told to (if water touches yeast it will kill it)
5. Cutting back on the amount of sugar or salt in the recipe so the yeast can't rise
6. Old flour
Any other old ingredients in recipes calling for something like baking powder or baking soda
Substituting type of yeast (quick rise and regular require measuring adjustments. They don't measure the same)

All these are explained in the directions.

Incidentally you can substitutJe many things. I use olive oil rather than butter for example in all my loaves. Measure the same amount.
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on April 9, 2010
I am an avid bread maker. this is my third machine. I hated to spend the money -- seems absurd to pay that much -- but it is amazing! No comparison with typical machines. (my last was a cuisinart. was ok, but not like this -- and didn't last long. six months of frequent use and it failed to properly mix. ) this one is easy to use. no need to get the temperature of the ingredients just right. the machines "preheats" to do that for you and get it just perfect. the bread quality is superior. I am absolutely in awe. I bought a bread machine recipe book to go with it and am finding it fun to experiment. I need not worry if it will be a flop! It bakes a beautiful loaf everytime. Treat yourself and your family!!
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on May 19, 2011
I am a fairly experienced baker who can modify recipes to use what is on hand and still end up with a tasty product - MOST of the time! Received my Zo two days ago, fully intending to make bread immediately upon receipt. After all, I owned a DAK bread maker for years and had consistently good results, even with the gluten-free recipes that I have begun using in the last two years.

When I ordered the Zo, I also ordered "125 Best Gluten-Free Bread Machine Recipes" by Donna Washburn, Heather Butt, Mark Shapiro and Colin Erricsson. Both arrived quickly and in good shape. But when I unpacked the Zo and began reading the manual, I slowly began to realize that I'd entered a whole new realm of bread making. We aren't in Kansas any more, Toto... this was w-a-a-a-y more complicated than the days of making bread even by hand (which I hadn't done for years since the DAK was so extremely simple to use).

The instructions for the Zo are very specific about the temperature and freshness of ingredients, as well as how they are put into the machine. With the DAK, I never worried about the temperature of any ingredients except that I tested the water on my hand to see if it was warm enough (but not too hot) to activate the yeast. Measuring was less than perfect, everything was dumped in together, I pushed a few buttons, and a few hours later, I had fresh bread. I was a little more careful with measuring for the gluten-free recipes, but still basically threw everything in the pot and walked away.

Feeling a smidge intimidated by the Zo manual, I decided to read some of the recipes from the 125 Best book. Talk about going from the frying pan to the fire! These authors recommend warming the eggs to room temperature (seriously??), programming each cycle in the process separately, opening the machine after kneading to remove the paddles... sheesh, why would I buy a breadmaker if I wanted to stand over it and do all that?

But I began to doubt myself and wonder if I should have just bought a cheaper model that didn't expect so much out of me. It took me two days to work up the courage to try the darn thing. To go easy on myself, I bought a Bob's Red Mill Mix (Hearty Grain Gluten-Free), figuring that there was less measuring and worrying about the right temperature, since I store most gluten-free ingredients in the freezer as recommended. Well, I followed the Bob's directions exactly (no egg warming needed), and also followed the Zo manual as to the order of placing the ingredients into the pan. I chose the Quick cycle, pushed Start, and held my breath.

The Zo began the preheat cycle, which "stabilizes" the ingredients to optimum temperature. After about 5 minutes, the motor kicked on quietly and began mixing. WOW - my DAK always sounded like a weed eater had gotten loose in the kitchen. The Zo was barely audible from twenty feet away! When it started beeping to let me know that I could add nuts, fruit, etc., I was pleasantly surprised. This was not a loud obnoxious beep as others have stated in their reviews. Maybe Zo has changed this feature due to prior complaints? Not sure, but it's not a problem with the machine I received.

When the moment of truth arrived, I opened the lid and tested the loaf temperature with an instant read thermometer. It read 200 degrees. According to the 125 Best book, I should have left the bread in the machine on the Keep Warm cycle until it reached 220 degrees, since that is allegedly required for gluten-free breads to be fully baked. However, since I'd already turned off the machine before opening (per instruction manual), that option was foreclosed. Oh well, too late.

When I removed the baking pan and turned it upside down, the bread came out with a few shakes. The top was a little misshapen, but I've bought bread at the store that was far worse as to shape. This stuff smelled so great that we cut off two pieces immediately. Guess what? THEY WERE PERFECT!

So, contrary to the instructions in the 125 Best book, I did not warm the eggs, did not program each cycle to run separately, did not remove the paddles, and did not smooth the top of the bread. I did reach in once during the first minute of mixing to scrape some flour off one side of the pan with a silicon spatula, because the 125 Best Book insists upon that for each recipe. Next time, I won't do it and we will just see what happens.

Clean up was easy until I tried to clean the posts to which the paddles are attached. This was tricky, since no scrubbing is allowed, and the posts have a few crevices that need close attention to get all the crusties out. But other than that, this whole thing was way less complicated than it had been made out to be. I am VERY happy! When I have tried some of the recipes from scratch, I will add some updates to let you know if they work as well as the Bob's Red Mill Mix.

UPDATE July 11, 2011: I've been using the ZO regularly, making bread from scratch and from mixes (mostly Bob's). I've completely ignored all the dire warnings about warming the ingredients to room temp, since the ZO has a preheat/warming cycle built in. I've also ignored all the warnings about super-exact measurements, super fresh yeast and flours, etc. (I do store my flours in the freezer and my yeast in the fridge, however). I also refuse to use egg whites, and have substituted one whole egg for the two egg whites in most of the gluten-free recipes. This does require me to use the lightest crust setting to avoid crusts that are too dark.

Despite all this rebelliousness, every single loaf has turned out GREAT! Unlike some of the other reviewers, I really don't care about the holes in the bottom of the loaf from the paddles. I really don't care about having a perfectly shaped top, either. The bread tastes great and works much better for sandwiches than most of the gluten-free bread in the store. Plus, it doesn't have any weird chemical ingredients, either.

I've also experimented using the Quick Cycle and a custom-programmed cycle as recommended by the cookbook (see above). The bread turns out the same either way.

My advice to those wanting a bread-maker for gluten-free baking: Go with the Zo!
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on October 26, 2010
I normally do not write reviews but I am so amazed by this product, I just have to!

I choose to eat foods that do not have preservatives or additives whenever possible and so I bought this bread maker so our family could have pure whole wheat bread.

The product showed up and I was excited but very intimidated by it. I had purchased a bread maker in the past (I don't remember the brand) and tried to make a few loaves but all we (me and it) ever produced was rocks. LOL!

So, I left it on the counter for a week.

Then, one day, when I had time to relax and to be mentally ready for the experience, I opened it up and noticed that it came with a DVD. Whew!!! I was so glad to have this DVD! I ended up never really reading the book, but instead just watched the lady on the DVD.

But after reading all the recipes, I was disappointed... none of them were actually 100% whole wheat.

I had purchased three other books as well (Bread Machine Magic, The Bread Lover's Bread Machine, and The Breadman's Healthy Bread Book) but NONE of the recipes suggested in any of these books were truly 100% whole wheat either.

I wanted to make natural nutritious bread (like the kind that Great Grandma might have made).

I KNOW that great grandmother didn't have access to "baker's flour" or "Vital Wheat Gluten"!!!????

The Breadman's Healthy Bread Book contained "whey" instead of baker's flour or vital wheat gluten, but still, I didn't want to have to add milk proteins like in whey...

I then went online to research a question, "Why does whole wheat bread need additives like baker's flour, vital wheat gluten or whey?"

I found something very interesting.

Evidently, whole wheat flour (even organic) has been stripped of the gluten (and possibly other vital nutrients) so that it won't spoil on the shelf. The yeast in the bread needs gluten in order to rise. So, this is the reason for these additives... to add back the gluten...

Great Grandma just used pure wheat...and (not being stripped of any valuable nutrients) it had everything needed to make perfect bread...

Hmmmm... I pondered this a bit and then got the idea that I would grind my own wheat so that it would contain the nutrients necessary and not need addititves... So,I used my Juniper grain grinder and ground up some wheat grain (with all the gluten and nutrients intact).

I then modified the recipe that comes with the machine.

The "100% Whole Wheat Bread" Recipe:

1 - 7/8 cups of water (I used spring water and added 2Tbsp of goats milk (instead of the dry milk listed below) to the water keeping the total amount at 1 7/8 cups)
2 Tbsp. of Dry Milk (See above)
5 cups of whole wheat flour (I used my freshly ground flour)
3 Tbsp. Sugar (I used organic sucanat - which is organic dehydrated can juice)
1 1/2 tsp. salt (I used sea salt - specifically real salt brand)
4 Tbsp. Vital Wheat Gluten (I just added four more Tbsp. of my freshly ground wheat flour)
2 Tbsp. Butter
3 Tsp. Rapid Rise Yeast

I then waited for my rock...

I was absolutely sure this time that I would get a rock....

Especially since I have NO experience with baking and even had the nerve to modify the recipe...

But what happened?



It was BEAUTIFUL!!! It was exactly the same size and consistency as a "normal" bread loaf. I gave some to my son and best friend and they too were amazed...
Our eyes were rolling and complete silence as we treasured this amazing TRUELY NUTRITIOUS food!

This is going to change our lives!!

I just made a sandwich from the bread and it is incredible... I toasted it first for my son (He likes all his bread toasted) and it fit perfectly in the toaster!

I am telling everyone!!!

I am making all my friends bread for Christmas!!

The above picture is mango whole wheat bread that I just made today.
If you would like for me to post the recipe, just let me know.
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on April 13, 2010
Old Hitachi bread machine (vertical loaf) died. Wife was distraught. Searched the web and learned about the Zo machines. Wife found her gluten-free bread cookbook used the Zos to test their recipes. On-line reviews were almost all 5 stars. The Zo makes a horizontal, 2 lb loaf and has two mixers. It makes an outstanding loaf of bread, better than we've ever had before.
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on March 25, 2013
One of the post on this machine was off center just enough so that the rubber seal was being shredded with each turn of the paddle. Zojirushi Customer Service was attentive and polite. They had me send the machine back to them for service. Even after I described the problem over the phone and packed a detailed note in the machine, the tech did not address the issue. They did check the belts and tested the machine (there were crumbs in the paddles when I received it). I called Zojurishi again and reported that the issue with the post had not been resolved. They responded that they had done all they could, yet, my machine was still leaving rubber shavings in and around the pan. What a waste of $250.
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on April 3, 2011
I posted pictures, see it yourself. Everything is working perfect, but cooking is horrible. I ordered another unit to see if it's going to cooke more even. If no, I'll say sorry to my cuisinart 100 and returt both Zo.

Updating 04/05/2011
I'm adding 1 more star for second unit. Second one baked the same crust on medium setting, as the first baked on dark crust setting. Returning first machine.

I made plum jam, it came out really good, but I set the jam program twice (3LB plums).

I'll keep experimenting for the next 30 days to see if the second unit is a keeper.

Updating 4/19

Love it. I made 100 proc whole wheat, sweet breads, italian bread, jam, dough. It's working the way I expected it to work. I make 2-5 breads a week for my family and friends. 5 stars.

Updating 5/4

Second unit never let me down. All breads came out perfect. I bake lot's of sourdough and it bakes much better then my Cuisinart machine. I use both machines at the same time and Zo bread always fluffier and more prettier. Tonight I'm starting my grand baking for the weekend. I need to bring enough bread for 18 people and 3 days stay in vacation house !
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on December 31, 2010
Since I must eat gluten free breads, and since the GF breads you buy at the store ready-made are useful only as door stops, I decided to get this Zojirushi since it was rated well and produced a "normal" shape loaf. This breadmaker has a number of pre-programmed cycles for quick bake, white, wheat, dough, (even jam, although I can't imagine using a breadmaker for that purpose!) but you can also program your own custom cycle for gluten free bread and store it in memory. This is important because regular gluten bread has a long knead and 3 rise cycles, whereas gluten free bread should only have one rise. The only good way to get the one rise is to program your own gluten bread cycle, in which you would also eliminate the "keep warm" part as well. A couple of the gluten free cookbooks you see sold here on Amazon tell you exactly how to do this with this Zoji breadmaker. I haven't experimented much with home recipes (which sound really good) although I have bought several of the cookbooks and plan to try some of the recipes when I get all the required ingredients together and have the time to organize. Usually I'm in a rush, so I end up using either Pamela's bread mix or Bob's Red Mill mix you can easily find in many supermarkets and health food stores now, both of which turn out really well with slightly different flavors and texture characteristics, and they are especially delicious to eat while still warm. My whole family absolutely loves the freshly baked breads, and the only bad thing is that I rarely have leftovers if many people are here for dinner.

One important thing is to not leave the bread on a "keep warm" cycle as you might do with the gluten type breads, but rather, as soon as the baking time is over get the bread out of the machine and out of the pan to cool on a rack. Once cool, you can slice it and then freeze for later use. I put little squares of waxed paper between the slices so they don't stick together when frozen. The toast is wonderful! I've had none of the problems mentioned in some other reviews. I will just say that like with many items, it's important to read the manual and perhaps get one or two of the GF bread cookbooks so that you understand how to load up the ingredients in the pan, whether it's for regular bread or for gluten free bread. Learn the principles of doing bread this way and you'll do fine.

I've had my Zoji for about a year and half now, and it works perfectly, never a problem. The baking pan still looks like new (I'm careful to not scratch it), and it cleans up easily. I'm quite happy with the Zoji, and would buy the same machine again. With breadmakers, I'll add that you have to have realistic expectations. I don't think any breadmaker bread will duplicate what you could do by hand and bake in the oven. For gluten free breads, the result is far superior to the GF junk you buy from the freezer case...those dense, heavy, crumbly and generally tasteless things that no one wants to eat! As I said, freshly baked and still warm, the breakmaker gluten free bread is quite delicious.
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on April 13, 2010
I received this machine last week and have made seven loaves of bread so far to test it out. There has not been a single failure. I had my old Breadman for about 25 years and it still works but I did have my share of "flops." This machine is so quiet and seems to be built very well. I was quite pleased to see that the paddles have not been stuck in the bread yet. I did read the manual and watched the included video and followed the instructions. I am very pleased with this purchase and highly recommend it.
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on May 5, 2011
I purchased this machine about five months ago and have made 2-3 loaves/week, so that's at least 45-50 loaves, each without any serious problem. I've used bread machines for the last 20 years and overall, this is the best.

I do use prepared bread machine mixes most of the time but even the ones from my recipe books came out fine.

Before I purchased this machine, I researched every machine here and every machine had it's share of 1 star ratings and negative comments. Sometimes, reading between the lines helps to understand what the problems really were. Anyway, this machine had tons of rave reviews as well and since I am in love with my Zojirushi rice cooker, I decided to go with this one and haven't been disappointed.

Once in awhile, the lighter breads are a bit hard to remove from the pan because the paddles have penetrated and the bread doesn't have enough weight to pull away when you turn the pan upside down. But that's a minor problem and a few shakes and it's out.

Lets put it this way. If I had to purchase another machine today, I would purchase the same one.

UPDATE 11/18
This machine continues to perform perfectly. I have now branched out from prepared bread mixes to bread from scratch and the machine continues to bake great loaves even though my measurements aren;t always exact. Just couldn't be happier!
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