Successful loaves from your bread machine: 5 tips for home bakers

Do you bake bread in a bread machine?

Many of you apparently do, judging by the popularity of our bread machine recipes. And for good reason: the bread machine is a great way for first-time bread bakers to get started. And, for you seasoned “yeasties,” it can be a welcome shortcut when you simply don’t have time to bake bread the standard way.

I usually knead dough in my Zojirushi Virtuoso – it’s a WONDERFUL kneading machine – then take it out, shape it, and bake the regular way, in my oven. That’s because I’m often baking rolls, or flatbread, or bread sticks, things that can’t be baked in the Zo’s standard rectangular loaf pan.

But when I need a quick loaf of bread for croutons, say, or bread crumbs, or French toast – yeah, I’m happy to pop the ingredients into the machine and let it do all the work, from mixing to kneading to rising to baking.

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It would be great if the bread machine’s chief product – sandwich loaves – would come out perfect every time. Beautifully risen, symmetrically domed, a lovely crust with no floury spots.

But honestly? That’s not the reality of bread machine baking. What you save in time and effort, you often lose in quality.

Still, with just a minimal amount of effort, you can step in and help your bread machine as it kneads and shapes and bakes – thus ensuring yourself a higher percentage of perfect (or nearly so) loaves.

You just need to be willing to touch the dough. Honestly, that’s all it takes.

Fair warning: If you’re someone who likes to “set it and forget it” – add the ingredients, press Start, and come back 3 hours later – then this post isn’t for you. And if you have a reliable recipe, one that turns out great every time – congratulations, stick with it.

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But if you sometimes end up with the dreaded “ski slope loaf” –

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Or don’t love those massive paddles that take huge, ripping bites out of the bottom of your loaf, then read on: this one’s for you.

Let’s make some bread. We’ll go with our most popular bread machine recipe – Bread Machine Bread – Easy As Can Be.

Step 1: Put everything into the bucket of your bread machine. I like to put the liquids in first; I feel the dough is less prone to floury spots doing it that way.

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Tip 1: Open the lid and check the dough as it kneads.

So many people seem afraid to “interfere” with their bread machine as it works. But honestly, nothing bad will happen if you open the lid and poke at the dough.

Start watching the dough about 10 minutes into its kneading cycle; it shouldn’t be viscous and liquid-like (top), nor dry, stiff, and “gnarly” (bottom). As my fellow blogger Susan Reid says, “If you touch the dough and your finger comes back coated, the dough is too wet. If you touch the dough and it feels like poking a beach ball, it’s too dry.”

The dough should have formed a cohesive unit and, if not “smooth as a baby’s bottom” yet, should be headed in that direction. If it’s not, add more flour (if it’s too soft), or water (if it’s dry).

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Tip 2: Once the dough is done kneading, take a paper towel and wipe any excess flour out of the bucket.

This will help prevent floury spots on the crust.

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Tip 3: To prevent big rips and holes in the bottom of your loaf, take the paddles out of the bucket before the loaf bakes, just before its final rise.

The timing for this can be a bit tricky; but once you figure it out, you’re good to go forever.

Get out your kitchen timer, and put it in count up (stopwatch) mode. Start your timer when you press “Start” on your bread machine (even if your machine has a “rest” or “preheat” mode right at the beginning); you’re simply trying to gauge the amount of time between when you press start, and when the final rise begins.

You want to be around when your bread starts its final rise. Most bread machine manuals show a timeline of steps: e.g., preheat 31 minutes, knead 19 minutes, first rise 35 minutes, second rise 20 minutes, etc. A little simple arithmetic will give you an idea when the final rise will start.

Hang around the kitchen when you figure that final rise is imminent. You’ll hear the machine start up momentarily; it’ll be knocking down the dough, which means the final rise is about to begin. When you hear that happen, stop your timer and check the time. (On my Zojirushi Virtuoso, it’s 1 hour, 45 minutes).

So there you have it: you now know, for the next time you bake bread, that 1 hour, 45 minutes (or whatever) will elapse between the time you press “Start” and when the final rise begins. So whenever you make bread-machine bread, and want to remove the paddles before the loaf bakes – pull out your timer and put it to good use.

Reach into the bucket, move the dough aside, and lift out the paddles.

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The loaf on the left baked with its paddles in. On the right, no paddles. What a difference!

Tip 4: Reshape the loaf before its final rise.

Yes, this is where you prevent those ski-slope loaves. When you open the lid of the machine to remove the bucket’s paddles, check out the shape of the loaf. It might be just fine, filling the pan from end to end.

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Or not (top photo). If the dough isn’t in an acceptable loaf shape, take it out of the bucket, shape it into a nice, symmetrical log, and put it back into the bucket (center photo). It will rise nice and evenly (bottom photo)…

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…and bake into a lovely loaf.

Don’t limit yourself to a traditional loaf shape, either. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a ball. Lay them side by side in the bucket for a break-apart double loaf: enjoy half, share half with your neighbor.

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Or take those two halves of dough, shape them into logs, and make a simple twist.

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Want something fancier? Go for it – see our recipe for Buttery Garlic-Herb Pull-Apart Bread, made in your bread machine.

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Finally, isn’t it annoying when you’ve done everything right, and your loaf still comes out looking… well, not as good as it could?

You’ve pulled your gorgeous loaf out of the pan, and within minutes it develops a crust as wrinkled as Yoda. GRRRR… what’s up with that? And how do you prevent it?

Tip 5: Cool the bread in the machine, instead of on a rack on the counter.

As soon as your bread is done, remove the bucket from the machine, take out the bread (which will be easy, since the paddles aren’t there to impede its progress), and gently set the loaf back into the machine, sans bucket.

Crack the lid open an inch or so, and let the bread cool right in the turned-off machine. The still-warm (but gradually cooling) air helps prevent moisture from condensing on your loaf’s surface – no wrinkles!

So, what’s the baking science behind this? If your loaf hits the cooler air outside the machine, any moisture migrating from inside reaches the top surface and condenses, forming water droplets that cause the crust to shrink unevenly – in other words, to wrinkle, like the loaf on the right, below.

The double loaf on the left is a tiny bit wrinkled, but not nearly as much.

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Final step: enjoy your wonderful homemade bread. Who says you can’t bake a perfectly acceptable loaf right in your bread machine?

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Do you have a favorite bread machine tip? Please share in “comments,” below. Let’s all learn from one another!

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Debra

    I wrap the posts of the bread pan with non-stick foil, bread comes out very easily.Then when cool the foil slips right out. No crust stuck on the posts.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Debra, that’s a great idea – slick, both literally and figuratively! 🙂 Thanks for sharing – PJH

    2. Deni G

      My bread machine gives notice at the final rise so I can take the paddle out then. I also spray the paddle post and the inside of the paddle so it’s easier to remove if I leave it in while baking.

  2. mitzimuffins

    How much time do you have once you remove the dough to shape it, etc before you have to get it back into the machine? Is the machine still on and heating up for baking? My machine, even though a good one at the time I purchased it 25 years ago, is not as fancy as the Zo. I don’t think I can shut it down or pause it.
    I usually just use my machine to make the dough and then bake in a normal pan because I have always disliked those large holes in the bottom of the bread and the overly tall shape of the bread. Your blog has been an eye opener for me and who knew we were allowed to break a few rules when dealing with the bread machine.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      As long as you are getting the loaf back in the pan in about 3-4 minutes, you’ll be fine. It shouldn’t take too much time to grab those paddles out and do a quick shape on the bread, even though the machine is still running. ~ MJ

  3. Marsha

    thank so much for the wonderful advice. I’ve always added flour or water as needed, but removing the paddles and reshaping is brilliant! Can’t wait to bake a loaf.

    Reply
  4. Alyssa

    I was about to get rid of my bread machine, now I will give it a little better chance of staying here with me! Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You’re very welcome! Keep at it with the bread machine and make sure to let us know how it is going. Jon@KAF

  5. Rosemary

    This works great! After the dough is mixed up in the Zo, gently remove the dough from the Zo pan and place the dough in a standard loaf pan, (sold by King Arthur). Reshape the dough if it lopsided. Place the loaf pan back in the Zo and let the baking cycle finish. It works great. The loaf slides out easily, no holes in the bottom. A very nice loaf.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Wow, Rosemary – never thought of that. Do you shape and put it into the pan as soon as it’s done kneading, or when? I’m definitely trying this – thanks! PJH

    2. Mary

      More details, please. Do you remove the Zo pan or put the loaf pan inside it? I have a different brand machine and a loaf pan wouldn’t fit in it at all, but I think the savings from not heating the oven and just using the Zo might justify the cost. Thanks.

    3. Janice

      Wow, thanks for the idea Rosemary. Never thought of removing it from the Zo pan. I put it in the KAF bread pan and put it back in the machine, before it’s last rise. As it is baking it looks picture perfect. I was so disappointed in my Zo machine because I always got lopsided ski slope shaped loaves. Was at my wits end until I read these tips and your post. When it kneads it seems to only be on one of the paddles, so this was just the solution to the ski slope loaf. I had previously owned a West Bend Baker’s Choice Plus II bread machine, while it worked very well for several years , it was getting noisy and had to Duct tape the door closed when using, lol. Thanks again for the input!

    4. Karen

      I’m with Mary on needing more details about using another pan. Can’t imagine balancing a bread pan on dough paddles . . .

    5. PJ Hamel , post author

      Karen, you remove the bread machine bucket, so there are no paddles involved. You set your bread pan where the bucket would ordinarily rest. If you have a Zo, check it out – you’ll see how it works. I haven’t tried it, but it looks/sounds like it would work – PJH

    6. Phillys

      I could not wait to try this, but I think the metal my loaf pan is made of is too thin because the bread got REALLY brown. I had the top brown setting on medium, but it was the sides that were too brown. You could almost say that it was burned, but I am trying to be positive. LOL. Is the KA pan you use #2942? I have some other pans of this type, and I love them. Maybe it is time to add another one to my collection. I just want to make sure that this one will fit in the Zo. Any help will be appreciated! Thank you!

    7. PJ Hamel , post author

      Phillys, I’m sorry your bread got so brown. I’d try setting the crust setting on light rather than medium; it’s not just the top crust that the setting refers to, but the entire crust. Yes, #2942 is the pan I’d use; I haven’t tried it yet, but did slip it into the machien to be sure it fits. I hope you try this again, as it sounds like it would work. Good luck – PJH

    8. Sammie414

      I tried this too and it works great! I was concerned about the bread crust over browning so I doubled the baking pan, as a guard between the heating element and the baking bread. (Stacked the loaf on top of another same sized empty pan.) Baked for 50 minutes in the Zo on the quick bake setting. The crust came out perfect. Thanks for the great idea, Rosemary!

    9. The Baker's Hotline

      Martha, I don’t think we ever heard back from Rosemary directly, but read a little further through the comments and you’ll see more suggestions from PJ and others. Happy baking! Mollie@KAF

  6. Maria

    i like all your suggestions but my problem is my husband bought me the small zorushi bread machine and the paddle doesn’t come out, and I don’t like the recipes they gave for this machine. I can’t find a recipe for good white bread to fit this size machine, I usually just make the recipe I have for my old machine that I liked and bake it myself. The problem is the flour goes out and all over the machine insides and what a mess! Any good suggestions for this particular small machine. We bought it knowing our 4 kids have left the nest nod so we are not going through as much bread as before. It goes bad before it is finished.

    Reply
    1. Mary

      Maria, in addition to the few mini-Zo recipes on the KAF site, a number of bread machine cookbooks offer recipes for one pound loaves. I’ve had good luck with some of the recipes in the Bread Machine Magic series by Linda Rehberg and Lois Conway – always using King Arthur Flour, of course.

    2. Sandie

      That sandwich loaf recipe is my “go to” for my small Zo machine. It is everything the reviews tout.

    3. MaryJane Robbins

      Thanks for the encouragement Sandie, I’m sure that helps folks know it’s a great recipe to try. ~ MJ

    4. Alex

      Maria, I have the 1 pound mini-Zo and I’ve made great bread using “The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook” by Beth Hensperger and King Arthur ingredients. I just halve any of the 2 pound recipes, and they always come out great. I’ve made everything from simple white bread to hamburger rolls and english muffins. My machine has a paddle that comes out, it’s a bit a struggle sometimes though, I got it about 7 or 8 years ago, so it must be a different model.

    5. Gervaise Sadowski

      Hi Maria,
      I use 2 1/4 cups (10.5 oz) of bread flour , 1 tsp. of salt, 1 tsp. of butter. I mix these first 3 ingredients together in a bowl. Then I transfer them to the bread machine pan. I then add 1 1/8 cup (9 oz water), that is 40 degrees. I close the top of the bread machine and add 1 tsp. of Rapid Rise Red Star Yeast. I have just purchased KAF yeast have not opened it yet. I have been making this White Bread that reminds me of my Mom’s and my Grandma’s from when I was a little girl. I have two Panasonic Bread Bakery Machines. One is 25 years old and the other is about 5 years old. I had a Zo for about 1 week. I found that it did not make good enough bread. I was very disappointed that I could not replicate any bread that I had made in my Panasonic. For my money, Panasonic is the expert when you want Bread from a Bakery or from Mom’s Kitchen.

    6. Gervaise Sadowski

      Hi Maria,
      In my previous comments, I failed to mention that the setting that I use for my bread in the 2 Panasonic Bread Bakery Machines are the following: the 25 year old machine, the Crisp Bread setting is used which is 7 hours from beginning to fresh bread. The 5-year old machine, the French Bread setting is used for a cycle of 6 hours.

    7. Mary Munarin

      The paddle on the Mini Zo does come out, it just takes some work. I read somewhere that there’s a small hook involved, but I don’t think so–it’s just designed not to “fly off the handle” when the dough ball is dancing. The Mini Zo paddle is fairly small and doesn’t make too big a hole in the loaf, so I just leave it in. Cooling the loaf before dumping it out of the pan makes the bread contract a bit, even around the paddle, so it’s easier to remove … if you can wait that long to eat some, lol.

  7. Anne Wilson

    Great idea EXCEPT … those little nubs that are left after removing the paddles are NOT non-stick. I learned this the hard way after trying this method once and found the bread was stuck like cement to the nubs. Either spray them (only them) with a cooking spray of your choice, or try the aluminum foil idea someone else suggested. I usually just put it in a regular bread pan because I like to have my hands on it at some point so I can say, “yes, I really made this!”

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Anne, it sounds like many people are really intrigued by your method. I hope you don’t mind all the questions, and thanks so much for sharing this. ~ MJ

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      HI Linda,
      There could be any number of reasons, and we aren’t sure which ones you’ve tried. Drop the hotline and email or swing through chat and we’ll be happy to talk it out and hopefully solve the mystery. ~ MJ

    2. WillInPgh

      Linda–

      Sounds like too much liquid for the amount of dry ingredients; excess liquid leaves the bread with too little structure to support itself during the baking cycle. I had this problem with a mis-printed recipe for multi-grain bread. Adding just an extra 1/3 cup of the 9-grain cereal made all the difference in the world!

      Look at a few other recipes (on the web or in other books you may have) to get an idea of the liquid:dry ingredient ratios used by other folks. You may find, as I did, that your recipe requires only a minor tweak to achieve success.

  8. Cozette

    Great information. Thanks so much! I have usually baked bread the traditional way but got a bread machine awhile ago for the convenience it offers. You’ve addressed what I’ve disliked about baking bread in a machine and I really like Rosemary’s idea of baking the loaf in a standard loaf pan.

    Reply
  9. Telynau

    Hello and Thank You for these fantastic tips. We use the bread machine regularly as (at the moment) we don’t have a stove.

    Can these tips be used with Gluten Free recipes? I’ve been under the impression the less g-f dough is handled the better. It would be nice to fix something like the herb & garlic bun bread. Even the twin loaves.

    Oh! One of my favourite tricks, melt any shortening and pour it into the pan first. Tilt & roll the pan to distribute it over the bottom. This helps keep the dough ball from sticking while forming. Fingers dampened with a little milk, water, or egg wash helps smooth & level the top before baking, too.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi there,
      Gluten free loaves do behave quite differently, and the kneading/baking cycles are different as well, so most of these tips won’t translate over to GF breads. ~ MJ

  10. Judy Nafus

    Try as I may…I can’t seem to figure out why my bread falls during the final rise or maybe it’s during the baking time. Do you have any ideas for me on how to prevent this? I LOVE your idea about taking the paddle out. Brilliant

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Judy, it sounds like it’s over-rising before it starts baking. One way to try to prevent that is to cut back on the liquid; start cutting back 2 tablespoons, see if that helps, OK? Good luck – PJH

    2. Diana

      I found I needed to cut the yeast from 1 tsp to 3/4 tsp because of wild yeast in the air from many years of bread baking. I tried everything, even buying a new mini ZO but this is the trick that worked.

  11. Dorothy b

    Another great article…thank you.
    I have the mini Zo, ordered from King Arthur…and just love it. Think I only baked one loaf in the machine. I use the dough mode and let it rise, then remove the dough and knead till I see the air bubbles. Shape it and put it in my 1 lb pan, let it do a second rise and bake. My paddle is removable , unlike Maria’s.. May try removing the paddle sometime. What I do works for me, cosistant bread shape and texture

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Dorothy, whatever works is right for you – there are so many variables, between kitchens and climate and ingredients. I’m glad you’re having success with your Mini – here’s to good homemade bread, right? 🙂 PJH

  12. Sheena H

    Hi PJ,

    Just bought a bread maker – novice bread maker here but adore cooking. Anyway, curious about something. We don’t drink cow’s milk, only almond milk. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in bread machine recipes but thought I’d give it a shot and someone whose so much more experienced in bread making than I am. This post was great – lots of tips I’ll use for my first loaf. Thanks so much for your time today.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Sheena, almond milk should work just fine in any bread machine recipe calling for milk. Enjoy your new toy! PJH

    2. Iris Morales

      I bake for our adult daughter, who must follow a GF lifestyle (hate the word “diet”). I no longer bake anything GF in my large Cuisinart (which does indeed have a GF cycle) because I found it too messy and the end results were just no palatable. So I mastered how to bake GF bread using my 7 qt KA stand mixer, and following an incredibly good multigrain recipe in The Gluten Free Bible. The resulting loaves are beautiful, with great “mouth feel texture. Granted, I have taken liberties with using that recipe and created recipes for savory breads, fruity breads (using dried fruits) and toasted nuts, as well as making flour substitutions (replacing cornstarch with arrowroot, and oat flour with almond and sorghum). I highly recommend this gluten free cookbook. There are several really good recipes in it, but the multigrain bread recipe is by far the BEST of all recipes that I have encountered along the journey of helping our daughter (an autoimmune disorder has improved tremendously via eliminating gluten, and by eating organic as much as possible).
      As for the milk question: I have used almond, cashew (Silk markets it, and it is good!), and Lactaid 0%, all with wonderful results. I also use non-fat dry milk (I am partial to Carnation, which I buy in a huge bag at BJ’s). I don’t like coconut milk so that is the only one that I do not use for breads.
      Besides the Cuisinart, I too have a 1-lb loaf Zojurishi. I had best success when I chose to take out after the first rise, shape, let rise again, and then bake in the oven. Something that I have learned: The instant (rapid rise) yeasts that I use made it necessary to shorten the second rise. I heat up my oven (which takes a good 5-8 minutes or so) then pop in the loaves to bake. The GF multigrain breads generally take a good 50-60 minutes bake time. And I test them with my instant-read thermometer (Taylor). Non GF loaves take 30 minutes.
      Hope some of this info is useful to you.

    3. PJ Hamel , post author

      Iris, thanks so much. We all learn from one another, so we appreciate you sharing your experiences here. PJH

  13. Margy

    I have the older model Zojirushi and love it. I keep a spray bottle of water on hand. If the dough seems too dry, I spritz it with water rather than just dumping more water in. It seems to incorporate much more evenly and I can hit specific spots that appear to need it. I spray the posts with non-stick spray, but the idea of actually using another bread pan in the Zo is new to me. Guess I have a new project for this weekend. Also, I have the Beyond Bread booklet, and would love to see if people have other recipes adapted for the Zo.

    Reply
  14. Eleanor

    Hi PJ,

    Thanks so much for your articles on baking with yeast! I’d love to see a post on the different types of yeast – there’s active dry, instant, rapid rise, and apparently now pizza. What’s the difference? I don’t bake with yeast very often so don’t want to have four types around going stale, so is there one I can use in place of the others? (My apologies if you’ve already discussed this topic – I did look but couldn’t find a post about it.) Thanks!

    Cheers,
    Eleanor

    Reply
  15. Dorothy L

    I have the ‘Zo’ and love it. My loaves always come out beautifully and just yesterday I made the bread featured in this blog and it was absolutely perfect! I only have one issue with my Zo and it’s that the top of the bread doesn’t get brown enough for me – we like our baked goods to look well baked. I know that the newest Zo has a heated lid that probably browns the top better but I’m not about to put my perfectly good Zo to rest just for that one reason. I do bake my loaves on medium crust – I think using the dark crust would be too much for the sides and bottom (but I do like the ‘crunch’ on my bread). Thanks for your recipes and tips – I’ve had great only great success with King Arthur!

    Reply
  16. Sheila Weiss

    I’m on my second bread machine. The first one -a 10-yr-old Breadman – died after Thanksgiving. It worked hard for me, but I always hated the “paddle mark” it left when I baked the loaf in it. My new Cuisinart sounds a chime when it’s about to bake and you can remove the paddle. Easy peasy!
    I use the bread machine for dough only a LOT – esp. Pizza dough. It’s a wonderful time and labor saving device, and we have delicious bread, rolls, and much more, often.
    If you’re considering getting one of these gadgets, make room for it in your kitchen! You won’t be sorry.

    Reply
  17. Loretta

    I have a Zo and have been so disappointed for all of the above reasons. Thank you for this post. It makes me want to try again!

    Reply
  18. Phyllis jubelt

    We Have the smaller Zo. Love it! I find that the breads are a little “heavy”. Quite often, I finish baking in my oven, and it’s not as “heavy”. Also, feels good kneading again. Wonderful article & tips.

    Reply
  19. Candy C.

    I use the dough cycle only on my bread machine and then remove the dough to shape, do the final rise and bake. I like to make rolls too. I also check the consistency of my dough after a few minutes like you suggested every single time, makes a huge difference. Never thought of removing the paddle, great idea!

    Reply
  20. Riki

    I have a Zo machine that’s about 4 years old. The window at the top isn’t insulated glass and allows a lot of the heat out while baking. As a result, most of my loaves come out fine on the sides, but very light on the top! I’ve tried putting aluminum foil inside while baking and covering the window with hot pads & towels to reflect the heat back in. It helps but not much. Any ideas what I can do to resolve this? Because other than that, it’s a great little machine and I love is convenience!

    Reply
    1. Riki

      Thanks Laurie. Yes, this is exactly what I do now. But it does defeat the ease and convenience of baking in the Zo. Was just wondering if other Zo machine users have experienced this same issue and what, if anything, do they do differently that yields a nicely browned top in the Zo?

  21. Kelly

    Thanks for the great tips! I rarely bake in my bread machine — normally I just use the dough cycle but these might inspire me to try baking in the machine again. And the suggestion of baking in a regular pan set back into the bread machine is simply brilliant!

    Reply
  22. Tamara

    I love your idea of halving the dough to make a double loaf as well as using the KAF pan! With just my husband and I, I would love to freeze half to keep it fresh. Can you freeze bread well? I usually make my own variation of Naturally Sweet Wheat Bread or Pumpernickel.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Bread freezes beautifully; you can keep it for several months. Alternately, you can cool and slice the bread, then pull out slices for toasting as needed. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  23. Linda

    Great tips from all users! I had before Zo, 2 Breadmans machines, I just loved them. Bought a Zo, the 1st one after calling Zo numerous times telling them it was defective and being told by Zo to use ice water instead of warm water, they finally sent me a new one, it did bake differently(better) but I still had to experiment with machine, finally took the recipe I had been using for years adjusted the time for rising and baking from my old Breadman machine and I got wonderful bread. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the Zo……………………

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Exactly right, Linda – don’t be afraid to experiment, as that’s the way you’ll eventually discover what you need to do to get your very best bread. Glad you’ve been able to adjust your Breadman recipe to the Zo – PJH

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Can’t advise you on that, as I haven’t yet tried it. If your glass pan is oven-proof, as I suspect it is, you MIGHT want to try it; but it would certainly be at your own risk, OK? Good luck – PJH

  24. Dolores Beaudoin

    I’m so glad that I took the time to read the tips for using bread machines! I love the idea of removing the paddles which I never thought of trying before. It’s a fantastic idea for the summer when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen with the oven. I will definitely try this idea as I have never baked my bread in the bread machine due to the holes in the bottom which ruin the looks of a homemade bread.

    I never buy store-bought bread anymore due to the preservatives and all of the sugar that they contain. What do you think of using Zylitol (which comes from the birch tree and is all natural) instead of sugar for diabetics in your recipes? Zylitol has the same consistency of cane sugar.. Flat bread recipes sometimes don’t even require any sugar or maybe 1/2 teaspoon. Your thoughts, please.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      I’m sorry, Dolores, I haven’t baked with Xylitol and this can’t guarantee it’ll work in any and all recipes. I suspect that it would work just fine in bread recipes, as most use very little sugar; you could also simply leave the sugar out of any yeast bread recipe, understanding it’ll be a bit less tender, less long-lasting, and of course, not sweet. Good luck – PJH

    2. Iris Morales

      Thought I’d share: My husband has type 2 diabetes, so I’ve learned to substitute Truvia in recipes. I’ve also substituted other “sweeteners” for sugar(s) called for in recipes since our daughter has eliminated sugars. Good to great success with making my own date-paste, or date syrup (which can be bought online or try your local TJMax, Home Goods, or Marshall’s). Sometimes can use fruit juice concentrates (defrosted). Agave comes in many flavors, including Maple (which is quite flavorful). I can also use coconut palm sugar. I use about one third to one half of amount called for, then add about 4 o 7 packets of Truvia (I buy big box at BJ’s, which makes using it very cost effective and convenient). Organic grade b maple syrup is used in just enough amount to give flavor lightly drizzled on top of muffins/breads before baking. ALL of these ideas have taken months and many try-fail-adjust baking journeys, but have all been worth it. BTW: Splenda is one sugar substitute that we DO NOT use, after a horrific experience. My husband was using it several years ago when first diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and the doctor diagnosed his kidney pain as stones. Online, we learned about cases being reported with exactly what my husband experienced. Stopped using Splenda and problems disappeared.

    3. Liv

      xylitol is now being used by more dentists as it has been discovered that it kill “bad” bacteria in the mouth. works best that way when liquified. as for baking, use it just like you would use any regular sugar, measure for measure. it reacts just like regular sugar and is about 85% as sweet. Zero calories. I love it better than any other sweetner and doesn’t leave any aftertaste as does many others. enjoy., Liv

  25. Faye E Miller

    I have a Cuisinart 2# bread maker with signal beep for removing the paddle-great feature. I always warm the bread pan with hot water and slightly warm the liquid ingredients in micro prior to adding to the bottom of the pan, then adding dry ingredients and yeast in a well hole on the top. My loaves come out beautiful if I watch the moistness of the dough during kneading, adding flour or water as needed. Warm pan and warm liquid helps each time!

    Reply
  26. Karen

    I bake nearly all my bread in the machine because we have a propane stove and propane is ridiculously expensive. I set the machine to “dough.” Then take out the dough and paddle, spray cooking spray on my fingers and grease the post, shape the loaf and put back in the pan, let it rise, and then put it back into the machine to bake. This is also really nice in the summer because you don’t heat up your kitchen by turning on the stove. Sometimes I even take the machine outside for the baking portion on hot days. You don’t get the lovely smell in the house that way, but eliminate the heat.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      All good tips, Karen – I admit I never thought to take my bread machine outside, but I actually do take my electric frying pan outside in the summer, so it makes total sense. Thanks – PJH

  27. Barbara

    I’m experiencing a different problem lately that isn’t addressed here. I get the dough going in my machine and use the touch method to be sure I have a nice dough ball. Not too soft, not too hard. It finishes its first knead, rests, and then in the 2nd knead I end up with a smeary, sticky dough ball that’s adhering to the pan. I thought it might be a problem with the flour, so I got King Arthur flour and tried again, and ended up with the same mess. Any ideas? Is my bread machine at fault?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It sounds like your bread machine is overkneading the dough to the point of damaging the gluten. If there is a way to shorten the knead cycle, that might be an alternative. You might also mix it in the machine and pull it out to rise and bake in your oven. Then you can control the second knead and rising. If it’s the recipe, the errors will still be there. If it’s just fine, we’ll know the machine had something to do with it. Give our Hotline at call at 1-855-371-2253 and we’ll help troubleshoot. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

    2. Barbara

      Thank you! I’m going to try cutting off the knead early and follow your suggestions. I think the recipe is fine, because I’ve made it for many years. I’ll call your hotline with any questions/observations.

  28. MartiAnn

    I just purchased a bread machine from the second hand shop. I came across a recipe that instructed the kneading method for dinner rolls in a bread machine. Boy was it wonderful. I have tried it 2 more times since then, tweeking the recipe each time. I am so happy with the results. The bread machine keeps a consisteny warm and gently cooking method. After 2 hours I take out my dough, shape into rolls, slider buns, or hamburger buns and I’m good to go. I only wish I had the instructions for my machine. Question, can you still buy yeast in the block or solid form? My bread is good but doesnt have the awsome yeasty smell. Any ideas?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It’s hard to find fresh compressed yeast in the stores these days (it spoils easily), but occasionally it will pop up in the dairy section. You might also ask at a local bakery if they use it and would they sell you a block. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

    2. Jeanne Wallenkamp

      My machine did not have a book either. So I googled it by name and I think serial number and I was able to download and print the recipe book.

  29. Linda

    I have had my Zo for about 13 years and make bread a lot, all different kinds. I don’t like those holes from paddles either so the tips were good, I will try that. My question is: I live at 5000 ft elevation. All my bread crumbles when I cut it with either electric knife or regular bread knife. I have tried adding a bit more liquid and it still leaves a lot of crumbs when I slice it. Can you give me any tips to make me happier??? I am tired of all the mess and the bread does dry out faster. I always store my loaves in my frig. Thanks a lot.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Check out our high elevation baking tips on our Learn page; you may also want to ask other bakers in your area how they adjust to the altitude. Try freezing the sliced bread for storage instead of the fridge. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  30. Mary Summers

    I purchased my West Bend bread machine over 18 years ago and it still makes a very nice loaf of bread, however I do bake it in the oven now. However, I love KAF and the magazine they send me.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re happy your bread machine has worked well for you for so many years, Mary! Barb@KAF

  31. SUE KUJAWA

    What a timely article. I just borrowed a co worker’s bread machine to see if I would like one. The first thing I did was get KAF bread flour at the grocery. I was happy with the first loaf but will be trying the tips for the next loaves. Now I will be looking up recipes on the website for future bakings.

    Reply
  32. J Wingert

    When finished baking (in the oven) I take the loaves out of the pans, place on a towel, spray a mist of water all over them (yes even the bottom as I don’t like a hard crust) and then cover the loaves with a doubled cotton dishtowel and let cool. I never have wrinkles in the bread and the bread has never been “dry”. I learned the water misting from the SUBWAY restaurants. It’s what they do with their bread once they take it out of the oven.

    Reply
  33. Gina

    This may have been ask man times, but I’m a “Newbee” to this. My bread machine makes good bread, any recipe but the sides are always hard. Sometimes can’t even eat them. What’s the solution? Thanks for the help, is appreciated.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Gina, what kind of bread machine are you using? Sounds like the side heat is too hot; have you tried calling the manufacturer to discuss this issue? Also, nonfat breads will have harder/crustier sides than those with a bit of butter or oil. Hope this helps – PJH

  34. Molly

    I have been removing the paddles and reshaping my loaves for sometime. I also mist the dough at this time and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Wonderful flavor.

    Reply
  35. D Benson

    I love my Zo! I don’t love the hard crust it produces, so I usually prepare the basic white bread on dough cycle and then bake it off in a 350 degree oven right in the Zo pan. I have taken paddles out before, but the paddle marks don’t really bother me. The other thing I do with this bread is slice the top of the dough just before baking and place 2 tsp of butter slivers in the slice. Split top butter crust bread is a favorite at our house and baking the Zo pan in the oven produces a lovely crust!

    Reply
  36. Cheryl

    Thanks for the great tips! My frustration with my Zojirushi is inconsistency. A loaf will turn out flawlessly one day, and I feel like I do everything exactly the same way the next time, but it sinks in the middle and the has a horrible, heavy, sponge-like texture. What am I doing wrong when this happens? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Cheryl, it might be the weather or the season or a tiny bit of difference in measuring flour, yeast, or liquid. Bread that rises and then sinks usually means too much liquid, too little flour, or too much yeast. So be careful with your measuring – we recommend measuring by weight, for best accuracy. And if it’s humid/rainy, reduce the liquid by a tablespoon. Good luck – PJH

  37. Andrea

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who plays with the dough for the first half hour! My husband always asks me why I can’t just leave it, but I guess when I first started baking in my machine, the directions must have said to watch it knead and adjust as necessary! I haven’t gotten to the paddle removal except once, but I think next time I’ll try your tip. Thanks so much! And I hope your road show makes it to Hawaii again this summer!

    Reply
  38. Donny Bee

    I have been transformed by KAF to knead loaf in bread machine, let it rise 1 1/2 hours and finish in oven. During the kneading, if the dough sticks to the sides as it processes, is that a sign dough too wet? Seems as if I am usually “too wet or too dry.” Your article was excellent and gave me the desire to “keep on keeping on.”

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Donny, glad to hear you’re going to keep up your bread baking – practice makes perfect, right? Or, if not perfect – at least better! 🙂 Dough sticking to the sides of the pan isn’t necessarily too wet; it depends what style of bread you’re after. For instance, brioche dough is very soft, as is ciabatta dough. So if your dough sticks but the loaf comes out fine – well, “keep on keepin’ on!” PJH

  39. Chuck

    I knead all my machine bread using the “dough cycle”…when done put the dough in pans , let it rise for 1 hr+/-, then bake in oven…I have two pans, one regular size(2-21/2#) and a double pan for two 1# loaves…This works well as it eliminates the paddle cavities…adds some time to the entire process but one can attend to other duties during the rise time…As Alex stated, just halve the recipe for the 1# pans…if it’s a complicated(many ingredients) recipe, after the knead in the big pan I’ll remove it, cut in halves, then rise it in 2 baking pans & oven bake ’em….

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for sharing your bread machine baking tips, Chuck! It’s great to get so many comments and suggestions! Barb@KAF

  40. Russ

    I bake all the baked goods that are eaten in our gluten free home. As you say, gluten free is a different kind of baking.
    One trick I have learned is to turn off the machine after the first mix and start over. This more completely mixes the ingredients and the dough looks more like wheat dough.
    Another trick that I picked up from one of your recipes is to substitute ginger ale for other liquids. I have no idea if this would work well with regular flour.
    I like the idea of removing the paddle before baking and I am going to try it next time.

    Russ

    Reply
  41. Susan Mulledy-DeFrank

    I love my Z machine, it’s the second one I’ve had since beginning to make bread in a machine. My husband and I did a lot of experimentation and learning using the machine. Being able to feel the dough and learn from the feel has helped immensely in bread baking for us. Sometimes if I’m lazy I will use it just for the dough and then take it out and bake what I want from it. I haven’t tried it with Sour Dough yet, but hopefully someday I’ll do that. Again I love the Z machine. Loved your tips too.
    Happy baking. PS I make Pizza dough every week from the Z recipe book, it’s great and I love to knead it myself, its very ZEN!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Susan, I use my Zo a lot for kneading dough, too – it’s so easy to “set it and forget it,” then come back later to find perfectly risen dough, ready to shape and bake as you like. Thanks for sharing here – PJH

  42. les

    Ive been doing this tips for years, but … never heard of non stick foil, love the tip, going hunting this week for it!

    Reply
  43. Howard

    Through trial & error, I’ve ended up following all of your suggestions – and then some! I use a bread machine only because I don’t have an oven (I live in Thailand). I make sourdough bread, mostly whole wheat, and I’m finally getting good results.
    However, my latest problem is that the crust is not browning properly (I check the internal temperature, so that’s not the problem). I understand that long ferments can reduce sugar content, which I suspect is the problem… but what can I do about it?
    The recipes I follow all use extremely high oven temperatures, which of course I cannot replicate… any suggestions? Next batch I will try an egg wash or some equivalent, but if you have any ideas I’d love to hear them.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Howard, an egg-yolk wash would help, as would brushing the crust with vegetable or olive oil. Good browning on sourdough is often an issue, so it’s not just your bread machine. I wonder if putting some foil on the “ceiling” (lid) of the machine would help deflect the heat back down? PJH

  44. Norm

    Great information. My problem with my bread machine was that the finished loaf would always be higher on one side. After blaming the machine I finally realized the table I was using was not level. Problem solved.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Hmmm, Norm, sometimes the answer is simpler than it seems, eh? A good reminder to eliminate the obvious first. 🙂 PJH

  45. Mark

    Good article . will have to try them. about uneven loafs , I have found after watching the bread knead
    it gets uneven by the paddles, I started setting the paddles, looking into the pan set the left paddle at 2pm and the right one at 8 am. the dough ends up even most of the time. I also warm the pan and melt the butter .

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Mark, interesting you bring this up – we noticed that, too, that the initial way you set the paddles makes a difference in how the dough ends up looking. We hadn’t done enough testing to come to a conclusion, as you have – so thanks for doing our work for us! 🙂 PJH

  46. Carol Ann Burden

    I too have been taking the paddles out of the pan before baking and shaping the loaf but a lot of dough adhered to the posts while baking. I tried using baking spray but found it gummed up the works so now I just rub them down with a little bit of butter to allow the loaf to slide out easily. Thanks for the tips, I will be cooling my loaves in the machine from now on!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Carol, thanks for the butter tip, too – the more we can help our machines along, the better they behave! PJH

  47. Coyoty

    Maybe the people whose bread keeps falling are in higher altitudes, and they should increase their cycle times if they can.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Could be – in which case they should reduce the yeast a bit, since things happen more quickly at high altitude. BTW, all of you at high altitude – check out our high altitude tips. PJH

  48. Ellie G.

    Can I put a biga in the bread machine overnight and then add the rest of the bread’s ingredients in the a.m. and let the machine go through the regular cycle?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Absolutely, Ellie. Mix the biga by hand and put it into the machine; or, if you mix in the machine, be sure to cancel whatever cycle you used, before putting it to bed for the night. Good luck – PJH

  49. Marsha

    Given that a loaf is evenly distributed across the top after the final rise and prior to baking, what causes 1/2 of the top to brown and the other to remain white?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If that is happening with recipes across the board then I believe the machine may be defective Marsha. The crust control setting could be failing. If this is a machine purchased from King Arthur Flour we would love to speak with you and may be reached by calling 1-800-827-6836. Elisabeth@KAF

  50. David H.

    Wow, what a friendly and helpful bread baking community here! I received a Zo for Christmas and “like” it but was also experiencing many of the same difficulties that others have written about. Thanks for all the good suggestions for improvement.

    Reply
  51. Jane P

    I just recently got a zojirushi for christmas and am totally blown away with the machine. I love fresh bread from the machine but am still trying to discover a really good soft sandwich bread recipe. How can I get the crust soft like it is when you buy the commercial bread? Never going back to that bread but do miss the soft crust.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Breads with sugar, milk, and butter (enriching ingredients) bake up with a softer crust. You could try using honey for the sweetener instead. You’ll be able to keep the soft crust by storing it after it is cool in a plastic bag. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

    2. plvannest

      My solution for a nice soft crust is butter. Right after I turn the loaf out of the pan, I start painting it with warm butter. I paint and I paint and I paint–basically I paint the entire loaf (top, sides, ends, and bottom) it until the crust can absorb no more. The result is a loaf with a soft crust that has the sweet taste of butter. Doesn’t get any better!

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      You’ve discovered the sweet joys of warm butter! It’s the secret ingredient for making all bread mouth-watering delicious and soft. Happy bread baking! Kye@KAF

  52. Mar

    Had to thank you for the article & discussion tips! Never thought to take the paddle out & it really makes the loaf look nicer! Thank you also for the shaping idea… I sometimes give Breads (Sweet) as gifts and decorate the top. Shaping the loaf will make them look that much nicer!
    Thank you all!!!!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      So glad we could help, Mar – and thanks for giving homemade bread as a gift. What a true gift from the heart(h)! 🙂 PJH

  53. Haleena N.

    This is a really good post. It’s funny, though, I just recently came across this post, and yet I’ve been making bread for my sisters for over a year and a half. The irony is that all of these tips are very close to what I learned to do… the hard way.
    Thank you so much for posting this, though! I know I would’ve loved to have this page when I started out. It’ll help other beginners out immensely!

    Reply
  54. DPUTiger

    You mentioned french toast in your post. What’s your favorite bread for french toast? I love the stuff but have never successfully made it at home. Hoping to have my very own Zo once my birthday rolls around. Can’t wait!

    Reply
  55. kellyheidecker

    Wow, I must have a really good machine because I don’t seem to have any of those problems! I do”poke” at the dough while it’s kneading, and if there’s any bits that aren’t mixing in I use a spatula and push them down so the dough picks them up on the next turn around. Thanks for the tip on taking the paddles out, I never thought to do that!

    Reply
  56. christi in ma

    Tip #5 did not work at all for me.

    Taking the loaf out of the bucket caused a ton of wrinkles.
    Then when I put the bread back in my Oster bread maker, the bread sunk onto the ring and immediately started to burn around the middle from the hot heating element. My English Muffin bread now looks like it was branded. 🙁

    Tip #3 about removing the paddle and Tip #4 about reshaping the dough before the final rise were very helpful and worked great.

    Reply
  57. Randi

    I tried and appreciate these suggestions. I like that the holes in the loaf were much smaller by removing the paddles and the shape of the loaf was beautiful. I put the bread back in the machine without the pan to cool as suggested and don’t think I will do that again. The crust got darker by doing this and it got crumbs in the machine and on the burner. I will try to use a regular loaf pan next time. Thanks for the tips.

    Reply
  58. Glenn Sethre

    I am an older man (83) that bakes a little bread with a Zo machine. I was delighted to find your column.
    I think this is the forth or fifth bread machine that we have owned. The others have given up for one reason or an other. The Zo is the best that we have had. I have run into most of the problems mentioned in your column, have not figured out all the solutions on my own. I now know some I never dreamt about. I do a couple of things that you did not address in this column, perhaps you have else where. If I find a recipe I like that is for a number of loafs in stead of one as the machine makes, I do a little math and a little guessing some times, and cut the amounts to one loaf. So far I have had good luck. The other is I found a recipe for bread enhancer on the inter net and all ways use it in my bread. I have been very pleased with the results.
    Thank you, Glenn Sethre

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Thanks so chiming in, Glenn. Glad to hear that you haven’t run into too many problems over the years, it sounds like you’ve made hundreds of loaves. Happy baking! ~ MJ

  59. lydia

    i just had to buy a new bread machine because i needed one with gluten free cycle can i do this with gluten free bread i have the cuisinart cbk 100

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Since gluten free bread is more of a batter, you probably won’t be able to do the variety of shapes with the dough. Laurie@KAF

  60. Stacy Thomas

    The only bread I have ever made at home has been banana bread. It usually turns out pretty good, but I can’t really make anything else. I had not heard of a bread machine before, I feel that could help my bread making abilities nicely!

    Reply
  61. "maryann of ak"

    I just got a bred machine
    Its a 2 lbs machine
    Most recipes seem to be for 1 or 1 1/2 lbs
    What do I need to do to make a 1 lbs recipe into a 2 lbs?
    Thank You

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We do have some recipes for a 1 pound bread machine that include: , , and . Happy smaller bread machine baking! Irene@KAF

  62. Gloria

    I just got a new machine after 15 yrs with the old one. I got the new version of my Black & Decker, but it’s so much bigger and 2 paddles. The smallest setting is a 2lb….my other machine was a 1 1/2 lb. Wow its like starting all over. I’m in rural Northern Ontario Canada, and our selection of bread machines is very limited….and I don’t order over internet. The cookbook that came with the machine is the worst one I’ve ever seen, even the operation instructions were not so hot. The first loaf I made was the basic white to try out. This was the biggest loaf I have ever made. If I had added nuts and raisins, I could have used it for a boat anchor. I have improved some, but I’m having fun trying to find recipes for The Bohemith (I named him)….Grinnnn. I love King Arthur and will make my yearly holiday trek there this May. I love your recipes, but Canadian flour is so different from yours. I believe our all-purpose white is the same, but not sure about the best for bread white. Oh well, maybe I can talk to one of the girls about it in May. This will be my last trip to see you as my health will no longer allow the travel, so I will have to make the most of it. Thanks for the wonderful service these past years and thanks for this great site.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Gloria,
      We’re so glad to hear you will be coming our way this spring! We would be more than happy to help you with any baking questions before then–just give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-2253 to speak with one of our bakers. Best of luck with your “Behemoth” bread machine–be sure to use recipes that are within the capacity of your machine for best results. We have a few bread machine recipes that are tried and tested, which you can view here: http://bit.ly/1JlAb2N and a whole wheat version here: http://bit.ly/1FcSFDZ

      Canadian flour is known for being high in gluten and made from harder wheat varieties, making it a great flour to use when making artisan loaves of bread. Our bread flour has these same characteristics with 12.7% protein–if you are looking for a crispy crust, give it a whirl! Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  63. gg

    I’m new at bread baking and just bought a Panasonic bread maker.
    I’d like to leave the bread rise overnight (for a more complex taste), but the longest program is only 6h.
    If I stop the machine during the last rise, let the dough sit in the pan, and then select ‘Bake only’. Do you think it will work? I’ll need to reduce the amout of yeast…. but I’m not sure if the temperature of the Bake only program (meant for cakes) is the same as for the Bread programs.
    Any advice?
    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi gg,
      I would check the manual of the machine first, to see if they have any tips for bake only on breads. Then, if there doesn’t seem to be any info there, go directly to the Panasonic site and contact them from there. I’m sure they will know the machine best and can help you determine what steps and cycles to use. ~ MJ

    2. Elisabeth

      Hi gg,

      Did you get an answer to your question from Panasonic? I would love to know as I have been wanting to do the same thing,

  64. EvelynMichael

    I recived the Zo bread machine this Christmas. Enjoy making yeast bread and banana bread with it.
    When I used your KAF mix (eg. Golden Potato), the final product look like a swimming pool.
    I know you have ideas how to fix this kind of mistakes. Please let me know.
    Thanks for your assistance

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Evelyn, I would recommend giving our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-2253. We’d love to help you figure out this problem and get your Potato bread rising as it should in your bread machine. Barb@KAF

  65. Jim

    I just bought a bread machine (actually from a charity shop–an Oster, which interestingly has the exact same bread pan as the Cuisinart) for the first time in this past year, having baked bread, including sourdough, for years. I am glad that I started learning by hand and worked my way through the KA stand mixer before trying a bread machine. Experience with the process informs your use of the machine.
    These are great tips–I can’t imagine the results of not watching the dough form! Too dry or too wet would bake into an incredible mess.
    I have had great success with the machine whether I am just using it for making dough or using the entire baking process. Also, wiping the pan before the bread bakes in the machine is a great tip!
    Lately my preference is for a pan de mie loaf, but when it’s too hot to turn on the oven the machine does a great job, albeit with a different loaf shape. This machine is a new best friend!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      So, true! The dough needs some attention early on. Adjustments to the dough sometimes need to be made and can make all the difference! We tell our customers this all the time. Enjoy your machine and happy baking, Jim! Elisabeth@KAF

  66. Helen Jones

    I still find that my bread baked in the machine comes out too dense so invariably, make the dough then take it out, punch it down, place it in one or two pans (depending how big I want the loaf) and then baking in the oven.

    How do I get a nice crispy crust on the top?

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Helen,
      It really depends on what type of bread you are making. If you like breads with more crispy crusts, look for recipes labeled “artisan”, “hearth”, “rustic” etc. Regular sandwich loaves with butter, milk, etc. will have softer more tender crusts. ~ MJ

  67. Vernon Jenewein

    Great ideas all. I never thought about removing the paddles. I have, for years, pulled out the bread and wrap it in a “tea” towel, like the ones my Mother used to use for drying dishes. It is still put on a cooling wrap, but the towel wicks up moisture, allows it to cool a bit more slowly and about 30 minutes or so into the cooling, when it gets the the light warm stage I put it in saved plastic grocery bags. Sometimes I get those bags that never had anything in them and I save them especially for bread along with those bags that had things like boxed food items in it. NEVER anything that had chemicals like cleaners, soaps and never any that had meat in it.

    When I make 100% whole wheat bread I always put in a heaping tablespoon of Vital Wheat Gluten and usually add 1 tbs of milk to the recipe along with the normal amount of dry milk called for. The gluten also adds “dry” to the mix that needs to have some moisture to compensate for it. Fallen tops of loaves indicate too much rise, too quick and less yeast is a general overall best cure. I also add just a pinch 1/16 – 1/8 tsp of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) as it adds structure to the gluten as a dough conditioner. Don’t skimp salt either as it helps to subdue the yeast from getting out of hand and adds necessary flavor.

    Reply
  68. Alyce

    I bought the Zoe Pac 20 a little over a year ago. I have learned a lot about making bread in this machine. Most of the time I let it do the baking. This blog was very helpful. In the last few weeks I have been pulling the paddles out at 1 hr. and 45 minutes. I reshape the dough . I smear a little solid shortening on the post and the bread falls right out. I also use a egg white wash and sprinkle some seeds or oatmeal on top , or what ever goes with the bread I’m making. I have noticed that the egg white wash keeps the top of the bread from wrinkling when cooling. Pay close attention to your bread a nice smooth ball is the key to a great loaf of bread.

    Reply
  69. Martha Campbell

    You dismissed bread machines as being for beginners. Some of us old time experienced bread bakers with now arthritic hands also find the bread machine very helpful!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Please don’t think we consider baking with a bread machines a task for novice bakers exclusively, Martha! It can take lots of practice to achieve the perfect loaf from a bread machine. For some folks who are just starting to bake bread from scratch, using a bread machine can help them along their way and make it seem like a less daunting process. We truly appreciate the art that is baking with a bread machine. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  70. Kyra Kennedy

    @ Riki (February 22, 2015)
    What about a heat gun? Maybe you could just brown the top that way? Or try it even when the bread is baking? Just to give it that little push of heat the sugars need to take them to Caramel Town? Or maybe use a torch after removing it from the machine … a la Creme Brulee??

    Reply
  71. Sherry

    Hi,

    I have had success with my Zo using the KAF recipe for Vermont oatmeal bread. This bread is wonderful, but sometimes it’s dense. I remove it from the Zo then shape and bake in my a Breville toaster oven…today was the best because I used 1T. Each of dry milk and potato flour, but it was still on the dense side instead of tall light and fluffy. Frustrated but hangin in there to keep tweaking. Suggestions?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This is one of my favorite loaf pan recipes from our site. Dense? You may want to consider how you are measuring your flour. Too much flour will weigh the dough down and inhibit a nice rise. Or perhaps you are measuring correctly and adding too much excess flour to the dough as you are kneading. If the dough is sticky do not worry. Just allow the dough to sit for 15-20 minutes then go back and continue kneading. You will be amazed how nicely the dough will behave with just the short wait. Please take a look at this link for how to measure flour. Take another stab at it! Elisabeth@KAF

  72. Donna

    I have a Zo BCC X20 and have tried baking in it but the loaves come out too dark on the sides. I use the light setting. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Donna,
      It may be that your machine is too hot, you can check directly with Zo on that. If you’re using sugar and milk in your breads, they may be browning too much from that. If the machine seems to be on track, try cutting the sugar by a tablespoon or two to prevent the over -browning. Good luck!~ MJ

  73. Mark

    I have a Zo , after some trial and error , solved the uneven bread without reshaping the dough. Looking down in the pan set the left paddle at about 2 oclock and the right at about 8 o’clock, now I rarely have an uneven loaf

    Reply
  74. Dana

    I juice daily, a large variety of fruits and vegetables, but the most basic go to juice is carrot, apple, celery, and ginger. I was throwing out a huge amount of pulp every day until I felt too guilty and started spreading it over my back yard (it grows the most beautiful, lush, green, grass) but I’m even feeling guilty about that now. I bought a breadman TR444 second hand for about $4 and all the ingredients listed for a basic loaf (I googled the manual/cookbook). We love banana nut bread which I make the best I’ve ever tasted in the oven but my four kids love, even cheap white sandwich bread from the store. I’ve never made any bread that you would have to knead or let rise and I’ve never owned a bread machine so I follow the few basic recipes I’ve been able to find for this machine to a t. I’ve had pretty good luck so far with them turning out pretty and tasty but I’m worried about trying anything new on my own. A tip from Joe Cross the reboot guy was to use your leftover pulp from juicing in your homemade bread. Do you have any tips?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sorry Dana, this isn’t something we have experience with. However, I will pass it on to the test kitchen to check out. Jon@KAF

  75. Beryl Reeves

    I have had Morphy Richards machine for some considerable time, following a recent serman on the bread of life it inspired me to use it again. The clergy had made his own loaf that morning. which was a lovely white and beautiful texture. I have made 4 loaves and every one is too yellow what am I doing wrong ?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Beryl, this is a great opportunity to call one of our bakers at the Baker’s Hotline (855-371-BAKE) because we’ll need a bit more information about your recipe and technique before figuring out what may have caused the discoloration. (Usually yellow bread is a result of using fresh eggs or butter.) We look forward to helping you achieve a lovely white loaf that is as beautiful as the clergy’s! Kye@KAF

  76. TT Underfoot

    The best bread I’ve gotten out of my machine. Excellent instructions and recipe.
    My book tells me the times when the machine is doing things, but I timed it anyway and it was about 10 minutes off. Missed the final knead, but took the dough out anyway midway through raising and removed paddles. Dough was probably wetter than it should have been and oozed back into the pan. However, I stopped the machine, let the dough raise another 30 minutes and then set the machine to bake. The lightest bread I’ve ever made. Crust had just a tiny bit of crunch and chewiness (perfect). And the bread was not a dense hard hockey puck. I’ve always wanted to let the dough raise more and now I know I can do it. Thank you.

    Reply
  77. Jackie

    I am a brand new owner of a bread machine and I am in the process of making my first loaf.. these tips were very helpful.. thank you!

    Reply
  78. Shawn M

    This worked great! Only a tiny hole from the part where the paddle thing i supposed to attach. No thingy stuck in the bread, no giant holes and it didn’t rip off a giant piece of the bread off when trying to remove it. THANK YOU!

    Reply
  79. Donna

    I have a Zo and when I bake in the machine the crust on sides and bottom are always too dark. I use the light crust setting and different recipes. Can you interrupt the baking cycle a little early and leave in pan to continue to bake in remaining heat?. I don’t like cutting off crusts each time.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Donna,
      You may want to look into programming your own cycle on your machine, which would allow you to set the baking time. It’ll be covered in the manual for your machine under the homemade cycle. ~ MJ

  80. PCue

    Hi, I’m using milk for the first time instead of water to make bread in my bread machine. After letting the milk set for 20min after taking it out of the fridge, I then added all the other ingredients and started the bread machine which includes 30min preheating and three hours of kneading/resting before it starts baking.

    Will the milk spoil during this time? It’s about 25-26C (77-79F) here and I’m worried if it’s safe to eat as I’m pregnant. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The basic setting on the ZO is about 3 1/2 hours long and that includes a one hour bake. If you wanted to eliminate the 30 minute pre-heat cycle, you could. Just be sure the milk (or other liquid) is warm. In any case, there should be no risk in using milk that is fresh in the bread machine. If you are concerned, please consult your ob/gyn. Enjoy! Elisabeth@KAF

  81. David

    I have a Panasonic SD YD200 bread machine. After I mix the whole wheat bread in the bread machine to make dough. I then want to put in in a standard bread pawn and bake it in my conventional oven. Two questions:
    1. How long do I let it rise in a warm place?
    2 How long do I bake it in the conventional oven and at what temp?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Let the bread rise until it is puffy- this time will vary based on your kitchen and climate. Degas it and shape it for the pan, then let it rise again until it is about 1 inch above the pan, then bake at 375 until the loaf temps at 195. It should be between 30-40 minutes. Please call the Baker’s Hotline for more tips, and happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  82. David

    P.S. The Panasonic makes dough in 3 hr. 15 minutes. Not sure if it is done kneading or not at that time. I am letting it rise in warm place for 35 min. then will try baking at 375 for 35 min.

    Reply
  83. a.j.

    I want to know when to take the paddle out.
    Is it going to knead again after the third rise?
    I don’t want to be removing the paddle when it starts up again.
    and I don’t want to take it out too soon.

    My machine is a williams sonoma 2 lb machine.
    someone on line said it is identical to the Salton.
    I could not find the manual for either one

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Since we are not familiar with this machine, I suggest contacting Williams Sonoma, consult your manual or find the manual online. There should be a timeline for each cycle. Use it to determine when is the best time to remove the paddles. Good luck! Elisabeth@KAF

  84. Kristina Vadeikaite

    Excellent instructions! I have bought my first bread machine a month ago and trying out all different kind of recipes. I even have decided to put my experience in a blog http://sourdoughmovement.com. Your article is very helpful for beginners, thank you!

    Reply
  85. Aundrea L

    I have a Sunbeam Bread maker and had idled it regularly. It made gorgeous loaves of bread.
    All of a sudden, one day it started baking these gymormous loaves.
    Every ingredient (and recipe I used, including the yeast etc) was the same. It baked so big it baked onto the lid and over.
    (What and Mess!!)
    Do you have any explanations as to how this could have happened?
    ( Just wanted to reiterate that it is not a recipe or in ingredient issue, as everything was the same)
    This also happened a few times before we gave up and began using my Kitchen aid to make loaves since.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re not sure what’s happening with your bread machine- please contact Sunbeam to see if they can help you troubleshoot. In the meantime, we’re glad you have a mixer an an option. Laurie@KAF

  86. Carie

    Great info! Unfortunately I tried to *remember* what your article said about when to remove the paddles, instead of re-reading it right before baking. I’m baking right now (in a Zoji Virtuoso) and will probably end up with a squatty, thick french loaf. I removed at the END of the final rise instead of BEFORE….oops! I bet I will remember from now on 😉

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The good news is Carie that the flavor of your loaf will still be delicious! And next time, it will look the part as well. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  87. Camille

    Does anyone have a good breadmaker recipe for irish soda bread?? I have a ZO breadmaker and have tried 3 recipes for irish soda bread and didn’t like any of them. The one I tried today just tastes like raisin bread. It came too brown, and you can’t even taste the caraway seeds.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Camille, unfortunately we don’t have a bread machine Irish soda bread recipe on our website, but I’ll put this out there for the great bakers in our community! Barb@KAF

    2. Trish

      Traditional Irish Soda Bread is so easy that you shouldn’t need a bread machine.

      If I were using a machine, I would only use it on the Bake cycle and mix all the ingredients by hand first. Or, be sure that the ingredients are mixed quickly and then immediately baked. That’s because as soon as the baking soda meets the buttermilk (we don’t use yeast), the action begins.

      At high elevation, I use baking soda & baking powder, as the b.soda poops out before its time – at which point the baking powder takes over to finish the rise. You might want to try that too. (Even so, my “Pie in the Sky” book says at Sea Level to use 1 tablespoon of BP and 1 teas of BS. Less BS at higher elevations. This is with 4 cups of flour. This book also used 1 egg, which again is not trad.)

      Also, be sure to use lots of Kerrygold butter both in the mix (I used 5 to 6 tablespoons), and when eating! Otherwise you are defeating the whole purpose imo…!)

      Also, I used 1/2 cup of Soft Silk flour instead of all bread flour; Irish flour is very soft and that seemed to help.

      I think KAF now has Irish-style bread flour – but now I’m eating gluten free…

  88. Mary Claire

    Love, love love all of the great suggestions on breadmaking. I have a Sunbeam with a Cake feature and it makes the most wonderful moist cakes from a cake mix.

    Reply
  89. Glenda

    Why does my bread reach the glass and gets stuck so when I open the lid it rips the top off the bread it’s like there is to much dough but I make sure I put the exact amounts of all the ingredients please help

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Glenda, it sounds like you might have too much yeast, making your bread dough rise too quickly and too high. Try cutting back a tiny bit and see if that helps. Bryanna@KAF

  90. J Starr

    GREAT ideas! Thank you! Especially taking the paddles out…I would have never thought of that 🙂

    Reply
  91. Val

    The only trouble I have with my bread maker, is that sometimes, and not every time, is that the first 2 slices have a big roundish hole in them. When the bread is done baking, it beeps to let me know, I take it out of the bread maker and lay it on the middle of a clean dish towel, and lay the two edges of the towel over the bread and let it cool. The head and heel of the bread are able to get some air this way and cool nicely. No wrinkled crust on the bread.

    Reply
  92. Nicole

    I just got a Virtuoso and I am beyond excited (as I have been talking for months/years about wanting one and I was just lovingly gifted one), but I am now just stuck. After first reading this article last year I am finally getting to utilize it! Working from home and standing in the kitchen whilst waiting in the kitchen (impatiently) for the dough cycle to start and I have my pan all ready to go. Though, I don’t have one of your pans, I have a 10×5 pan I bought years ago at Williams-Sonoma mistakenly instead of the smaller loaf pans, but I can finally put them to use. The experimentation begins! I am very confused why it needs to rest for so long before it starts though…

    Reply
  93. Lisa Stevens

    I’ve had a Panasonic bread machine for 26 years that still makes beautiful bread. My husband thought I needed the latest greatest technology and bought me the zojirushi and I’m VERY disappointed! My bread comes out awful, knarley, and dense. I don’t understand why as I add ingredients exactly as the directions state. I just dump all ingredients in my old Panasonic and walk away and the bread is perfect every time! Help!!! I don’t want to stand over my bread machine. If that’s the case then I’ll just go back to the old fashioned way of kneading by hand.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Change can be hard, can’t it, Lisa? The good news is that your husband chose a great machine for you, and we are confident we can help you get a great loaf out of it! Different machines work best with different dough consistencies, so it can take a little experimentation and observation to figure out what the right consistency is for your new machine. From what you’re saying, it sounds like your dough is a little too dry for this machine and that adding a little additional liquid will help. While you may need to stand over it and check the dough consistency while you get to know your new machine, you will quickly learn what consistency you’re aiming for and will be able to walk away. We have a number of bread machine experts on our team, and if we can help talk you through this anymore, please feel encouraged to give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE. We’d be happy to chat, especially if it means increasing your comfort with your new Zo! Mollie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Lucy, it’s difficult to over-knead bread when working by hand, and machines also are programmed to knead the dough for a reasonable amount of time. If you made dough in a stand mixer and left it to knead for 10, 15, 20 minutes… you might notice that the final loaf is dense and tough. The gluten will be over-developed and cause this texture. If you use a bread machine, you probably won’t have to worry about this at all. Kye@KAF

  94. Annemarie

    I use my Mini Zo at least 3-4 times a week and I don’t want to jinx myself but every recipe I tried comes out perfect from start to finish. No need for the oven. The paddle indents don’t take away from the loaf other than the appearance of the 2 slices near that area however I will try removing the paddle prior to final rise. But currently I only pop the bread out of the bucket right at the end of the baking cycle and quickly and carefully pull out the paddle w/ doubled up dry paper towel to wipe down the inside immediately and once again with warm water and paper towel after it’s cooled completely. If you hold the knot on the underside of the bucket the paddle pops out easily and I have not have any dough build up. Now I’ve gained enough courage to mix and knead the dough in my KitchenAid mixer then bake in the oven now that the weather is cooler. THAT’s still a work in progress. LOL.

    Reply
  95. Dave

    Just a note to respond to a suggestion above… I tried baking with a standard (glass) loaf pan in my Zo (home bakery supreme). My pan fit perfectly, and since it is borosilicate, I figured it could stand the close proximity to the element. Unfortunately, around 15 minutes before it was complete, I could smell burnt bread coming from the kitchen. The edges are black, and the interior is underdone. I will stick with my Zo’s pan for the time being (when I don’t pull it out before the 2nd rise and pop it in the oven). Hope this saves someone the hassle and ingredients!

    Reply
  96. Judy

    Great site with great advice especially re removing paddles as they can tear the loaf apart terribly. I will remove them next time I make a loaf. Just love my Zo bread maker!

    Would there be a Ciabatta Bread recipe available for the Zo bread maker? I want to make the recipe from scratch – don’t want premixed stuff.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Judy, you really can’t make a true ciabatta bread in the bread machine as ciabatta is a flat, long freeform loaf, rather than a pan loaf. I’d suggest you make the dough for our Ciabatta recipe in your bread machine set on the dough setting; then take it out and shape/bake it as directed in the recipe. Now, that said, you could always try making this recipe start to finish in the machine; I fear it’s such a soft dough that it would simply rise and then collapse during the process, but hey, I’ve been surprised before! 🙂 PJH

  97. Andy Cordy

    This blog is such a rich source of information!

    I noted Iris Morales’ comments on Gluten Free in the Cuisinart. So far, my best loaf was a Gluten Free “Sourdough” loaf for our neighbour who’s celiac.

    My difficulty, is I get “diving board” tops to every loaf, like a dry skin forms as the dough is rising, then as it bakes, this skin splits around the top and up comes this platform crust making a slice of bread, if you can get one, a very odd shape indeed.

    Anyone with a brilliant idea?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Andy, try spritzing the top of the dough with warm water (a spray bottle is helpful here) once the dough is mixed at the beginning of the rising time. Do this every 15-20 minutes to prevent a skin from forming. If you still aren’t getting the loaves you’re looking for, consider giving our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE(2253) so we can help come up with another solution. Good luck! Kye@KAF

  98. Andy Cordy

    Thank you, Kye. I’ll try that. My latest, made before I saw your suggestion, is the worst to date with like a small flat loaf, balancing on top of the main body of the bread, barely a slice in the middle will be whole.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Don’t give up, Andy! Remember you can always call the Baker’s Hotline at 855-371-BAKE(2253) for additional tips and troubleshooting advice, should you need it. Kye@KAF

  99. Trudy

    I rarely bake in my Zo because the top of my loaf just doesn’t brown. I’d sure try all these tips, but a loaf with a pale top is just not appetizing. While I’m comfortable baking bread in the oven, sometimes it would be nice to just let the machine do its thing – like baking overnight or on days when I’m super rushed. This has been a real disappointment to me after buying such an expensive machine.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      I can understand your frustration. I’m surprised your Zo doesn’t brown the top of your loaf; I’ve never had that issue, unless my bread rose too high. I’d suggest you call our hotline, 1-855-371-2253 to discuss this; we certainly don’t want you to feel disappointed. As you say, that’s a major purchase. PJH

  100. erykia garbutt

    Wow, thank you so much for this article. Normally my loaf is a half full bucket and a little dense but very edible. Followed some of your instructions, but not taking out the paddles or reshaping. This time my loaf was more than double the size, almost escaping the machine, and with a lovely crust. Almost like the shop bought one.
    Thank you so much, I can go back to using my machine, as i normally just use it to make the dough and bake in the oven.

    Reply
  101. Ellen

    This blog has been extremely helpful — thanks for the great tips. I had great success with removing the dough from the Zo bucket, reshaping the dough and putting it in the KAF bread pan (#2942) during the baking cycle. The bread slides out easily from the pan and no odd looking holes in the bottom! Brilliant!! Thank you, Rosemary!

    Reply
  102. Bill

    I love my Zo. The two paddles have a very low profile so the indentations afterwards have never been a big deal to me. Anyway I get those pieces of toast, not the family, so nobody complains. The paddles never stick inside the loaf (the two-paddle West Bend used to have that problem). The single-paddle machine models tend to leave a much larger hole so I avoid them. If the loaf doesn’t come out with inversion and a slight shake, I slide a rubber spatula down the four sides just to loosen the loaf up a bit.

    For gluten-free recipes, or low-gluten flours such as spelt, I add two eggs and only use the QUICK cycle. Quinoa seeds also seem to help. Gluten-free or low gluten doughs don’t seem to recover well from the second kneading and rise. Smaller, denser loaves.

    Living at a higher elevation, I use slighly more butter or oil than the original recipes call for. Had to experiment as to how much more, but a much less dry, crumbly loaf is the result at the higher elevation. Obvioulsy there’s extra moisture from the eggs.

    A neighbour has a single-paddle Kitchen-Aid and wants to know what stick-free foil is.

    Reply
  103. Jan Harritt

    Just got my Zo for Christmas and love the loaf shaped pan! My mom got me a Breadman about 26 years ago, and though it still worked, loaves were funky–and it sounds like a rattle-trap. But their cookbook has a great easy recipe that makes a crusty white loaf–our favorite. I’m still figuring out the machine… and I have the uneven browning problem also, so calling Zo for direction. I enjoy KAF catalog and website so much-Happy New Year to all of you.

    Reply
  104. Oinc

    Invest in some USA Pullman pans, we like the square shape for ever day bread, easy to slice, use then without the lid if you want that mushroom look. Just don’t soak them, dry them after washing or in the warm oven. They can rust.

    99.99 percent we just use the dough setting, bake in the oven. In the winter it’s a big plus.

    Reply
  105. Aurora York

    Hi, I got my new Zo Virtuoso today. I bought the bigger Zo due to the positive feedback, the dual mixing paddles, the Gluten ability, and I have issues making bread due to arthritis and other chronic pain and fatigue issues. I didn’t think the machine was too heavy and it does have recessed handles.
    So tonight, I made my first loaf, a Raisin Cinnamon and added walnuts too. I used KA Baker’s Special dried milk, SAF Gold Instant Yeast- its been in the freezer its whole life, KA All-Purpose Flour. Then I set the Zo to the Quick White setting. I noticed the mixing produced about 10 balls of dough, so added more water. Now that I see the pics of dough, I think I ought to have added more water. So… my loaf did not rise well. It cooked well, but not real big. So I plan on getting a bag of KA Bread Flour. Can I use the Zo’s longer regular setting if I use instant yeast?
    Also I’m into breads with tons of stuff in them cheese and garlic, feta and spinach, nuts and berries, apples and cinnamon goo… Wondering on how to get the best results with these type of recipes? Another question, liquids go on the bottom. Where do eggs get put? How about extracts?
    Thanks so much! 🙂

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Aurora, it sounds like you might be adding too much flour to your dough, which is causing it to be dry and not rise well. To ensure you’re using the right amount, we recommend either measuring your flour by weight using a scale, or fluffing and sprinkling the flour gently into your measuring cup one spoonful at a time before leveling off with a knife. (Watch this video here.) This will help you measure light cups of flour that weigh about 4 1/4 ounces per cup. If the recipe calls for all-purpose flour, you’ll have the best results if you use it instead of bread flour (which requires even more water).

      You can use instant and active dry yeast interchangeably–use the setting the recipe calls for regardless of either kind of yeast you use (just avoid using RapidRise Yeast, which only promotes one strong rise). Mix-ins can be added when your machine starts beeping; use a recipe that calls for mix-ins for best results. As for the liquids, eggs and extracts are both considered liquids so put them in the bottom of the bucket. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  106. Fernanda

    This is exactly the bread I want to make! No extras, just wholesome, healthy bread. Beautiful, too. I can’t wait to try it. www[dot]atraente[dot]info/

    Reply
  107. Kehinde seyi

    I just bought an APK BM3 bread machine, i noticed that the kneading pin did not move to knead into dough. i have checked the machine and no error was found. Please what could be a suggested solution cos Im wasting more flour

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We haven’t worked with that specific bread machine brand, hopefully the manual will have some contact information that includes phone number. Do consider a call to the company that manufactures the machine for best machine problem solving advice. We don’t want you to waste any more flour or other ingredients. Irene@KAF

  108. Ellen

    My bread has been coming out with one side rising higher than the other. I am removing the dough from the bucket, shaping it into what looks symmetric to me, putting it in a KAF pan and putting the pan back in my Zo to bake. What is causing the asymmetrical effect? Does the baking community have any advice for me? Thanks very much.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Ellen, since you put the dough into a loaf pan, it’s possible that the pan tilts and becomes offset during the bake cycle, causing the unevenness. It’s also a possibility that the unevenness comes from the way the loaf is shaped. Take a look at this quick video that demonstrates how to properly shape your loaf to ensure you’re using this process. I hope that helps! Kye@KAF

  109. Pete

    When making whole bread, I have been substituting 1/4 cup of whole grain flour with 1/4 cup linseed(flaxseed) flour. The first rise is fine but the second only goes to 3/4 high compared to the first. Do I need more yeast, less water? Any ideas?

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’ve found that when flax meal is used to replace some of the flour in a recipe, usually 1-3 tablespoons of additional water is needed to maintain the right dough consistency. (The dough should be just slightly tacky to the touch.) Additionally, you can consider adding 1-2 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten to the dough, which will give your loaves additional support to rise high. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  110. juliene couture

    I tried removing the paddles before the final rise, but I guess as I shaped the loaf I ended up with air bubbles in the dough. How do you shape it without causing bubbles?

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Juliene,
      To prevent those bubbles, pat the dough out into a rectangle and then fold it in thirds like a business letter. Seal the seam well and place the log seam-side down in the pan. By patting the dough out gently into a flatter “sheet” before folding, you’ll be able to see any big bubbles and get rid of them. ~ MJ

  111. kevin

    hi I just got the bb- cec20 and even on the light crust setting its dark brown and hard is this common? would the newer model do better?? thank you so much

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We wouldn’t say it’s common, Kevin, but it can happen, especially in older machines where the heating element may have burned/be burning out. According to Zojirushi’s troubleshooting guide (found on pg. 31 of your manual), they suggest decreasing the amount of sugar in the recipe by 1Tbsp (sugar leads to browning), making sure the correct course was chosen, and/or removing the bread from the baking pan immediately upon completion of the cycle. If you continue to experience problems, we’d recommend contacting Zojirushi’s customer service team directly—contact info can also be found in your manual. Mollie@KAF

  112. kevin

    thank you so much would you say the newer model gives better results? the PAc20? I bake mainly 1.5 pound loves and have heard the loaf pan is deeper so thinking this will results in not brown tops anyway

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Kevin, the Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso (PAC20 model) has a few more “bells and whistles,” if you will. This includes additional settings, like a gluten-free cycle, which is advantageous to some bakers. This newer model also includes a top heating element, which creates a more evenly baked and golden brown loaf. It bakes both 1 1/2 and 2-pound loaves nicely. If you’re looking for something that’s top of the line, then this is the machine for you! Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  113. Jeff Moffatt

    Great advice on removing the paddles, but I forgot to sprinkle flour on my hands first so it was a bit messy until I realized my mistake. Also, since I’m fairly new to bread making with a machine I didn’t realize how easily a little extra flour sprinkled on the dough while the machine was kneading it would stop it from sticking to the sides of the bread bucket.

    Reply
  114. kevin

    hi I baked the chocolate bread in the Zo manual I take it out and shape it prior to the final rise anyway any tips on slicing?? I do take the paddles out but it is hard to slice it falls apart I am using a 10″ bread knife thank you

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Kevin, your chocolate bread sounds delicious! One of the most common reasons why bread turns out crumbly is because too much flour is added to the dough. To ensure you’re using the right amount, we recommend either measuring your flour by weight using a scale, or measuring your flour like this. The fluff and sprinkle method will help you measure light cups of flour that weigh about 4 1/4 ounces per cup, and your bread should be less crumbly as a result. Also, be sure you’re using a flour with a high-protein content (like King Arthur all-purpose flour), as other brands tend not to have enough strength for the bread to hold up well during slicing. Good luck! Kye@KAF

  115. Susan

    I had never thought before about taking out the paddles until today (& I’ve used my machine a number of times) and looked it up online to see if it would be okay to do that and this came up and confirmed it. Thank you! Also, I use an older Zojirushi machine and at the start of the final rise, I did take out the dough to form it and also removed the paddles. However, I found that my bread really stuck to the paddle holder stubs to where I almost couldn’t get the bread out of the machine. It took some effort and then there was quite a bit bread on the stubs, so the holes were a little bigger than what the pictures above showed. I think the next time I will oil or grease the stubs and hopefully the removal will be a bit easier.

    Also, since the machine has 3 manual memory settings that can be set, I set up one to do the final rise and baking only. I did a 10 minute preheat for this and set the knead and initial rising cycles to off, then set times for the final rising and baking; the warming setting I also set to off. By having a final rise and bake only memory set, I was able to take out the dough to shape after the first rising and not have to worry about how long it took. I just restarted the machine on the last rise/bake only settings when I returned the dough the way I wanted it. Bread turned out great!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Rosemarie, not all bread machines have top-heating elements, which explains why the top of your loaf is likely lighter than the bottom. The Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Bread Machine is a model that does have this top-heating element. However, you can always try playing with the crust settings on your machine (select darkest). Another option is to take the dough out of the machine and finish baking it by hand in your oven. This gives you more control over the baking and final color of the loaf. We hope this helps! Kye@KAF

  116. mick newman

    I love the panasonic,had 2 and always have a good loaf.My husband has also successfully reduced the salt and sugar which is a bonus,sometimes can be a bit dry when using wholemeal flour.

    Reply
  117. sabitech2

    i really like your blog and machines.we also have same kind of machines.for more information please visit
    Tannour Bread machines.

    Reply
  118. Albert Dekker

    I have a fancy zojurishi machine and from the start I have had problems with uneven rising.I guess it is because of the 2 paddles.I follow the recipes and use King Arther flours.
    I am hoping this expensive machine breaks down fast so I can buy a cheaper 1 paddle machine.I am very very disappointed with this machine (model BB pac20)

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re sorry to hear that your experience with this machine has been so disappointing, Albert. We hope you’ll consider following some of the tips in this article, especially tip 4 about reshaping your loaf before allowing it to rise, before you give up on this machine. We’ve found that it really helps! Mollie@KAF

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