Pros: Quiet, lots of options, 2 paddles for better mixing, and nice large rectangular loafs.
Cons: Larger than some.
Our first bread machine was purchased used from a for-sale news group about ten years ago, long before Craig's List took off. We drove from NH to MA to pick it up. We didn't want to pay a lot because we didn't know how much use we would get out of it, nor how much we would really like it. Fast forward ten years, and two bread machines later.
We (really my wife Andrea), were never actually dissatisfied with the previous machines, just looking for one more feature or capability. This time, she was looking for a larger, more traditional loaf format. So we established our budget, and off I went on an Internet search. We considered a few but settled upon the Zojirushi BBCC-X20, available on-line.
Details About The Product
The bread maker has a well made feel to it. It takes up about 17" L X 10" D of counter space and closed is about 12.25" tall. For those that place their machine under a cabinet like us, with the lid open, the overall height is 17". Also, with the lid open, it needs to have ~ 5" clearance to the wall. There are cooling vents on the rear and both sides of the unit, so you should provide some space to allow air to circulate all around in any case.
It has a 10 minute power failure backup, in case you lose power in the middle of a loaf. This machine also has a 13 hour delay timer so you can have fresh bread first thing in the morning, or when you get home from work.
The control panel has an LCD display that shows the program and time remaining for each cycle. There are 9 "pre canned" programs, along with 3 custom program slots for those who want to tweak the settings. There is also a selection for light, medium, and dark crust, when a baking program is selected. The "basic" programs are intended for recipes using active dry yeast. The "quick" programs are intending for recipes using rapid rise yeast. Quick and Basic programs are further broken down for Wheat and Dough (no baking). My wife uses this often to make dough, which she then bakes in the oven as rolls, or pizza. There's also a program for making a sour dough starter. Just so we're clear, I don't drink sour milk, and I have no intention of eating sour dough. So we haven't tried that setting, that I know of...
Imagine my surprise when I found out you could make Jam, Cake, or even Meat Loaf in a bread machine. Not that we have tried these. But it's nice to know we could.
How Well Does It Work?
As I mentioned, we use this about 1 or 2 times a week to make dough for rolls or homemade pizza, and an occasional loaf of bread. We like the larger 2 lb capacity of this machine. Today (Thanksgiving day), my wife started her Christmas Stolen. This machine saved a lot of time for her in mixing and preparing the dough. Another nice feature of this machine is that it provides a beep midway through the preparation to alert you when it's time to add fruits, nuts, or other ingredients.
The pan is Teflon coated, and fairly easy to clean. The two kneading blades come out easily for cleaning. But one of the draw backs is that the external bottom portion of the pan is an unprotected aluminum casting, and should not be immersed in water, otherwise it will discolor (fades from a bright aluminum to a dull gray color), as ours has to some extent. But, this in no way hinders the workability of the unit, just makes the base a little unsightly.
The baked loaves come out golden brown, moist, and delicious. Of course this is partly dependant upon your recipe. But, there's not much better than indulging in several slices of moist, warm to the touch, slices of tasty bread, spread with butter and add your favorite jam or jelly for an even better experience.
The baked loaves are better than the other two machines that we have had. We like the more traditional shape of a horizontal loaf. But we really love the larger capacity of this, especially for preparing dough for pizza or rolls.
We would recommend this machine.