Bread machines were invented in the 1980s and millions of households around the world have been baking bread at home ever since. One of the earliest brands to start manufacturing bread machines is Zojirushi. Until this day, the Japanese company Zojirushi remains one of the top bread machine makers. Earlier this month, we invited Bread Machine Pros to come to our school to share their bread machine reviews with us and they brought over some models to demonstrate how each of the perform differently. A machine that impressed us the most was in fact a Zojirushi.
It is a beautifully designed machine. It comes with many settings like regular bread or some of the more special ones like wheat, gluten-free, or sourdough. And it can also handle some specialty doughs like pizza, cookie, and doughnut. Like many other bread machines, it has a 13-hour delay timer which is ideal for setting your own baking schedule.
The machine that we’re reviewing is the Zojirushi BB-PAC20. The most impressive feature about this bread machine is the extra heater on the lid. This innovative feature helps the bread brown up nicely at the top instead of only at the sides and bottom where the other heaters are. Usually lids don’t have this function but Zojirushi was able to add that. You could really see the difference when the bread comes out.
But the very first time we saw the Zojirushi BB-PAC20, we immediately thought it was a bit bulky. For instance, it is a bit wide as the machine stands vertically so we think it takes a lot of counter space. Besides, it seems to be nicely built and really feels “heavy duty”. It weighs about 22 pounds and measures about 18 x 10 x 13 inches. So if you have a really small kitchen counter, you’ll have you find some space to place the machine. Still, the advantage of that is that you will get a traditional horizontal loaf out of this machine.
We personally found that the Zojirushi BB-PAC20 bread machine performed the best among all the others during the demonstration. The baking pan has two kneading handles included. Kneading is a very important step in the bread making process so we think the bread turned out nice because of this feature. The kneading blades and size of pan allow it to make bigger loaves of bread. There are plenty of other advantages with this machine.
- Perfectly browned crust on all sides
- 10 simple, easy to read menu settings and LCD control panel
- The removable nonstick bread pan makes cleaning fast
- You can bake a full size 2-pound loaf in just under 2 hours
- The machine comes with an instructional DVD, manual, and recipe booklet, measuring spoon, and measuring cup
During the demonstration, careful steps were taken to ensure that the ingredients were added according to the instructions in the manual of the Zojirushi BB-PAC20. Usually, bread machines are really picky about the order of the ingredients – like yeast, water, flour – added. If it’s added in the wrong order the bread usually turns out bad. This is a stark contrast to what our students may be used to because they don’t normally bake bread in a machine. However, our students commented that they understood why the machine indicates a certain order because they understand the ingredients well. Bread machine manufacturers need to combine technology and good baking knowledge. Interesting isn’t it?!
If we had to choose between all the bread machines that were in the demonstration, we would definitely pick the Zojirushi BB-PAC20 to add to our kitchens. We liked its design and performance and would give it a 5/5 rating. When used properly, it bakes bread as good as what you get at the local bakeries. All the equipment in our kitchens can be used by any student so even if you’re not enrolled in any course involved with baking, you can experiment with it too.