About Zojirushi America Corporation

Inspirations from Everyday Life.

Product of the Month – Fresh Brew Plus Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker (EC-YTC100)

Happy May, Zo fans!

We’re enjoying the time we’re spending in the kitchen cooking with our close family and roommates. Whether baking or cooking, often our time is spent with a cup of tea or coffee, and guess what? We’re getting really good at making excellent coffee with our Fresh Brew Plus Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker!  This Fresh Brew Plus Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker (EC-YTC100) is perfect for our #stayhome lives.

The more we use this coffee maker, the more we appreciate its unique and innovative features. It brews two types of coffee – hot or cold. Perfect for those chilly work-from-home mornings, and during the afternoon when you need a cool pick-me-up drink.  It has two brewing modes – Regular or Time Saver. And it has an automatic Pre-Infusion Cycle that really brings out the flavor of ground coffee.

The Fresh Brew Plus can brew up to 10 cups of delicious hot coffee or 5 cups of iced coffee using the same machine and carafe. Let us show you how it works.

When brewing hot coffee, preheat the vacuum insulated thermal carafe with a small amount of hot water for approximately one minute. While the carafe is heating, fill the coffee maker’s water tank with fresh, cold water to the level corresponding to the desired number of cups. Use the level markings for HOT on the water tank. Then, add the corresponding amount of ground coffee to the basket. Empty the thermal carafe and place it in the machine. Select the brew mode, press start and your coffee is good to go!

When brewing iced coffee, the key is to prevent the coffee from being diluted by ice by brewing a concentrated pot. Fill the water tank using the second set of level markings for ICED. This time, don’t preheat the thermal carafe before placing it in the machine. The rest of the steps are the same – add in coffee grounds, select the brew mode and turn it on. Once the coffee is brewed, fill the carafe with enough 1-inch ice cubes so that there is at least ½ inch of space is under the curve in the carafe. The ice cubes will flash-chill the coffee for iced coffee that’s not diluted. We guarantee that not only will pouring be much easier, but your iced coffee will be d-e-licious!

Regardless of whether you’re brewing hot or iced coffee, the Pre-Infusion Cycle helps produce the most flavorful coffee. This feature uses the internal shower head to evenly wet coffee grounds, infusing them before brewing at an ideal temperature of 200°F, allowing them to bloom for perfect extraction of flavor and aroma.

Since the thermal carafe is part of the smart design that lets you brew either hot or cold coffee, we’ve ensured that it features Zojirushi’s superior vacuum insulation technology.

Vacuum insulation technology prevents heat loss and keeps the brewed coffee hot or cold for hours. The Fresh Brew Plus doesn’t use a hot plate to keep coffee warm, which in turn prevents coffee from tasting bitter or burnt.  Yes to great-tasting coffee!

 

 

 

The Fresh Brew Plus also has multiple convenience features, including a reusable permanent gold mesh coffee filter, a 24-hour programmable timer with digital clock and a sound signal that can be switched to Mute for quiet operation. The sleek stainless steel thermal carafe has a tapered design and thumb-activated pouring that makes serving smooth. The water tank, swing basket, filter basket and carafe are easy to clean, and the machine’s exterior can be wiped down with a damp cloth.

These amazing features aside, the best thing about the Fresh Brew Plus Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker is that it makes delicious tasting coffee! We love it prepared simply, but also in this super yummy Banana Coffee Smoothie!  

Because warm weather calls for smoothies, and what better way to cool down and stay motivated during WFH than with this recipe!  Try it out and let us know what you think! And don’t forget to share your favorites with us, because we want to know the ultimate question: are you a hot coffee person or an iced coffee person?  Let us know in the comments,

Follow us on Instagram and tag your photos with #zojirushiamerica so that we can show some love on your post! Stay safe, everyone!

B-kyu Gurume: Suttate Udon from Kawajima!

Are you still craving Utsunomiya gyoza  from our B-kyu gurume post last month? Well, don’t worry because we’ve got an amazing new dish this month – suttate udon – and after you read all about it, you’ll be craving this dish, too!

Suttate udon hails from Kawajima in Saitama Prefecture, an area just north of Tokyo.

Kawajima is a fertile plain banded by the Ichino, Arakawa, Iruma and Toki Rivers. It’s known for its beautiful landscape and rice, tea and sesame farms. In this area, each season is exaggerated – cold weather is icy, rains are torrential and hot weather is sweltering.

It’s during the hot weather months that Kawajima’s signature B-kyu gurume dish – suttate udon – is popular. The dish consists of fresh, bouncy udon noodles dipped into a suttate dipping sauce. The sauce is what makes it special! Suttate sauce is made with freshly ground ingredients, often prepared at the table. Sesame seeds are ground in a suribachi using a surikogi, or a Japanese-style mortar and pestle. Once the sesame seeds are finely ground and fragrant, miso , thinly sliced cucumbers, finely chopped onions, aromatics and herbs such as ginger and shiso leaves are added to the mix and pounded to form a paste. And to the paste… cold, cold water…perfectly ready to dip in udon noodles!

Hungry yet?

Suttate udon has a beloved history in the Kawajima region. The wheat for the udon noodles and sesame for the sauce were locally cultivated. The nutrients in the ingredients were replenishing. And the cold dish was eaten during the hot summer months by local farmers to beat heat exhaustion from their labor. Inexpensive and locally-produced, suttate udon was almost exclusively prepared at home, with the sauce originally made with just cold water, miso and ground sesame. Even the name is local term, a slurred form of suritate, which means “freshly mashed.”

In 2008, the Kawajima Chamber of Commerce wanted to enter suttate udon in the 4th Annual Saitama Local Street Food Championship. They asked a local chef and restauranteur, Koji Adachi, to come up a new recipe. And his recipe for using dashi in the sauce instead of cold water made all the difference. The dish won fourth place in the competition, becoming an established B-kyu gurume favorite!

After the competition, word of suttate udon spread around Saitama Prefecture and of course, to the rest of Japan.

We love udon noodles, and make the dough in our breadmakers. They’re so wonderful to eat and we hope you try them with homemade suttate sauce!

And as always, share your photos with us on Instagram!

Product of the Month – The Flip-and-Go Stainless Mug (SM-QHE48/60)

Happy April, Zo fans!  It’s finally here! You’ve been asking for it and we designed it! Introducing our new Flip-and-Go Stainless Mug (SM-QHE48/60)!

 

This new mug features a flip-up handle and includes our superior vacuum insulation. It comes in two sizes – 16 ounces and 20 ounces – and in four AMAZINGLY beautiful colors – Cobalt Blue, Teal, Hibiscus Red and Purple Dusk. (Trust us when we say that we’re ready to get them in all colors!).

This mug has so many of our smart design ideas built into it. The solid flip-up handle flips up when needed and folds down when not in use. When it’s up, the handle can be used to hold or hang the mug and when it’s folded down, the handle conforms to the curves of the mug so it doesn’t get in the way when you’re drinking.

Along with the new handle, the flip-open lid also keeps the sip area covered, clean and easy to sip from. The lid also features a two-step lid release which prevents excess condensation on the stopper from splashing when you open the lid.

By using a special manufacturing technique to round the bottle opening so that it’s smooth to the touch, we’ve made this mug even more versatile because you can drink directly from it without the lid! No scraped lips (or hands when you’re cleaning it!).

Our new Flip-and-Go Stainless Mug also comes with our classic vacuum insulation technology. In addition to keeping beverages hot or cold for hours, the vacuum insulation also prevents condensation from gathering on the exterior of the mug, keeping it clean and easy to hold.

The SlickSteel® polished stainless steel interior resists corrosion and repels stains and overall, the mug is lightweight, compact and oh-so-portable! Like our other mugs, the 1 5/8” wide mouth opening accommodates full-size ice cubes, making it easy to fill and clean.

The stopper also disassembles for thorough cleaning.

Of course, like all Zojirushi products, we designed our Flip-and-Go Stainless Mug to be safe. All areas that come into contact with food and beverages are BPA-free. An air vent in the mouthpiece allows beverages to flow out smoothly without gushing and overflowing. Perfect for hot drinks! And a safety lock prevents the lid from accidentally opening. Yay! No spills.

Our Flip-and-Go Stainless Mug (SM-QHE48/60) is perfect for your every day, wherever you may go! We hope you love it. Don’t forget to tag your photos with #zojirushi on Instagram!

Common Bread Baking Problems

We understand the frustration of your loaf not quite being picture perfect!  Don’t worry, we can help!  Let’s first make sure our ingredients are fresh, then explore some common bread baking problems, and we steps can be taken to correct them.

Collapsed or sunken loaf (rising and falling)

Cause: too much yeast, sugar or water, too little salt, or high altitude.

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf: Reduce your yeast by 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon to start with, and using cold water.  If you see an improvement but it’s still not quite there, continue to reduce incrementally.  Alternatively, you could try increasing salt, or decreasing your sugar or water.

Short, dense, and/or dark loaf

Cause: typical of too much flour (or other dry ingredients) or not enough liquid; less often a result of too little yeast, too little sugar, too much salt, or old ingredients.

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf: Reduce your flour* or increasing your liquids.  You can always check your dough during the KNEAD cycle to make sure the texture isn’t too dry.

Lopsided loaf

Cause: typical of too much flour (or other dry ingredients), not enough liquid, or recipe size is too small

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf: Reducing your flour* or increasing your liquids.  If you’re using your own recipe, you may need to increase the recipe size.  The minimum loaf size for our 2 pound bread machines is 1 1/2 pounds (BB-CEC20 and BB-PAC20), and 1 pound for our 1 pound machine (BB-HAC10).

Lumpy Loaf

Cause: Typical of too much flour (or other dry ingredients) or not enough liquid

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf: Reducing your flour* or increasing your liquids.  Check the dough during the KNEAD cycle—if it appears knotty or lumpy, you can add a tablespoon of water at a time until a nice, round ball of dough forms.

Unmixed Ingredients

 

Cause: The kneading blades were not installed properly, or kneading blades have worn out.

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf:  Installing kneading blades before adding ingredients to the baking pan.  If you suspect they have worn out, take the baking pan out of the bread machine and place the kneading blades on the metal shafts.  Then, try turning the blades with your finger.  Do they catch the shafts and make them rotate?  If one or both doesn’t, it’s time to replace them.

Add Ingredients Didn’t Mix

Cause: Typical of too much flour (or other dry ingredients) or not enough liquid.

Here’s what you can try doing to improve your loaf:  Reducing your flour* or increasing your liquid.  When the dough is too dry, add ingredients like nuts and raisins cannot penetrate the dough ball.

*The weight of a cup of flour can fluctuate significantly depending upon how the flour is measured.  Using the measuring cup as a scooper, or pouring flour into the measuring cup will result in more of the ingredient being used than our recipes call for.  You can reduce your flour using one of two methods:

  1. Volumetrically: Fluff your flour with a fork or a whisk to loosen it; then, spoon it into your nested measuring cups, and level off without tapping or shaking.
  2. By weight: Weigh your flour with a digital kitchen scale (128g/4.51oz per cup for bread flour; 120g/4.23 oz for whole wheat flour, and 125g/4.41oz for all purpose).  This method yields the most consistent and optimal results, and conveniently cuts out the guesswork.

Still having trouble, or don’t see your baking problem listed here?  Please contact our customer service team for assistance or give us a message on our Facebook.

 

 

B-kyu Gurume: Utsunomiya Gyoza!

Hi, Zo fans!  Welcome back to another B-kyu Gurume blog post!  Today, we’re featuring the beautiful city of Utsunomiya and its delicious cuisine.

Utsunomiya is a city in Tochigi Prefecture, just a bit north of Tokyo.

It’s gorgeous, charming, and home of juicy Utsunomiya gyoza.  Yup.  Those fantastic Japanese dumplings that are oh-so-delicious steamed, pan-fried, boiled, and even deep fried.  We’re checking out Utsunomiya gyoza this month, and promise that by the end of this post, you’ll want to cook up a batch yourself!

Utsunomiya City became the home of gyoza through a few quirks of historical fate combined with concerted effort by city businesses and associations.  Utsunomiya had a base for an army division that previously operated in north-east China and brought back gyoza forbearers, Chinese jiaozi dumplings.  Then the jiaozi dumplings were “Japanized” and made into the softer, smaller gyoza we know and love today.

Well, it turned out that gyoza were great to eat no matter the season!  In cold weather, gyoza were comforting boiler and served with a broth.  In hot weather, pan-fried with a dipping sauce and a cold beer was the way to go.  And this worked out perfectly in landlocked Utsunomiya City, which experiences both weather extremes.  Gyoza became extremely popular in the city, becoming a local staple and economic driver.

These gyoza helped revitalize the city when the other economic pillar collapsed. During the late 1980’s, Utsunomiya City was known as a place to mine oya stone, a beautiful stone quarried from deep in the earth and used for buildings all over Japan. A quarry cave collapsed in 1989, effectively depressing the stone industry in Utsunomiya City. City restaurateurs, business associations and the media decided to highlight their regional gourmet cuisine – gyoza – to revitalize the city’s economy.

And luckily, we all benefit from their plan!

Utsunomiya gyoza come in many sizes and with multiple types of fillings. Commonly, they are filled with regionally sourced pork, cabbage, chives, garlic and salt. When combined and finished into shape, Utsunomiya gyoza are steamed, boiled, pan-fried or deep fried to the diner’s liking.

While they are typically served with a dipping sauce, Utsunomiya gyoza are so flavorful that many enthusiasts prefer eating them without any condiments, letting the juice from the filling permeate their taste buds instead…we’re craving some already!

Utsunomiya gyoza can luckily be found all over Japan, thanks to concerted marketing and distribution efforts by leading businesses in Utsunomiya City. And again, we happily benefit from their plan!

We love these dumplings and are always up for making them using our Gourmet Sizzler® Electric Griddle (EA-BDC10). Do you make your own dumplings at home? Share your recipe and tag us with #zojirushi on Instagram!  And don’t forget to let us know Zo fans, how do you like your dumplings?  Steam, boiled, pan-fried, or deep fried?  Let us know in the comments.