Bert-san’s Take—Zojirushi Breadmaker

Who knew I could actually bake? And that my Rainbow Bread could look so beautiful? I mean, I cannot believe I did this just by following instructions (which I’m really good at) and literally pushing a button. BUT…I’m taking credit where credit is due; even though this crazy amazing breadmaker by Zojirushi does all the heavy lifting, I did have to make the rainbow part, and it wasn’t easy.

Indeed, the trickiest part of baking with the breadmaker might very well be reading the manual. It’s written out pretty well, but for a novice like me, I read and re-read it so I wouldn’t screw up, and I still managed to stumble on a few steps. I baked with the Zojirushi Home Bakery Maestro® (BB-SSC10), which is perfect for us because it’s compact and bakes a 1-lb. loaf; we can’t eat that much in a span of 3-days anyway.

The first thing I did was line up all my ingredients for a simple, basic white bread—flour, dried milk, sugar, salt, unsalted butter, dry yeast and water. Then I studied:

After carefully measuring all the ingredients, I started to load the baking pan, and promptly forgot to add the yeast last so it wouldn’t get wet. This is what it’s supposed to look like (my second try), with the water underneath all those dry ingredients, and the yeast sitting on top.

Then the breadmaker does the rest—which is great if you’re baking plain white bread, but I was planning Rainbow Bread, so I was supposed to interrupt the cycle to add food coloring to the dough. My second mistake—I set the cycle wrong so I had to let it go and settle for plain white bread this first time around. Oh well, I needed a test run anyway!

The unveiling of the finished loaf! So exciting! And it smelled soooo good!

Not bad for a first try. The golden color was great, and it didn’t collapse on me—LOL! And by the way, the fresh bread tasted like…homemade bread! Moist and warm. If you decide to keep it for a few days, I’d recommend toasting it by the 3rd day. Trust me, you’ll still love it.

Here’s how I did my Rainbow Bread. The Breadmaker has a homemade setting, which allows you to take out the dough after it’s been kneaded and before it bakes. This gives you some time to do whatever you want to the dough—like add extra ingredients, or in my case, add food coloring. The dough is very sticky, but if you have enough flour on your hands, it’s manageable.

Then you flatten it, stack it, and roll it up!

After you reload it into the Breadmaker, the cycle starts up again, and the machine does the rest. The longest wait time is by far this part—the dough sits and rests to give it time to rise, and then finally bakes. The total from start to end was about 3-1/2 hours (not including the coloring part). But doesn’t it look amazing? Like a sculpture, if I do say so myself!

I have to admit this was a lot of fun and was an awesome weekend family activity. I can’t wait to try the other breads on the menu, like European and the Cinnamon bread; my family wants to do more Rainbow bread in pastel colors!

 

 

Images by Bert Tanimoto and @ironchefmom

 

 

 

 

Design Explained –
Our Signature Tune!

Our rice cookers and water boilers are practical. They’re technologically advanced. They’re stylish. And they’re…whimsical!

Until 1999, our appliances used standard beep sounds to indicate when the rice cooker or water boiler had started and finished their settings. We realized that so many appliances existed together in our customers’ kitchens that it was difficult to know which appliance was beeping. So, as part of our tradition of smart design, we programmed our rice cookers and water boilers to play a tune instead of beeping.

Zojirushi Rice Cooker Circa 1999

And now we’re known for our whimsical, musical and oh-so-familiar “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” tune which plays at the beginning of a setting. And when a course is finished, the lyrical tune of “Amaryllis” plays!

 

While this feature is definitely one of our more lighthearted and fun ones, there is a solid technological foundation to adding tunes to our appliances. Each appliance needed a microcomputer in the control panel, and that technology was introduced in the late 1990s. Further, microcomputers needed to be programmable, and the manufacturers were able to sequence a series of beeps to make a tune.

We loved it then and we love it now. And so do our fun friends. Just check out this incredibly cute video on our Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/p/BwNkZ1eh7NR/.

Let us know if you love these songs, too! And if you have a suggestion for a future product!

Foreign Foods in Japan –
Doria!

Dorias are so quintessentially Japanese that we sometimes forget they were once a foreign food introduced into Japanese cuisine!

Many foreign foods were introduced to Japan during the Meiji Era, from 1868-1912, as Japan began its journey towards global modernization. After the First World War, even more foreign influence permeated the country, and foreign-born and trained chefs began introducing new dishes inspired by their homelands yet catering to Japanese tastes. One such dish is the doria. It is said that Saly Weil, a Swiss master chef at the New Grand Hotel in Yokohama, developed the dish in the 1930s. The dish was inspired by classic French gratins and baked Italian casseroles, with signature components including a creamy béchamel sauce and melted cheese.

Instead of being made with potatoes, similar to pommes de terre gratinees, the Japanese doria was made with the local staple: rice. And while European gratins often featured beef or ham, the Japanese version most commonly used seafood. Today, numerous variations exist among Japanese dorias, including ones with vegetables, chicken, mushrooms and a host of other ingredients!

The classic Japanese doria starts with cooked white rice. The rice is typically buttered, and depending on taste seasoned with aromatics such as garlic or herbs such as parsley. To the buttered rice is added seafood such as shrimp, scallops or fish, or chicken or vegetables, such as broccoli and mushrooms. And the entire mixture is then folded into a classic French béchamel sauce, made of butter, flour and milk. The combined ingredients are layered into a baking dish and topped with meltable, creamy cheese, such as parmesan or gruyere. The dish is then baked until the cheese is golden on top.

Dorias are served at Yoshoku restaurants throughout Japan but are also frequently prepared at home for lunch or dinner. Our classic recipe is the Green Peas and Asparagus Doria, which is made using rice cooked in our rice cookers.

Have you made this comforting dish? Try it out…it’ll be great for the coming winter months!

Product Inspirations –
Automatic Rice Cooker & Warmer (NS-RPC10/18)

You know about our microcomputer-controlled rice cookers, but did you also know that we have a great line of conventional rice cookers, too?

Our new Automatic Rice Cooker & Warmer (NS-RPC10/18) adds style, ease and function to any kitchen – with great features and amazing ease of use.

This rice cooker comes in two capacities, either 5.5 cups or 10 cups, which are ideal for making small to large batches of rice. It also comes in two lovely finishes – Tulip and Metallic Gray – that coordinate with almost any kitchen decor.

The rice cooker is simple to use. It features a one-touch operation that starts cooking rice immediately. Simply wash the rice and presoak it for the desired amount of time, and then push on the switch to activate the rice cooker.

The triple heater is built into the bottom, side and lid of the rice cooker, and generates uniform heat all around the nonstick inner cooking pan, cooking the rice at an ideal temperature so that it’s fluffy when done. Once the water in the inner cooking pan is absorbed by the rice, the rice cooker switches to Keep Warm mode, indicated with an illuminated light, keeping the hot rice tasting fresh.

The best white rice is easy to make in this rice cooker. And that white rice can be used to make delicious dishes like Crisp Grilled Yaki-Onigiri and Hawaiian Loco Moco.

Along with its simplicity, this Automatic Rice Cooker features a convenient body style. The lid comes with a streamlined handle and can be opened with the push of a button. The hinge on the lid allows for convenient serving, and when closed, the lid snaps tight. The rice cooker features a dew collector, which traps condensation that collects when the lid is opened.

As with all of our products, cleaning and maintenance are simple. The inner lid and dew collector, as well as the nonstick coated inner cooking pan, can be removed and washed with mild detergent and warm water.

The unit comes with a detachable power cord, and accessories including a rice measuring cup, spatula and spatula holder. And these accessories make preparing rice super easy! Check out the steps to making great Japanese rice on our rice cooking tip page, and don’t forget to share how you make your rice at home. Just leave a comment below with your favorite tips!

Design Explained –
Our Half-Circle

Have you seen our half-circle?

It’s subtle. It’s small. It’s white. And it’s an ingenious feature that indicates whether the removable control plugs for our electric grills and griddles are inserted into the appliance properly.

While our rice cookers, water boilers and other electric products are controlled by onboard LCD panels and powered using power cords, our Gourmet Sizzler® electric griddles and indoor electric grills use a removable control plug that serves both functions: to provide power to the appliance and to manage the temperature setting. These high-powered control plugs conduct electricity efficiently to the appliances, allowing them to heat quickly at the temperature set using the control knob.

The control plugs are installed into the sides of the grills and griddles and “click” into place. On the release buttons located at the sides of the control plugs are white half-circles. And while they look cool, they actually serve as a safety feature. When the control plug is installed correctly into the appliance, the entire white area of the half-circle becomes visible. If it hasn’t clicked correctly into place, the half-circle is obscured.

Such a small smart design feature makes a big difference in safety. Zojirushi’s indoor grills and electric griddles are designed so they do not turn on unless all components are installed correctly. The drip tray not set properly? The control plug won’t go in. The control plug not inserted correctly or loose? Power won’t turn on. This way, no one gets burned or hurt by a heated, but improperly setup appliance.

You can see the white half-circle in action for our griddles at https://youtu.be/vOPPBUhBJ4g and https://youtu.be/tLQABng_ck8.

Have you noticed any other hidden smart design features in our products? Let us know below!