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.

 

 

Product of the Month — Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker (BB-SSC10)

Happy March, Zo fans!  It’s the start of a new month and we’re back with our Product of the Month series.

Our Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker is great for any cook, in any size kitchen!

This compact breadmaker is designed to make 1-pound loaves and comes packed with health-conscious menu settings and numerous convenience features that every home cook will love.  There’s so much to love about this breadmaker that we launched a dedicated website with lots of recipes, tips, and videos to help maximize how you use it.  Check out the website but in the meantime, we’re highlighting the most important features about the Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker in this month’s blog.

First up, the menu settings.  The Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker features a wide selection of 15 course settings, some for breads, some for doughs and other foods, and some for your own recipes.  The 10 bread settings include traditional courses like White and Whole Wheat, as well as new settings for Quick White, Quick Whole Wheat, European, Multigrain, Gluten Free, Salt Free, Sugar Free, and Vegan breads.  Each type of bread is made to perfection because each course setting is programmed to specifically control the kneading, rising, and baking functions for the type of bread to be made, resulting in richly textured bread every time.

The Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker also comes with Dough settings for Pizza or Pasta, a course for Cakes and one for Jam.  Plus, it has one of our most unique course settings, called “Homemade”.  The “Homemade” setting lets you store up to three custom programs where you select the knead, rise, and bake times based on your own recipes.  Our fans have made delightful breads and cakes using this superb setting, and we even have an awesome recipe for Meatloaf Miracle!  (You’ll find this recipe in the Recipe Book that comes with the breadmaker).

Along with these great course settings, we have our second highlight: the “Auto Add Dispenser”.  This is a new feature distinctive to the Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker and it automatically adds ingredients such as dried fruits and nuts to the dough during the knead cycle.  No need to wait to add extra ingredients manually!

Our third highlight is all about the insides of the breadmaker — the things that make it work so well.  The Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker comes equipped with double heaters built into the bottom of the unit.  This type of heating system rapidly heats the interior of the baking pan to facilitate a light and airy bread with a superior crust.  The baking pan is removable, nonstick coated, BPA-free, and holds both dry and wet ingredients.  The single kneading blade, which is secured into the baking pan on a rotating shaft, thoroughly mixes the dough for the best results.

The breadmaker also comes with an easy-to-read LCD control panel and menu that helps you select the course setting and crust color, as well as a 13-hour delay time function.  The baking pan, kneading blade, and Auto Add Dispenser are all removable and washable with mild dish detergent and warm water.  The sturdy handle makes it easy to move and store, and accessories include a full color recipe booklet with 50 delicious recipes, liquid ingredient Measuring Cup, and dry ingredient Measuring Spoon.

Now down to brass tacks…making bread is an art form and there are definitely tricks to perfecting your loaves.  The Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker does the heavy lifting, and bread turns out even better when the ingredients are accurately measured.  To make superb bread each time, it’s important to measure ingredients according to recipe instructions.  The best way to precisely measure ingredients is by weight and using a digital kitchen scale, similar to the one shown below.

If a digital scale is not available, you can use the supplied Measuring Spoon for small amounts of powder or liquid ingredients such as yeast, sugar, and salt, and Measuring Cup for liquid ingredients such as milk and water.  Use nested measuring cups for large amounts of dry ingredients like flour.  To learn more, watch our How to Measure Ingredients video on the Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker website!

And while you’re there, try out these delicious recipes!  Our favorites are this Whole Wheat Pizza Dough, this Quick Honey Wheat Bread, and this oh-so-delicious Lemon Cake!

And…okay, we lied, those aren’t our only favorites!  We also love Spinach Pasta, Naan, and a Matcha Swirl Bread!  It’s seriously so hard to choose.

Hopefully you won’t have the same issue choosing as we do, and that you love the Home Bakery Maestro® Breadmaker (BB-SSC10) as much as we do.  Share your recipes with us and don’t forget to tag your photos with #zojirushi on Instagram!

 

 

Product of the Month –
Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer (NL-BAC05)

Hello and happy February Zojirushi fans!  We are so excited to announce that our Product of the Month is the Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer (NL-BAC05)!

Why?  Because it is such an all-around versatile rice cooker!

This rice cooker and warmer works best for individuals, as well as small families because of its compact cooking capacity.  It can make as little as a half cup of uncooked rice or other grains, which is great for an individual serving, and as much as three cups for multiple portions.  The Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer ensures perfectly cooked rice and grains every time.  How?  It comes with a rice measuring cup and an inner cooking pan with water level markings which make it easy to measure out the correct amount of ingredients.  Long gone are the days of inconsistent measuring and guessing; we made is simple, so you can have the best meal.

This rice cooker and warmer is also intelligently designed.  It comes with a black, nonstick inner cooking pan that is 2.5 mm thick, allowing for even heat distribution for better cooking.

It also features a triple heater with extra-large heating elements that heats the food from the bottom, side, and top.  In order to prevent messy overflows during high temperature cooking, the rice cooker also includes a removable Steam Vent Cap.  Lastly, another notable feature is its removable Inner Lid to aid in cooking an an easy-to-use LCD Control Panel from which you can program the rice cooker and warmer.

With all these useful features, its no wonder that this rice cooker and warmer is able to prepare more than just rice.  As we mentioned previously, this rice cooker has dedicated menu settings for rice and other grains.  When cooking rice, the settings for White/Sushi, Quick, Brown, and Long Grain White allows you to cook short, medium, and long-grain white rice, short and medium brown rice, as well as white rice with the germ, germinated brown rice and semi-brown rice.  The menu settings for Quinoa and Steel Cut Oatmeal lets you prepare white, black and red quinoa, steel cut oats, as well as rice mixed with barley.  And the rice cooker’s microcomputer uses advanced fuzzy logic technology to ensure perfect results every time by making fine adjustments to cooking time and temperature.

We love how our Quinoa and Chicken Super Salad (pictured below) and Thai Oatmeal Salad with Eggplant turn out in this rice cooker, along with how the long-grain white rice for Jambalaya is made.  Check out other recipes on our website for more inspiration!

Oh, and did we mention that it makes cake?!  The “Cake” menu setting lets you make various types of cakes such as sponge-type cakes and cheesecakes, by pouring in the prepared batter, selecting the “Cake” menu setting, and programming in the cooking time.  How simple is that?

Cooking is just one of the rice cooker’s function.  This rice cooker can automatically keep cooked food warm with the “Keep Warm” setting and can do that for an extended period of time with the “Extended Keep Warm” setting, which maintains a low temperature so the food doesn’t dry out.  The Timer function lets you set when you’d like cooked rice, quinoa, or steel cut oats to be finished cooking.  Two timers can be preset, which is great if you know you will need rice ready for dinner or oats ready for breakfast.  And you’ll know when your food is ready because the rice cooker’s melody or beep will play.

As with our other products, the retractable power cord and sturdy handle makes this machine simple to store, and all surfaces that come in contact with food are BPA-free.  Accessories include a spatula and a measuring cup.

We hope you love this awesome rice cooker and warmer as much as we do.  Make sure to share all your delicious recipes with us and don’t forget to tag your photos with #ZOJIRUSHI on Instagram!

Product of the Month –
Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet (EP-PBC10)

Happy New Year, Zojirushi fans!  We hope that this new decade helps bring you success and happiness!

What are some of your goals for 2020?

We are excited to start this year by introducing you to one of our favorite products and our Product of the Month– the Gourmet d’Expert®  Electric Skillet (EP-PBC10)!

This Electric Skillet is not like any other– this versatile product is packed with so many ingenious features that we’re sure you’ll love.

Let’s start with the basics– how it works.  This skillet is composed of a main body with heating surface, a cooking pan, a lid and a power cord.  Once out of the box, you just simply wash the cooking pan and lid before the first use, place the cooking pan in the main body, attach the removable power cord and you’re ready…how simple is that?!

The cooking pan is 2 1/4 inches deep with a diameter of 10 1/2 inches, and it features a titanium and ceramic nonstick coating.  The size of the cooking pan, as well as the nonstick coating makes it ideal for sauteing ingredients, braising vegetables, simmering stews, cooking risottos, grilling meat or gyoza, and even for making fondue and pasta!  It’s the perfect addition for family nights and for impressing your guests at any potluck event.

Once the cooking pan is set in the main body, which houses the heating element, dishes can be prepared on various temperatures, ranging from 280°F to 430°F.  The skillet can also be set to Keep Warm.  This Electric Skillet can also be used on a gas stovetop burner to help precook ingredients for stews or other dishes simmered in liquids.

Along with the cooking pan, the tempered glass lid is a cook’s best friend.  Not only does this lid let you safely monitor cooking, and of course, prevent splatters, but it helps foods and liquids cook faster.

And that is how this great skillet works!  Even better, this skillet is built with safety in mind, just like our other products.  First, the power cord easily detaches in case it’s accidentally tugged.  Second, the handles on the cooking pan stay cool, preventing burns when transferring the pan.

And of course, each component of the skillet is easy to maintain.  Simply wipe the main body and heating element with a damp cloth, wash the pan and lid with warm water and mild dish detergent and let everything dry thoroughly.

Ok, now that we’re done talking about the awesome features, we really need to get to the food!

WHAT. DOES. THIS. SKILLET. COOK?

Well, we love the traditional Japanese dishes that we make in this skillet.  Everything from Japanese-Style Teriyaki Chicken and Chanko-Nabe to Sukiyaki and Salmon Kobumaki Kelp Rolls, served during the New Year festivities!  We also love the Western savories that cook up beautifully in this skillet, like like Fava Bean Risotto and Chicken Breast Cacciatore.  But we really go for the unexpected dishes that we make in this skillet like Chocolate Crème Brulee and Thick Style Matcha Hotcakes

Chocolate Creme Brulee

Chocolate Crème Brulee

You’ve got to try all of the recipes on our website (and don’t forget to tag your photos with #zojirushi on Instagram)!

Don’t forget to follow us on our blog and Instagram to keep up on all of our delicious Japanese and Western recipes and how to cook them with all of our amazing products!

 

Product Inspirations –
Home Bakery Virtuoso® Plus Breadmaker (BB-PDC20)

It is the perfect season for baking, and we’d like to share our flagship breadmaker, the Home Bakery Virtuoso® Plus Breadmaker (BB-PDC20) with you this month.

2-lb automatic breadmaker bakes a horizontal loaf

The Home Bakery Virtuoso® Plus has a smart mix of the best features traditionally found in our breadmakers along with new, healthy menu settings. It makes traditional, rectangular, 2-lb loaves and also has settings to mix dough, create sourdough starter and make cakes and jam. It features 14 pre-programmed course settings along with a Homemade setting that allows you to store up to three custom settings.

Easy-to-read key code on lid for course selection

The course settings work by altering the time the breadmaker kneads the ingredients, allows them to rise, and bakes them to the desired crust. Each course setting sets a different time for each function based on the type of bread to be made, ranging from classic White, Wheat and European breads to health-conscious options like Gluten Free, Salt Free and Vegan breads. A rapid course setting allows you to bake a loaf of White or Whole Wheat bread in just two hours and 25 minutes!

Easy-to-use control panel

Along with the pre-programmed course settings, the Home Bakery Virtuoso® Plus comes with a special Homemade course, which allows you to input up to three of your own custom recipes and store your own knead, rise, and bake times.

Cakes, jam and sourdough starter is just as easy to make as bread and dough. Simply add in the ingredients, select the appropriate course setting and let the breadmaker work. Detailed instructions can be found in the easy-to-read instruction manual that comes with the machine.

The easy-to-use LCD control panel and convenient key-code make it easy to choose the course setting, select the crust color – from light to dark – and set the optional 13-hour delay timer. Our website features seven videos with how-to tutorials for using the breadmaker to its fullest. Learn about How to Measure Ingredients, How to Make Bread, How to Set the Clock and Timer and How to Clean and Store among other great tips.

Homemade loaf of bread

In order to make these delicious foods, the Home Bakery Virtuoso® Plus utilizes heating elements in the lid and bottom of the machine, promoting even baking and browning. It has dual kneading blades that rest inside the baking pan and do a great job of mixing all of the ingredients. The baking pan is removable and nonstick coated which makes it easy to remove your delicious creations from the pan.

Both the pan and blades are easy to clean, and all surfaces that come into contact with food are BPA-free. Accessories include a full-color recipe booklet with 50 delicious recipes, nested measuring cups for dry ingredients, a liquid measuring cup and a measuring spoon.

Baking pan with dual kneading blades

All of these smart features are nothing compared to the food the Home Bakery Virtuoso® Plus makes! You can find many recipes on our website in the Breadmakers section but we wanted to share our favorites from the recipe booklet. The Multigrain Raisin Bread is to die for, as is the Italian Herb Bread. We love the Breadsticks and the traditional Pizza Dough. And no one can go wrong with Pound Cake! The truly amazing surprises are our suggestions for the Homemade course. You have to try the Meatloaf Miracle and the Tomato Pasta. And when you do, be sure to come back to our website or our Instagram page and share your creation with us!

Happy Holidays and good baking to you all! See you in 2020!