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This month's issue marks the first of a 2-part series on breads and features our Zojirushi Breadmakers, a hot-selling product for us since we introduced our first one many years ago. Although Rice is still the main staple of most East Asian countries and feeds half the world's population, Wheat is second and bread is the primary staple of Europe and the Americas, the Middle East and North Africa. While we give you some basic bread recipes in this issue, part 2 of the series will feature some Japanese style breads.

Since bread is not native to Japan the Japanese word for bread is "pan", the same as in Portugal, the country that first brought it to Japan during the 16th century. The late 1800s brought the creation of anpan, a perfect blend of two cultures--Western bread filled with sweet red bean paste, a traditional Japanese confection. As different varieties of breads came into existence that suited Japanese tastes, the popularity of bread continued to grow as a Western favorite.

Today roughly 30 percent of the adult population eats bread for breakfast, and the time consuming task of baking fresh bread has been automated to the touch of a button on the modern bread machine. If you want fresh toast for breakfast, you can have it. Since the first Japanese breadmaker was introduced at American trade shows in 1986, the home bakery has continued to evolve until the most technologically advanced model is now available from Zojirushi. We will talk about our Home Bakery Virtuoso™ Breadmaker later on in this issue.

Germany claims to have the largest variety of bread in the world. More than 300 kinds of basic bread are produced, while there are more than 1000 types of rolls and pastries. Germans are the biggest consumers of bread in the world, followed by the Italians.
Traditional bread in Finland is a dark sourdough type made of rye. They are disc-shaped with a hole in the middle so they can store them easily.
French baguettes are baked up to three times a day and have a thick crust. They are sold unwrapped to keep the crust crisp.
In Northern Africa and Morocco a thick and chewy fried bread is traditional, while in Ethiopia a wide flat bread called injera is also used as a utensil to pick up food.
China has a steamed bread made from wheat flour, and in the northern parts of the country it is often eaten as an alternative staple to rice. When it is filled with meat or vegetables it is called baozi (like char siu bao, with pork filling).
Indians and Pakistanis eat a type of unleavened flatbread made from whole wheat flour and baked on a griddle. Some variations are called naan and eaten with curry.
Basic Breadmaker Breads

Here we present some basic breads that you can easily bake with your home bread machine. Try these four recipes and build on them by adding various ingredients to expand your bread making recipes.

Although there are countless types of breads all over the world, the basic ingredients for making bread are the same: bread flour, yeast, water and sugar. Yeast, a micro organism, is probably the most important. The dried yeast used in baking bread is in essence dormant, or "asleep". Adding water to the yeast "awakens" and activates it. The yeast starts to "eat" the sugar and releases carbon dioxide bubbles, which causes the bread to rise.

A key ingredient is the gluten in the bread flour. By kneading the dough, the gluten becomes elastic, and captures the carbon dioxide bubbles like a balloon. This is what makes the holes in the bread, and makes it fluffy and soft. With a Zojirushi breadmaker, you can make professional tasting bread with a few simple steps.

  Whole Wheat Flour is made by grinding the wheat’s whole grain, including the bran, germ and endosperm, while refined grains retain only the endosperm. Whole Wheat Flour is said to be more nutritious and have more health benefits than regular bread flour because whole grains are a natural source of protein as well as a source of carbohydrates.

Because Whole Wheat Flour has less gluten than bread flour, the key is to add Vital Wheat Gluten that helps to give the bread structure and elasticity for the desired chewiness. This becomes especially critical when recipes call for lots of extra ingredients like nuts, dried fruit or seeds. Adding molasses also helps to give it a milder flavor, as whole wheat flour has a distinct taste.

See recipe for Basic White Bread

See recipe for Whole Wheat Bread

Even though we are all busy day in and day out, we need to make sure we watch what we eat. Here’s a quick way to make freshly baked bread. Quick-Rise Bread is made using Quick Rise Yeast (or Rapid Rise Yeast), which rises faster than regular yeast bread. Quick-Rise Yeast is processed differently than Active Dry Yeast so that it becomes active faster, and proofs the bread dough faster. Try baking bread using Quick Rise Yeast in our breadmaker; you may be surprised at how fast and easy it is.   Recently, there has been a surge in the number of people with Coeliac Disease, or gluten intolerance. Gluten Free bread is made for those who cannot process gluten. It is made using gluten free flours such as rice flour or starch. But how does the bread rise if there is no gluten? The key ingredient is xanthan gum. It is commonly used as a food thickening agent, but also helps give bread its structure. New types of gluten free flour are being introduced into the market every day, which help make tastier gluten free bread.
See recipe for Quick White Bread

See recipe for Gluten Free
Brown Rice Bread

The bread recipes that you've read about in this issue can easily be baked with our NEW BB-PAC20 Breadmaker. We call it our VIRTUOSO™ because it delivers unmatched performance. Read on to find out why.
Get performance like you've never seen from a breadmaker. A revolutionary heating element built into our HOME BAKERY VIRTUOSO™ Breadmaker BB-PAC20 changes the way you can bake bread at home. With perfectly browned crust every time, anyone can be a master baker.

From novice to expert, now any home baker can take advantage of our most technologically advanced breadmaker, loaded with menu settings and options for the ultimate in versatility.

See all Zojirushi Breadmakers
Our Four Seasons bento is just about done. You may recall that our Kaiseki style is much more casual and very easy to make at home. So far we have featured recipes that reflect the four seasons--in the colors, the seasonal foods and in the presentation itself. We have saved the best for last; the dessert! We'll be doing a Japanese dessert in out next issue, so don't miss it!
Shokado Bento Back Number