Uneven baking in bread machine


I have just bought a Zojirushi bread maker, (I am a baker by trade) but I like the convenience of the bread maker!
the issue I have is every loaf i make in it is dark brown on the sides and very pale on the top the side are then very had.
I assume the heat is escaping through the vents?
The help guide in the book says to increase room temp Its already 74!

badge posted by: Britinusa on November 23, 2011 at 6:04 pm in Baking, bread machine
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reply by: frick on November 23, 2011 at 6:19 pm

It doesn't matter what you do. The Zo does not bake bread very well. I'll be surprised if you find anyone who is truly happy with loaves baked in the machine.

Most of us use it only for kneading, then bake off the bread in the oven. It's an expensive piece of equipment for kneading but I love mine just the same. Today, I will drop in the ingredients for tomorrow's rolls, then refrigerate the dough overnight, to finish them fresh for Thanksgiving tomorrow. The convenience of coming home to fresh pizza dough, for example, is worth it.

BTW, my house is about 70F. Expensive utilities, you know. :)

I did buy my Zo years ago when it was not quite so pricey.

reply by: tarragonmh on November 23, 2011 at 7:19 pm

I have never liked the crust on any bread baked in any bread machine, no matter the brand. The crust on the sides and bottom of the loaves always get thick and hard, even on the light setting. I use mine multiple times a week, but only on the dough setting.

reply by: Mrs Cindy on November 23, 2011 at 7:59 pm
Mrs Cindy

My post will read exactly like the other two. I use mine multiple times a week (I have two Zo's) for making/kneading the dough, but never for baking.


reply by: Britinusa on November 24, 2011 at 10:01 am

I think I will use it to make the dough and do the proofing for me, then bake in the oven, I am going to transfer the dough to my regular bread tin and put it back in the ZO where i can warm proof it.
we will see how it goes!
Thanks for the the comments

reply by: Handmade on January 12, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I, too, think that the crust on bread baked in my Zo is too dark on the sides. It was the same with bread from my previous Zo which had a vertical bread pan. It does seem less hard and dark when I use a recipe with less sugar, honey, or other sweeteners. The top is always lighter than the sides.

I did find a posting on the web which gave some settings for the homemade cycle. I now use it for almost all of my breads and the bread is much better though the crust still varies with the amount of sweeteners in the recipe. Here are the settings listed in that posting:

(Sue's settings) (Ashley's variation)
Preheat—18 min. Same
Knead—20 min. Same
Rise 1—45 min. Same
Rise 2—50 min. 26 min.
(This time may need to be less if you find that your bread rises, then falls)
Rise 3—off Same
Bake—36 min. 41 min.
Keep warm—off Same
Completion time is 2 hrs. and 45 min.
If you have any trouble with the Zojirushi, contact Ashley at ashley@breadbeckers.com.

I hope that this improves your baked-in-machine bread. Cate

reply by: HerBoudoir on January 12, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Zo also has a new machine out that has heating elements in the lid which will presumably resolve the issue with the light top vs. well browned sides and bottom.

As I don't anticipate buying a new bread machine for the next 10-15 years (my mom's Zo is 15 y.o, my sis's is 10), I don't think that'll help me ;-)

But that said.....I like using Zo for dough then taking it from there myself to make rolls, braided loaves, boules, etc.

reply by: sometime baker on May 12, 2012 at 3:57 pm
sometime baker

I find it interesting that so many people here are Zo-lovers yet they freely admit they ONLY use it for kneading, and some have add'l complaints. I don't understand why they call it a 'bread maker' when it appears it's only a 'dough maker' -- perhaps users/complainers should consider simply using a KitchenAid with the dough hook, or perhaps a Cuisinart with the dough attachment.

I've had two Breadman Ultimates for many years and make - no, BAKE! - all my breads in them. Wonderful crusts, browning, mixing, etc, etc. I seriously doubt I have the only two B-Ultimates in the world which work so well!

reply by: Mike Nolan on May 12, 2012 at 5:58 pm
Mike Nolan

My original Zo (a model 15 aka 'classic') made loaves with good side and top crusts, but that was the older vertical style of pan. The ones that produce a more traditional horizontal style loaf don't appear to do as good a job, based on reports here and elsewhere.

I no longer have the Zo, I gave it to my daughter-in-law a couple of years ago, since I hadn't used it in over a year.

reply by: tarragonmh on May 12, 2012 at 9:10 pm

It seems that the crust issue is a matter of personal preference. I have never liked the crust on bread baked in the machine, no matter which brand of bread machine I owned. And yes, I had 2 Breadmans, one of which was an Ultimate.

I use a bread machine rather than my KA with dough hook because I like the ease of loading, pushing one button and done, ready to shape for final rise. I do use my KA for my artisan loaves from Artisan Bread Every Day.

reply by: HerBoudoir on May 13, 2012 at 9:51 am

Quite simply - If I use the dough cycle in my 'Zo, I can walk away and come back in 2 hours to a perfect dough, ready to shape, rise, and bake. I can also add the ingredients, set the timer, and have dough ready to go for dinner options when I get home from work. By using it for dough only, I get the best of both worlds - easy to make dough and then the pleasure of shaping it myself with great results.

If I use my KA, then I have to babysit my dough though kneading, then the first rise. There's no timer option, needless to say. It's just more hands on time for me that I just don't always have.

Above all - having the 'Zo - even though I have a KA and I've made breads using the KA - inspires me to make fresh bread all the time, which I never did with the KA. This morning I enjoyed a white whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread with my eggs....fantastic.

So yes...it's worth it to me as a glorified dough maker :-)