What Bread Machine Should You Buy? — 29 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    FWIW, I’m a new Virtuoso Plus (BB-PDC20) owner, and I reached out to Zojirushi to ask whether older Virtuoso (BB-PAD20) recipes could be used in the newer machine.

    They said “yes”, that similar Courses of the two machines have nearly the same cycles. (I’ve confirmed this for at least the Basic White and Dough Courses.)

    I suspect the two machines are virtually identical, and that anything you’re used to doing in the Virtuoso can be replicated in the Plus.
    At a minimum, since the Virtuoso Courses’ cycle times are published in the Virtuoso recipe book, they can be recreated in the Plus Homemade Course.

  2. I’ve had my Zojirushi model BBCC-S15 for 29 years and it is still going strong! I replaced the pan and paddle about 8 years ago. I’ve made hundreds of loaves of breads in it and I love it. I wouldn’t trust another brand.

  3. I have a Zojirushi BB-CEC20WB I purchased in 2011. I used it heavily for a few years, put it away, and rediscovered it in 2019. I use it once or twice a week. Zojirushi bread is better than the grocery store bread but not better than scratch or bakery bread, but it is A LOT easyer / cheaper!

    I would unquestionable buy this model again.

    What you should know:

    • When it kneads, it can walk and fall off the counter. I put two cast iron Dutch ovens in front of it.
    • Zojirushi customer support will not sell you a part (except a new baking pan and/or paddles). If a part breaks (like a plastic hinge if it walks off the counter), you must send it back to Zojirushi and pay them to repair it, which approaches the price of replacement. I use mine with a broken hinge.
    • Per the Zojirushi manual, it bakes at 254 – 294 degrees Fahrenheit during the Home Made cycle and the custom bake time cannot be extended beyond 70 minutes. As noted on this web site, you cannot make a full sized banana bread but you can make a superb ½ sized one

    • You can buy it from QVC on easy pay. If you click through MrRebates to get to QVC’s website you will get a % of the price back as well. If you still can not afford this machine get the Cuisinart.

  4. Hi, I have had my Zo for almost 30 years! Still works great, it was $300.00 when I got it.
    Was looking at recipes and found your site. Thanks! ?

  5. Hello Marsha –

    I recently decided to upgrade to a Zo from my old Breadman Ultimate.

    The only model I could find at a normal price is the BB-PDC20 Virtuoso Plus that you don’t recommend. I’ve been using SAF Instant red label yeast that I picked up on Amazon for about $7 for a pound before becoming scarce due to the virus, in both my old breadman and new Zo.

    So far in the Zo I’ve made dough for pretzels, four loaves of the delicious sour milk bread, and two loaves of the Hawaiian bread. Everything has turned out perfectly.

    So while the manual does call for Rapid Rise, it hasn’t been a problem when using the SAF-instant red label yeast.

    Thanks for the great recipes and resource for bread machines bakers!

    – Mark

  6. First, let me thank you for this wonderful site. My wife and I have been researching making our own bread and this has been a wonderful source of information. But I have a couple of questions. The Virtuoso Plus machine seems to have a quick dough setting, course 11. Our research seems to show that it is possible to interchange Active dry yeast with active quick rise yeast if you adjust the quantities and rise time. Could not one of the three hand made courses be modified for active yeast?

    Unfortunately, with the Covid19 problem, everything you recommend on your site is sold out, but the Virtuoso plus was still available?

    Thank you again for this wonderful site.

    Jan, Richmond, TX

    • Hi Jan, I suspect you’re right about the course 11 being a quick dough setting. Because the machine requires active quick rise yeast, they’re all quick settings. 🙁 I didn’t realize this when I first wrote about the machine. I have no idea why Zojirushi did that. It’s such a departure from every other machine that they’ve made. Also, quick rise yeast is harder to find and more expensive.

      That being said, I think you’ve got a great idea about using the home made course to overcome that issue. The only thing I’m not sure about is the temperature of the bread machine. However, even if the Plus cooks at a higher temperature maybe you could use the light crust setting.

      You could easily get the times for each cycle by looking at manuals for other machines. Those give the times for each cycle.

      If you try this let me know how it works.

  7. I have an old Toastmaster Bread and Butter Maker for over 20 years. I tend to make bread once or twice a month. It is my go to machine for most of my bread baking. It has consistently baked up beautiful loaves. Most of the recipes that came with it turn out kinda hard and through trial and error, I have learned how to make softer and moister breads by adding a bit less flour or a bit more water.

  8. I have (3) of the Zojirushi BBCC V20. Not as up to date as yours, but buying used from a thrift store was my only option.
    I’ve found the best of the best as far as I can see. Though at some point I might just find the BB-PAC20 in a thrift store.
    Oh, I have 3 because if I need replacement parts, it was the cheapest way to go.

  9. I was looking at the Zo mini because 1 pound loaves work for my needs and I like the small footprint. But the thing that put me off spending THAT much money for any Zo? I downloaded the manual and they provide NO information about the time and cycle breakdown for any of the bread settings.

    Like Dennis I value knowing when my Oster is going to punch down so I can remove the paddle before the final rise. The Oster beeps like his Cuisinart did, and the Oster user manual gives the time line breakdown for each bread type setting. I can just glance at the manual, find that the punch down is going to happen in 55 minutes from start, set a timer on my cel phone, and come back at just the right time to remove the paddle. The Zo machines – no info like that provided for $200.00 to 300.00 machines…? Sorry – pass for me.

    The lesson learned is it’s a good idea to download the user manual for a machine you are considering and see if the machine has the features you want and need before buying. That, and a decent run of recipes and tips to fix problems etc.

  10. I had the Cuisinart convection for 12 years. The pan locking mechanism broke so, after MUCH debate, I bought the Virtuoso Plus. Oddly, the day the Zo arrived, I fixed the Cuisinart, then stupidly gave it to Goodwill before trying the Zo. Bad move.

    The Zo makes beautiful bread, I love the wide loaf (the only reason I bought it). That’s it for likes.
    It doesn’t have a “finished last punch down” beep. My Cuisinart beeped when done with paddle, so the dough could be reshaped and the paddle removed before baking. The Zo doesn’t, the bread often has lopsided crowns and the paddles rip the bottom of the bread when it’s removed (not ti mention how hard the paddles are to remove after dough baked inside the hubs).
    I doubt understand the “rest” cycle. All my ingredients are already at room temp when I start! Besides, 30 min of rest won’t allow cold buttermilk to warm sufficiently, anyway. Waste of time.
    Biggest “dislike” is lack of recipes! My +$300 machine came with a handful of recipes; white, wheat, herb, sourdough recipes are BASIC. My Cuisinart came with a binder of at least 50 recipes! I should not have to buy a separate recipe book (there is ONE book for Zo, not for this machine, all for 1.5lb loaves, no conversions). Looking for online recipes is not the same as sitting with a recipe BOOK.
    Speaking of ‘no conversions’, the few recipes the Zo does have are all for 2lb loaves. My Cuisinart had conversions for 1lb, 1.5lb, and 2lb bread.

    I’m keeping the machine but only because of the wide loaf, nothing else about it is special, in fact, it’s totally lacking.

    • You can over ride the rest cycle. Press the up and down time buttons at the same time and hold for 3 seconds. Repeat to reset the rest cycle. I recommend everyone watch the instructional video on YouTube from Zojirushi.

  11. I, too, have a Zojirushi BB-PAC20. I agree that it’s a sturdy machine and expect it to last longer than any other machine I’ve owned. However, it’s also the most expensive machine I have owned and I have am significantly disappointed by the machine.
    First, I make almost exclusively vegan, whole-grain breads. I made thousands of loaves
    of whole wheat bread in a cheap Breadman, by simply omitting the milk powder and the butter. Time after time I always get a well-risen loaf with a good crumb. Not so with the BB-PAC20. For the price, I expected better.
    Next, the machine doesn’t indicate which Rise cycle is currently active. For the high cost, that should have been included.
    Last, the machine isn’t programmable, to either create completely new recipes or to adjust the parameters of existing recipes. Again, for a machine which costs about three times as much as a Breadman, I expected more.

    • The machine is programmable. Check out the Home Made button. I used it to make meatloaf. Okay, I don’t advise that anyone use the machine for that purpose, but the machine totally is programmable. 🙂 I plan to use it to make pasta in the future. I trust that it’s going to work better for pasta.

    • It does show which rise it is on. Shine a little flash light on the display. Make sure you have your glasses on. And it is programmable for three different home made custom cycles. Read the owner’s manual again.

  12. My Little Sister gave us a Panasonic Bread machine after She found replacement parts on eBay. After a while I wanted a new Bread Maker. Little Sister said “I have the Zo”! Uh, what’s that? The best there is was Her response. Well, I ordered mine and yes, it’s the best there is in my humble opinion. I make Bread for 3 of my neighbors and Son and Daughter in Law and send Homemade Bread to two other Daughters. The “Zo” is so easy to use, makes perfect loaves, and I hope it lasts forever, but if I need to replace it, there is no question, it will be another “Zo!

  13. Our children bought the Zo you have for Christmas three years ago…it’s a great machine. We no longer eat nearly as much bread as we used to so, hopefully, it will last a long time. And while we don’t eat a lot of bread anymore, I bake bread for my cousin in exchange for eggs from his chickens and ducks….a win/win situation!

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