The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello/question about mixins from new bread machine user/best bread for hummus

x2501x's picture

Hello/question about mixins from new bread machine user/best bread for hummus

Hello everyone,

My name is Tony, I'm a 41-year-old guy who has been getting more and more into cooking the past couple years after going most of my life pretty much just using the microwave for everything.

My wife and I just bought a Zojirushi BBCC-X20 bread machine. I love the hands-on aspect of cooking and baking, but since I'm experimenting and learning so much with other aspects of cooking (and making a mess every night doing it) we thought the machine would mean time was available for working on other things (plus we have one small oven, so it also means the ability to work on another project at the same time). I saw there was a bread-machine forum but this is also my introduction so I wasn't sure in which to post...hope this is OK. (the question about hummus is way down after all this about proper mixin adding).

My very first loaf attempt was making cinnamon raisin bread. I followed the instructions as I understood them, but the resulting loaf only had raisins (actually currants because that's what I had handy) at the bottom, and also a big clump of them were huddled along one side/corner of the loaf. The cinnamon was distributed only to about the same areas. So, I'm coming here to ask experienced users (particularly of that machine) what I might have done wrong. The bread still tasted great, but I certainly wouldn't have served it to guests.

clumped currants

The instructions with this machine are a little vague. They say, "the Add indicator will blink for 5 minutes," but also say, "you should add the ingredients after the beep." I was expecting the machine would stop at the point where I was supposed to add ingredients, but I never noticed it doing so. I finally decided that I might have missed the exact moment where I should add them and went ahead and dumped them in while it was still running. I noticed at that time when I lifted the lid that the dough was all wound up around only one of the blades, and I wondered if that was a typical thing that happens during the overall mixing process, or if that meant something was wrong. The instructions didn't say anything about a proper angle for attaching the blades--if they should both be facing the center, one facing in and one out, or if it just didn't matter. I assumed (dangerous thing) that if it did matter, they would have been specific.

It's certainly possible that I did more than one thing wrong. I read somewhere while searching for an answer that raisins and other sticky mixins should be dusted with flour before adding them to keep them from clumping together--is that smart or does it add too much extra flour?

Should I have opened the lid and added the mixins right away when the first beep sounded?

Is there a best way to insert the blades to get the dough to mix, or does that matter? Is it typical for the dough to spend some time stuck on one blade, or was that an indication of something going wrong?

My other question is what would be a good bread-machine recipe to make for dipping in hummus? We love eating hummus with crackers or veggies, but I have always loved it with fresh-baked pita at a restaurant. We can't exactly make pita loaves in the machine, but I am certain there are other forms of bread that also taste great with hummus. I figure, whatever loaf we make, it might need to be lightly toasted just prior to dipping so it holds up, but maybe there's a more dense loaf that wouldn't require it? I suppose some kind of veggie-loaf might be cool?

Thank you in advance for any advice. I've already seen some great recipes on this forum that I'm dying to try out, once I get used to adjusting the traditional-method ones for the machine :)

Oh, I forgot to mention--I'm in Northern Virginia.

xaipete's picture

You could mix up pita & naan in your machine and then just bake it on a stone. It only takes minutes to bake and pizza stones are easy and cheap to acquire. I think almost any basic lean bread can be made into pita or naan, but there is a recipe for pita on this site.

I'm not sure what the recipe difference is for pita vs. naan. Undoubtably somebody on this site knows what make some bread puff up and others only bubble.

I have a great recipe for sesame-tahini that one of my daughters concocted after a trip to Israel on my food blog.



x2501x's picture

thank you for the suggestions, I will try that.

my main reason for searching for a totally in the machine solution is that we have far too little cabinet space right now, which translates to far too little countertop space as all the pots and pans are there. so it's not always easy to make space to roll dough out (the bread machine is living on the dining room table at the moment). we've been planning on adding more counters and cabinets, but the way money is these days who knows when that will happen. 

tsinct's picture

I bought this same machine about one month ago and am experimenting too. Baked only one loaf so far and it came out unsatisfactory- bottom crust too dark and thick, top lighter, taste ok (I think it was cinnamon raisin too.) I have since used it only to mix doughs (dough cycle) and its been great. I will eventually bake in the machine again to be sure it doesn't have a thermostat or other heating problem. If you call Zo customer service, they will be quite helpful with your questions. You can open top while its kneading and adjust liquid or dryness if needed.

x2501x's picture

We tried again last night, making the wheat bread with nuts recipe, and it baked up pretty nicely, if a bit mis-shapen. Plus, you probably should make sure the machine isn't broken soon so they don't try to argue that you broke it if you need to return it :)

rcrabtree's picture

I second the idea of mixing up a basic pita recipe - which is just plain ole' bread dough, really - in your bread machine and then rolling it into a circle and baking it on a pizza stone.  Honestly, I think pita dough doesn't really need to be kneaded that much.  You could just put the ingredients in a large bowl and mix them with a large wooden spoon, or - gasp! - your hand.

The biggest structural difference betwen pitas and naan (and pizza) in my mind is the fact that pizza and naan are hand stretched while pitas are rolled out flat with a rolling pin - which results in one very large bubble (the pocket) instead of millions of little tiny bubbles (the crumb in pizza and naan).  EDIT: pizza, pitas and naan all use yeast for leavening

You'll kick yourself once you see how easy pitas are!  I love homemade hummus and pitas as well.  I've also had "pita chips" which are just cut up pita fried or baked - they are equally delicious and go with the hummus better than corn chips, IMO.

sphealey's picture

Some thoughts based on 3 years of using a Zo:

  • Somewhere deep in the instructions or in the FAQ on Zo's their web site it says something to the effect that it doesn't matter how you put on the paddles but if you want to be precise you can put them in facing away from each other.  My guess is that it really doesn't matter but they say that just to give a definitive answer to the question "Which way...".  I put mine in with the long blades pointing 180 degrees apart facing toward the ends, and push them down until they click.
  • Rather than dust flour on the raisins you might want to soak them in a bit of water for a few minutes to plump them up so they will stick more to the dough
  • Doesn't really matter exactly when you put raisins, nuts, etc in - sometime around the "add stuff now" beep.  You just want enough time for them to mix in before kneading stops.
  • All that said - chunky stuff doesn't really mix in all that well.  When making raisin bread I usually pull the dough out after the kneading cycle, stretch it out, roll it up, and put it back in the bucket.  This process is made a lot easier by a placemat-sized piece of hard silicone that I received as a gift - sold as a cutting board but I use as a mini rolling pad - nothing sticks to it.
  • The trick of pulling out the dough and re-rolling is something I do whenever I am concerned about getting a nice smooth top to the loaf.  Only takes about 20 seconds.
  • As far as the kneading cycle goes you might want to watch it all the way through once - it is pretty interesting.  First the ingredients stir.  Then the kneading starts, and at first the loose dough moves in a figure-8 across both paddles.  Then the dough firms up (gluten developing + salt action I think) and the dough tends to move to one paddle, stay there for a while, then suddenly jump to the other paddle.  Of course the Zo switches direction about every 90 seconds so that changes things as well.
  • The included recipes have too much sugar for my taste - I almost always reduce the sugar or use none at all.
  • The timer works great for having soft sandwich bread ready in the morning - just be sure to make enough of a mountain of flour in the middle that water will not reach the yeast.  Use the recipe on the side of the machine and make changes to that as desired.  When using a mix (Hodgson Mills or Bobs Red Mill) I add an additional cup of flour and proportional water - the standard mixes are too small.

That's all I can think of at the moment.  Generally in my experience the Zo is pretty close to being a perfect machine:  it does exactly what you want and produces the outcome you expect 98% of the time.  Give it a few tries, maybe with a simpler recipe, and you will probably find it works well.


x2501x's picture

thank you for all the advice. that all seems like it will be very helpful. just one followup question--I am not quite clear on how I would pause the machine after the kneading cycle to take the dough out--or do I just open the lid and do that during the beginning of the first rising phase, and assume that 20-30 seconds out of the machine won't hurt it?

btw, I too have a huge silicone cutting board, so that's perfect :)

tonight we tried the whole wheat plus nuts recipe, and it seems to have come out nicely though overall it was very tall compared to the first loaf, and one end of the loaf is about 1" higher than the other end. that recipe called for 5 Tbsp of Vital Wheat Gluten, which to me seemed as if it must be too much. I'm wondering if that could be the reason the loaf seemed huge. the end that was higher was just barely below the inside of the viewing window.

sphealey's picture

=== thank you for all the advice. that all seems like it will be very helpful. just one followup question--I am not quite clear on how I would pause the machine after the kneading cycle to take the dough out--or do I just open the lid and do that during the beginning of the first rising phase, and assume that 20-30 seconds out of the machine won't hurt it? ===

Just pull the dough out, do a fold-and-roll, and put it back in.  Won't hurt anything.


x2501x's picture

cool! I'm going to have another go at some kind of mix-in loaf next weekend, once we have finished eating the two loaves we have made so far. thank you for being so generous with your experience.