The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Converting whole wheat recipe to the Zo

snowguy's picture

Converting whole wheat recipe to the Zo

I bought a William Sonoma bread machine about 8 years ago and used it quite frequently to make bread. Most of the time I made a whole wheat recipe (below) which I had put together from several recipes that my family and I quite liked. I found this recipe very forgiving. A little too much of this or that and it still worked just as well. Also, it didn't fall.

Anyway my wife bought me the Zojirushi for Christmas because I was going to have to replace the non-stick pan again and it seemed like time for a new machine. So I've had a lot of fun making bread in my new Zo but I haven't been able to get my tried-and-true recipe to work. Everytime it comes out fallen :(

Comparing the cycle times for the Zo's whole wheat recipe to the William Sonoma I did notice that the rises weren't as long. So I created a new personalized recipe on the Zo which has exactly the time lengths of the William-sonoma Whole Wheat Light crust--what I used for baking my bread. Unfortunately though, the loaf still came out fallen. I can still make the bread in my William Sonoma machine with no problem (of course it doesn't come out of the pan well.)

Any suggestion on (a) how to modify the setting of the Zo so it can make my recipe (below)? or (b) how to modify my recipe to work in the zo?

Also, I'm curious, any ideas why this falls when I use the Zo but doesn't fall when I use my old machine?


Here's the recipe (in order of how I put them in the pan):

11.5 oz hot water

2.0 oz brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

11.5 oz whole wheat flour

2.5 oz ry flour

0.75 oz gluten

0.75 oz veg oil (in corner)

1 1/2 tsp yeast

mrfrost's picture

Some wild guesses here:

Sounds like over proofing issue, or too much liquid.

Try using cooler water(just room temp). Maybe that Zo is running a litttle warmer than the WS.

If that doesn't work, try using a little less water, maybe a tablespoon or so. Or maybe a tablespoon or so extra flour. Looking to firm the dough up, just a little.

Do you watch the dough ball as it is kneading; especially the ending doughball to notice it's consistency, and how the 2 machines dough balls compare?

Just some ideas.  Hope a Zo falls out of the sky and into my kitchen one of these days.

Good luck.

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

I'm getting the feeling that maybe you haven't read the manual yet? I don't know how the W-S machine operates compared with the Zo, but the Zo preheats and incubates everything to 82.4F (the one thing I dislike about it), so you do not want to heat the water before it goes in the pan. (BTW, one of the causes of fallen loaves listed in the troubleshooting guide, is "liquid used was too hot")

All the liquids, including sugar and oil, go in the pan first, so they're on the bottom. Put the flours on top the liquids (I'd mix the gluten into the flour first. The yeast and salt go on top the flour, but at opposite ends to each other. That's it for loading. Active dry yeast is used for the 'Basic' cycles, rapid rise or Bread Machine Yeast for the 'Quick' counterparts.

Other corrections from the trouble-shooting guide that you might try (one at a time):

  • decreasing the liquid 1 - 2 Tbsp.
  • increasing the salt 1/4 tsp.
  • increasing the flour 1 - 2 Tbsp.
  • decreasing the yeast by 1/4 - 1/2 tsp.

My advice is to compare your recipe to the recipes that came with your Zo, especially for yeast amount/type.


P.S.  You can make better tasting whole wheat bread by using the programmable cycle to by-pass the preheat and shut off after the mix/knead cycle. Once the dough is finished, remove it from the machine to rise at room temp, shape by hand and bake in your oven.

snowguy's picture

Thanks Mrfrost & Debra.

I will try reducing the water temp. Debra, actually I did read the manual but I guess that doesn't mean I applied all of the knowledge in it correctly. So thanks for pointing out the note in the troubleshooting on hot liquid.

Mrfrsost, I like the idea of starting both machines at once and comparing how they go. Sounds like fun. I'll have to find a time when I can do that. In case anyone else is interested I'll report back here. I have to say that so far I'm happy with the Zo but not totally won over yet.

Debra, I am interested in making better loaves by using the machine less. I've just discovered this site and it seems to have great resources for that, which I want to explore more. But some days I also don't have time. So I also want a recipe on hand that is super simple just to throw in the machine in the evening and have fresh bread in the morning.

Thanks again.


mrfrost's picture

Actually didn't quite mean it that way(starting both machines at once). Just what you may have observed on the doughball consistency in the past. It's always a good idea to know how the dough looked and felt when that "ideal" loaf was made. It helps when trying to reproduce that loaf time and again. 

snowguy's picture

so it wasn't what you meant but anyway, I did run them both at the same time and it was very interesting. The only change I made was to not start with hot water--for either machine. The results were interesting. What clearly made the difference was that the Zo does not really deflate the dough much. Instead it  gently stirs down between rises. Unfortunately (unlike the william-sonoma) there's no ability to control how much deflation it does between rises. Since this recipe had been tested on the other machine which did a complete deflation it over-rose and then fell during baking. I like the results that this wet recipe gave me so I'm going to try to adjust this for the zo by shortening the rise times.

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

It might be better for flavor to reduce the yeast, than to shorten the rise time  :-)