The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Is this typical of the Zojirushi BBCEC20?

shastaflour's picture

Is this typical of the Zojirushi BBCEC20?

We recently purchased a Zojirushi BBCEC20, and I'm on my fourth loaf. It seems that on the standard settings (I've used both the wheat and basic settings), the Zo is overbaking by quite a bit. Even when I shortened the baking cycle by 20 minutes (!) on the wheat setting, the internal loaf temperature measured at nearly 205 degrees! The resulting bread is a bit dry and the sides and bottom are much more brown than we would like.

Is there something wrong with my machine, or is this typical? I know I can program my own settings on the home made cycle, so that might be the solution. However, if there is something wrong with our particular machine, I'd like to know so I can exchange it.

If the overbaking is par for the course, how could they have programmed the machine so off? I realize that varying altitude and humidity could account for some difference, but that much?

We've been very pleased with everything else concerning the Zo.

Thanks so much for any insight you might have -- any and all wisdom is greatly appreciated! :)





jcking's picture

I've never tempted my loaves yet the loaf will not be soft and squishy like wonder bread. One tip I picked up is to wrap your loaf in a clean dry dish towel for 20 mins after depanning.


shastaflour's picture

Thanks, Jim --

I wouldn't have thought of wrapping it. We'll try that. I must admit that my husband likes his bread a bit on the underdone side -- though not doughy! I've since found that around 45 min of baking time is close to perfect, though the top doesn't get as brown as one might like that way. If wrapping doesn't do it it, I just might use the machine mainly for dough and start using the oven again.... :)

I appreciate your suggestion!

- Marguerite

jcking's picture

I've turned to using mine to mix the really wet doughs like Ciabatta and a plain loaf, or simple raisin bread, for my son who lives nearby. I like the way it doesn't heat up the whole house in the summer.


johnsankey's picture

I keep mine on light crust to avoid the overbaking - I like the results that way fine without reducing the time.



azaelea's picture

Unlike others here who have bread baking too dark with this machine I'm getting just the oposite results.

I’m not happy at all with my Zojirushi BBCC-X20 - nothing but insipid underdone light crusts - totally anaemic - no crunch at all. Very boring disgusting stuff!
And I’m using the Dark setting and have also programmed it to bake for the max time of 70 minutes.
As it is I have to finish the bread in my regular oven to get it dark enough - what a pain! Especially if the weather is hot and I don't want to add more heat to the house.
Wish I still had my old Westbend machine which gave perfectly lovely dark crunchy loaves every time.
I have emailed Zojirushi to see if there is a fix to this problem but they didn't have anyting useful to say.
Just a lot of stuff about not using bread flour, measuring correctly and so on.
I've been baking bread for years with & without a bread machine and I know all about measuring properly.
I think I'm going to call the local service depot rather expensive toy see if they've got a fix otherwise I'll be tossing this thing and getting another Westbend that did the trick last time

shastaflour's picture

Hi Azaelea,

That's mighty interesting! I wonder how one machine could bake such a dark loaf and the other could never achieve one? Perhaps we should switch? :) I've pretty much given up on baking in the Zo. I now make enough dough for one or two loaves and bake them in the oven. Everything about them is more appealing, except the extra work! I also find it a bit frustrating that a huge mound of dough will end up over the top of one paddle and very little over the other. I used to think it was my recipe not being quite big enough for the machine, but it happens (even worse) with a double batch as well.

Must admit that I have wondered if the Panasonic would have been a better choice, or (since I'm only doing dough) machines I find at yard sales and thrift stores. If one were to poop out, I could always purchase another for $10 or so. It would take a long string of thrift store machines to equal the price of one Zojirushi!

I'm hoping that the double-blade kneading action of the Zo produces a better loaf, and that the machine is WAY more durable than some of the yard sale types. If not, I'm afraid I really goofed!

It will be interesting to hear what your local service depot says. Please update me when you've visited them!

LarryB227's picture

I just receive my Zo and it is the BBCEC20 and compared to my Breadman Pro the loaves are much smoother which add a little density and my crust is darker than I want it. I just did a loaf with it on Light and it is still a little darker then I would like it. Of coarse that is a personal thing. This is only my second loaf so far. I found that the dough actually moved from one paddle to the other and sometimes or most of the time on both. I did not see that as a problem. I'd like a little bit better rise which would make the loaf lighter vs on the dense side.

jcking's picture

Welcome to the fresh loaf Larry,

Cut back on the sugar and your crust will lighten. Better rise, unless the yeast is old, add a touch more water, add a spoonful each loaf til you find the height you like.

Please credit 2¢ to my account.


LarryB227's picture

Thank you for that input as I'll try it with the next loaf. Actually I thought the sugar amount was too much compared to the Breadman Pro. I think the Pro called for 1/2 tbls and the Zo called for 4 tbls.

2¢ has been added to your account.


mrfrost's picture

You can get a noticiably higher rising loaf by removing the dough from the bucket after the last "punch down". Then hand shape the dough by the traditional methods for getting the best rise, then placing the loaf back into the machine for the final rise and bake. While the dough is removed from bucket, remove the paddles also. This will make removing the baked loaf much easier.

I can't find the King Arthur Flour blog article where this is described, but their pictures showed the hand shaped loaf to be much larger. It makes sense though, as the machine itself basically does no shaping.

And of course those deluxe Zo's are programmable, so you can possibly reprogram the cooking time/temp? to get a crust more to your liking.

Good luck.


LarryB227's picture

I'll try your ideas also but will require more experience probably first. I like the remove the paddles idea as that is always a problem with most machines.

I am really enjoying the forum as I am trying to read most of the posts.


Baker100's picture

Like you, I was very pleased with my BBCEC20 during its first two or three uses; I even left a glowing commentary on Amazon; that was a very big mistake.  How am I to retract that comment now and, in its place, tell of all the problems the machine has revealed over time and use?

Use your machine for a bit before coming to any conclusions.

Baker100's picture

Shastaflour writes: "I also find it a bit frustrating that a huge mound of dough will end up over the top of one paddle and very little over the other. I used to think it was my recipe not being quite big enough for the machine, but it happens (even worse) with a double batch as well."

Hi Shastaflour,

No, it's not your recipe, and it's not your imagination either...  We've got the very same problem and we too are wondering -- for many reasons, concerning many other problems -- if Zojirushi was not a very bad choice for us.

shastaflour's picture

Hi Baker100,

We finally retired the Zojirushi and moved on to a Bosch mixer. I found I was using the Zo mostly for kneading dough, and wondered why we'd bought such an expensive breadmaker for that purpose! (My previous breadmaker, $11 at a thrift store, kneaded dough just fine.) I find I can more easily see how much flour needs to be added to a recipe with the mixer, because it works faster than a breadmaker at incorporating everything. And, we've been happier with the resulting bread.

I know a lot of people love their Zojirushis, but for us it was just so-so.

Joran1953's picture

Just received my Zo last week... The bbcec20.... Have made 3 white loaves, 1 rye, and one pizza dough.... all for the garbage can!   Extremely frustrated and disappointed in it.  Had a cheapo piece of junk before, tossed everything in and it made wonderful bread.....  just cannot get this thing to work for me.  I either end up with doorstoppers... sodden messes, or  so dense and tough its in-edible.  


Two problems...first..haven't made bread in years....  and second .... zo's recipes use american flour and yeast... big difference from canadian.  I have tried canadian recipe's but with similar results. I have tried more water, less water, more flour, less flour, more yeast less yeast etc....  cannot figure out what I am doing wrong.... but ready to throw it in the lake.

What am I doing wrong!

sphealey's picture

I have to question whether you have a defective unit.  I personally don't like soft bread but my family does, so I often bake loaves through to completion in the Zo.  And when I do the problems usually revolve around the loaf over-rising and either spilling dough into the machine or (when it starts baking) pushing open the top via oven spring.  I have never had a white recipe that failed to rise.  And assuming you are using a flour designated for bread I doubt that is the issue as Manitoba and Montana hard wheat are essentially the same thing; the big split in hard wheats is between North American and non-North American.

Have you called Zo's customer service line or sent an e-mail?  I am thinking that there is a problem with the temperature control or timer in your unit.


AnnaInMD's picture

even though the color of the crust is not as dark as I would want it even though I put on the correct setting, but the machine is great when I am in a hurry.



slueless's picture

I just tried the Honey Wheat bread recipe that came with my machine, and while I got a loaf of bread, there was nothing sweet about it. And loaf was light in color. It did not call for any sugar? and 3 tbl honey. I put the honey on top of the flour on the side like inst. say to do with the sugar. It was very much like white bread and nothing like wheat bread. Was this a flaw in the recipe? Did I do something wrong? How do I add ingredients like honey, or oil, or eggs etc.

Thank you very much this web site  looks like its going to save me from throwing the machine out.


shastaflour's picture

Hi Suzanne,

You will probably have a lot more success if you put all the liquid ingredients into the pan first (including honey), then the dry ones on the top.  If you use butter, cut it into small pieces and put it in each end of the pan along with the liquids. The salt is supposed to go into the corners on top of the flour to keep it separate from the yeast until the machine actually starts mixing (otherwise it will stop the yeast from working correctly.)

I've never had a problem with things getting mixed correctly with this method. In fact, it also works when using a stand mixer to knead bread: liquids first, then all the rest.

Also, if over time you find yourself adjusting your recipes so much that they won't bake correctly in the Zo, try using it on the dough setting, pop your finished dough into bread pans and bake in the oven. The Zo makes a good mixer!

This site is a terrific resource. Have fun! (I also discovered it when trying to figure out how to make our Zojirushi work better.)



slueless's picture

thank you  so much, im going to try again today,


Joran1953's picture

I continue to be extraordinarily disappointed with my zo....   if I wanted a mixer, I would have bought a cuisinart.  The dough mixing is fine on the zo..... but the baking just sucks all around.  Ill-shaped, unevenly browned, wrinklely loafs.  What a supreme and total waste of money.  

RayH's picture

I have a new Zo, I have baked maybe 10 loaves in it along with a loaf of a loaf of banana bread. No problems whatsoever. I do use the light crust setting. My previous machine was a Sunbeam. The loaves always collapsed on me.  They were good in terms of taste but...

I'm happy with my Zo, but am wanting to start baking the old fashioned way. mix it, knead it by hand and bake it in the oven.

joyfulbaker's picture

Hate to be smug about it, but we've been using an old (at least 10 or more years) Panasonic SD-YD 205 model (pfoo! pfoo! for good luck) that we bought at closeout for $60, and it bakes beautiful loaves. We use it every week for a w/w-bread flour mix, with honey for sweetener, and it's great every time. Today I'm trying a gluten-free mix from BRM (the "hearty" kind), and we'll see how that comes out. I think the new Panasonics have more capacity than ours, and I hope they're as good as this old one.


shastaflour's picture

What a surprise to see you on this thread! (It's a happy surprise, of course.)  From everything I've read, those Panasonics are champs, and I'm so glad yours is living up to that reputation.

:) Marguerite

whoops's picture

I have a used Zojorishi BBCC V20 that we bough off craigslist. I am not sure about your model, but mine has the two paddles, and I have had no issues with it, even when strictly halving my regular recipe for whole wheat sandwich bread and pouring things in. So Simple that even my hubby is starting to use it!

I have only used it a few times to mix dough, though I think with the holidays coming up I might use it more often, as I am developing some major issues with my arms , and as much as I enjoy the hand kneading, it hurts too bad for me to do it effectively. I still make my sour dough in my KA mixer. I am thinking of trading up to a new model now that I know we will use it regularly. I no longer buy any bread, other than hot dog and hamburger buns, as I have not found a recipe I like yet for those two items.

I did look at some of the less expensive models, but I really did not like the idea of the vertical loaves, and wanted the larger horizontal loaf.

Good luck, hope you have resolved your problems!



Jn6-35's picture

Hi, everyone---I am brand new to this site, but wanted to join the conversation about the problems some are having with the Zo.    I am a complete novice at baking bread, although I do have a sophisticated palate (as far as appreciating good bread).

I just bought the Zo BB-PAC20 and I LOVE it.   I am unable to mix/knead bread by hand because of arthritis, and since I am so new to baking, I thought that a bread machine would be a wonderful way to begin my love affair with this amazing and wonderful hobby.

I have had the machine for about 2 weeks and have made, so far, about 8 loaves---and each one has turned out beautifully.   I have not had the problems with the machine that so many seem to have had.

Perhaps it's "beginners' luck," but I'm inclined to believe that there are several factors at play here.

1.  Expectations:   Although I have an artisanal palate, I knew not to expect truly artisanal level bread from the machine.   Actually, though, the breads I have made have exceeded my expectations.

2. Recipes:  Prior to even receiving the machine, I bought and studied from cover to cover, Beth Hensberger's book, The Bread Lovers' Bread Machine Cookbook.  All of the recipes I have used so far are from that book, although I have even gotten bold enough to slightly modify her recipes to include a larger portion of Whole Wheat flour (without modifying any other ingredient).   Only 1 loaf had problems,  and I believe that they may have been related to the recipe or possibly to the extra whole grain substitution.   The one loaf seemed to be rising overly high and then (as would be predicted) it partially collapsed.  However, despite the "crater loaf" appearance, the actual taste and texture of the bread was wonderful.    There was a high proportion of fat (cheese) called for.    Hensberger is a big fan of Vital Wheat Gluten for the bread machine (as opposed to fully hand-baked bread) and so I have been following that "rule."

3.  Technical:  After one loaf turned out a bit overly pale (although that was somewhat expected due to the lack of sugar and fat in it), I used the Wheat Course the next time I made that loaf.   Although it was still pale, the crust seemed to have a bit more color.

4.  Small details:   After studying and learning more, I started attending to small details like grinding up my Kosher salt (I used a mortar and pestle) to achieve the best distribution.

I encourage anyone having problems to contact customer service at Zojirushi.   I called them with a hundred questions about making sour-dough starter (which I'im working up the nerve to attempt) and the representative was very helpful, very pleasant, and very patient with my "newbie" questions.  I got the impression that the Zoji people really care about people enjoying baking/learning to bake, etc., and that they are enthusiastic about their product.  She had a lot of other small, but helpful hints about adding ingredients.

I will soon try some recipes from other bread machine books, including a beautiful one from England, The Bread and Bread Machine Bible (by Christine Ingram)---a beautiful book with a nice history of bread and bread making as well as exceptional photographs of mouth-watering loaves.  Ingram seems to use lemon juice as a dough enhancer.   I guess I'll see how that turns out in the Zo.

I do strongly recommend Hensberger's book for any newcomers, however.  Even more advanced bakers might enjoy it as it has many recipes for "dough only" and the Zo is well equipped to allow for one's own recipe, using either the "Homemade" cycle or the "Dough" cycle.   Those remain over my head, still. 

The main thing is that the Zo has given me entree to the utter delight and beauty of baking freshly made bread.   I am completely overwhelmed with joy to be able to begin learning this ancient and complex art.

I look forward to being part of this web-site (this is my first day, first post).