The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Zojirushi BB-CEC20 bread maker problem

Jekes's picture

Zojirushi BB-CEC20 bread maker problem

We purchased a bread maker a couple of months ago and returned it because we could not solve a problem of uneven rising.  The loaves always came out much higher (looking like a ski hill) on the connection end of the heating element.  We tried everything we copuld think of including changing ingredients, changing amount of ingredients, how we placed the ingredients in the appliance, and water temperature all to no avail.  I could not find anyone having a similare problem, so gave up.  I can only conclude we had a defective unit or other people living with the appearance issue.  I would appeciate comments.

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Not sure what you'd like comments on - you returned the unit.

Are you seeking a recommendation for a replacement? What was the make/model that got returned?

- Keith

Jekes's picture

Sorry if I wasn't clear.  I'd like to know if others had the same problem with a Zojirushi or should I have requested a replacement for a defective unit.  Albeit, I did return the unit, but I am considering ordering another if I can determine the 1st was likely defective.  I had trouble making the original post noting the brand and model so I removed it.  It was the Zirkirushi BB-CEC20.

Chuck's picture

My guess: if the problem had had something to do with ingredients, just statistically you would have seen the abnormal rise on the other end of the machine at least once. Since the placement of the problem was totally consistent with the placement of the machine, I can only conclude it must have been a defective unit.

In general, "quality control" has gotten very good these days, so we hardly ever get a defective anything, and problems can seldom be associated with particular brands (except a few el-cheapo models that do no quality control at all, and have defect rates in the range of one in ten). Once in a great while a defect does slip through though (it takes exceptional luck to get one:-). Fortunately, the chances of the same person getting two defective units in a row are vanishingly small. 

I would have contacted them about replacing the original unit (I think most manufacturers call the procedure "RMA") rather than just "sending it back". Usually somewhere in the printed pages that come with any unit you buy, a detailed procedure for contacting the manufacturer and resolving problems -up through requesting a replacement- will be described; it's usually a good idea to follow that procedure.


sam's picture

Hello Jekes,

I have a Zojirushi BB-CEC20,  bought it several months ago, and I used it a appx a dozen times.   It worked OK for me, but I have since moved on.  Been sitting in my garage for 6 months.   If you're interested, PM me.    I have no use for it anymore.   I'll give it away for free.


vicki's picture

Gee. I just found this sitamend your post. Do you still have your machine that you are willing to part with?  I bake several loaves every week and decided I needed another machine to save time. Let me know. I know your post was several months ago. Thanks


vdoncaster's picture

I registered for this site, just to reply. 

We have the same problem I think. We just bought the Zojirushi BB-CEC20 and have made bread in it 3 times and every single loaf is normal/high on one side and shrunken and tiny on the other side.

I just made another loaf today and it's even worse than the previous two.  It's not even touching the other side of the pan. On the right side closest to the control panel it's fine, the left side is a huge gap between the loaf and the edge of the pan.

I don't know what's going on.  We put the water at the bottom. We are using whole wheat bread flour for bread machines, we are sprinkling the flour into the measuring cups with a spoon as shown. Putting a well in the middle for the yeast etc. 

This does not seem to be an ingredients thing, and it just doesn't rise on the other side. There is nothing in the trouble shooting that even suggests this would be a problem. 


Is it a defect? I don't know what to do either. 

mrfrost's picture

Have you guys looked at how the dough is arranged after it has finished mixing, and again after it has finished proofing?

Also, this is no help for the "set it and forget it" times, but if you have time, have you tried removing the dough just before the final rise, hand shaping, and placing back into the pan for the final rise and bake?

vdoncaster's picture

The 3 times we made it so far twice was overnight so no. Then tonight we went to dinner and came back and saw it finish baking messed up.

I'm making another one this time sitting up tonight and watching it. Because I wanted to know what the heck was going on, if it's the paddles or not. 

It's on the second rise right now and still in a chunk in the right 2/3rds of the pan.  Is that normal?

I'll look at it after the last punch down and see if it's still messed up before taking it out and reshaping and putting back in. 


I used to have a crappy little 1 lb sunbeam and with the one paddle and it rising vertically it wasn't really a problem, the dough was just small.

But we bought this bread maker after loving our zojirushi rice maker and carefully looking at all the bread machines and deciding on this one. So I hope we can get it to work. It's just nice to have bread already ready for the day in the morning instead of having to make it at night and watch it instead of doing something else. 

mrfrost's picture

Since you are going to try the hand shaping, remove the paddles just before replacing the shaped loaf. The baked loaf should be much easier to remove from the machine.

This procedure is described at, with pictured tutorial. Appears to result in a much nicer loaf, with better volume.

Pictures and text also seem to indicate that uneven dough distribution may not be unusual, when left to the devices of the machine.

Jekes's picture

Yes, your description does sound like the same problem.  I did get feedback from someone (see earlier in this thread) who doubted that the problem was an ingredient problem given what I had already tried.  They suspected that perhaps it was a defective unit even though that is rare.  I regret not having it replaced as a defective unit and trying another.  I tried a top rated Panasonic and even though the bread tasted fine fine, I couldn't stand the shape of the load.   Like you, I was coming from a vertical loaf machine and I got tired of the vertical loafs.  I wanted a horizontal loaf and instead what I got was a double wide vertical loaf.  Even using the smallest loaf recipe the bread was too tall to fit in a toaster.  It had to be turned over to get it toasted completely.  I tried cutting way back on the flour, but then the loaf was too small.  I couldn't believe it, but I did not find any review complaints about that issue.  Now I'm waiting for a better price on the Zo.  Amazon had it at 199 one day about a month ago and I was going to order it the next day, but the price had gone back up to 229.   It was a very short promo.

jcking's picture

Could be one of the paddles is not turning. Without anything in the machine set it to run, leave the lid open and watch to see if both paddles turn. If the pan, or paddles, are not properly seated it could cause the problem you're encountering.


davidg618's picture

We've been using the predecessor of the Zojirushi BB-CEC20 for twelve years, and love it. However, it does have a few idiosyncrasies, including, when the dough is quite stiff, it tends to form a ball of dough which only partially fills the pan, and left to itself would result in the same problem you describe. Doughs with moderate to wet hydration (60% to 70% or greater) distribute evenly. In the present, we use the bread machine mostly on the dough cycle, but when we want a quick, single loaf we've got into the habit of removing the paddles--as Mr. Frost recommends--after the first "Rise" step, shaping the dough to fill the pan, and returning it for the final "Rise" and "Bake".

David G

vdoncaster's picture

The recipe we made last night was Fat Free Basic Wheat Bread from the zojirushi manual  (we're vegan so avoid the milk/egg recipes. We bought soy milk powder though if needed as substitution)

1 2/3 cup water

3 1/2 cups bread flour (used 2 cups white bread flour, 1 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour to see if this would help, it didn't)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp active dry yeast


What is the hydration percentage of this recipe?  We live in Vancouver, BC which is fairly low sea level and not very humid, but not dry either. 


We have tried the Honey Wheat Bread twice from the book adding some banana instead of butter and a Bread flour with cornmeal wheat bread recipe. All of the loafs have turned out mostly in the right 2/3 of the pan. 

I watched it make the bread last night and both paddles are working properly. It's just the dough is very viscous and doesn't seem to move over to the left side beyond the right side of the left paddle.  So it can spin and spin and it doesn't pull it over to the left side at all. 

Suggestions for how much water to add in addition? 

We're using Rogers brand bread flour from Safeway. We do have a vitamix though so I can make my own flours if I have to. (I have made oat flour from steel cut oats in a snap) But I do not know where and what to buy for wheat to turn it into flour and if it needs any additives to become "bread" flour.  Would this make a difference in how thick and viscous the bread is?

It tastes ok, everything is always mixed together with no flour pockets, it's very moist and dense and not airy inside though like fluffy store bought bread. 

We bought our zojirushi from, we were glad it is expanding it's inventory and we didn't have to pay customs and duties for coming up from the USA. I'm working on a vegan recipe book so I thought I could figure out a few tasty bread machine recipes to add as there is no such thing as a vegan bread recipe book at all. 

jcking's picture

Regular white granulated sugar is not vegan, since it is filtered through bone charcoal.

Your hydration works out to be approx. 57%; Try One and three quarter cups of water for a 63% hydration.

vdoncaster's picture

Hi Jim


I've written that down to try for next time.  I just wanted to clarify why we had only tried certain recipes in the provided manual.

Not that it's pertinant, but just in case you're wondering, my husband and I use that term just to vaguely describe how we eat for ease of understanding with people.  We just don't put meat, fish or dairy products into our food and don't eat foods with that in it. We run a company that teaches people how to eat more fruits and vegetables and focus on plant based foods for health reasons based on current scientific research.  We're not the Peta type vegans that have opinions and issues with every single food item.   

In any case, I never use sugar in cooking or making foods, I usually use dates, but we had to buy sugar to try the bread machine for the water content ratios. Wanted to try making recipes exactly first to see if it worked before changing them and guessing.

jcking's picture

Myself I avoid sugar in bread, honey is an easy substitute. It took me awhile to find a nice balance of ingredients for the Zo. Live long and prosper.


Orly's picture

So I try to avoid all internet comments as a rule. Especially ones several years old. But I had to point out the ridiculousness in somebody debating the 'veganosity' of sugar while in virtually the same breath PROMOTING HONEY. Either Jim is a "beegan", or just a bully nitpicking for sport?

Few sugar companies use the bone char method of bleaching anymore, anyway.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and knows that honey is also a sugar and so are plant syrups for that matter.   I think he means he doesn't use or tries to avoid refined white sugar.  

To me choosing which sugar to use is a matter of "picking your poison."