The Fresh Loaf

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Having trouble making whole wheat bread in my Zoji Home Bakery Supreme

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NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Having trouble making whole wheat bread in my Zoji Home Bakery Supreme

I've just received my replacement Zoji Home Bakery Supreme and am about at the limit of my patience with the darned thing.  The last one was defective; Amazon sent a replacement right away and I eagerly made a whole wheat loaf this morning.  

And I just threw away yet another wasted effort. Yes, it kneaded well, yes it rose and filled the pan (both things that did not happen with the first machine). I wouldn't say that it rose as much as I would have expected it to; it was for a 2 lb. loaf, and it was still almost two inches below the top of the pan when the last rise ended. But at least it rose, which my previous whole wheat attempts did not. Even so, I was pretty sure the loaf would fail. The dough  was very sticky (and I mean like glue; I touched it and my finger came away with dough stuck to it, like cake batter).  I left it as it was because I just wanted to let the recipe and the machine do their thing without my amateur interference, but in my inexpert opinion there was something wrong with the dough. So I'm not suprised it failed; during the cooking cycle it fell and produced an inedible, absolutely flat brick exactly 2" thick all the way across.

This recipe and almost all of the other failed recipes I've tried came from an apparently well-regarded bread machine recipe cookbook I purchased with the original machine. The other WW recipe I tried was the one that came with the machine.  It was the worst of all - though this morning's attempt came close. 

I'm just getting a wee bit frustrated at not being able to actually produce a loaf of bread. This is expensive and frustrating, and not at all what my husband had in mind when he bought the machine. It was supposed to be a fun hobby, not a head-banger.

Does anyone have a nice, tried and true whole wheat recipe I can try?  We don't really like white breads very much.  

Thanks in advance.

keenens's picture
keenens

I recently tried this recipe with home milled hard white wheat flour.  It worked really well in my "Z".  I used the whole wheat setting and made a two lb. loaf.

1 1/2 C buttermilk

1 1/2 T butter or olive oil (I used unsalted butter)

2 T sugar (I have tried honey in

 the past, but it did not rise well.)

3/4 t salt

3 1/3 C 100% Whole Wheat Flour  

1 1/2 t yeast

 

 

 

keenens's picture
keenens

I recently tried this recipe with home milled hard white wheat flour.  It worked really well in my "Z".  I used the whole wheat setting and made a two lb. loaf.

1 1/2 C buttermilk

1 1/2 T butter or olive oil (I used unsalted butter)

2 T sugar (I have tried honey in

 the past, but it did not rise well.)

3/4 t salt

3 1/3 C 100% Whole Wheat Flour  

1 1/2 t yeast

 

 

 

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Thank you.  I'll give it a shot.

You know, most of the failed recipes I've tried have used honey or a combination of honey and molasses.  I wonder if I should try substituting sugar?  Something to do next.

I should add that I've made some really lovely white loaves in the Zoji, including my consolation loaf yesterday afternoon, which was a french-style white loaf.  It was just the way you'd want it to be - chewy, soft and flavourful, and rose beautifully, just over the top of the pan without threatening to overflow.  It's not what we'd want to eat all the time, but as a loaf for dinner it was great.

 

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Keenans,

Your recipe produced a really tasty loaf, and it was definitely the best 100% ww I've made yet in my machine.  It still didn't rise all that much, though - only to a height of about 3.5 inches overall.  I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong. I noticed that the dough seemed a bit sticky, and it is pouring rain here as we've hit Vancouver's monsoon season, so I added a couple of T flour and that definitely helped create a nice smooth dough. I think I might add a little bit more next time.

You mentioned that you used home-milled flour Not sure if that would be the difference, but would your flour be a high-gluten flour, and do you think it might be worthwhile for me to try adding a bit of gluten?

keenens's picture
keenens

I did not add any gluten to that recipe, but I was using a hard winter wheat.  I recently made an oat/wheat honey loaf and I added 3 tbs. of gluten to that loaf, the loaf rose a little higher than the recipe I shared with you, but not by much.  I have found that 100% wheat with no white flour added creates a denser loaf, they don't seem to rise as high as a tradtional loaf.  I would add 3 tbs. of gluten and see what happens, I am going to try it.  Depending upon the humidity, you are correct, you will need to adjust the amount of flour.  What type of flour are you using?

 

The other thing I learned the hard way, was to make sure the machine is not sitting underneath any cabinet, nor pushed up against the back of the counter.  I could have used that loaf as a doorstop!  It looked and felt just like a brick.

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

I'm just using basic Rogers 100% Whole Wheat flour - it's what we can get at the local Safeway.  I could try somewhere like Whole Paycheque Foods/Capers to see what they have, or the local health food stores. They might have a better selection.

To get a loaf to be a bit lighter I'd be willing to use part white flour if need be, maybe up to 25% if I knew how to adapt a recipe, but I suspect that throws off the liquid as well.

We finally have a kitchen big enough that the bread machine has its own piece of counter on the kitchen island, so no worries there. 

Jn6-35's picture
Jn6-35

Here is a recipe I tried that worked well in my Zo, in terms of rise, but not overall taste and texture (too soft).  It was fine for a first attempt in the Zo, however.  It's from Beth Hensberger's book.   The rise and the crust were very nice, crumb a bit too "soft" and "damp" (if those are words one can use to describe crumb, LOL).  It was quite light and airy for whole wheat bread.  I prefer a more "rustic" heft to the crust and crumb.  But at least the rise was excellent and the overall loaf turned out fairly well.   It is good as sandwich bread.

This is for a 1 1/2 lb. loaf, made in the Zo Virtuoso.

3/4 c. water

3/4 c. milk

2 Tbs. Canola oil

1/4 c. light Molassas

4 c. whole wheat flour (I used Arrowhead Mills Organic/Stone Ground)

3 Tbs. vital wheat gluten

1 3/4 tsp. salt (I use Kosher which I grind with a mortar and pestle)

1 Tbs plus 1/2 tsp. Bread Machine Yeast (I used) OR 1 Tbs SAF Yeast

See how it works for you.   I would prefer a more "rustic" recipe, but for an early attempt (I am a very rank beginner), I was fairly happy with it. 

 

 

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Looks good.  I'll give this one a try as well.  

 

grind's picture
grind

The dough  was very sticky (and I mean like glue; I touched it and my finger came away with dough stuck to it, like cake batter).

Did the dough start sticky or did it become progressively stickier as it proofed?  I'll go out on a limb again and say it's the flour.  Sounds like excessive starch damage in the flour or a really low falling number.

 

I would call Rogers and let them know what's happening.  They need to know.

 



 

 



NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

I think I might try that particular recipe again using more flour first, or perhaps a bit less water. The proportion seemed really off, even to my inexperienced eye. The humidity right now is hovering around 55-60%, so I'm sure that's a confounding factor. It's really, really wet here.

keenens's picture
keenens

Before I got my mill I was buying Bronze Chief 100% whole wheat from Walmart. It worked really well for me.  They also carry Praire Gold, both flours are from Montana and both have produced consistently good loaves.

proth5's picture
proth5

a recipe for 100% whole wheat that I have baked enough that I consider it to be tried and true.

As I went to type it in, I realized that it is a bit complex - and involves sourdough.  If you want to try something that complex - it is a great loaf and rises high in my Zojirushi machine - I'll be glad to share.

I'm going to try the same formula this weekend with only commercial yeast and see how it goes.  It will still be a bit more than a typical bread machine formula, but that may interest you.

I have used honey, molasses, and agave syrup in my machine (as well as sugar) and don't see too much of a variation - but these are on my personal formulas, not anything that came with the bread machine.

Good luck!

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

I just retired and the bread machine is a new toy, so I'm up for trying out any number of recipes. 

I also restocked my kitchen with a couple of baking pans and a pizza/bread stone so I'll be trying some dough variations in my regular oven. 

Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

I'd be interested in your recipe for 100% whole wheat sourdough : )  I just woke up my starter from a long summer's nap.

 

proth5's picture
proth5

I long ago adopted the BBGA (Bread Baker's Guild of America) standards for formula writing - so I don't normally write in "recipe" format - but here goes (Oh, and weights are all I can do - sorry)

Levain

Whole Wheat flour        228 gm

Cool water                      173 gm

Starter                                5 gm (this is with my 100% hydration starter)

The night before, mix the levain.  I do this on the Zo Virtuoso's "Sourdough Starter" setting - then cancel the cycle prior to the rise, remove the pan and allow the levain to ripen overnight.  It can also be mixed by hand in a bowl.  The ripened levain will have risen to about double and domed.

Put into the pan of the bread machine - in this order

All of the levain (I tear it into about 12 chunks)

Water (40F)                      277 gm

Molasses                              24 gm

Agave nectar                        12 gm

Softened butter                     46 gm

Dry milk                                  9 gm

Salt                                         11 gm

Whole Wheat Flour            342 gm

Instant yeast                           4 gm (Instant yeast  = Bread machine yeast)  in a well in the flour

Use the Whole Wheat cycle.  I like to open the lid sometime during the first mix and scrape down any flour that is sticking to the pan.

 I use King Arthur whole wheat flour.

This technique "should" work equally well with a very small amount of commercial yeast instead of starter in the levain (which would the be called a "firm yeasted pre ferment).  I say "should" because using sourdough adds a considerable amount of acid to the dough - which serves to strengthen it and allow a good rise.  This will happen with commercial yeast to a somewhat lesser extent.  I will try it this weekend and let you know.  I'd say to try it yourself, but you are having a frustrating time to begin with and I am not...

I hope this helps and that you can start enjoying your machine more.  I bake a great many other things using the oven and various hand and machine mixing techniques, but for turning out a loaf for the house to slice and make sandwiches - I'm starting to really enjoy the machine.  I find it has its problems (those dratted holes in the bottom!) but I run on a fairly tight schedule and the ability to put a bunch of ingredients in a pan and walk away is just so cool...

Pat

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

My first step will be to purchase a good scale.  Our old one - a cheap plastic thing - got broken in a recent move and we need one for other cooking anyway, so I'll buy the best one I can get my hands on. 

proth5's picture
proth5

yeoman's work from my little Escali scale - sold in many places.  I actually prefer to work in ounces and the Escali has decimal ounces. (Seems to be the "Primo" if you are shopping Amazon...) 

I've also gone over the edge and gotten a scale that measures in tenths of a gram.  That one is not good for general cooking as the capacity is too low - but is useful in special cases.

I'm not of the "must weigh or can't make good bread" school of thinking - but I am of the "faster and easier" school - which weighing is - trust me - or I wouldn't do it.  It  is also foundational for baker's math.

Again, wishing you good luck with your new toy...

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Would that be the little coloured Escali digital scale, or the mondo one for close to $100 that also has a plug-in option?

proth5's picture
proth5

kitchen workhorse is the little colored Escali digital scale.  I have other scales - but this one gets used every single day.  Battery power only - and they are right that the batteries last a long time.

I like that it has pure ounces - not just ounces and pounds.  I have an OXO scale (because I did some consulting for them and I now have an OXO everything) that I like for dividing dough because of its large platform - but I dislike that it only measure in pounds+ounces.

Of course, if I were new to using weights in cooking, I would start my learning with grams.

Hope this helps.

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Kitchen workhorse sounds good, and I like the choice of colours for me new kitchen.  

Now I'm off to buy some supplies.

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Okay, now the issue of weighing ingredients aside, I am by now thoroughly convinced that the Zoji Home Bakery simply cannot make whole wheat bread.  It simply will not rise in the machine. Since I'm on my second machine, having returned the first, I can't believe I have a second faulty machine. I have to conclude that it's just the way this machine works, which isn't very well. 

 I've just made another batch from a recipe given to me by a friend who says she sometimes has to adjust things slightly in the summer because the bread rises too much and overfills the pan.  She gave me the recipe because it has NEVER failed to rise properly.  NEVER. She has a much older machine, not the Zo, and she can make the bread in her machine from start to finish.

But here I am with another half-risen loaf, just before the bake cycle starts.  The dough has not risen even to half the height of the pan. 

Now my friend uses exactly the same ingredients I'm using, because we both shop at Safeway.  Same flour, same yeast, same brand of salt, same milk, same everything.  The only difference I can see is that at the last stir I grabbed the dough and redistributed it in the pan because it was tear-shaped, with almost no dough at one end. She does not have to do that with her old machine.  The lop-sidedness seems to be a feature of the two-paddle Zo.

Anyway, I'm not sure if I'm going to keep the machine after all.  It just seems to be wrong, somehow.

proth5's picture
proth5

Truely - I made w hole wheat loaf this orning to test out if you can do my formula with a commercially yeasted pre ferment (you can, but ineeds tweaking for that) - the loaf was evenly shaped and rose to the top of the pan (like I said - it needs tweaking) without my intervention.  But it is perfectly nice and edible. Not dense.

My Zo is the newest model - the Virtuoso. It has two paddles.

You are having a bad run of luck with this machine.  You can try again with another machine - or you might feel better bakng in the oven.

Although I am not a represetntative of the company of attached to the world of bread machines in any way except to use one  - I am so sorry fpr your frustration.  I've enjoyed mine a lot and am sorry to hear such a tale of woe.

Good luck moving forward....

 

grind's picture
grind

Now my friend uses exactly the same ingredients I'm using, because we both shop at Safeway.  Same flour


Check the batch code dates on the respetive bags and if they are different, borrow some of your friend's flour and give it a whirl.

Jn6-35's picture
Jn6-35

Hi, I posted this yesterday, but way up in the middle of the thread.  I also have the 2 paddled Zo and have learned not to mess with the dough, that it will straighten itself out.   The recipe I'm including below turned out perfect in my Zo.   I didn't use anything esoteric, just ingredients from Stater Bros, except I did use Arrowhead Mills Organic Whole Wheat flour.  

I find Beth Hensberger's recipes pretty foolproof (unless I mess with them, LOL) in the Zo.   Give this recipe a try and see if it works. 

FROM MY POST LAST NIGHT/RECIPE BELOW:

Here is a recipe I tried that worked well in my Zo (I also have the Virtuoso), in terms of rise, but not overall taste and texture (too soft and fluffy for my taste, but many LOVE it that way).  It was fine for a first attempt in the Zo, however.  It was very tasty and made great sandwich bread.   It's from Beth Hensberger's book.   The rise and the crust were very nice, crumb a bit too "soft" and "damp" (if those are words one can use to describe crumb, LOL).  It was quite light and fluffy for whole wheat bread.  I prefer a more "rustic" heft to the crust and crumb.  But at least the rise was excellent and the overall loaf turned out fairly well.   It is good as sandwich bread.

This is for a 2  lb. loaf, made in the Zo Virtuoso.

3/4 c. water

3/4 c. milk

2 Tbs. Canola oil

1/4 c. light Molassas

4 c. whole wheat flour (I used Arrowhead Mills Organic/Stone Ground)

3 Tbs. vital wheat gluten

1 3/4 tsp. salt (I use Kosher which I grind with a mortar and pestle)

1 Tbs plus 1/2 tsp. Bread Machine Yeast (I used) OR 1 Tbs SAF Yeast

See how it works for you.   I would prefer a more "rustic" recipe, but for an early attempt (I am a very rank beginner), I was fairly happy with it.

grind's picture
grind

FYI - I forgot to mention, I also use Roger's flour and I add 1% diastatic malt flour to help it along.  Their flour has been stubborn of late and the malt addition makes it work like a charm.  Don't assume it's your machine until you rule out the flour.

 

Jn6-35's picture
Jn6-35

p.s. Nora--see my post immediately above (that has a foolproof recipe in it)----I believe that part of the "secret" to Hensberger's whole wheat recipes for the bread machine is the vital wheat gluten.  It REALLY helps the rise, esp. with this denser dough.  

Also, (since we're working with the same machine, the Zo Virtuoso), make sure that your yeast does not come into contact with your salf--add the salt around the edges of the flour and put the yeast in a little well.

And don't worry if at some points during the kneading/rise/punchdown portions, if the dough might be off to one side.  LEAVE IT ALONE (this applys only to the Zo).  It will straighten out during the last rise.   The one time I didn't trust the machine, I messed up the dough and it came out lopsided b/c of my fussing with it.

The Zo seems to be a wonderful machine and I honestly think (unless you have a lemon) that the problem is with the recipe/s you are using.   So far, I've tried TONS of Hensberger's recipes (I've only had the machine for 2 weeks) and they've ALL come out just perfect for what they're supposed to be (some aren't to my taste, but that's not the fault of the recipe or the machine, but rather, just the particular kind of bread I most prefer.).   But in terms of rise, crust, crumb, degree of done-ness, etc., all of Hensberger's recipes came out great.  Her book is called The Bread Lovers' Bread Machine Cookbook.   Everything in it works great with the Zo.

Also, try calling Zo customer service for some "tech support."  They are very helpful and are eager to encourage baking success with their machine.  

Good luck and let us know how it comes out.

Blessings, 

Liz

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Thanks, everyone.

My frustration is mitigated a bit by the fact that this machine seems to make lovely breads in the Basic cycle, and the dough cycle is good, too.  I might abandon the wheat cycle altogether and start playing with shaped breads.  I've always had more luck with them anyway and they're fun to play with.

As a consolation today I made a braided butternut squash loaf in the oven (basically a large portion of the liquid in the dough is pureed mashed squash).  There was definitely something way off with the recipe (though it's from a well-regarded book) but I added more flour and the end result was a really nice loaf; not perfect since the dough was still pretty sticky when I had to braid it and it didn't want to roll, but very edible all the same, with a huge rise in the oven and a nice soft texture. My other half gave it the ultimate thumbs-up by eating half of it at dinner while it was still warm. 

This loaf also gave me an opportunity to try out my pizza stone.  I let the bread do its last rising on a piece of parchment paper and slid the whole thing onto the stone.  Worked like a charm, no sticking at all.

Jn6-35's picture
Jn6-35

Nora--before you abandon the wheat recipe, try the one I sent from Beth Hensberger.

In the meantime, it sounds like you are making truly wonderful things in your oven.....

I'm looking forward to buying a stone for bread and pizza.......one thing at a time........I'm a novice so must learn, first.   One of the members recommended DiMuzio's classic book on baking, which I ordered.......helps to understand how the entire process works.

Try the whole wheat recipe I got out of my book.   You won't have any problems with rising, I don't think.     Blessings,   Liz

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

I'll get myself a copy of Hensberger's book.  The one I'm using is supposed to be "foolproof", but now I'm wondering if they tested on this particular machine.

I do have gluten, and I will start using it.  Why not?  It won't hurt, and  it might help.

 

Jn6-35's picture
Jn6-35

Nora, follow the recipe I sent exactly as it says (use the amount of VWG it calls for and I think that you'll be happy with the results.   Let us know how it turns out.  It must be so disappointing to try over and over again and have the results be so poor.   I'm certain that with Beth's recipe, you won't go wrong.   Good luck!

Blessings,

Liz

Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

I have a copy of Beth's book.  While I convert most recipes to use mostly whole wheat and make them in my KitchenAid (I had two bread machines -- no Zos  -- and they both died and I've given up), I find lots of inspiration in her book.  I had gotten it out of the library so often I bought my own copy and I use it frequently for ideas.

A lot of people find gluten improves their 100% whole wheat loaves and makes them into what they are looking for.  Best wishes to you!

Jn6-35's picture
Jn6-35

I'm just like you---I convert her recipes to mostly whole wheat, too, as I really don't like "white" bread, not to mention that whole wheat is so much btter.   I change the recipe into at least half whole wheat, sometimes, more.    The only one I had a problem with was her Jalapeno/Cheese bread.    I added the whole wheat and although the bread tasted EXCELLENT and had a lovely, rustic texture, it did do the "crater loaf" thing, collapsing a bit at the top.   That might have been the result of adding the whole wheat OR it might have been from the prodigious amount of cheese she calls for.   I did notice that it was rising like the dickens and I took that as a bad sign of things to come, LOL.   

I also love Beth's book---it is especially helpful for the novice baker/bread machine user, b/c she assumes that you know NOTHING and writes her recipes accordingly, but with lots of explanation as to the whys and wherefores of what you're doing, so you understand the process, not just an individual recipe.  The book is also a very joyous one, full of utter love for and delight in the bread making process, whether by hand or in the machine.   I have some other bread machine books and from the looks of the recipes, I'm doubtful as to how they'll turn out.   I will be trying some of them mext week, though.

I especially love the rustic country bread from Williams-Sonoma that she has in there---originally meant for a La Cloche, but Beth converted it to the Bread Machine.   It's just "elemental" plain, simple bread and is it EVER wonderful!

Blessings,

Liz

dbarnhart's picture
dbarnhart

I have a Zojirushi BBCC-X20, and it took some experimentation but here is my formula for making fantastic whole wheat bread in it:

1.5 cups water

3 cups whole wheat flour

3 tablespoons honey

1.5 tablespoons soft butter

1.5 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup King Arthur Flour Baker's Special Dry Milk

1.5 tablespoons King Arthur Flour WHole Grain Bread Improver

1.5 teaspoons instant yeast

I put the ingredients into the Zo in that order, put it on 'Basic Wheat' and let it go.

Notes about water: I live in Arizona where the humidity is very very low.  If you live in a 'normal' climate, I would start out with 1 cup of water and work your way up to what works.

Note about wheat: The real secret to this recipe's success is the wheat flour is very fresh. When I make bread I also get out the Nutrimill and turn wheat into flour. If you bought wheat flour from KIng Arther Flour it would probably be fresh enough. I just know from experience that what is sitting on the shelf in the grocery store doesn't work.

Here is the result:

Making whole wheat in a bread machine takes some persistence. I must have made a dozen loaves on the way to perfecting this formula.  Some were 'meh', some were bad, and one was so bad even the birds woulddn't eat it. 

Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

Looks like lovely bread!  I like enriched whole wheat, too.  I know Arizona is dry, but I would suggest starting with 1 1/3 cup of water first, not 1 -- that would be drastic decrease : )

Mary Clare

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Your bread looks lovely.

I agree that persistence is needed.  I'm starting to get the hang of things.  The most important lesson is that there is no way I would ever just  throw ingredients into a bread machine and leave it until done.  The dough has to be checked for consistency as it's kneaded, you have to make sure that the dough sits in the correct position before the bake cycle starts, and you have to be pretty vigilant when adding ingredients like nuts part way through, because they don't mix in very well without a little help (I now add them long before the "add" alarm sounds).. 

I've just received my copy of Hensberger's book and I notice that her recipes use a lot of yeast - twice as much as the recipes I've been using.  Anyway, I'll give one of her recipes a shot and try a couple of the others mentioned in this thread.

I made a really nice cracked wheat loaf yesterday using buttermilk, and added an egg to the dough as well.  It was rising nicely in the Zo but was off to one side at the end of the second rise, so just to try something new I scooped it out, gave it the last rise in a bowl and cooked it in the oven.  That one was my biggest success yet, the classic mushroom shaped loaf.  Very nice.

I guess I need to find a better supply of flour.  Maybe our local Whole Foods/Capers would have something better.

I have a sourdough starter bubbling away. It seems odd to me that it's supposed to take a full week at room temperature before it can be used, but that is what the manufacterer's recipe says. Anyway, the thing is alive, though threatening to take over my powder room.

 

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Oh, for heaven's sake.  

Now the Zoji is making horrible squealing and rattling noises when it kneads. 

I think these are just bad machines.

Edthebread's picture
Edthebread

A few years back, when I had this same machine, I had a similar problem.  I often left the ingredients in the machine overnight, with the timer set so I could have fresh bread in the morning.  It turned out that one of the seals around the axle driving one paddle was leaking,  leading to rust, and the axle had difficulty turning.  You should check how easily the axles move when you turn them with your hand.  I used my two machines heavily and I found them to be very reliable, but the motors died on each one after 2-3 years.

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

I just got this machine a couple of weeks ago! And it's the second one in less than a month.  I'm not having much luck with Zojirushi, am I?

I haven't used the timed cycle yet, but I did make a sour dough starter and left it in the pan overnight as per the Zoji instructions.  I can't see how that could cause this particular problem, though, since I took the pan out of the machine to let the starter sit. The paddles do move freely.  However, during the kneading cycle they move sometimes, and sometimes they don't.  I've checked with the baking pan in and the pan out, and the turning axles underneath work only intermittently.  Sounds to me as though the belt has gone - already.  I contacted the manufacturer and a customer service rep had me check the function of the paddles, too. Her response was that I could take the unit in for repairs.  Great.  

Incidentally, the rep also insinuated that I might have ruined the machine by using all-purpose flour.  Infuriating.  

Guess it's not meant to be.

Jn6-35's picture
Jn6-35

Your bread looks beautiful!   What a nicely done photo, too!    I know what you mean about making loaves over and over again with adjustments and modifications to get the perfect bread you are looking for.   I have learned that bread-making DOES involve a lot of persistence!

Blessings,

Liz

Jn6-35's picture
Jn6-35

Oh, Nora, how frustrating!  Sometimes, with a very tacky, heavy dough, my machine strains a bit.   I always use the whole wheat cycle on anything that promises to be a bit heavy and tacky.    But it sounds like your Zo has a real problem.   It doesn't sound like you got very good service out of Zojirushi.   

I am glad you got Hensberger's book.   Most of her recipes seem pretty fool-proof to me.  Now that I'm getting more confidence and understanding the chemistry of baking bread, I'm starting to modify some of her recipes a bit to better suit my tastes.   I"ve always added more whole wheat flour she calls for and that has worked well, but today, I modified her Zuni Bread recipe (which is excellent, by the way) to get rid of the egg it calls for.   When I tried it with the egg the first time, the dough was so wet and heavy, more like cake batter, I had to add a fair amount of flour during the knead cycle to fix it.   The bread did come out delicious, but I don't care for eggs in bread, so today, I took out the egg and added an extra table spoon of water, and so far (the dough is kneading as I write), the dough ball seems just right---a bit tacky b/c of the xtra whole wheat, but not such a raggedy, soggy mess as before with the egg.

I hope you get a new machine or that the one you have works better.   And let me know how you like Hensberger's book.  

Blessings, 

Liz

NoraCuspidora's picture
NoraCuspidora

Liz,

The last loaf I got out of my machine before it crashed was a 50% whole wheat buttermilk bread from Hensberger's book, and it came out beautifully, rose to fluffy heights and tastes great.  I could tell immediately that the dough was perfect. I look forward to making more of her recipes.

Since my husband bought me the Zo chances are he`ll return it to Amazon and get something else.  I didnt do anything that would have strained the machine, making only 50% wheat breads instead of 100% on the second unit we got. It`s just not very well made, as far as I can tell. And the idea that using all-purpose white flour would somehow stress the belt is beyond belief.  That floored me. I  haven`t heard back from their customer service rep, either.  She asked me to test the function of the machine and get back to her by email, which I did, but that was it, no more contact.