The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Problems baking a basic loaf in my Zojirushi!!!

Humpty's picture

Problems baking a basic loaf in my Zojirushi!!!

HI, I just received a Zojirushi Breadmaker as a gift and I've baked 6 loaves so far. 

Loaf #2 was excellent and the best bread! Since then, I've haven't been doing anything different that I can tell, but the following 4 loaves have been a disaster. They rise, but then fall and sink down in the middle. The dough almost tastes uncooked. What am I doing wrong??? help!


I'm using very precise measuring and all my ingredients are fresh as I just bought them in the store this last week. Could it be bad yeast?? Please help! 

nbicomputers's picture

something changed

have you changed any ingre type or even brand

it does not sound like the yeast althou you have over prroofed the bread by addcedent

what kind of bread were you baking and what was the weather like the day you baked them the good onec and the bad ones???


brewster's picture

I used a Zo for several years and still use it to make a quick batch of pizza dough sometimes. They are very good at mixing dough, but mine doesn't have a "Bake Now" button I can hit if I see the process is moving too fast. I agree, it sounds like the loafs are getting over developed. If all the ingredients are the same, fresh, and you're measuring correctly, that doesn't leave many variables to attribute the over development to. I wonder about your initial water temp. Perhaps an experiment with cooler water at the start would develop the yeast more slowly.

You can also use your machine to mix the dough, then put it in a pan for the final rise and bake it in the oven.

But I would try starting with cooler water first, and see how that goes.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.



sphealey's picture

On thing that I do is keep the preheat cycle turned off and use cool (or even cold) water.  This slows the fermentation process down a bit.

You could also program a custom cycle with less rising time, but without a PC interface it is a bit of a pain to do the custom cycles through the keypad.

I am a little surprised - 99 out of 100 loaves come out fine from my Zojirushi regardless of what I throw in there.  The only issue I ever have is that the loaf tends to be larger at one end; if I am making the bread during the day (rather than running it overnight) I sometimes take the dough out after the knead, shape it for a pan loaf, and put it back in the bucket - that results in a more even loaf.


Humpty's picture

Great thanks for all the quick advice guys!!


I'll try the cold water. I think I've been putting in room temp water. Yeah, I bought the Zojirushi because I thought it would be really no fuss. But I guess it takes some learning curve?? I agree about the uneveness of the loaf. The left side seems to always be bigger.


In any case, I'm using all the "proper" stuff, Bread flour, etc.


I read that you're not suppose to let the yeast touch salt... is that an issue? Also, I'm using Fleishmann's Breadmaker yeast. It says something about using it for rapidrise as well as normal. Is this okay? I've just been using the normal settings. 

brewster's picture

The Zo is a great machine, IMHO. I got mine probably 12 years ago and after hundreds of loafs, it runs just like new.  I think your yeast is fine. What you are describing is kind of the classic symptoms of over proofed loaf. The yeast is causing the dough to rise faster than the machine expects, so it is waiting too long to go into the "bake" cycle. So suggestions are along the lines of "What can you vary to slow things down a little". I use exactly the same Fleishmann's yeast and have never had it go bad. After a while you end up with a zillion little brown bottles that are great for storing spices! And they're *stackable*! Salt touching yeast? I am making Floyd's oatmeal cinnamon raisin today and I just weighed out yeast and salt in the same container out of sheer laziness. In the dough salt will moderate the yeast growth but I have never had a failure from contact between the two. I think you'll love your Zo and it will give you hundreds if not thousands of good loaves.


Good luck,



Humpty's picture

Thanks Brew! 


I will be trying it again later tonight and I hope everything works out well :) I'll try changing the water to cold first.


Should I put it on Quick Baking cycle to cut out one rise??



StephenJ's picture

I have used the Zo also for several years and have only rarely had problems.

I agree that your bread is probably overproofed. Try using the quick cycle only rather than the basic. And, stick to the Fleischman Bread Machine Yeast (keep in frig)

I have heard to keep yeast and salt separate because salt will ferment the yeast. I don't know how true this is but I always keep them separated.

As a last possibility maybe there is something wrong with the machine. Try to find someone with Zo baking experience and have them bake something in your machine to see if it is the machine or something that you may be doing.

Hope things work out soon.



nbicomputers's picture


gargle with salt water  WHY!!

Pro Baker for over 25 years-----Ret

Humpty's picture

I will be trying a new loaf with the comments today. I'll let you all know what happened.


Anyone near San Francisco?? :) 

woollysheep's picture

I have had a zo machine for years and never had a problem with bread, pizza dough, bagel dough, etc.  My mom always told me to keep the salt and yeast apart, so I make a little well for the salt and in the middle, I make a well for the yeast. I always use the preheat. 

Salt and yeast don't care for each other in the beginning.  


swtgran's picture

Could you be using too much liquid?  I don't have a Zo but I have used other machines for many years and have noticed wetter doughs can be a problem. 

Try the same recipe, if you really like it, and cut down the liquid by a fourth cup.  Stand by the machine while it is mixing and dribble in a very small amount if you see it struggling.  Continue doing this until it doesn't seem too dry.  Do it slowly, though, to give the dough a chance to absorb each addition.  If it seems like it takes quite a bit of time to get to the point where it seems like it might work, just start the machine again and let it do it's thing.

I'd try another recipe and see if you have the same problem. 

jondoe's picture

I have a Zo (my 2nd) and love it, but I wish the paddles lasted longer, and the pan wasn't so friggn expensive!

If I have problems, it will be in the summer. I'm in Atlanta, but the house is air conditioned, so the humidity should stay stable. (and both of mine rise better on the left side!)

But mine might not rise, or rise and collapse. The last few loafs have only been half as high as usual. (One of the pan bearings is going, so I haven't been using the machine much. Not looking forward to another pan and beaters - at half the price of a new machine - which is why I got the 2nd one)

In the winter I usually use a teaspoon of yeast, in the summer 1.5. But it still comes out too flat. I'm not the most careful measurer, but in the winter it never matters. Isn't flour 'dryer' in the summer?

So I should try less water?

When I made bread daily, I bought 25# bags as Sams, and they had a big vac-sealed bag of yeast that was fairly cheap. I think it cost 20 cents to make a loaf, and about 5 minutes to assemble. We live on a lake, and the ducks got all the scraps.

stephanie101's picture

this also happened with me.  i use my own baking times, not one of the presets.  i found that it was a change in the weather.  when i reduced my 2nd rise time by 5 minutes, the loaves were, once again, perfect.  

Katherine P's picture
Katherine P

I've had mine a month, and have yet to have it bake properly.  It falls every time (tried half a dozen times, various times of day/various weather outside, but overall it's been humid).  I used the settings recommended by the Breadbeckers, using their grain, milling it fresh, dumping it in right away.  I called them to ask and they said to reduce the 2nd rise time (went from 30 min to 10) and it is still falling.

I have ended up using the dough setting and then splitting it into 2 loaves and baking it in the oven, which is fine for most of the time, but I would love to get it to work in the machine.


AnnaInMD's picture

My first loaf turned out horribly, before the baking cycle it just looked like globs of stuff. I took out the globs, kneaded them, divided them into two, and baked them in the regular oven. Still nothing like a bread should be, but I can make breadcrumbs out of those creations.

Anyway, I keep reading about the yeast should not touch the salt. Question:

After making an indentation into the flour for the yeast before carefully placing the remaining things around the indentation, do you then cover the yeast with some flour ?  Seems to me, the minute the machine starts kneading, the unproofed yeast WILL come in contact with the salt, etc. 

Thank you all,

Anna in VERY muggy Southern Maryland, with Central A/C set at 74.


davidg618's picture

We use a Zo bi-weekly--mostly on the dough cycle, but not entirely, with no problem. We've been doing so for six years. Both my wife and I put the salt in one corner immediatatly after the liquid, and the yeast is the last ingredient to go in, in a finger depression in the flour.

There are others on the site that have reported intentionally mixing salt and dry yeast with no ill effect. I think the caution is folklore left over from the days when only fresh yeast was available which, I understand, some commercial bakers still use because its less expensive.

I agree it sounds like the loaves are possibly overproofed. Have you considered cutting back on the amount of yeast you use? However, I suspect another possibility.

You also said the bread seems almost uncooked. Is there a possibility the machine itself is at fault, I.e., it's not reaching the proper baking temperature? If it's not, the yeast would continue growing (and the dough rising) until it reached 140°F, then die, and if the machine didn't reach baking temperature the risen dough would collapse, and, depending on what temperature it did reach, some part of the bread would be underbaked. It's a new machine. Most machine failures occur very early in their lifetime, or much later when they ultimately begin to wear out. I wouldn't rule out the possibility the machine has developed a fault.

David G

AnnaInMD's picture

Thank you, David. I didn't explain well.  It looked like globs just before the baking cycle and I took out the dough and proceeded with the regular oven.

Today I tried again and the bread turned out beautifully, just right. I used very cold water and covered the yeast with a bit of flour. 

Go figure !

Thank you for your good comments.



davidg618's picture

and with time you'll get even better.

We can't remember the last time we bought a loaf of bread, but I doubt that would be true if we had to use the stand mixer, and hand knead every loaf we bake. We use the oven only because we mix enough dough in the bread machine to make three loaves.

David G

doneill241's picture

Definitely keep salt and yeast separate.  Also, I use a special recipe that eliminates the need for specific bread flour.  It uses regular flour.  The difference is that all the liquid ingredients are added first.  Water temp has to be 110F to 115F and then the yeast is added.  It has to foam (5 mins) before adding the dry ingredients.  Salt is last and it cannot touch the wet until dough starts to kneed.  I don't change any setting on my Zo and allow it to preheat.  Loaves turn out perfect.  BTW, I do remove the paddles before it bakes.