The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Newbie from Nevada

JoMama's picture

Newbie from Nevada

Hello ... I'm a 'newbie' and I recently bought a Breadman machine ... but I've been eye-balling a Zojirushi and am tormented with the temptation to click 'Add To Cart' ... LOL.  Fellow members ... GIVE ME STRENGTH ... or give me permission to buy it ... LOL!

 I'm 50+, live in Las Vegas, married forever to the same wonderful man, mother to a few kids (now grown & gone), Navy veteran, & grandma-to-be (due mid-January).

 I enjoy ... in addition to baking bread ... photography (landscape & wildlife), snow skiing (obviously not in downtown Las Vegas), wine tasting, beading & jewelry making, camping, 'easy' hiking, fishing (but I never catch a darn thing!!!), sailing, crochet, and enjoying time spent with family & friends with lots of laughter.

 I look forward to getting to know you and baking some bread!


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Nevie.

Welcome to TFL.

I can't help you justify your bread machine purchase. I have no experience with them. But that doesn't stop me from having a strong bias in favor of handmade bread.

Now, I have way too many kitchen appliances myself, and I use them. I have two kinds of mixers that I use to knead bread. But I am using them less and mixing by hand more these days. That seems to be a pretty commen trend around here right now - more interest in learning how to develop dough by hand. Once you learn, the machines loose some of their attraction.

A lot of the breads you will see here are beautifully shaped, which you could never achieve with a machine. And, even if you are happy with "pan loaf" shapes, I understand you just cannot get the kind of crumb (the part that's not the crust)most of us shoot for using a bread machine.

That's the way I see it.

Now, this is a great place to learn about making really fabulous bread. There are lots and lots of very knowlegable bakers who love to share what they know. Please wander around. Look at the lessons and the "Favorite Recipes." Look at the breads in the Blogs. Keep baking. Ask questions. Tell us about your own favorites.


ehanner's picture

I'll just chime in here supporting David above. This is a wonderful place to learn the craft of bread making. I started with a bread machine but didn't use it very long. You can learn more here with $5 worth of flour and a plastic scraper in a few days than you will ever learn by letting the machine do the work for you.

Before you spend on a nice bread maker, take a look at this video. This is a fellow making a sweet dough but the method works exactly the same way using the standard straight French formula of flour, water, yeast and salt. If you need a recipe to try, look at the lessons link on the front page and do lesson #1. Just buy 1 bag of All Purpose flour or bread flour and try this method a few times.

Please let us know how it goes and especially if you have a question. You can do this!


granniero's picture

Welcome ! You are going to learn so much here, at least I have. I had a bread machine for a long time and loved it. Then I branched out and tried different types of bread like you see here, sourdough,etc. One day I thought I needed a new toy so bought the Zoji. It makes larger laoves than the old machine and it's ok but wish now I had bought a dough mixer instead, although I do have a Kitchen Aid mixer which is also handy. Mostly I let the machine mix and knead and I take the dough out, shape and bake in regular oven. Of course, you get a finer texture than the large hole type that is much sought after by many, it just depends on what I am in the mood for as to what method/recipe I use. There are many paths to Breadtopia..........  Folks here are knowledgable and friendly and tolerant for others on different paths. So much info here, you will love it, I have. I have a best friend in Las Vegas and interests/family similar to yours. Nice to meet ya.   Rosemary in warm,humid Florida

StephenJ's picture

I am a big fan of artisan breads and preparing starters, measuring, kneading and shaping are wonderful and rewarding activities. I also have a Zo for 4 years and enjoy making bread start to finish in 2 hours with minimal clean-up. The taste, texture and shapes are different of course but using Beth Hensperger's "The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook, I have made dozens of tasty breads (great toast the 2nd day), dough for pizza or oven baking, and chutneys. It can't substitute for oven baking but is a nice addition to your "bread bakery". You should be able to find a Zo for just under $200.

Good luck with your baking and continue having fun.

Stephen (also in very warm, humid Florida)







Soundman's picture

Nevie, welcome to TFL! (From Connecticut on my end)

I too once used a bread machine (Zo) and I'm not here to knock some things it does. Namely, knead. The King Arthur Flour company produced an excellent book, the Baker's Companion, and in it they unequivocally state, ITHO, that a bread machine (and they use several Zo's in their bakery) does a better kneading job than a KitchenAid mixer.

OK, that's their opinion. I always liked the kneading of my dear departed Zo. But like several other posters, I have to ultimately side with nature's kneaders, your hands. There is nothing to replace feeling the dough.

On the other side of the equation, I think the one thing a bread machine is a big letdown at is baking. I hope you will take the plunge and shape your dough yourself, regardless whether you or the machine did the kneading/mixing, and get it into your oven and steam it a little and watch miracles happen! As a baker, the oven is your friend.

Soundman (David)