Frequently Asked Questions About Bread Machines

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Do the recipes in Gluten-Free Baking Classics for the Bread Machine work with the Zojirushi Home Supreme Breadmaker BB-CEC20 and the Virtuoso BB-PAC20?

Gluten-Free Baking Classics for the Bread Machine was written for the Zojirushi Home Supreme Breadmaker BBCC-X20; it was the only Zojirushi model sold at time (in 2008). The recipes I developed also worked on an older model, the V20 (which worked exactly the same way as the BBCC-X20). The BBCC-X20 machine makes a beautiful two pound loaf. Here is a picture-

Bread machine loaf

Although my publisher requested that I develop and test recipes for only this one machine, I had more than ten field testers and several of them used other machines, including Breadman, Oster, and Cuisinart. In fact, many people have written to me or posted reviews on Amazon to say they have successfully used the recipes in my book with other machines.

Two years after my book was published, the Zojirushi Home Supreme Breadmaker BB-CEC20 replaced my model, but it is the exact same machine as the one I used in the book with a few cosmetic changes.

The Virtuoso Breadmaker BB-PAC20 came out several years later. However, it works in a slightly different way then the three machines mentioned above. (Agate Publishing, my publisher for this cookbook, has no current plans to release an updated edition.)

Unlike the other three models (my model, the V20, and the BB-CEC20), the Virtuoso BB-PAC20 heats up from the top and bottom. The people at Zojirushi tested it with my recipes and said it worked with both the GLUTEN-FREE and the HOMEMADE setting. However, I’ve heard from several people who said they had issues with their breads sinking slightly in the middle and/or rising and then falling slightly.

If you want to use the Zojirushi Virtuoso with the recipes in my book, I can offer the following suggestions based on correspondence I’ve had with people who have written to me. You can follow the recipe as written first. Or throw caution to the wind and try some of the suggestions right away.

1. I recommend trying the HOMEMADE setting first (before the GLUTEN-FREE setting). But because the Virtuoso heats up from the top and bottom at the same time, you might need to reduce the Rise 3 time to 25 – 30 minutes (instead of 45); otherwise your bread can rise too fast and/or too much. If your home is cold, you might only need to reduce it to 30 – 35 minutes. You might also need to reduce the Bake time to 55 – 60 minutes (instead of 70), but first try it with just the reduced RISE 3 time.

2. If you find that your bread rises too fast and then sinks, you might also try using cooler liquids (under the 65º – 75º F temperature called for in my recipes). In fact, you could try liquids directly from the refrigerator.

3. If the bread sinks a little, you might also find that you need to add one extra tablespoon of bread flour mix. Breads rise faster in the Virtuoso than in the BBCC-X20 and CEC20. A fast rise can cause the loaf to sink.  As a result, the bread might need that little bit of extra flour so that it will be a bit heavier. But take note: you may find that you don’t need the extra flour if your bread is too dry and dense.

Also, make sure that you aren’t spooning the flour into the measuring cup too lightly when you make the flour mix and when you measure for the recipe. Dump it – don’t sprinkle it in. You might be inadvertently using a bit less flour than you need because the flour is so aerated. In other words, you might need to add a second tablespoon of flour—– if you were spooning it into the measuring cup too lightly.

4. Ultimately, if you find your bread is still rising too fast, reduce the amount of yeast a bit to 1  3/4 – 2 teaspoons.

Also, what kind of yeast are you using? My testers and I all had the best results with Red Star. None of us were able to get a well-shaped loaf with SAF. Moreover, Fleischmann’s yeast used to work as well as Red Star in my recipes, but in the last four years when I try it, I’ve had some problems with the rise.

Can you make some suggestions for troubleshooting problems when using a non-Zojirushi bread machine with the recipes in Gluten-Free Baking Classics for the Bread Machine?

Most of the problems people have seem to concern the rise – either the loaf sinks a bit in the middle, or it rises too fast and then falls a little.  I  typically suggest that both of these issues can be addressed by trying Steps 2 thru 4 above.

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11 Responses to Frequently Asked Questions About Bread Machines

  1. Katrina says:

    Thanks for these bread machine FAQs. I really learned a lot! Keep up the good work.

  2. I have Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker with Gluten Free Menu setting. It is one of the best bread machine in the market.I Like this bread machine very much. My daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease this year and needed away to make bread at home. The machine is easy to program and sturdy. I did my research on this before I purchased this and this one had the highest ratings. It exceeds my expectation. I would recommend this to anyone even if your not a person who knows how to make bread. All you do is measure correctly, set the machine, and you have delicious bread. I also purchased the three year warranty with this, hopefully I won’t need it.

    • Annalise says:

      Hi!
      I’m happy to hear you like their new machine. I have very high regard for Zojirushi and all their products. I think they put a lot of time and thought into them. I do wish my publisher would allow me to do an updated version of my bread machine book so that I could include this newer machine. But oh well….

      Lucky you that you have had such success using it to make bread!

      Very best regards,
      Annalise

    • Milena says:

      I bought the Virtuoso to make gluten free bread for my daughter who has Celiac disease. I had a one pound Zojirushi, however I wasn’t happy with the GF bread it would produce.

      I have successfully made some of the boxes mixes with my BB-BAC20 however cannot get the recipe’s from AnnaLise’s book to turn out. I tried with the homemade setting following the instructions perfectly and it sunk terribly in the middle. Tried again using the same ingredients using the gluten free setting, same thing, it sunk and actually looked undercooked. I tried a third time adding one more tbls of flour and reduced the rise time to 25 minutes, finally the bread didn’t sink but was horribly dry and a little dense. 4th attempt was another failure. I followed the recipe without adding the extra flour, increased the rise to 30 minutes and decreased cooking time to 60 minutes. Again the bread sunk! I’m at my wits end and would appreciate any help I can get.

      • Annalise says:

        Hi Mileana,

        You do seem to be having a hard time using my recipe with the BB-BAC20. I’m so very sorry- and I will do what I can to help you.
        A few quick questions- What kind of milk are you using? What kind of xanthan gum? And what kind of yeast? Are you weighing your ingredients or spooning them into the measuring cup?

        Very best,
        Annalise

        • Milena says:

          I am using 1% fat milk. Duinkerken xanthan gum. I’m from Canada. This is what was available to me, although, I can find Bob’s Red Mill Xanthan gum at Whole Foods.

          I really want this recipe to work because I like the taste, it’s the most wheat tasting bread we have tried yet.

          I tried again tonight and used the ingredients straight from the fridge without bringing it to room temperature, reduced the rise time to 25 minutes and used 2 1/8 teaspoons of yeast instead of 2 1/4 and baked for 60 minutes. The bread didn’t fall but it hardly rose, no dome at all. The texture was pretty good and not too heavy. Still not anything like the picture of your loaf of bread.

          What I have figured out, is the bake time should be 60 minutes. It comes to a perfect 210 F at that temperature.

          • Annalise says:

            hi!
            You are an amazing tester! I admire your curiosity, perseverance and stamina. I might ask you to test recipes for me at some point! 😉

            The 1% milk is fine out of the fridge is fine – but I try this with the regular/longer rise time.

            The Xanthan gum should be fine, although I have never tried that brand before, just so long as it isn’t too old or out of date (after years of baking with GF flours, I’ve found that this matters).

            And I’m glad you tried the reduction in yeast, however, I’ve found that when I do this, I need the whole rise time. You reduced the yeast and the rise time at the same time, my bet is that this, and the cold milk – contributed to it not rising well.

            In other words, you went “all in” with all the fixes at the same time– which is totally understandable after much disappointment. So now the good part is that we know they slowed the rise– albeit too much. Now we just need to adjust it back a bit. If it were me, I’d go with the warmer milk and the smaller amount of yeast. And then go with the a slightly reduced rise time and regular bake time.

            What kind of yeast are you using? I think we are very, very close.

            Very best,
            Annalise

  3. Milena says:

    I tried again last night with ingredients straight from the fridge, reduced rise to 25 minutes and decreased yeast to 1 1/8 and it did not sink but barely rose. The texture was not to bad. Cooking time was 60 minutes and registered at 210F.

    • Milena says:

      I am definitely close and I was thinking the same thing, I went all in and should have tried one or two steps at a time. I am using fleischmann’s yeast (not fast acting). I will try again tonight with your suggestions. Will keep you posted.

      • Annalise says:

        hi!

        I’ve used Fleischman’s many times, but just so you know, I’ve have better results with Red Star for the last six or seven years. When I first started baking gluten-free bread in 2003, the two yeasts gave me pretty similar results. But then around 2009, something changed. Not sure what. But just to make sure I wasn’t crazy, I asked several of my bread recipe testers to compare the two; they each found had the same results. Perhaps…….

        I’m looking forward to hearing back from you after your next round!

  4. This is a great blog. I love eating and making bread myself. I have been looking for different bread recipes like this one. Thanks for sharing . I’m so excited to try this. Certainly it will be great. I love using my bread machine. After try this one , I will try your other bread recipes for my bread machine. I am looking forward to your other recipes:)

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