My Top Pick For a Bread Machine: Zojirushi Virtuoso Home Bakery

A bread machine is a great appliance for anyone looking to make bread at home the easy way. A good machine will save you time, hard work and in the long run quite a bit of money, assuming you bake bread regularly.

When it comes to deciding which bread machine to buy the selection can be overwhelming. The market is flooded with different models of varying qualities, sizes and budgets.

After lots of research in which I have tried and tested various bread machines, I can wholeheartedly recommend The Zojirushi Virtuoso Home Bakery which is in my opinion by far the best, durable, high-quality bread maker out there. It is slightly more pricy than other machines on the market but easily makes up for it in the performance. Not to mention it is made from higher quality materials and has many advantages over almost any bread maker out there.

I recommended this bread maker to my father-in-law when he was looking for one and he is very happy with the choice (as do I, enjoy the bread he prepares for us every weekend 🙂 ) If you want to check it out, you can look at the latest price on Amazon here.

So without further ado here are the reasons why The Zojirushi Virtuoso Home Bakery is a good choice.

A Durable Bread Maker

Let’s begin by saying there is no wrong in getting a cheaper machine. I’m sure it will do a proper job, however, this bread maker is durable and will last you much more than a year or two. This is a bread maker you can enjoy for years to come. It’s much more solid than many other bread makers and you can feel it. its heavier and sturdier build, the lid closed tight and the whole thing operates smoothly.

Best Bake Quality

The strongest feature and most noticeable by far is that it bakes the best out of any other bread maker out there.

This bread maker features an additional heating element on its lid for an even bake. No other bread maker that I know of or tested has this feature.

The dual heaters on the bottom and lid of the breadmaker promote even baking and browning and truth be told it really does make your bread consistently brown not only on its top but on all sides of the bread.

As per most machines, it has 3 crust control levels and indeed the crust it produces is great.

The quality of the metal of the baking pan along with the dual heating elements really helps to spread the heat evenly and produces a crust like no other machine out there can.

From all of the machines, I have seen, tried or researched online I have not seen anything that can come close to this one.

It Has 2 kneading Blades

This is another one of the biggest advantages this breadmaker has over other bread machines. The dual kneading blades ensure that the dough is kneaded thoroughly and evenly.

As any baker knows the kneading process is one of the most important steps when making bread. Therefore, the advantage in having 2 paddles means you get a good gluten mesh in your dough which will result in an even crumb and will prevent the possibility of your bread collapsing or having big holes in it.

If you have used a breadmaker before you might have noticed that your breadmaker when mixing an kneading, leaves flour on the corners of the pan.

At this point, you have to stop the machine and get out your rubber spatula and scrape the flour and other ingredients that did not mix well into the center of the pan.

This uneven mixing can create holes in your bread and defiantly an uneven crumb.

With this machine, there is no need for that with the 2 paddle feature. The Zojirushi bread machine is superior in that sense.

You Can Make Rustic Artisan Bread With It

If your passion is rustic artisan-style bread, fear not! The Zojirushi has a European menu setting that bakes light and savory bread. It has a convenient 12-hour clock with a 13-hour delay timer.

This comes really handy with long rise bread-like sourdough bread or baguettes or any artisan “rustic” bread you can think of. As you can see, it has a sourdough setting so you can definitely use a starter which is a great plus.

Honestly, if you want to get the look and crust of an artisan bread you will have to use the bread maker to mix, need and punch your dough.

Then my advice is to ferment or slow rise your loaf in a basket and then bake in your oven. Or wood-burning oven if you got one 😉

I’m sorry but there is just no bread machine out there than can compete with and oven or baking in a dutch oven is even better for that kind of bread.

It Has a Clear Window On Its Lid

Many home bakers think that a bread maker means pushing a button and going on your merry way. I can’t stress enough that this is not the case. Sure there are some recipes that apply to do so but for the most part, you need to be around and check on the dough cycle and make sure everything is going according to plan.

This is especially true when you are new. Until you get the hang of a bread machine and have lots of experience with it you need to stick around.

This is where the large viewing window the Zojirushi Virtuoso has come into play. It enables you to watch the process, see if the dough is to wet or to dry and let you oversee your dough quite easily.

Yes, this feature is not exclusive to this bread machine but it is a good feature. The wide window allows for a total viewing angle.

Size Matters! So Does Shape!

The Zojirushi Virtuoso produces a large traditional rectangular shaped 2-pound loaf, much like the size you get at your local bakery.

The shape of the loaf is also a feature not to be overlooked. Most bread makers have a weird stubby rectangular shape to them. It’s not the end of the world but there is something to be said about how it looks when it comes out after baking. After all, we do eat with our eyes and seeing a weird geometric shape to a loaf it is just less appealing (still does the job though ).

The shape of this pan resembles a casten bread ( Casten is a pan used in bakeries to get that perfect square shape ). Square faced and a long loaf.

The 2-pound loaf is perfect for families or if you have a small family you can always freeze half the loaf.

It’s Quiet

I’m happy to report that this machine is relatively quiet, not mute, but certainly much quieter than others I’ve tested. It definitely speaks volumes to its mechanics.

After all, no one wants a drumroll playing in the background every time you set to make a loaf of bread.

Settings Include Gluten-Free Feature

It has a large, easy-to-read LCD display with convenient key code on lid simplifies course selection.

Menu settings include White, Whole Wheat, European, Multigrain, Gluten Free, Salt-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan, Rapid White, Rapid Whole Wheat, Dough, Sourdough Starter, Cake, Jam and Homemade.

I was sold with a gluten-free course as my sister in law diet needs to be gluten-free and this feature was very important to my father in law. As a gluten-free baker myself self I know how hard it is to produce gluten-free bread that tastes good and doesn’t crumble and the Zojirushi performs very well in those aspects.

Other courses this breadmaker has and worth mentioning are multigrain and vegan.

It has 3 homemade memory settings that allow you to customize the knead, rise and bake times as well as rapid courses that allow you to bake a loaf of White or Whole Wheat bread in just 2 hours and 25 minutes.

It also has an option to use the “rest phase” that allows the ingredients to come to room temperature, which is something a lot of home bakers overlooking and is actually crucial for optimal baking. 

As for adding nuts, raisins and such to your loaf, this machine don’t have a nut dispenser which is a shame but it does make a beeping sound that lets you know when its time to add those ingredients in.

Lastly, it has a feature I really appreciate, a shape option, that is when the bread maker will beep before the first rise and will give you, for one hour, the opportunity to take the dough out of the bread maker, shape it on your own 2 capable hands and put it back in the machine. it basically offers you the possibility to put your signature touch on your loaf.

Easy to clean

Cleaning this bread maker is super easy. For crumbs left in the bread maker, you simply lift up the machine and point it towards the ground and gently rock the machine until all the crumbs fall out.

It has easy-to-clean nonstick coated Baking Pan and Kneading Blades.

To clean it you wait until the bread maker cooled down completely and then simply take the bread pan out and gently clean it with a soft sponge and mild cleaning detergent. You do the same with the removable kneading blades. take them out and wash gently with a sponge and mild cleaning detergent.

That’s it!

Note: do not put the bread pan or kneading blades in the dishwasher.

Extra information: dimensions and more

Dimensions:
W x D x H: 18 x 10-1/2 x 12-7/8 inches or 45.72 x 26.67 x 32.70 cm

Electrical Rating:
120 volts / 700 watts. It also comes with a battery back up which could come in handy if there’s a power outage and you must have your bread all the same.

Extra tools:
It comes with a liquid and nested measuring cups and measuring spoon.

Manual and cookbook:
It comes with an easy to read instruction manual written both in English and French and colorful recipe book with 50 recipes. As I always say, when you first get new bread maker my best advice is to start up with the recipe book. It is made for that specific bread maker as it was written by professionals and the recipes are engineered and tested for this specific machine.

After you had some successes you can move on to other baking books for a bread machine. there are great options out there.

I have gone over a bunch of these books and have written this post about it if you’re interested. Read here for my review on the top books for bread machines

Price

The Zojirushi bread machine is a bit pricy, there is no denying that, however, if you are a frequent bread maker, this machine will save you a lot of money in the long run. It is built much better than other bread makers on the market with high durability and just better overall quality. This machine should last you for years.

I believe it performs so well that at the end of the day you will consider this money well spent. (To check out the latest price on Amazon click right here).

Conclusion

After all said and done, when considering the factors, the Zojirushi bread maker is a great choice as breadmakers go.

It’s durable. Has a variety of easy to program settings, you can make rustic artisan bread with it. It has 2 kneading blades, quiet on the ears and has a great size of the loaf. You can’t go wrong with that.

Zojirushi allows you to create 3 custom profiles in which you can adjust the timings for each phase. This allows you to have preset for specific recipes you might really enjoy and would like to recreate often. A great feature!