When it comes to the finding the best Zojirushi bread maker, there are quite a few models to review. After all, the Zojirushi Virtuoso is one of the most popular and one of the best bread machines on the market. But there are quite a few other models to consider, as well.
When there’s a discussion about this kitchen appliance, it’s highly likely that you’re going to hear the name Zojirushi and, probably, more than once.
This is a manufacturer known for its highly quality, which is directly proportional to its prices – high quality, high prices.
Even though they’re popular and superior without any doubt, these Zojirushi bread machines are not going to match everyone’s budget. To be completely honest, they’re a bit too much for mine, too.
Zojirushi Bread Makers: Virtuoso, Maestro, Mini, Supreme
There’s a lot to love about the Zojirushi Virtuoso, from the rectangular loaf to the pretty nice design to the perfect crust and the high number of cycles (15 of them).
2. Runner-Up: Zojirushi Maestro BB-SSC10
This one could be considered the more expensive, newer, better looking version of the Zojirushi Mini Breadmaker. The Maestro Breadmaker is also capable of baking a 1-pound loaf but it has some very interesting cycles: gluten-free, multigrain, a vegan course and it also has an auto add dispenser. It’s quite complete.
This is indeed a small bread maker and it only makes 1-pound loaves, making it perfect for 1 or 2 people, it’s also very complex and can even make gluten-free loaves.
If you don’t want to pay the money for the Virtuoso but you still desire the rectangular-shaped loaf that Zojirushi is famous for, this can be the machine for you, it also makes gluten free breads under the basic setting.
Best Zojirushi Bread Makers: Top 4
I’ve gathered 4 models as the best Zojirushi bread makers and I’m going to review each one in detail so that you can find the perfect Zojirushi bread machine for you.
1. Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus BB-PDC20 – Overall The Best Zojirushi Bread Maker
Let’s first start by reviewing what I consider to be the overall best Zojirushi bread maker. It’s not only the most expensive but also the most complex, with a wide array of cycles and functions.
Even so, the high price hasn’t stopped it from also being the most popular bread machine that people always recommend and are impressed with.
It’s a heavy machine, it weighs 24 pounds, you’re not going to move it around too often.
It has a lot in common with the above Zojirushi Supreme but there are a lot of differences, too. There had to be in order to justify the price difference between these two Zojirushi bread makers.
For one, just by taking a singly look, you can tell that the Virtuoso is prettier.
The control panel is very straightforward, much more easy to use and intuitive, simple but complete.
It comes with measuring cup and spoon and 4 nested measuring cups for measuring dry ingredients but you can also use a digital scale, it’s much easier in my opinion.
The bread pan is identical.
There are two kneading paddles and the loaves baked are horizontal/rectangular, this is one of the best horizontal bread machines.
There is no nut & fruit dispenser.
13-hour delay timer.
It bakes 2-pound loaves. That’s the only loaf size that is offered. Zojirushi definitely seems to have a thing for offering few options in some respects.
It bakes a large traditional rectangular shaped loaf. Thus, if you’re looking for a machine that bakes rectangular, horizontal loaves, almost like the kind we’re used to buying, the Virtuoso can be exactly what you’re looking for.
There’s a heating element in the lid for perfect crust on top, too, not only on the sides and the bottom. The heating element in the lid, besides the heating element on the bottom, is definitely a surprise. It does lead to even baking and browning.
3 crusts: light, medium, dark.
There’s no crust control for the whole wheat, European, sugar free, and homemade cycles.
It has an impressive number of 15 cycles:
- whole wheat
- gluten free
- salt free
- sugar free
- rapid white
- rapid whole wheat
- sourdough starter
- homemade (where you can record 3 of your favorite recipes)
You can make pretty much anything you want and maybe even know that you wanted. As you can see by the fact that it has a sourdough starter option.
It also includes a recipe book with plenty of recipes.
What does the vegan cycle mean? I can certainly say that this Zojirushi bread maker is just among 2 bread machines that offer this pre-programmed option. The other machine is the Zojirushi Maestro.
Well, in the recipe book that comes with the Virtuoso, under the vegan cycle, there are just 2 recipes: vegan white bread and vegan whole wheat bread.
But we can already make them vegan either under the white or whole wheat cycles by just making them from the 4 basic ingredients: water, yeast, salt, and flour.
Still, Zojirushi offers an upgrade for these 2 vegan bread recipes in terms of ingredients. For example, the vegan white loaf is made with water, unsweetened almond milk, olive oil, bread flour, sugar, salt, rapid rise yeast.
The vegan whole wheat loaf is made pretty much the same, except that whole wheat flour and vital wheat gluten are used.
All in all, this model is certainly one of the most complex but it’s also very pricey. The Virtuoso can also be a perfect gift for bread bakers who don’t always have to time to make breads by hand.
Where to Buy?
2. Zojirushi Maestro BB-SSC10 – Tiny and Complex
The Maestro only weighs 16 pounds. It’s quite tall but narrow so, it won’t occupy too much space on the countertop.
However, if you want to store it away, in case you’re not using it that often, it has a handle at the top. It makes moving it from place to place so much easier. And, at 16 pounds, it’s indeed very mobile.
Bakes just 1-pound loaf
This characteristic makes the Maestro really suitable only for a narrow niche of people. It’s perfect if you only use it for one person, up to 2 persons definitely. It’s just not suitable for a whole family.
1-pound loaves are really small, I don’t know if I’ve ever baked such a small loaf because I bake for 4 or 5, it depends who’s around.
Given its expensive price, not that many people are inclined to pay so much money on a bread maker that bakes such small quantities, even if it’s one of the best Zojirushi bread makers.
The loaves are vertical.
Another thing that I don’t understand is that we can only select between 2 crusts: medium and dark. I always go for the medium but it’s surprising not to see the light crust option.
The fact that we can only select between medium and dark might be a problem when we’re making breads with a high sugar content. Usually, the light crust option is used. I don’t exactly understand why Zojirushi didn’t include all 3.
For some users, the machine makes the perfect crust. I’m relieved to hear that but I still wanted to let you know exactly how the situation stands.
We find the usual accessories: pan, kneading blade, liquid measuring cup, measuring spoon.
There is no viewing window. But you get a recipe book.
We can talk about exciting accessories without mentioning the auto add dispenser. If you’re into the habit of making breads with raisins, nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, fruits or whatever else, the dispenser will make sure to release them into the dough when the time is ready.
The dispenser is also detachable so that you can easily fill it without making a mess.
The control panel is quite intuitive. If you read the user manual once, you’ll be able to figure it out quite easily.
This is where the Maestro really shines. I’m really impressed with its wide array of courses.
There are 14 cycles to choose from:
- quick white
- whole wheat
- quick whole wheat
- gluten free
- salt free
- sugar free
- bread/pizza dough
- pasta dough
The surprises don’t stop there because there’s also a Homemade course where you can store 3 of your favorite recipes. You can add recipes for meatloaf, banana bread, a specific gluten free recipes or whatever else you can think of. Then, it will be accessible to you by the press of a button.
As I said, the cycles in their variety are the main attractive feature for this machine.
There’s a 13-hour delay timer.
Where to Buy?
3. Zojirushi Mini BB-HAC10 1-Pound-Loaf – The Cheapest Zojirushi Bread Machine
It only weighs 14 pounds so, it’s pretty light, you could even store it away if you don’t have space on the counter.
Plus, just like the Maestro, it has a sturdy handle so that you can easily carry it for storage. It’s something that I haven’t seen in any other model from any other manufacturer. People just carry them in their arms if they don’t keep the machine on the counter full-time.
Additionally, it has a power cord holder to keep things neatly when storing it away– you can read more in the user manual.
And it’s the only Zojirushi bread maker with a removable lid.
I truly consider this Mini Breadmaker to be one of the best Zojirushi bread makers and not just because it’s also the most affordable.
It’s great for dough making, too.
I really love the complexity of this machine that looks so simple at a glance but it’s exactly the opposite. You can totally see why it’s so popular. It’s impressive that it can make gluten-free loaves, too – the complete package.
Bakes just 1-pound loaf
The Zojirushi BB-HAC10 is also called a mini bread machine because it only bakes 1 pound loaves, just like the Maestro, which I reviewed above.
There are only 2 crust settings: light and regular.
For some users, the crust was too crunchy – in that case it’s best to try out the soft setting.
The baked loaves are vertical not horizontal. For some, this shape might get a bit getting used to.
Don’t forget to let the loaves rest on a cooling rack for 30 minutes after they’re done.
The classic: pan, kneading blade, liquid measuring cup, measuring spoon.
The control panel is quite easy to use, very straightforward and intuitive, I like it a lot.
We also have a viewing window in the lid.
13-hour delay timer.
There are 8 course:
- basic bread (regular or firm and you can also select between light or regular crust)
- soft (for a softer texture, you will have to use all purpose flour instead of bread flour and you can also make banana bread under this cycle)
- quick baking (makes a loaf in 2 hours, you’ll even find a chocolate bread recipe for this cycle)
- French bread (no crust options available, there’s even a wheat French bread recipe)
- cookie/pasta dough (ready in just 13 minutes)
- cake (corn meal bread can be made under this cycle as well as zucchini bread and chocolate cake)
- and jam
At first look, this list of 8 cycles is nothing impressive but read further to discover some very interesting things.
There’s no separate whole wheat setting because you can make it under the basic bread regular cycle – there are a few interesting whole wheat recipes in the user manual.
Another unexpected things under the basic bread regular is that you can make gluten-free breads.
There are a lot of interesting recipes in the user manual, I love the recipes the most.
Under the basic bread firm you can make white breads and whole wheat loaves – the measurements are different.
There’s a particular feature that only the Zojirushi BB-HAC10 has: you can choose the texture of the bread from regular, firm (choose between the two for the basic cycle) or soft (a separate cycle).
Where to Buy?
4. Zojirushi Supreme BB-CEC20
The Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery Supreme is a large bread machine, it weighs 20 pounds – it will need a permanent space in your kitchen. In my opinion, the design is not that beautiful to me but that’s not something that matters much.
It’s just a bit more expensive than the Zojirushi BB-HAC10 but there are a few things that set them apart, besides the design.
It comes with measuring cup and spoon but for flour it’s best to use a digital scale, it’s the most accurate. The ingredients absolutely need to be weighed accurately, exactly as it says in the recipe.
The control panel is not that intuitive as it was with the above models but once you’ve read the user manual carefully, you can figure it out. Watch the DVD, too, there are plenty of rules that need to be followed.
There are 2 kneading paddles, instead of one. The paddles are a bit smaller, the holes at the base of the bread are smaller but there are two of them instead.
It bakes rectangular loaves – many users find this appealing since it looks like a bread that you would make in the oven using a bread pan, some don’t like the vertically shaped ones produced by other models.
13-hour delay timer and 10-minute power failure backup.
There’s no fruit & nut dispenser.
2 loaf sizes: 1.5 and 2 pounds
3 crusts: light, medium, and dark.
But the crust control button is only available for the basic, quick, cake, and home made cycles. You cannot control the crust for the whole wheat, which is quite disappointing. I don’t know why it’s like that but it something you get used to when it comes to Zojirushi bread makers.
On the plus side, the two kneading paddles seem to be working well for the whole wheat recipes since they come out nicely risen.
With the Supreme we only get 10 cycles:
- basic wheat
- basic dough
- quick wheat
- quick dough
- sourdough starter
- and home made (you can take your favorite 3 recipes and program them as cycles)
Even though it doesn’t have a gluten-free cycle, you can make gluten-free loaves under the basic setting, there are even two recipes included in the book. It definitely works well.
There’s no French cycle but there’s a crusty French recipe included under the homemade cycle.
A meatloaf recipe is featured in there, too.
You can make sourdough starter in about 2 hrs. and then immediately add the rest of the ingredients and make light sourdough bread using the basic cycle.
Or, once the sour dough starter cycle is complete, you can let the starter sit in the pan for 7 to 10 days at room temperature and then make traditional sourdough bread – all the instructions and steps are detailed in the user manual.
There are quite a few recipes included in the user manual and you can find more on their website.
All in all, the Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery Supreme is very good, there’s no doubt about it.
Where to Buy?
How to Use a Zojirushi Bread Maker
The first thing you should do is to read the user manual very carefully, at least once. There, you will find all the info you need to know.
First of all, all bread machines come with instructions for the order in which the ingredients are added to the pan. You always need to add the ingredients in the order listed.
If you’re going to use different recipe from cookbooks or what you found online, you will need to adapt the recipe. Add the ingredients that are stated in the recipe in the order that your Zojirushi bread maker states.
Order of ingredients
For example, with a Zojirushi bread machine you have to add the ingredients in this order: water, flour, salt, and yeast.
Thus, to generalize it for all bread/dough recipes, the order is: liquids first then flour then dry ingredients, and yeast comes last. With this formula, you can adapt any recipe you want.
Liquids are usually water and milk. Apple juice and other liquids will also feature in some recipes. Eggs are also included in the liquids category and they’ll be added after milk or water.
Dry ingredients are sugar, honey, salt, dry milk, butter, vital wheat gluten, molasses, etc.
Yeast is the last one to be added to the pan. You can use Saf Instant Yeast for all recipes. It’s one of the best and a favorite of many professional bakers. Saf Instant Yeast works whether the recipes calls for active dry yeast or rapid rise yeast.
Another thing you should know is that the ingredients should be measured precisely. That’s why I prefer using a kitchen scale for the flour, even if they also indicate the measurement in cups.
Everything else you need to know, you’ll find in the user manual, read it carefully. Then, you can experiment with your recipe book. You’ll find plenty there and there are also some on their website.
Zojirushi Bread Maker Recipes
Since we’re talking about bread machines, the focus of the recipes is on a wide variety of breads, a variety of dough for bread, pizza and pasta, recipe for sourdough starter, a few delicious desserts, and jam.
You can make your sourdough starter in the Virtuoso or the Supreme and then bake the sourdough bread in a Dutch oven if you want to achieve what professional bakeries offer. If you’re interested in sourdough loaves, you can also check out my sourdough toasters reviews.
You can make recipes from the recipe book that comes with your Zojirushi bread maker or you can visit this brand’s website for additional recipes. Obviously, their recipe can also be made in other bread makers from other brands, just make sure to add the ingredients in the order suggest by the user manual for your model.
You can make recipes that are baked in the bread maker. There are also plenty of recipes that need to be baked in the oven, the machine only taking care of making the dough. You can let it rise and proof in the machine and then bake it in a loaf pan, Dutch oven, pizza stone, etc.
Once you’ve gone through all that, you can buy bread machine cookbooks, which can provide wonderful ideas. There’s an entire universe in those pages that clearly illustrated that all bread makers are versatile kitchen appliances, as long as we’re willing to try out new things.
Zojirushi Virtuoso recipes
White bread: basic white, Italian herb, honey bread, raisin bread, chocolate bread, cranberry & walnut bread.
Whole wheat bread: 100% whole wheat, 100% whole wheat walnut bread, light rye bread, pumpernickel bread.
Europea: French bread, rustic herb, sesame bread, bacon bread.
Multigrain: 7 grain bread, 12 grain bread, multigrain raisin.
Gluten free: gluten free brown rice bread, gluten free Italian herb, gluten free raisin bread.
Salt free, sugar free, vegan: salt/sugar/vegan free white bread, salt/sugar/vegan free whole wheat bread.
Dough: butter rolls, doughnuts. breadsticks, bagels, traditional pizza dough (thin-crust pizza, thick-crust pizza, margherita pizza, tomato sauce).
Sourdough starter: light sourdough bread.
Cake: pound cake, tea cake, corn bread.
Jam: strawberry, orange marmalade.
Homemade: cinnamon roll bread, party bread, marble bread, mini white bread, meatloaf miracle, homemade pasta, tomato pasta, gluten free dinner bread.
The recipes for the Zojirushi Maestro are almost an identical copy of what we get for the Virtuoso. These machines are extremely similar in terms of cycles. The huge difference is that the Maestro only bakes 1-pound loaves, which makes it perfect for single people or 2-family members.
For the Maestro there’s also no sourdough starter. That’s the cycle missing.
Sourdough starter recipe
To make a sourdough starter in a Zojirushi bread maker you need the following ingredients:
- 360ml water
- 260g (2 cups) bread flour
- 6g (2 tsp) active dry yeast
Add the ingredients in the pan in the order listed.
Select course no. 12 and press Start. It will be complete in 2:10 hours.
Then, you can make light sourdough bread under course no. 1 (the one for white bread). You just have to add the ingredients listed under the light sourdough bread on top of the sourdough starter that is in the baking pan.
Let’s answer some frequently asked questions about these bread machines. It will help us create a clear picture on which model might the best for our needs.
1. Is the Zojirushi bread machine worth it?
The only way I can answer this question is that a Zojirushi bread machine is only worth it as long as it’s within your budget. If you are comfortable spending that amount of money on a bread maker, then it’s worth it. All their 4 bread makers are definitely impressive, with the Virtuoso taking the crown. It will make awesome dough and kinds of bread, the quality is consistent.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for more affordable prices, you should check out manufacturers like Oster, Hamilton Beach, and Cuisinart. Cuisinart has a couple of models that are awesome. And Hamilton Beach has the most affordable bread maker that also has a gluten-free cycle.
2. What is the best bread maker on the market today?
The best overall is Zojirushi Virtuoso Bread Maker. You can read my review above to discover all the reasons for that. However, if you’re looking for a cheaper model, I would recommend the Cuisinart CBK-200. Even cheaper is the Cuisinart CBK 110.
3. How long do Zojirushi bread machines last?
That’s definitely hard to answer. Customers get 1 year warranty. Besides that, I would say that the machines can last a very long time, you can expect 10 years or more. What you have to be careful with is the pan and kneading blades. The pan has a nonstick coating. If you damage that, the loaf will still stick to the pan and it will be harder to remove, which will be frustrating. Besides that, the dough and the loaves will still be baked properly. I advise you to read the manual on maintenance and cleaning and do as it says.
There is a replacement pan that you can buy for the Virtuoso. It’s quite expensive. However, I couldn’t find replacement pans for the models that only bake 1-pound loaves.
4. What size loaf does Zojirushi make?
The Mini and the Maestro models from Zojirushi only bake 1 pound loaves, which makes them ideal for single people or for families of two. On the other hand, you’ll need to get the Virtuoso or the Supreme if you want to bake 2 pounds loaves. These are also baked horizontally, while the 1 pound loaf bread makers bake vertical loaves.
5. What is the best bread maker for sourdough?
If you’re looking for a Zojirushi bread maker that has a sourdough starter cycle, you’ll need to check out the Virtuoso or the Supreme. The sourdough starter cycle actually means that you can make your own starter in a Zojirushi bread maker. All the other machines on the market can make and bake a sourdough loaf but they don’t make the starter, except Cuisinart.
6. Which Zojirushi bread maker is best?
If you’re satisfied with a 1-pound loaf, you can get the Zojirushi Mini. It might seem a bit simple at first glance but once you read the manual, you’ll discover that it can make a variety of breads, including gluten-free loaves and whole wheat.
Once again, if the 1-pound loaf size is enough for you but you want something prettier than the Mini and with more cycles, then go for the Zojirushi Maestro.
However, both models bake vertical loaves. Some people don’t find the whole vertical loaf appearance that appealing.
Only the Virtuoso and the Supreme bake horizontal loaves that come quite close to resemble what we would buy from the supermarket. The Virtuoso is also the most popular and the most complex. It really covers everything and the quality is impressive.
The way I see it, as long as you’re completely comfortable with the price tag and are enthusiastic about owning a bread machine, go for it. Choose the Zojirushi Virtuoso from these 4 Zojirushi bread makers, you’ll definitely appreciate the high quality and be completely satisfied with your choice.