September 29, 2023

My TikTok feed is usually cooking suggestions and recipes, so I’ve seen bread makers a number of occasions on my For You web page. This was my first time utilizing one — I had beforehand been experimenting with baking focaccia in my kitchen. It’s a course of that includes lots of small steps with lengthy ready durations with the intention to get the proper bake. I’ve been desirous to attempt making my very own sourdough for therefore lengthy, however the time it takes to create a sourdough starter sounds daunting…and that’s solely step one. Baking is an artwork type and it requires expertise and approach to get the proper loaf, in addition to the correct tools. With the Virtuoso Plus Breadmaker(opens in a brand new tab), the comfort issue is certainly there. For probably the most half, all it’s important to do is add the substances and press begin. 

Let’s get this bread 

The machine itself is fairly large, similar to the dimensions of a giant toaster oven or air fryer. It comes with a set of measuring cups, together with a separate liquid measuring cup and a tablespoon/teaspoon measuring spoon. The liquid measuring cup is good as a result of the water measurement in every recipe is written in milliliters. It additionally comes with a recipe guide that features recipes for all sorts of bread: white, wheat, gluten-free, vegan, French, rye, 12-grain, and even cake. There are two small steel kneading arms that I positioned within the backside of the bread pan, after which twisted to safe them and ensure they wouldn’t come free in motion. The nonstick bread pan itself is nestled inside the bigger machine and could be very straightforward to take away and clear. 

First run

I wished to maintain it easy and begin with the traditional white bread recipe. All it’s important to do is measure the substances and add them to the bread pan within the order that they’re listed within the recipe guide. The directions clarify that it’s best to nestle the yeast in a little bit pocket of flour, in order that it isn’t touching any of the liquids within the pan. It’s all so easy a 10-year-old might positively do it. After including the substances, you shut the lid, choose “course 1 – white”, and press “begin”. I ended up including some dried rosemary and thyme as a result of I’ve been on an herb kick recently. 

flour, yeast, and water inside bread maker pan

Simply add within the substances and the bread maker does the remainder of the give you the results you want.
Credit score: Mallory Minich / Mashable

On the face of the machine, you may choose the course quantity, and in addition the crust colour you want to: mild, medium, or darkish. Adjusting the crust colour will change the baking time. I selected a medium crust colour and had a fantastic, heat loaf of bread…three and a half hours later. Bread takes time! 

The machine goes by means of a resting section, kneads the dough, lets it rise for over an hour, after which bakes it. When the baking time is completed, the machine retains it heat for the subsequent hour. I took it out as quickly because it was accomplished although, as a result of I used to be very excited. I used oven mitts to flip the pan over and dump the nice and cozy bread on my slicing board. It was so crispy on high and delicate within the center. Actually, the benefit of the method had me blown away.

finger pressing start button on bread maker control panel

The controls are intuitive and the bread maker is certainly beginner-friendly.
Credit score: Mallory Minich / Mashable

If you happen to’ve seen any cooking movies the place they slide a knife throughout a freshly baked crust, that was the sound I heard slicing into my first loaf of bread. I sliced it up and made a bread dip with olive oil, parmesan, and spices. So scrumptious and engaging, particularly with the herbs. I’ll say the bread is a bit denser than what you anticipate with a white bread loaf you purchase on the retailer, however I believe that’s as a result of it has much less sugar and preservatives. The style is extraordinarily recent and provides you that rustic home-baked expertise. 

Experimenting was enjoyable 

I received to attempt making a lot of various things utilizing the machine. Sourdough was tremendous yummy and simple. I started by making the sourdough starter, which takes a little bit over an hour to make. Usually, a sourdough starter takes at the least per week to ferment when making it from scratch, so I’m unsure how the bread machine pulled this off, nevertheless it works. After that, I added the remainder of the substances and selected the white bread course. It took about 4 hours to make a recent sourdough loaf. From the movies I’ve seen on-line, making such a bread generally is a very arduous and particular course of, and residential cooks take actual delight in having the ability to make it. The Virtuoso Breadmaker Plus makes it so easy. 

On Thanksgiving, I informed myself I used to be going to make Japanese milk buns from scratch because the dinner rolls. Why do I overcommit like this? I used the dough setting of the bread maker, which kneads the substances and lets them rise however doesn’t bake them. I added half the quantity of yeast I used to be purported to when making the dough. So, they have been dense and never fluffy like I imagined, nevertheless it was my fault so we gained’t blame it on the bread maker. 

I made a stunning rooster and rice soup that I believed would pair nicely with some French bread made utilizing the machine. There’s a “European” course setting, which makes the bread denser and extra crisp on the skin. The French bread turned out unbelievable and was so scrumptious dipped in my soup. My solely qualm with this was that I missed the traditional French bread form. I wished extra crust, which might have been the case if I might lay out the dough after which bake it. The loaf was completely baked, although, which I couldn’t assure would have occurred in my oven. 

loaf of french bread with two slices cut off on cutting board

French bread in loaf type.
Credit score: Mallory Minich / Mashable

I even used the bread machine to make strawberry jam. Reduce up some strawberries, add a little bit lemon juice and sugar, and the machine heats the combination up simply sufficient to create an exquisite selfmade jam, extra on the liquidy facet. It stored in my fridge in a Mason jar and is ideal on crackers or toast. 

strawberry jam on round cracker

I used to be in a position to make scrumptious strawberry jam within the bread maker.
Credit score: Mallory Minich / Mashable

Lastly, I used to be curious to see if the machine might make different traditional recipes, like banana bread (I added chocolate chips in fact), regardless that there isn’t a recipe for it within the recipe guide. I seemed on-line and located a “bread maker banana bread” recipe. It informed me to make use of the “cake” course possibility on the machine.

chocolate chip banana bread in breadmsker tin

The banana bread was tasty, however I selected the incorrect crust colour possibility.
Credit score: Mallory Minich / Mashable

I added the substances as I discovered them within the recipe, and let the machine do its factor, however the machine was nonetheless set on the medium crust colour possibility, so it positively ended up a little bit dry. I like a moist banana bread, and this didn’t give me that in any respect, however it could have been as a result of I ought to have chosen the lighter crust colour possibility. Recipes like these will in all probability take some experimenting when utilizing the bread maker, however there are lots of recipes on-line to assist. 

Let’s test the numbers 

This bread maker retails for $399.99, which appears fairly expensive for the common particular person. I actually don’t know lots of twenty-somethings who would have the ability to drop that form of dough (see what I did there?). Nonetheless, in case you’re utilizing this machine to make all your loaves as a substitute of shopping for them on the grocery retailer, it might prevent cash.

*Cracks knuckles* Assuming you’re shopping for a loaf that’s comparable in high quality to freshly baked white bread, it might in all probability value round $4 a loaf. To make white bread within the bread machine, you want bread flour, sugar, dry milk, salt, unsalted butter, and prompt yeast. Primarily based on present grocery pricing (yikes – $4.99 for butter), it would value about $2.44 per loaf of white bread. This implies you’re saving $1.66 per loaf, so it would take 241 loaves of bread earlier than you save sufficient to cowl the price of the bread maker. This value of utilizing the machine would fluctuate relying on what you’re making. Gluten-free bread is dear on the retailer, so I’m positive the Breadmaker Plus would assist with the fee. 

If you happen to’re an avid baker and luxuriate in it as a pastime, you in all probability aren’t seeking to purchase a bread maker simply to save cash on bread, which brings us to….

There are different perks, although  

OK, so clearly there are different components that should be taken under consideration. You will not be saving a ton of cash on bread purchases, however the number of bread varieties you can also make with the Virtuoso Plus is huge. So many issues could be baked utilizing this machine, starting from breads to bagels to pizza dough. It takes lots of the grunt work out of baking at house, and the ultimate product will probably be a recent, heat loaf of bread versus the processed loaf you’d usually purchase.

One other perk to utilizing the bread maker is that you already know precisely what substances are going into it, and there gained’t be every other preservatives or sugars added to protect shelf life. It does take some experimenting when attempting to make a recipe that isn’t included within the recipe guide. Nonetheless, there’s a “selfmade” possibility on the machine that permits you to create your individual customized baking course of. When choosing “selfmade”, you’ll enter how a lot time you need your dough to relaxation, knead, rise, and bake. You may set the machine to knead and rise a number of occasions earlier than baking. And this is able to be useful for just about any dough. 

large silver and black breadmaker appliance

The bread maker will take up some substantial counter house.
Credit score: Mallory Minich / Mashable

Is the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus Breadmaker value it? 

This merchandise can be nice for house cooks who need recent bread with out the trouble. I really feel like I’m a kind of individuals who doesn’t have the endurance to knead the bread, let it rise, knead it, let it rise, and so on. The Virtuoso Plus(opens in a brand new tab) helped me give attention to the opposite recipes I wished to make for dinner in order that the recent bread might be a stunning addition. If you happen to’re somebody who already has house bakery expertise, this machine might not go away you with the identical satisfaction. Hold honing your craft. I believe lots of huge households would get pleasure from having this as a result of it might positively find yourself saving you cash and it’s really easy that children might be included within the course of. All in all, I’ve had an exquisite time making recipes utilizing the Virtuoso Plus Breadmaker and I believe it’s a pleasant equipment so as to add to your kitchen.