Best Bread Machine Ever!!!
This machine has produced a perfect "store bought" sized loaf every time with wonderful flavor, texture and crust browning. My husband was concerned about the paddle holes, but they are very small and hardly noticeable. The instruction booklet and CD video were very informative and made the machine quite easy to use. After viewing hints on the web, I would recommend first dissolving the yeast and sugar in warm water (right in the machine) for 10 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients. You can then disable the "rest" cycle (page 9 of the instruction booklet), which will automatically subtract about 30 minutes from your completion time. Although this is contrary to the machine instructions, I find the bread rises without fail using this method, especially when making cinnamon raisin bread, as cinnamon will naturally prohibit the yeast. Also found dredging the raisins (no presoaking necessary) in the flour and adding them with the flour in the beginning, rather than waiting for the "add ingredients beep signal" kept the raisins well dispersed throughout the loaf. Storing the bread sealed in large gallon Ziploc bags kept the bread fresh longer than store bought bread, which is always a problem for us in humid Florida. The bread slides out of the baking pan with ease and the pan barely needs any clean up. The machine has a large footprint because it bakes horizontal loaves, but matches our stainless steel appliances and is featured predominantly on our counter beside the toaster and looks beautiful! Just a wonderful addition to any kitchen and we love the smell of baking bread! My past experience with a bread machine was many years ago, but I just could never learn to love the tall, unusual looking loaves, so specifically researched machines that make the horizontal loaves. This machine is everything I was looking for and more, especially with bread prices up to almost $4 a loaf! Any leftovers from loaves (we are only a family of 2) are stored in the freezer for later use to make bread pudding or croutons! Looking forward to making meatloaf and experimenting with different recipes, as well as making loaves and jam (Yes, this machine makes jam!) for friends and family for holiday gifts. My husband is a wonderful cook in his own right and has owned restaurants, but I don't think he will "take over" my Zojirushi Virtuoso. He is a bit mystified by my precise measuring of ingredients and not a big direction follower...but that's fine by me...he thinks the bread is wonderful and that I am a magical bread baker now! Highly recommended by a 55 year old woman who hadn't baked a loaf of bread in over 20 years! Buy yourself this wonderful machine, but be careful...your family will ask you to make bread every day!
I recommend this product.