> I did tons of research when I first bought mine and LOVE my Panasonic. It is
> two or three years old now, but I still use it regularly. Good features:
> separate yeast dispenser, wheat bread cycle.
> Also good: National and Zoris<something>. Williams-Sonoma is a good source
> for a reliable, albeit expensive, machine.
Zojirushi :) I think it's Japanese for "large elephant". I've had the
top of the line Zoji now for about 4 years (or more, I'm losing track).
It's expensive, but if you choose this brand, buy the top of the line.
It does everything for you (preheats, allows you to program your own
bread cycle, has whole wheat cycle, etc) and has 2 kneading rods (one
stationary, one that moves) so your bread texture is excellent.
I never cook in my machine, though. I love working with dough--I just
got the abm to save me some time since when I bought it my kids were all
preschoolers and I didn't always have time to knead! I use the dough
cycle, and shape into French style loaves, regular loaves, or rolls,
etc. I use the same dough for all types of bread and no one ever
complains. I also bought a huge loaf pan from King Arthur in order to
make the size loaves the stores carry called "sandwich loaf" -- you know
those long loaves? Works nice for making school lunches.
Here's the recipe I always make. It's my own :)
1 to 1 1/4c water (or milk, or veg stock, soymilk, any liquid you want)
1 1/2t salt (I use iodized sea salt)
1 1/2T sweetener (sugar, honey, corn syrup, molasses, whatever you want)
1 1/2T applesauce
1T gluten (or King Arthur's Bread Machine Boost)
1c oatmeal (quick cooking, regular, steel cut or any other grain--I use
2 1/2c bread flour
You'll get best results with lots of machines loading this way--liquid,
dry ingredients, then flour, then yeast. Remember to never let the
yeast and salt touch in your abm for best rising results. Also, do not
wash your bread pan with soap--which can leave residues behind that keep
dough from rising for some time.
I've never washed my bread pan with anything but a scrubbie pad and
plain water. Since I don't use animal products, I don't worry about it.