One of the most important things that a person needs in order to survive in this world is food. This is because food contains various vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that the body needs in order to function. Food can come in many forms and without it, a person cannot survive for long. Food can be prepared in different ways depending on its kind and its complexity. Some forms of food may only take a short time to prepare and cook while other may take even hours and days just to be able to achieve a distinct flavor and texture. While it is ideal for someone to know how to do the basics when it comes to preparing and cooking certain kinds of food, the reality is that not everyone has the time and patience for it.
Especially now that almost everyone is busy and no longer has enough time to carefully prepare his or her own food, various methods of preparing and cooking food have been developed in order to save more time. One of the developments that have been made to cater to the busy lives of people who only have a limited amount of time to prepare and cook is a bread maker. With bread being among the basic foods that can easily fill up the stomach, along with rice that is a staple dish in most Asian countries, the invention and evolution of bread makers is a lifesaver for people who love eating bread but do not have the time and patience to bake it.
If one is looking for the best bread makers, also known as bread machines, one of the best countries in the world that manufacture these is Japan, also known as the Land of the Sun. Bread makers are not only easy to use but also produce soft and considerably presentable bread. Even people who do not know how to bake can make bread from scratch using these Japanese bread makers.
Zojirushi: The Leading Japanese Bread Maker on Amazon
There are several options when it comes to choosing a brand that produces great Japanese bread makers. Among the leading brands when it comes to bread machines is Zojirushi. Zojirushi is one of the leading Japanese brands in terms of bread making on Amazon. While most bread maker machines contain only a single kneading arm, Zojirushi’s bread maker has two of them. As they usually say, two is better than one, and this also applies to kneading arms. A tip in using this bread maker is to pull the paddle off once the baking is done. This is so as to prevent the paddles from being stuck in the loaf. On the other hand, should this occur, just a little twist and turn should do the trick of getting the paddles out.
Another advantage of using this brand of bread maker is that the machine preheats the ingredients to be used for the bread. This results to the yeast coming out correctly without having to wait a long time, which is usual when baking bread traditionally. This feature saves a great amount of time and people who have extremely limited time in their hands would definitely love this feature. One more pro in using this bread maker is that it informs the users when to add in other ingredients for the bread like cheese and other toppings.
One other feature that this brand of bread maker has is the timer. Users can set the timer of the bread maker so as that one may wake up to freshly baked bread. The bread maker machine is also easy to wash. Despite the fact that the bread maker is not made of teflon, this is not an issue as the surface is non-sticky anyway. Although a few bread crusts may stick on the side or the bottom of the bread maker, either a brush or a cloth should do the trick.
The Great Contenders of Breadmakers: Panasonic and Twinbird
A great contender against the Zojirushi bread maker is that of Panasonic. It is also another leading Japanese brand of bread maker on Amazon. The bread cooked using this bread maker results to soft and tasty bread. A great feature of this bread maker machine is that it can also be used to make a wide range of other food products. This includes paste, jam, and udon. Furthermore, it is also known as a great mochi maker. It is like hitting two birds with one stone.
On the other hand, probably a disadvantage of getting the Panasonic Home Bakery is the steep price. Compared to Zojirushi, the Panasonic bread maker may be considered expensive. In addition to that, it also only has a non-English manual. Hence, for people who cannot speak Japanese, it may be a bit of a challenge. Nonetheless, its setting offers a menu for different kinds of bread to bake, such as soft bread, rice bread, rye bread, rapid bread, French bread, and whole wheat bread. Other non-bread options also include cake and jam.
For those who would like to cook not just a single loaf but two at once, they may opt to get the Twinbird Home Bakery. Not only is this bread maker big enough for baking two loaves simultaneously, it also comes with simple features and at a reasonable price. The process of kneading, rising, and baking in this bread maker can be set and adjusted manually. This makes it possible and easier to make pizza dough and other kinds of bread as well. If two loaves are too much, the bread maker also lets the user bake a half loaf, depending on the number of people eating.
Factors in Finding the Ideal Japanese Bread Maker
Because there are several brands and models of Japanese bread makers to choose from, it can be quite confusing as to which among all of them is the best or the ideal bread maker. There are certain key factors that play a role in determining whether a bread maker is a good bread-making machine. The first factor is the design of the bread maker. This considers how easy to use or user-friendly the bread maker is. Some bread makers have control screens and the issue is whether or not they are easy to understand. The size and shape of the pan should also be considered, depending on how many people would the bread maker usually serve.
Speaking of bread pan sizes, they usually vary from 1 to 2 ½ lbs. A single pound of a loaf may already be cut into 8 slices while a 1 ½ pound of a loaf can be cut into 12 slices. Two pounds of a loaf can be cut into 16 to 20 slices. However, for a small family, a 1 ½ pound of a loaf should already be enough.
The second factor is the warranty. Because it is a machine, it may deteriorate over time or malfunction due to a number of reasons. This is why manufacturers of bread makers typically offer warranties that can last from 3 months up to a year after the date of purchase. On the other hand, the lifespan of a bread maker can generally last up to 3 years. Hence, a longer period of warranty would definitely be a plus and should be a consideration when choosing a bread maker.
The third factor is the crust color. There are people who are quite particular about the color of the crust of their bread. These days, most bread makers now incorporate a crust color selection. With this, the user can select the brownness of the crust of their bread. This can be considered an advantage for those who bake hands-on. Last but certainly not the least, the price is another important factor when considering buying a great bread maker. While most people might think that the most expensive is the best, this may not always be the case. There are also affordable ones out there that still provide great features.
Recipes for Cooking with A Bread Maker
There are many recipes that users can try when cooking with a Japanese bread maker. The best recipe for beginners is a simple loaf of bread. Prepping time for this is only about 10 minutes while cooking time may take up to 40 minutes. Simply put 1 cup of warm water (around 110 degrees Fahrenheit or 45 degrees Celsius), 2 tablespoons of white sugar, and 1 package (about 0.25 ounces) of bread machine yeast in the pan of the bread maker. Leave the yeast to dissolve and foam for about 10 minutes. After which, add ¼ cup of vegetable oil, 3 cups of bread flour, and 1 teaspoon of salt to the yeast. On the setting menu, select either Basic of White Bread then press the Start button. After a few hours, the soft bread should be cooked and ready to be eaten.
On the other hand, for those who want to make a more fun kind of food, they can opt to bake jelly doughnuts using a bread maker. Prepping time for this may take a bit longer, which is about 30 minutes, while cooking time may take around 20 minutes. The first step to making these jelly doughnuts is to add 1 cup of warm milk, 1/3 cup of water, 1 beaten egg, 3 tablespoons of melted butter, ¾ cup of white sugar, 4 ½ cups of bread flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 ½ teaspoons of ground nutmeg, and 1 tablespoon of active dry yeast into the pan of the bread maker. The sequence of putting these ingredients should be as recommended by the manufacturer. Select the sweet dough cycle or a setting similar to this on the menu of the bread maker.
After the dough cycle is completed, it is time to remove the dough from the pan and place it on a floured board. Let the dough rest for a good 10 minutes. Then, roll the dough until it reaches a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Cut the dough into an even number of 2 ½-inch rounds using an also floured cookie cutter. Once this task has been completed, put a ½ teaspoon of jam, jelly, or cream in the center of half the number of rounds. Hence, if one has 12 rounds, put the ingredient in the center of 6 rounds. After which, moisten the edges of the rounds with cold water then place the empty rounds on top of the rounds containing jam, jelly, or cream (making it a filled doughnut) and pinch the edges together in a firm manner.
Put them on a greased baking sheet and cover them for the time being. Let them rise in a warm area until the height is doubled. This may take up to about 45 minutes. After which, they are all ready to be cooked. Deep-fry them until the doughnuts rise to the surface, indicating that they are already cooked. This will take only around 2 to 3 minutes so watch over them carefully so as not to overcook them. When removing them from the oil, avoid poking the doughnuts. Let the oil from the doughnuts drain into a paper towel then sprinkle with some powdered sugar on top. They are now ready to be served.
There are definitely many ways to use Japanese bread makers. Not only are they convenient to use especially for people who are too busy or do not have enough time to spare for cooking and baking in an oven, they are also versatile and considerably easy to use. Other ingredients can also be used when making bread using a bread maker, such as wheat and chocolate. Even Hokkaido milk bread and toasts can be cooked using a bread maker. Preparing bread for all seasons, such as in March during the spring season, from June to August during the summer season, and in November with the beginning of the winter season, has never been this easy, with the use of Japanese bread makers.