Zojirushi Virtuoso BB-PAC20

The Zojirushi Virtuoso BB-PAC20 bread machine.

It is a 2016 machine, superseded in the product line by the Virtuoso Plus. I found a refurbished machine in an online store. It is a large, heavy, stable machine. It is quiet, compared to other machines I have owned. It doesn’s rattle and try to dance off the counter. It has been carefully designed with useful features, and appears to have been built to high standards.

It has a 2 lb. horizontal pan with two paddles. The inside measurements  of the pan are 22 cm (9 inches) long by 13 cm (5 inches) wide. The pan is 13 cm (5 inches) high, tall enough for a large (2 lb.) recipe. It is a good length and width to bake a large (2 lb.) loaf.

The base of the pan has a metal rectangle that fits into a rectangle in the base of the pan. There are blade clips at the long ends of the outer rectangle. The pan is pushed into the base to lock, and tilted slightly to unlock. Seating the pan in the base requires some pressure, and some movement to lock the clips. I had to learn how to seat and check the pan. The lid is a rectangle 33 cm. x 22 cm. The outer shell is plastic. It has an inner shell that aligns to the top of pan. It is is a substantial lid, with a long hinge with stops that hold the lid just past vertical when raised. The viewing window in the lid collects a little condensation during the pre-knead rest and in the early minutes of kneading, but clears up. It lets me observe the knead and spot a problem with the dough. Raising the lid turns off the motor, pausing kneading until the lid is lowered into place. This facilitates adding a few grams of flour or water if needed. The pan coating releases the loaf easily at the end of the bake cycle; the paddles stay on the shafts in the pan. It has a delay timer, as most bread machines do, that can be programmed to finish (and start) at a time up to 13 hours after loading and starting the machine. The timer is integrated with a clock, and can be set to time when the bread can be taken out of the machine, which saves the use from the calculations involved with a simple timer.

The following reviews describe and illustrate this machine:. 

The manual recommends wet ingredients be loaded first. This machine uses the usual way of keeping yeast away from the water: the user puts yeast in last, after the flour.

There are bake and dough “courses” (programs).  A dough program has three processes or phases; a bake program has the fourth one:

  • (Initial) Rest – the ingredients come to a common temperature. The heating element, as far as I can tell is used for short intervals but not enough to heat the outside of the machine;
  • Knead: 1. Mix the ingredients together, hydrates the flour; 2. Knead to work the proteins in the flour into gluten;
  • Rise – fermentation. The heating element is deployed to keep yeast at a good temperature on a cooler day. The mixer is deployed for 2 knockdowns in this phase;
  • Bake – the heating element bakes the bread.
Basic bakeRegular Wheat
Rest31 minutes 31-41 minutes
Knead19 minutes22 minutes
Rise
91-95 F
33-35 C
35+30+40 minutes27*+20+20** minutes
*27-37
**20-30
Bake
248-302 F
120-150 C
60 minutes60-70 minutes

There is no setting for loaf size. The manufacturer provides several recipes for large (2 lb.) loaves in the manual; also 1.5 lb. (medium) recipes for Basic White Bread and a few other loaves. I tested the 1.5 lb. (medium) recipe for Basic White Bread. It used 416 g. of bread flour, almost exactly what I use for medium white bread loaves in other recipes. Made with sugar and dry milk, it is a sandwich bread. I put this recipe into a table for future reference.

LoafMediumMedium 85% Medium85% Medium
Zojirushi50% sodium50% sodium33% sodium
ProgramBasic BakeBasic BakeBasic BakeBasic Bake
IngredientWeight [V]Weight [V]/
{water}
B%Weight [V]/
{water}
Weight [V]/
{water}
Yeast
choose one
(Active Dry Yeast) 4.2 g.
Instant Yeast3.6 g.1.8 g.1.5 g.1 g.
Bread Flour416 g.416 g.90333 g.354 g.
Skim Milk Powder9 g. [1.5 tbsp.]9 g. [1.5 T.]
7.2 g. [1 T. + 1/2 tsp.]7.7 g [1 T. + 7/8 tsp]
Sugar35 g.[3 tbsp.]35 g.
[3 tbsp.]
28 g. [2.5 T.]30 g. [2.5 T.]
Total flour/dry460100392
Salt8.4 g.
[1.5 tsp.]
4.2 g.3.6 g.2.4 g.
Butter[2 tbsp.]28 g. [2 T.]
{4 g.}
28 g. [2 T.]
{4 g.}
28 g.|{4 g.} [2 T.]
Water237 g.
[1 cup]
237 g.
189 g.200 g.
Hydration241 g.52193 g204 g

Baking this loaf provided information to work out conversions for recipes from the Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook and other sources. Recipes from the BLBMC recommend 2 tsp.+/- instant dry yeast for 3 cups of bread flour and 1.5+ cups bread flour blended with other flours. For this machine, I only need 65-70% of the instant dry yeast in a BLBMC recipe. The recipe said 1.5 tsp of active dry yeast or 4.2 g. by weight. I thought that the equivalent number was 3.6 g. instant dry yeast.

It can bake a medium (1.5 lb.) lpaf, which is 75% of a large loaf with many doughs if the dough can relax and flow in the pan. It will bake a medium loaf on the default settings. The height of  a medium loaf from the bottom of the pan to top of the loaf at the wall of the pan is about 8 cm at the side of the pan.; to the top of the crowned (domed) top of the loaf, 10-11 cm. Medium loaves may slope but generally will flow and fill the bottom of the pan.

There are three crust choices: light, medium, dark. There is no raisin program. A bake program, by default, sounds a beep to prompt the user to add raisins or other ingredients in the kneading phase. The prompt can be turned off when the machine is set.

It has dough and rapid dough programs. It has a cake program for cake mixes, soda bread, corn bread and other non-yeasted mixes. It has a gluten-free bake program for yeasted gluten-free breads, which has a 17 minute knead phase, and a 35 minute three step rise (rise-knockdown-rise-knockdown-rise) phase.

It provides for saving 3 “Home made courses” (custom programs). Times for initial rest, knead, 3 stages of rise, and bake phases can be set in a range. Temperatures for the rise stages and bake phase can be set in ranges.

It does not have a French or European bread course, a rye bread course or a multigrain course. The manual provides a suggested home-made course and recipes for French bread styles .

This machine supports low sodium baking, as any bread machine does.

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