Makes delicious bread
Easy to use—no mixing required!
Compact design takes up little space
Small loaf capacity
Doesn’t have a gluten-free setting
Kneading blade gets stuck in the bread
We purchased the Zojirushi BB-HAC10 Home Bakery Mini Breadmaker so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
There’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh bread wafting through your kitchen, but who has time to wake up early to carefully mix the dough and babysit a loaf as it proofs for hours? In the name of saving time, we set out to see if the Zojirushi BB-HAC10 Home Bakery Mini Breadmaker could give us delicious, freshly baked bread without a lot of effort. We tested all its major settings by making several different types of breads, from basic white to gluten-free. Want to know how the Zojirushi fared? Read on for the details.
Design: Compact and easy to store
The Zojirushi Mini Breadmaker is taller than it is wide—a design that minimizes its footprint on the countertop. The machine measures 8-1/2 x 11-1/4 x 12-1/4 inches and takes up about as much space as a blender, so it doesn’t feel intrusive if you decide to keep it on your counter.
However, if you prefer to store the breadmaker when it’s not in use, the machine comfortably fits in most standard cabinets. It also has a carrying handle attached to the body that makes it easy to move in and out of storage.
The entire machine is white, with the exception of the control panel that sits on the front. It has a small screen in the center with buttons to control mode, crust type, and time, and there are separate buttons to switch modes from bread-making to dough, cake, or jam.
The small bread baking pan that sits inside of the machine is sturdy and well-made, but the handle is a little flimsy. When removing the baking pan from the machine, you have to twist to unlock it. This isn’t hard when the baking pan is empty, but when there’s a loaf of bread in it and the pan is hot, we were forced to rely on the handle, which felt like it was bending as we pulled.
Features: All the basics
The Zojirushi Mini Breadmaker has eight major settings: basic bread, soft bread, French bread, dough, cookie/pasta dough, cake, jam, and quick bread, all of which bake into 1-pound loaves. Within the basic bread setting, you can also choose whether you want your loaf to be regular or firm.
We were disappointed to see that there was no dedicated gluten-free setting, but the recipe booklet does have instructions for one gluten-free bread variation that you can make using the basic bread setting.
Since some of the bread cycles can take five hours to bake, there’s also a 13-hour delay timer that you can use to set up the machine overnight. That way, your fresh bread is ready to go first thing in the morning—or whenever you want it.
Performance: Exceptional once you get the hang of it
We started our testing by making the basic white bread. The user manual includes a simple recipe, and it indicates to add the ingredients to the baking pan in the order listed. Because there’s no mixing required, the entire process takes less than 10 minutes, as long as you have all your ingredients ready to go.
After dumping all our ingredients in the baking pan, we programmed the machine to its regular baking cycle, which takes about 3.5 hours. The bread rose beautifully and was perfectly soft and fluffy, but the crust was a little crispier than we would have liked.
The bread rose beautifully and was perfectly soft and fluffy, although the crust was a little crispier than we would have liked.
A word to the wise: There are explicit instructions to make sure the yeast is sprinkled in the center of the flour and doesn’t touch any liquid, and this matters more than you may think. For our second loaf, another white bread, we purposely sprinkled the yeast all over and let some of it touch the water on the bottom just to see what would happen. The joke was on us, because the loaf came out dense and only rose to half the height of our first loaf, despite being the same recipe.
We also tried the French bread option—a cycle that took five hours. The French bread didn’t rise as well as the white bread, but it had a nice crust and flavor. We had the most trouble with the gluten-free bread, which was dense and hard and barely rose at all. This may not necessarily be a testament to the machine itself though, as gluten-free breads are notoriously difficult, but if gluten-free loaves are your main goal, you’ll likely have to play around with recipe and settings to find the sweet spot.
About 30 minutes into each cycle, the machine beeped to let us know it was time to add mix-ins like nuts or raisins, and every time its bread cycle finished, the machine beeped repeatedly to let us know that the bread was ready. It then turned to a “Keep Warm” mode that keeps the bread hot (but not baking) for an additional hour.
The biggest struggle in using this bread machine was removing the bread from the baking pan. On our first go, we followed the manufacturer’s instructions exactly: We removed the baking pan from the bread machine, turned it upside down, and shook to release the loaf. No luck. We shook harder. Still no luck.
To get the bread out, we actually had to physically pull it from the pan, which dented the top of the loaf a little bit. Once the loaf finally came out, we realized that the kneading blade had baked into the bottom crust and that’s why it was stuck in the machine. To get the kneading blade out, we had to cut into the bottom of the loaf and pull it, which left a large hole in the bottom of the bread. This didn’t affect its taste, of course, but it did affect the bread’s aesthetic, especially when sliced.
To get the bread out, we actually had to physically pull it from the pan, which dented the top of the loaf a little bit.
We thought maybe it was a user error, but the same thing happened on all subsequent loaves. In some cases, the kneading blade was really jammed in there and we had to cut it out. In other cases, the bottom was exposed and we could pull it out. Neither situation was ideal, especially since the blade and bread were piping hot, but in the grand scheme of things, we thought it was only a mino rinconvenience, especially since this seems to be an issue with other bread machines, too.
Included Accessories: Just the basics
There aren't a lot of extras included with the Zojirushi Mini bread machine, but it does come with a liquid measuring cup and dry measuring spoon. The liquid measuring cup works well with the recipes in the user manual—for instance, several of the recipes call for 7/8 cup of liquid and, unlike standard measuring cups, the included tool has this marking to make this odd measurement quick and easy.
The dry measuring spoon, on the other hand, is double-sided. One side is a teaspoon, and the other side is a tablespoon. While it the spoon did come in handy, most of the recipes call for 1/2 teaspoon or 1/2 tablespoon. Since there’s no markings on the spoon for 1/2 measurements, you either have to estimate (never ideal in baking) or pull out your own measuring spoon set. We decided to use our own set because we wanted to make sure our measurements were accurate. This isn’t a big deal, but it would have been nice if the included spoon had the measurements needed for at least the most basic bread recipes.
The breadmaker also comes with an instructional DVD and a user manual complete with operating instructions, recipes, troubleshooting instructions, and a bread-making Q&A. It also has step-by-step instructions on how to use all the different functions, as well as a detailed overview of common bread ingredients and what they do for the finished loaf. Initially, we were a little overwhelmed with all of the information, but as we started using the bread machine and getting acquainted with how it works, the directions seemed more straightforward.
Price: A fair investment
With a retail price of around $230, the Zojirushi Mini Breadmaker might give you sticker shock at first, but the price is actually average for a high-quality bread machine. While you can get a bigger machine for less money, it might not produce the same quality results, and the compact size makes the Zojirushi Mini appealing, especially if you have a smaller kitchen.
Competition: Larger machines for larger loaves
Zojirushi Virtuoso Breadmaker: If you’re partial to this brand but unsure if the Mini Breadmaker will cut it, the Zojirushi Virtuoso is another viable option. The Virtuoso has many similar features to the Mini, but it boasts a 2-pound bread capacity and comes equipped with two kneading blades so everything mixes and bakes evenly. The retail price of the Zojirushi Virtuoso is around $360, so it’s definitely an upgrade, but if you have a larger family to feed, the extra cost may be worth the time you save baking multiple smaller loaves.
Breville Custom Loaf Bread Maker: If you want the ability to make different sized loaves, the Breville Custom Loaf Bread Maker gives you the option to choose between 1-, 1.5-, 2-, and 2.5-pound loaves. Plus, unlike the Zojirushi machines, the Breville has pre-programmed cycles (and included recipes) for both gluten-free and yeast-free breads. However, it will cost you a little more—the Breville retails for around $260—so you have to decide if the additional features are worth the higher price tag.
- Product Name Home Bakery Mini Breadmaker
- Product Brand Zojirushi
- Price $229.99
- Weight 14.25 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 8.5 x 12.25 x 11.25 in.
- Color White
- Model Number BB-HAC10
- Electrical Rating 120 volts
- Warranty 1 year