Sometimes it’s a delight to tear your hair out wondering which bread maker to choose. I had that experience when trying to decide between the Zojirushi BB-CEC20 and the BB-PAC20. It was a delight because, in the end, I may be bald but I knew I couldn’t really go wrong.
|Delay Timer||up to 13 hrs||up to 13 hrs|
|LCD Control Panel|
|Crust Control||3 options||3 options|
|Custom Baking Cycles||3||3|
|Rapid Bake Program|
|White Bread Program|
|Whole Wheat Bread Program|
|Gluten Free Bread Program|
|Dough Maker Program|
|Accessories||measuring cup & spoon||measuring cup & spoon|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||17″x 8 1/2″ x 12 1/4″||18" x 10 1/2" x 12 7/8"|
|Weight||17 lbs||22.5 lbs|
|Where to buy?||Best Price||Best Price|
Basic Design and Specs
The basic designs of the Zojirushi BB-CEC20 and the BB-PAC20 would make it nearly impossible to choose between them.
The BB-CEC20 measures 17″ W x 8 1/2″ D x 12 1/4″ high. The BB-PAC20 is 18″ wide x 10 1/2″ deep x 12 7/8″ high. Add about six inches to the height for the lid when opened, for each model. That’s not enough difference to influence most buyers, though admittedly that extra depth on the newer model is beneficial.
Similarly, each unit offers 700 watts of baking power. That’s plenty to get the job done in either case for even the toughest recipes. But the BB-PAC20 goes a little bit beyond in subtle, but important ways.
The most significant is the extra heater in the lid. Many otherwise happy buyers of the BB-CEC20 noted that sometimes the crust just wasn’t getting the kind of uniform, lovely brown they wanted. The relatively large viewing window was part of the reason; it leaks a little more heat than the metal case. The BB-PAC20, despite an even larger viewing window, solves that problem nicely.
Both models offer the same Light, Medium, and Dark crust control – as does virtually every other quality bread maker on the market. But the BB-PAC20’s lid heater helps out, particularly on the darker settings. The dual kneading blades of each model helps doubly ensure an even mix throughout, which also affects the crust.
Another ‘dual’ aspect of the newer BB-PAC20 is its twin handles. That’s a convenience aspect, chiefly, since it makes it far easier to remove the pan. But it also helps prevent spills from carrying a hot baking pan from the bread maker to a cutting board. Neither model has a carrying handle for the whole unit, à la the much smaller BB-HAC10.
Both models house a 13-hour timer, settable in 10 minutes increments. The BB-PAC20 once again takes things a step farther by offering the ability to set the completion time as well. You can set a time of day rather than just the number of hours ahead. No longer do you have to test your math skills at 8:25 p.m. by figuring out how to finish baking at 7:15 a.m. the following morning.
Another welcome addition is the BB-PAC20’s Auto Pause feature. You can now easily stop the kneading blades from turning when the lid is opened. That lets you check the consistency of the dough or even do a little custom shaping before continuing on to the bake interval of the program.
The menu isn’t just apparently easier to read on the newer model though the BB-CEC20’s display is fine, it really has more settings.
Both models offer the usual pre-programmed options – for White, Wheat, Cake, and a number of other recipes that are fairly standard these days. But the BB-PAC20 bests the BB-CEC20 even here by adding to the list in some truly smile-inducing ways.
One is the addition of a Gluten Free option. That style of bread is notoriously difficult to make well with a bread maker. It requires just the right ingredients, kneading, and timing to produce a good rise and a fluffy loaf.
The BB-PAC20 does a fine job of it and reduces the need for a lot of ‘hand holding’ to produce a good gluten-free loaf. And, if you look through the instruction manual (which offers 50 pages of guidance, illustrations, photos, and recipes), you’ll find 10 different Gluten-Free recipes that all look yummy. Definitely will be trying out some of those!
Oddly, neither model has a pre-programmed setting for French Bread, Pasta, or Cookie Dough. What’s even odder is that the fine but relatively low-end BB-HAC10 does have them.
Still, if that’s your preference, not to despair. The BB-PAC20 has a way to make them that does not require a lot of repeated manual effort. It houses three Custom options that let you record your own tailored settings.
You can select the time for a rest cycle, or eliminate it entirely. You can adjust the time for a shaping session if you want to sculpt your dough or just remove the kneading paddles to eliminate holes in the loaf. You choose the length of the rise cycle. You pick the baking time or even the “keep warm” interval.
When you’re done you don’t have to select everything again. The next time through the BB-PAC20 will take care of everything, just like it does for the 10 pre-programmed settings. That ability lets the model ‘take care’ of novices but still provide the flexibility that experienced bread chefs demand.
Now for the comparison: the BB-CEC20
Well, luckily, reviewer’s frustration can easily morph into reviewer’s delight. When it comes to choosing between the Zojirushi BB-PAC20 and the BB-CEC20 it’s a no brainer. You’ll be delighted with either bread maker. Hmmm… if only I’d known that at the beginning I’d still have all my hair…