It's no secret that I LOVE my bread machine! I've had one almost as long as I've been married. My first one was the ultimate basic machine. I think it was a Westbend, but I can't remember for sure. It just had two settings and wasn't terribly exciting, but it worked. Back then I didn't use it very often, because I just didn't realize how wonderful fresh bread could be.
I came across a Hitachi machine at a yard sale after we'd been married several years. I paid $30 for it, and thought that was a great deal, since it had barely been used and even had the book with it. I gave a good friend my original machine and started using this one much more frequently, because it had so many more options, including a timer. This was about 12 years ago. I still have the Hitachi, but it currently sits in my linen closet as a "backup" machine.
The star of my kitchen has been a Zojirushi machine. I found it about 3 years after I bought the Hitachi. I liked how it was set up better, but it was at a rummage sale marked that it didn't work. It was only $3, so I decided to take a chance. I got home and it wouldn't turn on. Determined, I looked the entire unit over and found a button on the machine marked "reset." I pressed it and nothing happened. I pressed it again, this time holding it down for a few seconds. The machine beeped and came to life! I've been using it ever since, and it's been about 10 years! Not a bad investment, eh???
My Zojirushi is still going strong, but it doesn't beep anymore (I don't know why - it actually does every now and then, but less and less frequently). Now and then the kneading blade doesn't turn without my fussing with it, but it does still work fine! I've been contemplating bringing back out the Hitachi soon, even though I'm not sure how well it will work after all this time, but I really do like my Zoji!
Today was a fun day. The kids and I went to a few thrift stores for fun. I found a few things I needed for good prices, and at the second one, I was browsing the kitchen area when a box caught my eye. I tend to look at bread machines, since mine is getting older, and this one was in a box, so I had to look at it. I took the items off that were piled on top, and gasped when I saw that the box said "Zojirushi" on it! I took the box off the shelf and was absolutely shocked to see that the original plastic was still on the machine, and it was surrounded by styrofoam that housed the machine, a measuring spoon, a measuring cup, a video (!!) and all the original paperwork. This fantastic kitchen item has never been removed from the box!
I got home and looked up the model. I can still buy it. It's a $250 machine, but can be purchased on sale for $214.95. For the same thing I'd have received for that much, I paid $12.99. Period. Thrift stores here don't charge tax. I felt a little guilty buying it since technically I don't NEED another bread machine, but knowing how well the Zojis work, and how long they last, and the fact that this is NEW, I just had to buy it! It's also a traditional style machine, and makes an actual loaf-shaped loaf of bread. I love that! I might even bake in the machine more than I do with my current square-shaped loaf machine - I usually use the dough cycle.
Right now I have two Zojis working in my kitchen. I decided to try a loaf of bread baked in the new one to see how it comes out. My old model is mixing up the pizza dough for dinner tonight. I feel like a bread machine junkie, but it's great! Now I just have to find a home for my old Zoji. It still works, and probably will for some time. I wish I knew someone who needed it!