If you are in the market for a bread maker, it is likely you have already come across the name Zojirushi. In recent years, these machines become known as some of the best bread machines thanks to their brilliant pan size, versatility, and outstanding bread quality.
There are two Zojirushi bread machines in particular that manage to turn plenty of heads: the BB-PDC20BA Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus and the Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery Supreme.
There is no question that both of these bread makers are some of the best on the market, but Zojirushi doesn’t exactly make it easy for us to tell the difference between the two. So what is the difference between them, exactly? And which is better, the Zojirushi Supreme vs Virtuoso Plus?
If you want to see my quick breaks down of the differences between the Zojirushi Supreme and Virtuoso plus here it is:
|Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus||Zojirushi Supreme|
|Capacity||2 Pounds||2 Pounds|
|Bread Pan||Horizontal, Non-Stick||Horizontal, Non-Stick|
|Kneading Blades||Dual Blades, Non-Stick||Dual Blades, Non-Stick|
|Customizable Settings||3 Customizable Settings||3 Customizable Settings|
|Crust Settings||Light, Medium, Dark||Light, Medium, Dark|
|Delayed Timer||13 Hours||13 Hours|
|Course Selection||Numerical Selection||Selection Cycling|
|Accessories||Recipe book, measuring cups for liquid, 4 measuring cups for dry, measuring spoon||Recipe book, measuring cup, measuring spoon, DVD|
|Dimensions||10.5 x 18 x 12.88 inches||12.81 x 13.56 x 18.88 inches|
Who are Zojirushi?
First things first, who is Zojirushi, and where did they come from?
Zojirushi is a Japanese company that manufactures a wide variety of small appliances, including bread makers. The company has been in business for over 100 years and in that time they have built a reputation for making high-quality kitchen appliances. They first started by making glass-lined bottles and have since expanded their product line to include an array of different appliances, including bread makers, coffee makers, rice cookers, and more.
Zojirushi has become a trusted name in the small appliance world and their products are known for being hugely durable, and easy to use.
Difference between Zojirushi Virtuoso and Virtuoso plus?
If you have already been doing some searching for Zojirushi bread machines, then you might have already noticed that there is both a Virtuoso and a Virtuoso Plus model.
The main difference between the Zojirushi Virtuoso vs Virtuoso plus is that the Virtuoso Plus is the new and improved version of the Virtuoso. Many of the differences between the Zojirushi Virtuoso and the Virtuoso Plus are quite similar to the differences between the Plus and the Supreme.
While it is still possible to pick up an older Virtuoso bread machine off a marketplace, like Amazon, it’s worth bearing in mind that Zojirushi has discontinued these machines, so you might struggle to find replacement parts for the Zojirushi Virtuoso.
Zojirushi Supreme vs Virtuoso: The Similarities
To start my Supreme vs Virtuoso comparison, I want to have a look at some of the common similarities these machines share. Seeing that they are made by the same company, it is natural that they will have some similarities.
Here are a few of the most important features these machines share.
Both pans have a capacity of two pounds. This is the standard size for most bread makers on the market and it is large enough to make a loaf of bread big enough to feed a large family.
You can easily make a loaf that yields around 16 slices, which is enough to make 8 sandwiches. If you have a large family with kids that need their sandwiches made every morning, there is plenty of bread to go around.
Horizontal Bread Pan
While you will likely find that many bread makers come with a vertical pan that makes tall and thin bread loaves, both the Supreme and the Virtuoso Plus have a horizontal baking pan.
With a horizontal pan, the bread comes out in a more traditional, rectangular shape, making it ideal for slicing and serving. You also get more bread from a horizontal bread pan. Both bread pans have a non-stick coating that makes it easy to remove the bread and clean it. The great thing is that both pans are BPA-free so you know you are feeding your family healthy and safe loaves.
That said, there is one obvious difference here. The Virtuoso plan clearly has handles, whereas the Supreme does not. This isn’t a huge difference but it does make removing the bread pan slightly easier.
Dual Kneading Blades
If you have already done your fair share of bread maker research, I’m sure you know that many machines come with just one kneading blade. One of my favorite features of these Zojurishi machines is that they both come with two kneading blades. This is a feature that all bread machines with horizontal bread pans have.
The dual blade setup does a significantly better job of mixing and kneading dough compared to the single-blade pan, resulting in a more evenly mixed loaf of bread. You are less likely to end up with pockets of flour or other ingredients that didn’t get mixed in properly.
The kneading blades on both machines have a non-stick coating that makes it easy to remove them from under the loaf and it is easier to clean them. The coating should last a few years without needing to replace the blades.
Both the Supreme and the Virtuoso Plus have customizable settings that let you make your bread just the way you like it. All Zojirushi bread makers can also be customized to bake at high altitudes.
On top of the preprogrammed settings that both machines have, you can also store up to 3 of your own settings. This allows you to completely customize the knead, rise, and baking times.
Once you store your preferred settings, both bread makers will remember them and you can use them at any time. Customizable settings work particularly well if you are making bread that requires longer rising like sourdough.
Both the Virtuoso and the Supreme have three different crust settings- light, medium and dark. Three-crust settings are typical with most bread makers and it gives you more control over making your bread exactly how you like it.
The crust setting controls how long the bread bakes for, as well as how hot the heaters get.
For a light crust, the bread will have a shorter bake time and won’t get as hot. This results in a more delicate crust that is softer to the touch. A medium crust has a longer bake time and gets hotter, resulting in a crispier crust that is still soft on the inside. A dark crust has the longest bake time and gets the hottest, resulting in a harder crust that is crunchy.
Both bread makers come with a delayed timer that can be set for up to 13 hours. This is a common feature on most bread machines and it is very useful if you want to have fresh bread in the morning but don’t want to get up early to start the machine.
You can delay the cycle so that it starts baking at a time that is more convenient for you.
Another similarity between the Supreme and the Virtuoso Plus is that they both have a viewing window.
This feature lets you check on the bread without opening the lid and releasing heat. The viewing window is large enough to see inside so you can monitor the progress of your bread.
LCD Control Panel
The control panel on both the Supreme and the Virtuoso Plus is very user-friendly. The buttons are clearly labeled and easy to press. You can easily navigate through the menu to find the setting you want. The LCD display is large and easy to read.
Even if this is your first time using a bread maker, you’ll have no trouble understanding how to use it.
Zojirushi Supreme vs Virtuoso: The Differences
As you can see, both machines are very similar and share a lot of the same characteristics. One thing to keep in mind is that the Virtuoso Plus is the newer machine of the two, so there are bound to be a few differences.
The Virtuoso Plus was released in 2016, while Supreme has been on the market for a few decades now.
The majority of bread makers out there only have one heater that runs around the bottom of the machine. This can cause uneven browning with the bottom being nice brown and the top pale.
The Virtuoso Plus takes the lead over the Supreme when it comes to the heater elements. The Virtuoso Plus has an additional heater in the lid, something that is found on very few other bread makers.
This extra heater helps to ensure that the top and bottom of your bread are evenly browned, resulting in a perfect-looking loaf.
The number of settings you get with each bread machine differs from one another. The Virtuoso Plus comes with 15 pre-programmed settings that change the kneading, rising, and baking time depending on the setting you have chosen.
The Plus has a white, rapid white, whole wheat, rapid whole wheat, European, multigrain, gluten-free, salt-free, sugar-free, vegan, dough, sourdough starter, cake, jam and the homemade memory setting. All these settings can easily be navigated to with the LCD panel and soft-touch buttons.
The Plus has all 15 settings numbered and named on the top of the machine. To find the right settings using the panel, just navigate through the numbers.
The Supreme has 10 preset programs to choose from; basic, basic wheat, basic dough, quick white, quick wheat, quick dough, jam, cake, sourdough starter and homemade.
You do get more with the Virtuoso Plus but with the 3 customizable settings that the Supreme offers, you can still make a wide variety of bread even if there is no dedicated program.
If you do want to make bread without salt or sugar, for example, you can still make this in the Supreme without needing a specific setting. So yes, the Virtuoso Plus is more versatile, but a lot of the additional settings are not necessarily required and will not prevent you from making certain types of bread.
The Supreme does not display the different settings on the machine as the Plus does.
Both bread makers include additional accessories that will help you along the baking process.
The Plus has a cookbook that includes 50 recipes to choose from, a measuring cup for liquids, 4 measuring cups for dry ingredients, and a small spoon for salt and yeast.
The Supreme has a recipe booklet, measuring cup, and spoon. It does have fewer accessories than the Plus, but the Supreme does have a DVD with instructions on how to use the machine. This is quite outdated as you can find plenty of YouTube videos on how to use the bread maker, so the DVD doesn’t add much value.
Size and Appearance
I have to admit, neither machine looks particularly nice. They both look very old and let’s be honest, you aren’t buying them for their look.
The Supreme has a stainless steel body and a black top part of the machine. The top section is angled with the viewing window, screen and control panels all positioned on the angled side.
The Virtuoso Plus also has a stainless steel body. The viewing window and panel are positioned on the top of the machine rather than on the side. On the Plus, you will also find a list of all the settings.
In terms of dimensions, the Plus is 10.5 x 18 x 12.88 inches and the Supreme is 12.81 x 13.56 x 18.88. Both machines are not exactly compact and you do need space to store these.
The Supreme does come out slightly bigger than the Plus, so if space is an issue, then the Plus might fit a bit better in a smaller kitchen.
Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus vs Supreme: Who Won?
By now, you probably have a better idea as to which one you will go for. Both machines are exceptional at making bread and have upheld their reputation in the bread making world for years now.
As you can see, there is not much that separates these two machines aside from the number of settings and the dual heating element on the Virtuoso Plus. If you follow a gluten-free diet, you will probably lean more towards the Plus as the Supreme does not have a gluten-free cycle.
Another factor to take into consideration is the price. Both Zojirushi bread makers are not exactly the most budget-friendly on the market. If they are not on sale, they can set you back around $400. But it’s a small price to pay for fresh, top-quality bread.