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Unmodified Bread Machine Roaster
This is my first post here. I'm fairly new to roasting coffee. I began back in April.

I've been doing all of my roasting with an IR2, but decided to give outdoor roasting a shot. It's too cold here most of the year to roast outdoors, but for five or so months a year, it seemed like having a bigger batch option would be nice.

My choice was to roast using a bread machine/heat gun combination, using an oldish (1999) model 5820 Sunbeam 2 pound bread making machine. I set it on the dough cycle, which will knead bread/stir beans for 20 minutes.

A smarter person might have taken the plastic housing off of it, and then modded in some insulation, but I thought that the housing already had built in insulation, I could aim the heat gun in the middle pretty well, and, what the heck, if I fried the machine, it's the kind you can replace for $5 at any thrift store in town. I did have a fire extinguisher on the ready, just in case.

I'll probably drop in a thermocouple, for future roasts, but this was easy, and it was a treat to see the beans develop.

I cooled using a really powerful stand fan, which had a very nice feature: the fan housing rotates 90 degrees so it can blow straight up. I tossed the very hot beans in a wire strainer, and 90 seconds later they were entirely cooled.

I only roasted 3/4 of a pound of beans, but after watching the way the bread machine moves the beans, and knowing that I have 20 minutes for roasting in it, I would be comfortable doubling that amount.

My heat gun was a cheapie--$34.00 CAD.

There are pictures and a longer explanation on my weblog at:
Edited by Dan on 12/09/2006 8:14 AM
taming, I love it! s:1

Admin PeterZ and I are both big breadmachine fans. It's great to see someone else take it on.

I hope you will keep us posted on your results as you break this one in.
I know you will have amazingly evenly roasted beans.

Keep checking back with us. In the not-to-distant future we will be offering an opportunity to submit roasts for feedback on technique.
See the teaser over on the Roast Around thread.

Edited by David on 08/19/2006 1:10 PM

Great, informative post. Looks like you have things well in-hand. How did the roast turn out - in the cup?

It looks like you are breaking some new ground! I had my first coffee roasted this way this morning. I was very impressed with the results. I have used the HG/DB method before. I can see how the bread machine would make it easier. Welcome to the group!

In the Shoutbox, taming said:
>You can only count on outdoor roasting weather here between
>late May and September, but it is nice to have that option.

I have found the the depth of the loafpan gives a lot of shelter from the cold. A larger adversary is the wind. The heat gun has to be boosted up a bit to compensate for the cooler input air temperatures, too. So, if the Roaster (Roastess) can stand the cold, you won't have to stay in the kitchen.


I'm biased, of course, but I think you're really onto a great way of roasting.
Please stay in touch.

I'm sure there will be days/weeks here and there when I could do some adapting and roast outside in the winter, but we have fairly long stretches of time when it is -20 to -40 (C), and even if I could get the equipment to work, I could not stand out there for the time needed to set-up, roast, and cool.

One possibility would be to load the equipment up and take it to my husband's office. He is the head computer wonk (actually called Director of Business Systems) for an oil services company, and their shop is huge. Usually it is full of really big trucks and people, but on the weekend, my roasting wouldn't disturb anyone.

I haven't really tried my first bread machine batch. I roasted up a batch of Harar Horse the day before, and I wanted to drink day 4 of that this morning. I will make up a stove top espresso (moka pot) of the bread machine beans later today. I sampled a bit yesterday, and it was fine, but needed another day of rest, like most lighter roasts seem to want.

If my tasting goes well today, I'll give a big bunch of these beans to various folks, so that I will "need" to roast again Monday or so.



taming wrote:
If my tasting goes well today, I'll give a big bunch of these beans to various folks, so that I will "need" to roast again Monday or so.

That's the spirit!! s:2
Well, I'm now 30 or so roasts in to using my unmodded bread machine, and it seems, an update is long overdue.

First of all, I find myself going to great lengths to use the BM/HG roasting method instead of my IR2. I'm pretty sure the roasts taste better in the bread machine largely because of my ability to control the ramp up to first crack and then to prolong the time between first and second using the heat gun.

In any case, some of my roasts, now that the cold weather has set in, have been done at -20C in my unheated garage, and as long as I wave the heat gun around the very cold bread machine, for a bit, it works just fine. Yes, I know I could carry the bread machine into the house after I'm done and avoid this part, but I am a lazy roaster.

I'm using a very inexpensive heat gun, with only two speeds. I half expected this to be a problem, but it isn't. In fact, it is much lighter than some of the better heat guns, and I find that very advantageous. It has survived several drops onto concrete.

What seems to work best for me, is to bring the beans into first crack using the heat gun on high (the 1500 watt setting), and then when 1st is really popping, bring it down to the 1000 watt setting. My goal is to maintain the temp, but not really increase it for a bit. After about 4 minutes maintaining (this varies with the bean), I then turn it back on high, if I am going for a darker roast, and finish the roast. If I am going for a lighter roast, I never get to that part, and will stop the roast either shortly after first crack has truly finished, or at some other point along the way.

My first roast was done with 3/4 pounds of beans. I routinely roast with almost twice that amount now, and just to see if it could be done, once did a kilo roast successfully. The only thing to remember is that as the roast pan gets fuller, as the beams expand, I have to adjust the heat gun position so that it never gets too close to the beans.

I was somewhat concerned about the dough cycle giving me a long enough window to roast larger quantities. If I let the cycle finish, the roaster does not want to start a new one right away. However, if I briefly turn off the machine (I am talking 2 seconds or there about), the cycle simply resets, and I am good to go again. When I roasted the kilo, I paused it about 6 minutes in, let it reset, and gained more than enough time to do a FC+ roast.

I also took my heat gun with me on holidays, and successfully roasted in a number of other bread machines. I did check to make sure that each of those machines had an all metal stirring apparatus, as some bread machines do not.

I am so pleased with this method of roasting, that I have asked for the things I need to roast this way inside. I have a fairly good sized closet in our lower level, with a window. The plan is to install a good kitchen exhaust fan in that closet, and vent it out the window. Then I will put the bread machine on a swing out shelf (think about one of those things meant to mount a CRT-style TV). When the roast is done, I will swing it away, thus revealing my fan cooling setup that was lurking beneath the movable shelf and the exhaust fan.

Santa is supposed to be bringing me the pieces parts for this. I think I have been good enough to get them ;). I'll post pics when I have it all set-up.

Edited by taming on 12/06/2006 9:56 AM
Hey Vicki!!!

Great Job!


Eddie Dove

The South Coast Coffee Roaster
vita non est vivere sed valere vita est
Home Coffee Roasting Blog and Reference


taming wrote:
First of all, I find myself going to great lengths to use the BM/HG roasting method instead of my IR2. I'm pretty sure the roasts taste better in the bread machine largely because of my ability to control the ramp up to first crack and then to prolong the time between first and second using the heat gun.

Total control of the roast. Awesome, isn't it?

-20 degrees, Wow! Shock

taming, you're definitely hardcore. s:1
Vicki, Great first post and story! Thanks for sharing it. I prefer larger roast batches, too.

Your image was loading slowly (or not at all), so I copied it over to the Homeroasters server. I added the image of your cooling rig, too.

Thanks Dan, I changed servers yesterday, and added in some protection to keep my images from being hotlinked. I forgot that I had posted pictures here. I just added homeroasters. org to my server whitelist, so I can post images that work here again.

Here is a winter roasting picture. Please note that not only is my bread machine unmodded, but with the addition of a vertical chicken roaster ( for the famous beer can chicken), it is also hands free, as the chicken roaster holds the heat gun. I actually prefer to wave the HG around. Moving it closer or further away from the beans gives me more control, but hands free is a nice option.

I know it probably seems silly to write this much about an unmodified bread machine roaster, but when I was trying to figure out how to roast bigger batches using a method that gave me more control than my IR2, the mods that involved rewiring and other workshop things seemed beyond me.

I'm guessing that I'm not the only one who feels this way.
Edited by taming on 12/09/2006 10:37 PM


taming wrote: I know it probably seems silly to write this much about an unmodified bread machine roaster

Not silly at. I think your post will give encouragement to a lot of folks who are not satisfied with their current roaster. The humble bread machine opens up a path to much bigger roasts due to its vigoorous agitation of the beans and deep roasting chamber.

The key modification you have made for your roaster is the hands-free device for managing the heat gun. That's a gem!! Thanks for posting, taming.


"Deepdish Dogbowl"
in Atlanta, where we can't even spell "twenty below zero"
On the SM list today, PeterZ (and others) spoke about using a hair dryer to cool the beans. I suppose I could pull the heat gun and trade it out for one of those to cool the beans in the vertical chicken roaster. I'd want to lift the bread pan out of the housing--all that insulation would retard cooling.

As I said, I prefer waving the heat gun about, but I have a disability that makes hands free a nice option. For about $20 you can buy a stand meant to be used for a hair dryer. It would be more adjustable, in terms of the distance from the bean mass.

I tried the hands free for my second roast, I think, and use it now from time to time. It's quite the conversation piece. I'm betting there are more people doing bread machine-heat gun-chicken roaster coffee shtuff here in Red Deer, Alberta than any place else on earth LOL.
Edited by taming on 12/10/2006 2:39 PM


I'm betting there are more people doing bread machine-heat gun-chicken roaster coffee shtuff here in Red Deer, Alberta than any place else on earth LOL.

Spreading the word! A new, Homeroaster User Group (HUGS) in Canada! H)

Looks like we need a new category in the HUGS Forums for our friends to the North.

taming...fascinating new process you have come up with - - congrats.

c:5 im happy to be member with you c:3

hi iwill wrght about aluminum coock ware as soon as ican
I'm pretty sure I didn't come up with anything new. Various people had been using bread machines for quite awhile. I know that when I started investigating home roasting, I was amazed at the highly modified bread machines I saw in various places on the web. I'm willing to bet that there has always been a small group of people using un-modified machines, but they are just so un-glamorous and lo-tech that no one bothered posting pictures or writing about them.

It's interesting that a woman in Australia started posting about her unmodified bread machine roasting about the same time I did. It may be sexist to say this, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the reason both of us didn't modify the machines is that we were both familiar with using the machines to make bread, so we both understood things like how to capture the strengths of the dough cycle and how to extend the time in that cycle (when needed--a fairly rare thing) without messing with the internal controls.

The CoffeeSnobs group in OZ was e so impressed by what they believed to be her invention that they named the method after her nickname and thus was born "a Coretto roaster". Somehow, it never occurred to me to call it a "Smith", but as the plain brown wrapper of coffee roasting toys, it might have been a good fit.

Mike: I'd love it if we could start a hugs Canada group. It's a huge country, but getting a central place for us to talk about roasting in Canada would be terrific.
Edited by taming on 12/17/2006 9:54 AM
taming, if you don't watchout, a Canada HUGS group might appear on this forum! Shock

Having a Virtual Place to meet may serve until you get your TransCanada
Bullet Train up and going. s:4

I have a couple of DAK/Welbuilts that have built-in cooling blowers to keep the loaf from turning into a biscuit after they're done baking.

The best way to extract/cool the beans after a roast would be for me to use a shop vac hooked up to a cyclone. Otherwise I'd have to upend the whole machine to dump out the beans. A faulty design. How could they do that?
Cheers -RayO

Got Grinder?

Let me see.......someplace in SE British Columbia would be a good meeting place for the first International HUG meeting. We can dream, can't we?

I sometimes wonder what the bread machine makers would think if they knew we had converted their products into coffee roasters. Hummm....I might be visiting bread machine forums sometime soon.
SE BC, another ride over the mountains--let's not do that in the winter, please...

It's -30 C today. Too cold for even the bravest soul to roast coffee outside. Not too cold though to create a FAQ (and other pages) about my silliness.

See: http://coffeecron.../roasting/

There's even a FAQ:
Edited by taming on 01/11/2007 11:02 AM
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