If your machine isn't that old, you ought to check with your
manufacturer first. Several companies have had problems with their
bread pans, loaves that get stuck and have to be pried out. You
shouldn't ever have to do that....unless the pan is very old and the
finish has worn off. So it's worth a call....it may be that you have
a defective pan.
Congratulations on the new addition to your home! You'll have many
years of happy baking with your Zoji plus the added bonus of coming
into contact with a great guy like Irwin.
I've seen Irwin recommend that the Zoji be left unplugged, especially
if you have problems with power surges. We don't so I tend to leave
it plugged in unless we're going to be gone for several days or we're
having a thunderstorm. The surge protector is a good idea. I do not
store the paddle/plug in the cup. I put it back in the pan after
washing to avoid mistakes when I go to make the next batch of bread.
Yes, the cup and spoon can be stored in the machine during baking.
Funny, I wondered about that one, too.