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Simple Living


Bread Making Problems

Why is My Bread Not Rising?

by Nikki Willhite

bread made in bread maching

Our family has made bread for years with our bread machine. It has always been a very easy task. You put the ingredients in the machine, and then 3 hours later you have bread.

Then an odd thing happened. My husband and I had to step away from bread making for a few months. When we came back, we had problems. Our bread would not rise. Thus began a string of  bread loaves which failed to rise, and a lot of deductive reasoning to try and figure out what was going on.

When bread doesnít rise, the first suspect is always the yeast. We have always kept our yeast in the freezer, and have never had a problem with it. It had been a long time since I checked the yeast, but I remembered it bubbling up like a pancake ready to be turned when it was tested.

When I checked the yeast it didnít do much, and it didnít have a yeasty smell. So I went out and purchased new yeast. However, when I tested the new yeast it didnít act any differently. So I decided to use it. The bread came out looking like a brick.

Thus began our sampling of all the brands of yeast in our hometown! They were all the same. I studied about yeast again - active yeast, instant yeast and so on. I got nowhere. Although I still suspected the yeast, and some kind of conspiracy, I put it aside and looked for other problems.

Next came the water temperature. If you used water  that is too hot you kill the yeast. Too cold and the yeast wonít rise. We purchased a new thermometer and set the bread to bake once more and got another brick of bread.

I grew more and more frustrated and had to stretch to look for other reasons the bread was not rising. I wondered if my tap water could be hurting the yeast, so I tried bottled water. No difference.

I wondered if the sometimes uneven electricity in my home was affecting my bread maker. After all, the DVR service on our television did not work until we purchased a large battery backup for it. So I tried plugging the bread maker into another outlet. Again, it didnít work.

At this point I was ready to give up. I was close to turning the bread making over to the professionals. I had been battered by one failed loaf after another. Nothing made any sense to me.

Finally, I had one more idea. I had read on a cooking blog for King Arthurís Flour that you should always use fresh flour when trying a new recipe. In all my research on the Internet regarding yeast, no one ever said to check the flour in case your bread didnít rise.

When I suggested the flour, my husband ran into the storage room to check the stale date. Our flour was old! I mean, it was really old! It had worked a few months ago, so I wasnít convinced it was the flour. My husband was more hopeful than I was, and went out and purchased a small package of brand new flour. We set about making our 6th loaf. I think I cried when that loaf rose to the top of the bread machine. It worked! It was the flour.

This article has one purposeÖor maybe two. First of all, CHECK THE FLOUR if your bread isnít rising and it isn't any of the "usual suspects."  Also, when you have a problem, never give up. I donít know if we would have tried to make a 7th loaf of bread. I am glad it didn't come to that.

Homemade bread is a luxury that every person should experience. I have attached my recipe to this article. I tried the recipes that came with my new bread machine. Yes, at one point in the above scenario, we even bought a new bread maker. My bread recipe has a better taste than any other recipe I have every tried. I hope you will enjoy it.


Wheat Bread


1 cup wheat flour
1 cup white flour
ľ cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
ĺ cup warm water
1 tsp yeast

Add the ingredients to the bread maker in the order given. For a lighter bread cut down on the wheat flour and replace it with white. Be sure and pack the brown sugar, as it also helps the yeast work. Adding a few teaspoons of dough enhancer will also help the loaf rise.

If your wheat flour is less than half the amount of the flour, you can use the quicker white bread setting on your machine.

Good luck to all!

About the Author: Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money! 

recipe card


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