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
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.
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!