Active Yeast vs. Breadmaker Yeast
I just discovered your site and forum, and they are great! I have already found a lot of useful information.
I am very new to breadmaking, and after a lot of research, I purchased a Zojirushi breadmaker in November. I have to admit I do love it, and we've had some great tasting breads.
I've tried a variety of recipes from the manual, as well as ones I found on the King Arthur and Fleishman's sites. For the most part, our bread has turned out great. However, I've had a few that seemed smaller than expected and rather dense (as if they did not rise/bake properly). At the time, I thought perhaps it was just the type of recipe (one was cheese bread, and the other was an apple/raisin/oat loaf).
Well, last night I made the light rye bread from the Zojirushi manual for the 2nd time. The first time I used Breadmaker Yeast and this time I tried the Active Yeast option (both Fleishman's in the jar). The results using the active yeast were AWFUL. The loaf was small, dense, mishapen and barely edible. I went back through my other recipes that I'd had problems with, and noted that these had also called for the Active Yeast.
I checked my yeast, and the expiration date is June 2012. I also tried test proofing the yeast, and it seems just fine. I hate having to avoid recipes that do not have a rapid rise yeast option, but I also don't like having to throw my bread away.
I am following the recommended order for adding ingredients. I leave the preheat on, and I am sure I am selecting the correct program. It is very strange.
I am keeping my yeast refrigerated, so I am wondering if the active yeast is more finicky and needs more time to warm up than the breadmaker yeast (maybe it's not reaching room temperature as quickly). I am adding the water at room temp (as recommended; I use an instant read thermometer). Should I try warmer water for the active yeast? Should I proof the yeast in the pan, even though that is not recommended for my machine? Is there something else I should be doing?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated...
Thanks for reading. : )