Doughs Suddenly Won't Rise - Could Flour Be Bad?
I've been baking successfully for a few months now, french bread with packaged dried yeast, one loaf every weekday.
Thought I was turning into an expert.
Suddenly my doughs won't rise. No matter how long I leave them.
And they don't suddenly explosively rise and fall down again while I'm not watching. They don't rise. At least as best I can judge.
I've proved my yeast and it is excellent, works no problem.
The ambient temperature around here recently has been usually better than 32C - 89F.
The only things I can think of is this ambient temperature - would that be too hot for the dough to rise, too hot for the yeast?
Or the flour. I use 25kg bags and this one is down near the bottom quarter and has been in use over about a month. It, too, would be at ambient temperature.
Could the flour be no good for dough?
When I first turn it out of the mixing bowl to begin kneading it I find it feels heavy and lifeless straight away. Where I am accustomed to my dough feeling light, airy, springy.
When I put it back in the bowl for the first rise it feels like a lump of lead.
When I look at it half an hour later it looks like, feels like, it has a dry skin on it and though there's no holes in the surface it looks like sort of 'pitted' under the surface, like it had risen and collapsed.
Looks like temperature to me, on reflection as writing this. Could I get some more opinions, please, from the knowledgeable and experienced?