The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Is it my breadmaker or the yeast???

jonesrdh's picture

Is it my breadmaker or the yeast???

I have had the same breadmaker for 5 years.  It was my mom's before that so I don't know how old it is.  I discovered that if I go against the advice of the breadmaker handbook (add ingredients in order suggested which is wet, then dry, then form a well and put yeast in it) Instead I add warm fluid, yeast, sugar and wait 10 min then add the ingredients on top of that, I get a much lighter loaf.

That aside, I use my breadmaker ALL the time.  I make breads but my main use of it is as a dough mixer, since it is a handy place for rising the dough.  I make rolls, pepperoni rolls, cinammon rolls, pizza dough etc.

The last time I used it and it was functioning properly was Christmas.

This past weekend I made my pepperoni rolls.  I always use the same brand of yeast, which is labeled that it can be used in bread makers.  I noticed when I took the dough out of the breadmaker It didn't seem as fluffy as it should.  I thought maybe I messed it up by using bread flour instead of all purpose which is what the recipe called for.  So I set the dough aside and started again.  This time I used all purpose flour but only 2/3 since I ran out, the final 1/3 was bread flour.  Again it came out heavy and not as fluffy as normal.  At this point I took the first batch and tested a few balls in the oven to see if it would come out ok.  It seemed to bake alright, a bit heavy but it tasted all right.  So I made the pepperoni rolls despite the dough not being right.  The dough was not stretchy like normal, it was almost like sugar cookie dough but I could manipulate it anough to form a roll so I baked them.  Everyone raved about them but my husband and I knew they were off. 

So tonight I made a recipe for a loaf bread and it turned out very heavy.  It was a disappointment as well.  The top was sagging instead of being puffy like a normal loaf.

Two things were amiss that I can think of, when I looked in at the water years mixture before adding the flour I noticed that although the yeast was puffy looking I could still see the separate little pieces of yeast floating on top of the water.  The other thing to note was after the timer went off, I removed the loaf pan.  We ate dinner and when we were cleaning my husband noticed the machine was still hot.  He said the coil was red, when I looked it was a little red and black but still felt warm.  I unplugged it.  I have never looked before to know if this is normal or not. 

The yeast that I use is redstar active dry yeast.  The rolls were made from two different 3 packs.  Both labeled with a Sept 2013 expiration date.

The flour I use is always on the fresh side since I go through it quickly.

Any thoughts????????

breadforfun's picture

I don't use a bread maker, so I can't be sure, but a glowing red coil seems as if it is in the bake part of the cycle rather than in the proof.  If you have a thermometer and there is access, you may want to measure the temperature.  Yeast will die at around 130˚F, so if the machine is proofing the dough near or above that temperature, and it is in the proof part of the cycle, the machine is likely the culprit.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

about the yeast...

Don't know about the coils but if you removed the pan and there is a thermostat, could be that it couldn't turn off without the pan warming the thermostat.  Try a dry run testing the controls using an amount of water in the pan and see if it gets too hot.

jonesrdh's picture

Thank you for your thoughts. 

Tonight I decided to investigate the matter by preparing the exact same bread recipe both in the breadmaker and with a mixer and then in the oven.  It is not the yeast as both loaves look as they should.

It is also not the bread maker, as the breadmaker loaf turned out like it normally does.

I have no idea what happened.  I find it odd that I would have potentially made the same error (whatever it was) 3 x in a row, when I have been doing this for years with no problem.  Oh well.  Now I have two tasty loaves to enjoy.  The lesson learned is that the one made in the mixer, hand kneeded and baked in the oven looks so much prettier.  I guess if the breadmaker ever dies it will be ok.  Thank you for your thoughts.

jonesrdh's picture

After tasting both tonight with warm butter and honey on them, I have to say the homemade loaf wins the prize.  The breadmaker bread is good, but there is something about making something from scratch that just takes it up a notch.  I don't know why...  I may at least keep it around for use in a pinch or at the very least for the dough cycle.

cgmeyer2's picture

have you tried using the breadmaker on the dough cycle & then letting it rise & shape & bake in the oven. my bread comes out great this way