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.