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Why won't my bread rise?

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My husband makes bread every weekend, and over the last few weeks the bread has failed to rise two or three times (normally it turns out fine..this is a recent problem). Today I tried making cinnamon bread, and it also failed to rise. We thought the problem was the yeast, but my husband did a "test proof" in which he put water, yeast and sugar in a bowl and let it sit. Sure enough, it bubbled up and did everything it's supposed to do. So it appears that the problem is not the yeast. Any thoughts about what could be going wrong? The problem has occurred regardless of whether we use the bread machine or the stand mixer.

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  1. Where do you live? Has the weather changed? Yeast is so testy!

    1. Hmmm...we live in NJ. I don't think the weather has changed noticeably. You have a good point. We've been making bread using the bread machine for a long time and haven't had this severe a problem before. We thought the bread machine was the problem (old!) but seems to be an issue with the stand mixer too.

      1. Could it be that your water is cooler than earlier in the season?

        1. I actually test my water temp with an instant thermometer. Yeast/baking scares me to death!

          1. Cinnamon can kill yeast. Is it mixed throughout the dough, or just added in a swirled layer?