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Nothing ever rises...

I have been wanting to attempt homemade bread for awhile now. I tried today and I seem to be having problems with the breading "proofing" or rising. I've made cinnamon rolls in the past and they did not rise, either. But they still tasted great so I did not worry about it. Today I tried to make Kelsey Nixon's rapid rolls from cookingchanneltv.com and they were supposed to proof for 20 minutes and double in size. They barely got any bigger. Not sure what the deal is. I bought cheap store brand yeast, and used warm tap water. It is cool in here (about 75 degrees), but I had stew on the stove simmering so I set the pan on the counter right next to the stove to proof. So it should've been at least a little bit warmer in that area.

Any ideas where I went wrong? Do I need fancy yeast, distilled water, something else?

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  1. Have you been using the same yeast every time? Check the expiration date, as well. Do you start your yeast in warm water, and there are bubbles, then use it? Or are you just putting the yeast into the mixture without that first step? Are you using a thermometer for you water/liquid? It could be too hot.

    4 Replies
    1. re: wyogal

      I use the same brand of yeast, but always check the expiration. Today's packets don't expire until 2014. I've never heard there should be bubbles! The recipes always say to just put it in warm water, give it a stir and let it sit for 5 minutes. I let this batch sit and there were a few really smally bubbles on the top (think soda bubbles, not bubble bath bubbles).

      I did not use a thermometer, what temperature is it supposed to be? I used warm tap water that was not uncomfortable to the touch or anything.

      1. re: yddeyma

        It should be quite bubbly. I'd try another yeast. If this is from the same batch/package, you could try some envelopes of the same, or just go with the ones next to it on the shelf. Here is a google image search for proofing yeast
        https://www.google.com/search?q=proof...

        1. re: yddeyma

          Be sure to add some sugar to your yeast /water solution, the yeast needs to feed it self. Make sure the water is luke warm not hot.

          1. re: cstr

            Actually, sugar is not essential.

      2. What is the date on your yeast package?

        1 Reply
        1. re: pedalfaster

          Can't recall exactly, but I know the year was 2014.

        2. Assuming your yeast is fresh enough to be ok, first I try to get the water about as hot as I am comfortable putting in a finger. I add a little sugar and stir tall with a fork, wait until there is a little foam, and add the other ingredients (flour and salt for basic bread). I use more yeast for heavier breads like whole wheat. After first kneading I just cover it and let it rise in a room that is probably about 68...78 in summer. Different yeasts rise more slowly. My natural yeast starter takes upwards of half a day to rise.

          3 Replies
          1. re: tim irvine

            So I had a friend who worked for a sugar company and he told me that the sugar that goes into brand name is the same sugar that goes into the store brand. So I buy most base things (like flour, sugar, yeast, etc.) store brand. Is there a particular brand I should try? What do you use?

            1. re: yddeyma

              It depends. Some is cane sugar, some is beet sugar. While I would like to support the sugar beet farmers, I buy cane sugar. I read the labels, and I spring for a little more for that label.

              1. re: yddeyma

                I have used everything from store brand white to organic, honey, different kinds of syrup, etc. with more or less the same proofing and rising results. Of the store bought yeasts my favorite is Red Star. I get the big bag at Costco, and it lives in the fridge. My home made starter is just the wild yeast from the air living in a paste of flour (mainly white bread flour and sometimes a little whole wheat and/or rye), bottled (no chlorine) water, and a little sugar every week or two. It is my favorite, but it takes time to rise.

            2. Yeast issues, for sure, but you might also want to re-think both your rising time and place. Draft-free is the way to go...a nice warm closet or the inside of your microwave. If you have two ovens (a concept I only dream about) turn the oven light on in one and let your bread/rolls rise in there and heat the other for the baking.

              I truly live in a cool house-66-68 degrees in the day and find that does slow down a rise on the counter for sure...but even in that nice warm draft-free environment I create, a good rise (like doubled in size) can take 40 minutes.

              1 Reply
              1. re: LJS

                These are my thought, too. That doesn't seem like enough rise time, unless the recipe calls for a large amount of yeast and it's not long enough of a rise for good taste/texture. If I'm doing sandwich bread and want a quicker rise, I use the Best Recipe method where you turn on the oven to 200 degrees, to preheat, turn it off and put the dough in there to proof. Rather than going by time, go by description. Temperature makes all the difference. The longer the rise the better and I've never had any yeast bread product that is finished rising in 20 minutes.

                Okay, I just looked up the recipe and it calls for 3 packets of yeast. If you (general you, not specific) do want to use the recipe, let it sit in the warm water until it becomes bubbly. If it doesn't react, it's probably not viable. Looking at the recipe, though, I'd probably pass on it.

              2. 20 minutes? You need closer to an hour for most yeast doughs to double in size. As for room temp, warmer is better. I usually turn on my oven fo 2 or 3 mins, then put the dough in an oven safe bowl and into the turned off oven. Again, remember to turn off the oven!! This seems to work very well for me.