Bread That Won’t Rise: 1-16-13

i’m having bread issues.  i’ve never had this problem before.  The last 6 loaves of yeast bread i’ve tried to make haven’t risen well.  The first 2, i baked and ended up with very small, dense loaves.  So i turned those into bread crumbs (to coat chicken or use on casseroles) and croutons.  i don’t know what’s going on, maybe a bad batch of yeast, maybe it’s the humidity, or maybe i’ve just lost my touch.  Nah, probably the weather.

i thought maybe it wasn’t rising because i tried something different with my jalapeno bread.  instead of making the sponge with 2 cups of warm water, i used a half cup of warm water and 1 & 1/2 cups of warm jalapeno juice.  So i figured maybe the jalapeno juice killed the yeast.  Trying again, i didn’t add the jalapeno juice until after the first rise, because this is when i add the jalapenos anyways, and the bread always turns out great.  i just have to add more flour at that point, no biggie.  Wrong again, the dough still wouldn’t rise.  Dumbfounded, i went back to my standard recipe and made it like normal, to no avail.

At this point, i’m trying to find ways to use bread that won’t rise.  i hate waste, and have 4 loaves worth of unrisen dough.  i attempted to make flat bread, like pitas, with some of it.  They also turn out dense, and not pita-ish at all except for the shape.  Pita bread should puff up and make pockets when cut into.  What to do with all this flat bread now?  Maybe i can turn them into crackers?  Slice them thin and bake again maybe?  We’ll see…

Now, i’m making a smaller sponge, and will attempt to incorporate the unrisen dough into the the new sponge and see if that will rise.  if it works, i’ll make bagels out of it today.  Success!  i made a sponge with the same amount of yeast used in a normal 2 loaf batch of dough, but with only half the water and flour.  Then i slowly kneaded in unrisen dough for one loaf of bread.  i had to add a little flour, but it ended up rising and made a batch of big everything bagels!  Woo-hoo!

I don’t have any formula for ousting a dictator or building democracy. All I can suggest is to forget about yourself and just think of your people. It’s always the people who make things happen. ~ Corazon Aquino

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