Since August 2008 we have made all our own bread and its been great. In fact, just lately, it has been better than ever. Then about 2 weeks ago we had a serious failure, the yeast did not work in a batch. Then another good batch, then two successive failures.
Last night I put down my "sponge" as usual and this morning another failure.
The sponge is 300 gm of wholemeal flour, a pinch of salt and 300 ml of warm water with a teaspoonful of yeast in it.
By morning the mix is usually a beautiful frothing, stretchy material that I mix with more flour and rise for an hour.
But lately it is just dead, slightly grey on top from oxidation I think, but underneath just flour and water and no life.
The yeast is fresh, the flour is within date, the water is from my filtered tap, I put it in the hot water cupboard to work.
Its been perfect until now.
Update: Just did a little experiment with some Edmonds yeast and some Naturally Tasti (first time I've seen it) yeast. Both expiring May/June next year. Both using water drawn from the hot tap at the same time and with 1 teaspoon of yeast plus 1 of white sugar.
After 20 minutes the Tasti had a head about 3cm thick and the Edmonds none at all, after an hour or so the Edmonds had a few desultory islands of froth but still nothing to write home about.
Tomorrow I'll see if I can get the time to put them both in identical glasses and we'll have a yeast race, with pics.
At least poor quality yeast seems to be the culprit, but to find it almost universal from one manufacturer is astounding. Anyone else having Edmonds yeast issues?