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.

Any clues?

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?

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Comment by Earl Mardle on November 16, 2010 at 8:58pm
Hi Yvonne

I'm not using a bug, I make a fresh sponge every time.

I've had the oddd occasion when the rise has been very sluggish, also put down to the cooler weather, but this is good and warm, with sugar and just nothing. Meanwhile the new brand of yeast is making another perfect sponge.

I think Edmonds might have a problem with its product. Hence the idea of the yeast race tomorrow if i can get the time. BTW, have you tried Mark Bittman's no knead bread? It is to die for.
Comment by Yvonne Nikolaison on November 16, 2010 at 4:05pm
how often have you given the bug a boost, putting it all into the sponge and then taking out, well I use a laddle then clean the jar throughly and add more flour? it's just a thought. I would normally pour off the grey looking liquid. During the winter we had problems with the bread not rising, but since we are in Dunedin I put it down to the cold, but have had a couple of failures also since, though the sponge is ok. I have only been doing this for 18 months so you way ahead of me. I will be Interested to see how you get on.

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