To missem83: based on the problems you had, the most likely cause is faulty yeast. Yeast is a living organism and will die if it's too old or mixed into liquids that are too hot. Proofing is a good way to test your yeast. Mix the yeast called for in your recipe with about a 1/4 cup of warm water, or whatever liquid you recipe calls for. The liquid should be about 80 degrees- about the temperature for warming baby formula. You can also add a smidgen of sugar. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes. At the end of that time it should be foamy and giving off a distinct yeasty aroma. If it isn't, don't use it. Throw it away and buy fresh yeast. I usually use instant yeast, designed for bread machines. It doesn't have to be proofed before adding it to a recipe, so I only do that if I'm unsure if it is still good. I buy my yeast in large packages from warehouse clubs and store it in the freezer for much longer storage than would be possible otherwise.
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To missem83: based on the problems you had, the most likely cause is faulty yeast. Yeast is a...