I recently moved to a new house. You can bet that one of the first things I unpacked was my bread machine! I happily began making bread in my new kitchen.
However a few weeks later, I noticed that my dinner rolls weren’t turning out right. (I use my hamburger bun recipe for dinner rolls forming the dough into about 18 rolls.) The dough was incredibly sticky and really unpleasant to handle. The rolls tasted fine, but the texture was a little strange. The first few batches I’d made at the new house were normal, but suddenly no matter what I did they weren’t quite right.
However I was having no problem at all with my sour milk bread. The bread tasted and looked great.
I couldn’t figure it out at fist. The flour and yeast were the same. The only real difference was the liquid. One recipe used milk and the other used water. That was the answer! The problem was the water!
My neighborhood gets its water from a well. The system had undergone annual maintenance and the water tower was cleaned out with bleach. I realized that there must be a small amount of bleach in the water and that was killing the yeast. I proved my theory by buying some bottled water and using that in the recipe instead. Yep! The dinner rolls came out perfectly!
Now that a month has passed the bleach has worked its way out of our water system. I’ve switched back to using tap water in the recipe.
I didn’t make any bread that called for water in the recipe during the “bleach” period. I suspect that if I had the bread would not have risen.