I recently made chocolate chip challah bread and it seems that the yeast did not do so well and I am trying to figure out why.
It is active dry yeast kept in a small jar in the fridge. I bought it and used it ~two weeks ago and no problems.
I mixed the yeast with warm water and some sugar. It did activate, as judged by smell and bubbles that formed. I then mixed the rest of the wet ingredients - two eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract - before adding to the flour and cocoa and choc chips. I kneaded it and let it rise for about 1.5 hours. When I checked it didn't look like it had done much at all, and was very tough.
I ended up baking it and it turned out ok, but consistency was more like a scone than a loaf of bread. Chocolate covers over a multitude of sins.
But I am trying to figure out why the yeast did not seem to be very active, and the use of vanilla extract seems like the oddball- the one ingredient than I probably have never before used in bread.
I'd be eager to hear any theories.