What makes bread turn out cakey?

I have this great recipe for white bread, I’ve made it a few times before and it makes a nice fluffy, springy loaf. This time it turned out thick and dense and cakey. Why would that be? I know I followed all the directions the same.

I make the dough in the breadmaker and then let it rise for 35 min and then bake for about 30 min at 375.

Thanks for any ideas about what went wrong!

My working theory is that your yeast got old. It does that, even kept properly stored in the fridge.

True story: I hadn’t used my bread machine for a while, and decided to whip up some bread. It came out so much better than I remembered – dense and chewy (I don’t care for fluffy bread myself.) After about 4 loaves along this line I ran out of yeast and bought some more. Next loaf was light and fluffy, dammit! By reducing the yeast to 1/2 in my recipe, I re-created my “dead yeast bread.”

Try fresh yeast, I think you’ll be back on track.