Here are some helpful solutions for the common causes:
It is possible the dough was kneaded too long. It takes time for gluten to develop fully. Bread dough should be kneaded 4 to 10 minutes. When you have kneaded the dough enough, it will be smooth and elastic, and tacky rather than sticky or dry. A good test is to press the heel of your hand firmly and deeply into the dough; hold it there 10 seconds. If your hand comes away clean, you have kneaded the dough enough.
Many factors influence the amount of time the first rise will take. It depends on the type of yeast used, the temperature of the dough, the temperature of the environment the dough is kept in for rising and a number of other conditions. The dough should be allowed to rise until it has doubled in size. The dough will also appear swollen and puffy and will usually have a few blisters on top. You can test the dough to be sure it has risen enough by the "poke test" – lightly pressing two fingers about 1/2-inch into the center. If the indentation remains, the dough has risen sufficiently.
Measure liquids in glass or clear plastic measuring cups with spouts. Too much liquid cannot be absorbed properly by the dry ingredients.