Yeast free bread
Yeast free bread photo by OleksandraUsenko

Readers often ask about replacing yeast in gluten-free yeast bread. At first, I couldn’t imagine altering any of our delicious breads to remove the yeast. How would they rise? How could we preserve texture and taste?

Bread is very personal, you see. When I was diagnosed with celiac disease, more than forty-five years ago, gluten-free yeast bread did not exist. Today, it’s my guiltiest food pleasure – well, except for chocolate! So, trying to make it without yeast seemed unfathomable.

And, besides, it’s yeast bread. I couldn’t imagine a substitution that would work. The very process is all about letting the yeast rise before baking – a relatively new achievement in gluten-free baking thanks to the introduction of xanthan and guar gum to home bakers about thirty years ago.

I’m happy to confess that I was wrong. There is no need to turn your back on bread because you have an intolerance to yeast. Here at Gluten Free & More, we’ve begun using baking soda and baking powder to replace yeast with great success.

The yeast free breads we are making have a satisfying chew and taste and even make yummy sandwiches – my litmus test for good bread. Truthfully, I like them just as much as my yeast breads, and making these actually requires half the work as batter breads. Just mix all the ingredients, spoon into a pan and bake!

Here is the basic rule-of-thumb for replacing yeast with baking soda or baking powder:

Baking Soda

For every cup of gluten-free flour blend in a recipe, add ¼ teaspoon baking soda to the dry ingredients.  Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the liquids for every ¼ teaspoon of baking soda used.  Once liquids and dry ingredients are mixed, they start a chemical reaction so pop the bread into the preheated oven immediately.

Baking Powder

Replace each teaspoon of yeast with 1 teaspoon of baking powder.  Use carbonated liquid (like seltzer water) and bake at 400 degrees.

Before you start experimenting, you might want to try a couple of yeast-free recipes we’ve already developed and put up on our website.

Here’s a recipe for baguettes. These are nice and chewy and have a wonderful crust. In fact, you might be fooled into thinking they contain yeast because they are so light. They are quick and easy and rely on baking powder for lift. Just mix up the batter, spoon it into a baguette channel pan and pop in the oven. No need to wait for them to rise. They’ll do that in the oven.

For excellent yeast-free sandwich bread try the Honey Butter Beer Bread but use seltzer water instead of beer. You won’t notice the lack of beer (or yeast) – I promise!

Now that you know great gluten-free, yeast-free bread is possible, you, too, can continue to chew on one of life’s guilty pleasures.