Hoping to make bread but don’t have any yeast? Don’t worry! There are plenty of simple substitutes for yeast to make bread or baked goods at home.

When making your own bread at home it can be really disappointing to discover that you’re out of yeast! And what if your grocery store is also out of yeast? (This was a very common problem last year!) If you find yourself in this situation you can use one of these great options. These solutions will help add the light fluffy texture you want to your homemade bread by adding the needed air bubbles so you can have that perfectly soft bread you are craving. Even better, some of these options don’t need needing or rise times to help make baking faster.

What is yeast?

Yeast is actually a single-celled fungi. This fungus is used for evening bread and other baked goods. Most yeast you find at the grocery store is dormant after being dehydrated and can be reactivated by adding warm water and a bit of sugar to feed it. Yeast is also used in brewing applications for fermenting alcohols and other fermented beverages.

Sourdough starter

The best substitute for yeast is a sourdough starter. Sourdough is made from wild yeast that is available in the natural environment. This yeast needs to be encouraged to grow from spores in the air if you are not lucky enough to have a friend that is willing to share a bit of sourdough starter with you.

sourdough bread

Making your own sourdough starter is a multi-day process but well worth the time and effort. All you need is flour, water, a jar, and some string. The hard part is remembering to feed it.

Baking Powder

Perhaps the easiest option as a substitute for yeast is baking powder. Baking powder will not give you the fresh yeasty flavor you are used to in bread but will give you the rise you need. Baking powder reacts with liquid and heat to cause bubbles. It is most often used in things like pancakes and biscuits to give them their soft airy texture.

You can use baking powder in a 1 to 1 ratio in place of yeast. This will change the texture of what you are baking and leave out the sweet yeasty flavor but for already sweet baked goods this swap can often go completely unnoticed. You should cut out the rise time when using this option.

olive oil bread

Baking powder is the main ingredient in this easy olive oil bread. You can easily make little loaves of bread that are almost like a biscuit! Perfect for a quick side dish to add to your favorite bowl of soup.

Self Rising Flour

Self-rising flour can also be a great option when you don’t have yeast. This flour contains baking powder so you can use it to make everything from baked goods to pizza crust. Check out this list of ways to use self rising flour if you have a bag in your pantry!

Self-rising flour makes a great pizza crust, just mix it with Greek yogurt! Get the recipe for this 2 ingredient pizza recipe and make pizza in no time!

2 ingredient pizza crust slice

Baking Soda and Acid

One of the most common leveling options in recipes is baking soda and some form of acid. For recipes calling for buttermilk, this is how you get the bubbles in your pancakes and biscuits. You can use baking soda and one of these simple acids to activate it and create bubbles needed to make your baking rise.

  • Buttermilk
  • Lemon juice
  • Vinegar
  • Cream of tartar

Substituting this for yeast can be a bit tricky. To do this take the amount of yeast in your recipe and divide it in half. Use 1/2 as baking soda and 1/2 as your choice of acid. This will give you a 1 to 1 substitution for yeast and allows your recipe to rise. If you need a larger rise you can double the amounts. When using this you do not need a rise before baking your recipe.

Beer

That’s right, you can make bread with beer! Beer contains yeast so it’s a great way to create lift in bread. Keep in mind, the bread will have a beer taste, so it’s not a great substitute for any recipe. Try my easy vegan beer bread. It’s only a handful of ingredients!

vegan beer bread

Can you make bread without yeast, self-rising flour, baking powder, or baking soda?

Yes! It won’t be a fluffy loaf of bread but you can make this easy whole what flatbread without any yeast, self-rising flour, baking powder, or baking soda! All you need is flour, olive oil, and salt. It’s perfect for a simple flatbread pizza!

whole wheat flatbread

I hope these substitutes help you with your baking adventures!