Yeast substitutes for baking – What are they ?
Yeast is an ingredient that is common to most recipes for bread and other baked items because of its use in leavening dough which is not the case in bread recipes without yeast. It is a variety of fungi having wild forms that occur freely in nature, but a species called Saccharomyces cerevisiae is specially cultivated for use as a rising agent in breads and in fermenting beer and wine. Yeast cells reproduce quickly and secrete enzymes that work on the starch present in the flour, converting it first into sugar and then into alcohol. Carbon dioxide is released into the bread as a by-product of this fermentation process, which causes pockets or bubbles and makes the dough rise. The alcohol produced evaporates in the heat from baking but the pockets remain, leaving the bread with a light and fluffy consistency.
Commercial yeast is expensive, and substitutes are being increasingly used in baking. Many people are allergic to this yeast and suffer from Candida. Besides, people can run out of their yeast supply or it may not be available in the stores. It is still possible to have fluffy and light bread recipes without yeast. While there is no perfect substitute, the properties of yeast can be replicated with almost the same result.
Bread Recipes Without Yeast – will use the following
Also going by the name of sodium bicarbonate, this can bring about the leavening of bread in bread recipes without yeast, but not in the same way as yeast would. It will create the carbon dioxide bubbles that cause rising of dough only when it comes in contact with some acid. Hence baking soda is a good ingredient in bread recipes without yeast, provided the batter contains some acidic substance. If not, you can still make do without yeast by adding some acidic ingredient like lemon juice in equal quantity as the baking soda. The amount of both together should make up the amount of yeast mentioned in the original recipe. Buttermilk or the combining of milk and vinegar will work fine as well. The mix of baking soda and the acid should be added to the batter after thoroughly mixing all other ingredients, just before the dough is ready to go into the oven for baking. It is advisable to use fresh baking soda if possible. Bread recipes without yeast made in this way is called soda bread.
This is a ready made mix of baking soda and acid to use in bread recipes without yeast. It has to be double-acting, which means it contains two acids. The baking soda will undergo two reactions in this case; the first time when it is mixed into the matter and becomes wet, and then again during the heating process in the oven. The dough rises much sooner than it would if yeast were to be used, so this is used in quick bread recipes without yeast.
Yoghurt contains lactic acid bacteria which triggers fermentation, along with airborne yeast present in the air that starts growing on the flour present in the dough. This native or natural yeast formed due to the presence of yoghurt gives the bread recipes without yeast chewiness, just like that from commercial yeast. A small amount of sugar must be added to the dough in this case, to overcome the sourness. This yeast substitute is often used in Indian flat breads like chapattis that do not need to be very fluffy.
The whites of eggs whipped really hard can give the impression of rising bread. This is more useful for sponge cakes rather than bread recipes without yeast. If using gluten flour, eggs will help the dough to rise.
It is the base for the dough used to make traditional bread. This is a bread recipe without yeast, at least the commercially harvested yeast. The starter uses naturally occurring wild yeast to give the bread a distinctive taste and texture. Homemade bread mostly uses some kind of starter; each home cook has a favorite secret recipe. The basic ingredients are flour and lukewarm water in equal proportion, which are mixed and left open to collect yeast from the air. Best results are seen when the atmosphere is warm and a damp cloth is placed over the container to retain moisture. Also, it is good to keep adding fresh stock to the mix; every 24 hours, half of the contents can be discarded and the same amount replaced by new flour and warm water in equal measure. In a matter of days, a bubbly froth will start to form over the surface of the mix; this indicates the presence of natural yeast and the readiness of the starter for baking.
If you are in a hurry to bake, a faster way of making natural yeast is to boil flour in water, along with some brown sugar and a pinch of salt for over an hour. After boiling, bottle the solution and make sure the cork is firmly closed. This mixture can be used in place of yeast after 24 hours.
The joy of freshly home-baked bread lies in the heavenly aroma that fills the kitchen. To stay healthy, one must stick to bread recipes without yeast. But with these substitutes, it is still possible to enjoy fluffy, spongy bread. The substitutes can also be used in pizza bases and cakes. Once it turns stale, it can also be used in puddings as dessert.