The Best Yeast Substitutes for Baked Goods (2024)

updated Jul 22, 2020

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The Best Yeast Substitutes for Baked Goods (1)

While we all stay home and bake our stresses away, grocery stores are struggling to keep up with the increased demand for baking supplies. As more and more people begin to take up bread baking, active dry yeast has slowly disappeared from grocery store shelves. It seems that everybody stocked up on the active dry stuff, leaving behind fresh yeast, pizza yeast, rapid yeast, or nothing at all on the shelves.

If you happened to grab any other variety of yeast, you’re in luck. Other types of yeasts can easily be substituted for active dry. But if you were unable to get anything, that’s where it gets a little tricky. Luckily there are several ways to bake bread without any yeast at all. Note that none of them will produce the same exact results as yeast, but you can still get the satisfaction of that warm, homemade loaf of bread right out of the oven.

Baking Soda

Baking soda, like yeast, is a leavening agent. It helps breads rise and gives them their light and airy texture. Unlike yeast, baking soda needs an acid to activate it. By adding an acid to baking soda (such as lemon juice or cream of tartar) a chemical reaction occurs that produces carbon dioxide and fills your bread with air — much like yeast does. You can substitute yeast with equal parts lemon juice and baking soda. So if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of yeast, you can use half a teaspoon of lemon juice and half a teaspoon of baking soda. Keep in mind that the bread will not need the typical proofing time and the dough will begin rising right away.

Read more: The First Thing You Should Do with a Box of Baking Soda

Bread recipes using baking soda:
Ultra-Moist Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Farmers Market Breakfast Bread
Lemon Poppy Seed Quick Bread

Double-Acting Baking Powder

You can also use double-acting baking powder. Double-acting baking powder is the most common variety sold in grocery stores and helps bread rise twice: during the mixing phase and the baking phase. Baking powder already contains an acid in it, so it’s ready to use as-is without any additional ingredients. To replace yeast in a recipe, replace the yeast with the same amount of double-acting baking powder.

Read more: How To Make Baking Powder Out of Baking Soda

Bread recipes using baking powder:
Carrot Quick Bread
Cheddar & Chive Guinness Bread
Zucchini Bread

Sourdough Starter

One of the best ways to get around using commercial yeast is to make your own sourdough starter. Not only does a starter give bread a nice sour flavor, but it actually leavens the bread as well. If you want to replace yeast in a recipe that calls for commercial yeast, you can replace1 envelope of active dry yeast with 1 cup of starter. But because a starter also contains flour and water, you need toreduce the water called for in the recipe by 1/2 cup and the flour by 3/4 cup. And keep in mind that after making your starter, it will take about five to seven days for it to mature enough to be able to use — so this isn’t the best option for people who want to bake bread ASAP.

A Word of Caution

At the end of the day, there is no true substitute for yeast. While baking powder, soda, and sourdough starter can give you somewhat similar results, the texture will not be the same. This is why we suggest sticking to recipes that are specifically developed to be made with these ingredients instead. Yeast is a living, breathing organism and nothing can completely replace it.

What are your best tips for substituting yeast? Let us know in the comments!

The Best Yeast Substitutes for Baked Goods (2024)
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