Imagine a situation, you have a huge celebration planned and you have the duty of making the cake. You are all set and just as you are going to start, you notice your key ingredient, yeast is missing.
Worst panic moment ever, right? Well, it may sound crazy but do believe in us when we say that despite not having the yeast, you can still make amazing cakes and bread with the present kitchen ingredients. Sounds intriguing? Well, keep on reading the article then.
Tidbits about Yeast
Yeast is the driving force behind fermentation, the magical process that allows a dense mass of dough to become a well-risen loaf of bread. Have you ever thought that if this microorganism would not have been present, we would not have been getting our favourites pizza, bread and cakes?
Yeast is a single-celled microorganism related to the mushroom family. The one species that is most used in our kitchen and responsible for the amazing goodies that we bake is Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
The process of yeast making your bread rise is also an interesting technique. As bread dough is mixed and kneaded, millions of air bubbles get mixed and dispersed in the dough. When yeast is applied to the dough, it metabolizes the starch and sugars present into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas.
The gas then inflates the air bubbles network making the whole dough rise in the process. As long as the process continues, yeast keeps on multiplying and dividing producing more carbon dioxide in the process. This cycle continues until it is broken by the oven heat.
Now that we have known how the bread rise takes place with the help of yeast, let us come to the main part of the article now.
How to make your bread rise if there is no yeast around? The answer is very simple, by using suitable yeast substitute. Yes, you read that right. We shall now talk about some of the best yeast substitute that will help you to achieve your desired results.
Best substitutes for yeast
There are not many alternatives that can be used as a substitute for yeast but whatever that can be used are common kitchen ingredients. The substitutes are:
A staple ingredient found in every baker’s pantry is baking powder. Like yeast, baking powder also acts as a leavening agent.
Baking powder is generally mixed with the flour. When water is added to the flour to make the dough, baking powder undergoes a chemical reaction which produces carbon dioxide bubbles in the process. And as soon it is heated, the gas bubbles expand making the dough rise with it.
Baking powder reacts immediately to water and heat and therefore unlike yeast, baking powder does not require additional time. Baking powder can be abundantly used in bread-like pancakes, cornbreads, biscuits and cake. However, keep in mind that it will not produce similar distinct leavening effects like yeast.
2.Baking soda and acid
People often confuse between baking soda and baking powder as it is one of the most confusing aspects in the realms of baking.
The basic difference between baking powder and baking soda is that baking powder already contains an acid when used in the dough for its leavening activity. Whereas for baking soda, it needs an acid to activate its rising activity?
Baking soda, when combined with an acid, produces similar effects like the yeast. Baking soda gives the bread light and airy texture. To substitute the baking soda and acid for yeast in a recipe, replace half of the amount of yeast with baking soda and half the amount with the acid.
Acids that can be used with baking soda are lemon, buttermilk and vinegar
Remember how we used to do acid and base reactions in our school laboratories, similarly, exact effervescence occurs when we combine baking soda and lemon. Also if you are worried that lemon will produce a too strong flavour to whatever you are making, go for buttermilk and vinegar instead. It will produce the same result but will produce subtle flavours for the baking goods.
One of the most time-consuming methods to be used as a substitute for yeast is a sourdough starter. It contains naturally occurring yeast. Sourdough starter is made from water and flour and is used to make the sourdough bread. This makes it one of the best yeast substitute.
Fermentation by sourdough starter works in the same way as instant yeast, forming carbon dioxide bubbles to make the dough rise. However, remember that using sourdough starter instead of yeast requires double the rise time.
Making a sourdough starter is an extremely time-consuming process but once made it is easy to maintain and use. By following some very simple tips you can easily make a sourdough starter at your home:
- Combine 120 grams of flour and 120 ml of water in a large glass container and cover it up loosely. Leave it at room temperature.
- Feed the starter with your combined mixture and cover it loosely and leave it at room temperature.
- Continue repeating the above process until the fourth day and you will notice bubbles and the strong sour smell of the growing yeast.
- When you can smell the starter becoming yeasty and has many bubbles, it is all then ready to use.
Above three mentioned are some of the popular substitutes for yeast, but there are also some uncommon substitutes like egg white and rising flour which can produce a similar effect like the others.
One of the easiest swaps that you could do to a baking powder is egg whites. Beating the egg will fill them with air and aid in the leavening process. To boost up the process add a dash of ginger ale or club soda. One the other hand you can also self-rise flour for your bakery. This is not considered as a replacement for yeast though but if you need a quick fix, this is the best option for you.
Now there you go, everything about the substitutes of yeast. On the last note, we can say that yeast provides numerous health benefits for the body and when used in the baking goods, it provides a distinct flavour and taste. This distinct character will be missed when you use the substitutes but we can also guarantee the fact that it will do the job right and you would not feel the absence of the flavours so much.