There’s nothing worse than having your heart set on a warm loaf of bread only to realize you’re completely out of yeast.
Or maybe you just don’t have time to bake a traditional loaf of yeast bread.
Baking yeast-leavened bread is a serious investment of time and elbow grease with all of that kneading.
Sometimes you just need a warm, crumbly piece of bread slathered in butter as fast as you can bake it.
Don’t worry; you have no-yeast bread options.
I’ve put together this list of five great breads that don’t require yeast.
And most of them use ingredients you likely already have on hand, making them perfect options when you can’t get to the store.
Each of them has its own specific charm. I’m sure one of them is sure to satisfy your carb-craving needs.
Using something other than yeast to leaven bread means you’re baking by a different set of rules. Here are a few tips to give you the best results when baking no-yeast bread.
No Yeast Bread Baking Tips
- Baking soda and baking powder are activated the moment they get wet. Once you mix your wet ingredients with your dry ingredients, move quickly to get your pan in the oven as soon as possible.
- The crumb in these loaves of bread is going to be very different from traditional yeast bread, except for the sourdough. These breads are going to give you a much denser crumb, almost on par with a muffin.
- Mix your wet and dry ingredients, just until everything is moist. Except for the sourdough, all of these will give you a batter rather than a dough. The more you mix the batter, the more likely you are to end up with a tough brick instead of a warm, chewy loaf of bread.
- If you’ve made a traditional quick bread in the past and have ended up with loaves that are flat with no rise, try baking your bread for the first ten minutes in a high-temperature oven. Give this a try for the beer bread and the hearty oat bread. The recipes call for an oven temperature of 375F. Preheat your oven to 400F and bake your loaves at this temperature for the first ten minutes, then turn your oven temperature down to 375F. This extra blast of heat will help boost the leavening power of your ingredients.
- And finally, if you bake any of these at night just before bed, good luck sleeping with your house smelling like delicious hot bread. You may find yourself in the kitchen at 3:00 am, praying your family doesn’t hear the toaster pop.
This recipe is a favorite standby of mine when I want to serve bread with tea. Serve Irish soda bread right out of the oven while it’s still warm and eat it in one sitting. This hearty, dense bread is perfect for sopping up soups and stews.
The New York Times recipe is my favorite because it’s an authentic Irish soda bread, none of this raisins and caraway seeds business.
Don’t get me wrong, those are lovely additions, but this bread shines all on its own. Slather it with fresh butter and jam, and enjoy it with a piping hot pot of Irish Breakfast tea.
While you can bake this on a sheet, I get the best results when I bake it in a covered Dutch oven.
No Dutch oven? No problem. Bake your bread in a pie plate covered with an oven-safe mixing bowl.
Get the full recipe here.
This recipe requires the most ingredients out of the five, but they’re all still pretty common pantry items.
I used my homemade yogurt in this bread, a definite improvement over the sour stuff you get in stores. (Learn how to make your own homemade yogurt, and you’ll never run out again.)
The recipe yielded a hearty loaf with a dense, chewy crumb that’s the perfect breakfast companion.
According to Gemma of Bigger Bolder Baking, this loaf freezes well. I’m thinking it might not be a bad idea to bake a couple of loaves and freeze them before the weather heats up, and I no longer want the heat of the oven in my kitchen.
We toasted this for breakfast and put cinnamon honey butter on it. Everyone had seconds…and thirds.
Here’s the full recipe.
This bread is dangerous.
I almost didn’t have enough left to photograph. The recipe has you pour melted butter over the batter before you put the loaf into the oven. This last act yields a crunchy, delicious, stuff-it-all-in-your-face crust.
And I nearly did.
The recipe does require a can or bottle of beer; any beer will do. Just remember that the flavor of the beer is imparted to the bread. I used a lager last night, and the bread was relatively neutral as far as the finished product tasting like beer. I’m going to give it a go with a porter so I can get some of that sweet, dark syrupy flavor in the bread.
This bread toasts well and is beyond incredible smeared with butter.
One note when baking this bread. As I mentioned, you pour melted butter on it before you bake it. If you are using small, traditional loaf pans with shorter sides, you will definitely want to put a pan under the bread or use half the butter. Otherwise, you will be cleaning up a smoky, buttery mess from the bottom of your oven. Ask me how I know.
That being said, the crunchy crust is so amazing, it was totally worth the mess.
Here’s the full recipe.
On to the next option. This recipe uses baking powder rather than baking soda as the leavening agent. This bakes up a tiny little loaf, perfect for sharing with a friend.
Best of all, this bread is ready to eat in twenty minutes. This is your best bet when you need bread, and you need it now.
The recipe uses baking powder, and no eggs or oil, so the loaf is very pale. If you want a more golden crust, brush the loaf lightly with butter before popping it into the oven.
The bread lends itself well to the addition of dried herbs, giving you a loaf perfect for serving with a meal.
Here’s the full recipe.
And of course, you can’t talk about no-yeast bread baking without mentioning sourdough.
Sourdough bread is a world all of its own. There is even a sourdough library in Belgium that is home to over 100 different sourdough cultures.
In need of a sourdough starter? Ask around, check out Etsy, or start your own. Our fabulous, Lydia Noyes shows you how easy it is to make your own sourdough starter using wild yeast in your environment.
I feel as though sourdough baking should come with a warning. Sourdough starters become collectible for the serious baker. I have several starters bubbling away in my pantry.
Eventually, that means you are looking for people with whom to share your starter. Friends will be wary about inviting you over, for fear you’ll leave another jar of starter behind.
Baking a loaf of sourdough bread the right way is a serious investment of time. I’ve seen recipes that require several days to get to a finished loaf of bread. The good news is it’s nearly all hands-off, you’re just letting the yeast in the sourdough do its thing. The end result is definitely worth the wait.
And while there are plenty of recipes that have you knead the dough, I am a firm advocate for the folding method, where you simply fold the dough over on itself a couple of times every hour or two.
If you’re looking for a solid loaf of bread to build a sandwich on, sourdough is the way to go.
The no-knead sourdough recipe from baking giant, King Arthur Flour is my all-time favorite sourdough bread recipe. It’s the perfect blend of easy and great finished product. The loaf it yields is perfect for making a sandwich or toasting and covering it in butter and jam.
Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy.
Having no yeast in the house isn’t the end of the world.
And you may just discover a new loaf that is your go-to when that craving for warm, chewy bread hits. I hope you try out each one of these recipes and let me know which one is your favorite.
In the meantime, I’m going to eat another slice of that beer bread.