3 Useful And Best Substitute For Yeast That Help You In A Pinch

3 Useful And Best Substitute For Yeast That Help You In A Pinch


Best Substitute For Yeast– Yeast is an important ingredient in many bread recipes, including bagels, pizza dough, cinnamon rolls and most breads. This causes the dough to rise, creating a soft, fluffy bread.

For baking, it is often sold as instant or active dry yeast, a light brown powder made from a yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Dry yeast is activated by the presence of water and sugar as it begins to eat and digest the sugar. This creates bubbles of carbon dioxide that remain in the dense mass. They then expand at room temperature or when exposed to heat, causing the dough to expand.

This rising process, known as fermentation, results in baked goods that are larger, fluffier, and softer than those that don’t rise, such as tortillas and cookies.

You may be wondering if you can replicate this fermentation process without yeast. Fortunately, a few other ingredients mimic the action of yeast in baking.

Here are 3 best alternatives for yeast:

1- Baking powder

Baking powder is a staple in a baker’s pantry. It contains baking soda and an acid, usually cream of tartar.

Like yeast, baking powder acts as a leavening agent. It works in two ways:

  • Reacts with liquids: When wet, the acid reacts with the baking soda to form carbon dioxide bubbles.
  • Reacts to heat: When heated, these gas bubbles expand and cause the dough to rise.

Baking powder reacts quickly to the effects of liquid and heat. Therefore, unlike yeast, the use of baking powder does not require additional time to rise. For this reason, it is used to make quick breads such as pancakes, cornbread, cookies, and cakes.

In confectionery, yeast can be replaced with the same amount of baking powder. Please note that the baking effect of baking powder will not be different from baking powder.


Baking powder makes baked goods rise faster, but not in the same way that yeast does. Yeast can be substituted for baking powder in a one-to-one ratio.

2- Baking soda and acid

You can also use baking soda mixed with acid instead of yeast. Baking soda and acid cause the same reaction as baking powder.

However, using baking soda or acid alone will not raise baked goods. You must mix them for the reaction to occur.

Examples of acids used with baking soda to mimic the fermentation process include:

  • Lemon juice
  • Butter milk
  • Milk and vinegar are mixed in a ratio of one to one.
  • Cream of tartar

To substitute baking soda and acid in a recipe, use half the required amount of baking powder for the baking soda and half for the acid.

For example, if a recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of yeast, use only 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of acid.

As with baking powder, using baking soda and acid does not take as long to rise and the leavening effect will not be as strong as with baking powder.


Baking soda and acid react like baking powder, resulting in a faster rise. To use it as a yeast substitute, use 50% baking soda and 50% acid interchangeably.

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3- Sourdough Starter

Sourdough starter contains natural yeast. It is made from flour and water and is used to make sourdough bread, which has a slightly sour taste due to the natural fermentation process of the yeast.

Some entrees are stored for years, fermented continuously to give the artisanal entree a strong flavor and a smooth, chewy texture.

Natural yeast fermentation works like flash yeast, creating carbon dioxide bubbles in the dough from which it rises.

You can use 1 cup (300 grams) of natural yeast to replace the 2 teaspoons packet of yeast.

If the yeast is thick, reduce the amount of flour in the recipe and if the yeast is runny, reduce the amount of liquid or increase the amount of flour to get the right consistency. Using unleavened dough also requires doubling the rise time.

How to make sourdough starter with your own hands?

Sourdough starter takes at least 5 days to grow, but once you get it, it’s easy to maintain and use. This is what you need:

  • At least 2 1/2 cups (600 grams) all-purpose flour
  • At least 2 1/2 cups (600 ml) of water

Here are the steps to make your own natural yeast:

  • Day 1: Combine 1/2 cup (120 g) flour and 1/2 cup (120 ml) water in a large glass bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Leave at room temperature.
  • Day 2: Add 1/2 cup (120 g) flour and 1/2 cup (120 ml) water to the yeast and mix well. Cover loosely and leave at room temperature. At the end of the second day, you should see bubbles, which means the yeast is rising and fermenting the dough.
  • Day 3: Repeat the steps from Day 2. The mixture should smell yeasty and have a good amount of foam.
  • Day 4: Repeat the steps from Day 2. You should notice more foam, a strong, sour smell, and an increase in size.
  • Day 5: Repeat steps from Day 2. Your starter will smell yeasty and foamy. Now it is ready to use.

To keep your yeast sour after day 5, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Use or discard half each week and add another 1/2 cup (120 grams) of flour and 1/2 cup (120 ml) of water.

Sourdough containing any type of fast, white or colored mold contamination should be discarded.

Since yeast takes at least 5 days to develop, this yeast substitute works best if you already have yeast on hand or can wait 5 days before baking.


You can use 1 cup (300 grams) of natural yeast to replace 2 tablespoons of yeast. However, you may need to adjust the amount of flour or liquid in the recipe and double the rising time. It will take at least 5 days to make your own sourdough starter from scratch.

The Bottom Line

Yeast makes baked goods light, airy and chewy, but in a pinch, you can substitute an alternative ingredient.

Baking soda, along with baking powder, reacts with acids in liquids and when heated, bubbles and leavened baked goods are formed. These yeast substitutes react quickly, so they don’t need time to rise. However, they may not have the specific stimulatory effect that yeast does.

You can also use an acid starter with comparable yeast results. However, the yeast takes twice as long to rise and you will need to adjust the flour to liquid ratio based on the thickness of the yeast.

While none of these ingredients can completely replicate yeast in a recipe, they are a great substitute when you don’t have yeast on hand.

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