I was wondering if I could get some advice as I have intolerances to yeast and have heard of a few substitutions from: baking soda, baking powder, lemon juice, milk and yogurt. The question comes to how do I measure these into bread or baking to make whatever I am making rise? I have heard that in the middle east they rarely use yeast for bread baking and their bread still rises. I just don't know the proper measurements I would use, if a bread recipe calls for 1 or 2 packets of yeast and mixing them in water do you mix one tsp of baking soda and 1 tsp of lemon juice in together?

If you can give me any advice on this that would be greatly appreciated, thanks.


There are no substitutes for yeast. What you list are not substitutes, but alternative leaveners: either actual baking powder, or a combination of baking soda and lemon juice or yogurt. The milk does not contribute to leavening at all.

There is nothing you can do to mimic ordinary yeast or sourdough (which consists mostly of wild yeasts). If you were to use a chemical leavener in a bread recipe, everything would be wrong - the ingredients, the proportions, but most of all, the process. It will fail miserably.

There are two classes of baked goods which are used as bread and don't contain yeast, quickbreads and unleavened breads. Quickbreads are made with chemical leaveners. Nowadays, practically nobody bakes them for use as a bread, but rather as a kind of less elegant cake. So the recipes common today are for the sweet and fruity varieties like banana bread. But if you can find a source of WWII era recipes, you'll probably find plain quickbreads without sugar, intended to be used instead of yeast breads.

Unleavened breads don't rise, they are a class which contains things like flour tortillas and naan. They are indeed popular in the Middle East, but it is not true that "their bread still rises" - it doesn't, and it isn't intended to. You can get some amount of puffiness if you have a very hot oven, but this is impossible with electric appliances on 360 volts or below, it is done in wood ovens. And the pita still stays mostly flat, it is just somewhat airier, but it cannot be shaped as a loaf and still bake.

I am sorry to hear about your condition, but all you can do is to search for recipes for quickbreads and flatbreads. Yeast cannot be substituted.

There is a bit of explanation on leavening mechanisms in this question: Why are there no recipes combining both yeast and baking powder?.

  • 1
    A quick Google search for "savory quickbread" shows lots of possibilities (which I want to try!) -- mostly for interesting variations with cheese or herbs, but also a few plain loaves. The texture might still be more like cake; cornbread (stiffer) could work nicely for sandwiches and bread substitution. – Erica Oct 19 '14 at 2:23
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    Unsweetened bread leavened with chemicals may not be made much in America, but it's still popular in Europe, especially in Ireland. Try searching for "soda bread" recipes. – Mike Scott Oct 23 '14 at 19:42
  • Sour milk is sometimes used for the acid part of leavening. – Ecnerwal Jul 9 '16 at 0:36

Damper can be made without yeast. It was and still is the food source of travelling stockman and drovers in Australia, and it rises as much as normal bread. Try searching for a damper recipe as an alternative.

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    Damper is a kind of quickbread, leavened with chemical leaveners, which is mentioned in rumtscho's answer. As both that and you say, it's an alternative kind of bread, not really the same as yeast-leavened bread, not really a substitute. – Cascabel Jul 8 '16 at 1:01

As others have said, there is no true replacement for yeast. There are other alternatives and the one I have found works best it baking soda,water,and milk. Good luck!

  • Please do not repeat others' posts. To express that you agree with an answer, upvote it by clicking the grey arrow above the number (vote counter) to its left. – Stephie Dec 13 '16 at 7:11

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