What Happens if You Don’t Put Yeast in Bread?

October 3, 2022
Written by Allyza Cepeda

So what happens if you don’t put yeast in bread? In this article, we will dive into the answer to these questions and more.

If you don’t put enough yeast in bread, it will rise much more slowly and is highly likely to dry out due to the slower rising process. If you’re working with a well-kneaded dough, there’s also a chance that the gluten strands will become too strong, which can make the dough collapse.

As a professional pastry chef, using yeast in the right amount is crucial. Below is some info you need to know about adding yeast to your bread.

What Happens if You Don’t Put Yeast in Bread? How Much Yeast to Put in Bread?

It can be tricky to know how much yeast you should use when making bread. You don’t want to add too much, or your dough will rise too fast and you’ll end up with a flat loaf of bread. On the other hand, if you don’t add enough yeast, your bread will take forever to rise.

The amount of yeast you need depends on the type of bread you’re making and how long it will take to rise. For example, types of bread that require more time to rise need more yeast.

The general rule is that 1 teaspoon of dry active yeast should be added to every cup of flour used in your recipe. If you’re using fresh baker’s yeast (also called compressed fresh yeast), use 2 teaspoons per cup. In most cases, this amount is sufficient for a dough’s rising time.

If you’re making a loaf of white bread, you’ll need about two teaspoons of active dry yeast or one teaspoon of rapid-rise yeast per cup of flour.

For a loaf of whole wheat bread or other whole grain bread, use about 1/4 cup warm water for every cup of flour plus an additional 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast per cup of flour or 1/4 teaspoon rapid rise yeast per cup of flour. If you’re baking with a bread machine, follow the instructions in the recipe book that came with your device (or look online).

The more yeast you put into your dough, the faster it will rise and resulting in a fluffy bread with lots of air bubbles. For chewy bread that lasts longer without going stale too quickly, then use less yeast than suggested by your recipe and let it rise longer than instructed.

If you’re making a sourdough loaf, you don’t need any yeast at all because the sourdough starter is made from wild yeasts that are naturally present in the air and on plant surfaces.

How Long Does It Take for Yeast to Work?

Yeast will start working as soon as it comes into contact with warm water and sugar or flour, but it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour before it gets going enough to create the bubbles needed for rising. You should see some bubbles after 5 minutes if your water is at least 100°F (38°C). If not, increase the temperature by turning up your oven or microwave until it reaches this temperature

Is yeast necessary for bread?

Yeast is necessary to make your bread rise. This specific ingredient produces the carbon dioxide that produces alcohol which then evaporates as your bread bakes. It also helps in developing and strengthening the gluten strands in your bread.

The carbon dioxide gas is what makes the dough rise and creates pockets of air within the dough that make the bread light and fluffy. Without yeast, bread would be dense and flat, with no holes or air pockets to give it texture or help keep it moist.

The important functions of yeast in bread

The yeast in bread performs several important functions. First, it acts as a leavening agent, allowing the bread to rise and creating pockets of air that make it light and fluffy.

Without yeast, your bread will be flat and dense. However, if you don’t put in enough yeast or use a type that doesn’t work with the ingredients in your recipe, your bread may not rise as much as it should or might even taste bad because of an off-flavor from an inactive yeast culture.

Yeast is a single-celled fungus that feeds on sugar and releases carbon dioxide gas, which causes the dough to expand and rise. The yeast also makes alcohol, which evaporates during baking. The release of the gas makes the crumb texture lighter and finer.

It can also add a bit of flavor to the bread through the fermentation of sugars in the flour during the rising period (also known as proofing).

Yeast comes in two forms: active dry yeast and instant or rapid-rise yeast. Active dry yeast must be rehydrated before use; instant or rapid rise doesn’t need rehydrating. To rehydrate active dry yeast, dissolve it in warm water (110°F) until the mixture foams and becomes frothy after about 5 minutes.

Instant or rapid rise can go right into your recipe without any preparation, hence the name.

Can you bake unleavened bread?

Yes, you can bake unleavened bread but it will have a very different texture and taste than leavened bread. If you try to bake unleavened bread without any leavening agents at all, you’ll end up with flatbreads like chapatis or tortillas.

These flatbreads are usually dense and chewy. This is because dough that has yeast creates air pockets in the dough that allow for an extra-light texture and crumb. If these air pockets aren’t present, your bread then becomes dense and chewy.

Yeast gives bread its rise and also allows the dough to become light and fluffy. When you don’t have any air trapped inside the dough during baking, it won’t expand much during the baking process.

What if I don’t have any yeast? What are some good substitutes for yeast?

What Happens if You Don't Put Yeast in Bread

If you don’t have yeast, you can still make bread but go for recipes that don’t require proofing such as flatbread. You can make flatbreads with or without yeast, but if you don’t have any yeast and you want to make bread now, then there are other substitutes you can use aside from yeast.

You can use a sourdough starter in place of the yeast. Sourdough starters are made with flour and water, and they contain wild yeast and bacteria that help ferment the dough.

You’ll need to feed the starter regularly with more flour and water, but once it’s going, you can bake bread with it pretty quickly. 

You can also make no-yeast bread using baking soda and powder instead of yeast. These two ingredients are what you call chemical leavening agents that will give your bread a little lift even without the standard yeast.

Allyza Cepeda
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