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Traditional Soda Bread and Sourdough Bread: Making Awesome Yeast-free Breads

Updated on November 5, 2015

Do You Have A Yeast Allergy?

Do you follow a yeast-free lifestyle? Many people these days have health concerns such as candida problems, which mean they may prefer to eat foods that are not produced using commercial (or perhaps any) yeasts. Sometimes this can be a challenge to the pocketbook: just check out some of the prices in your local supermarkets, whole-food and health food stores for yeast-free products! But do you really want to live a bread-free existence forever, miserably subsisting on brown rice and beans?

Soda Bread

Copyright: Ollie Hicks.
Copyright: Ollie Hicks.

Make Your Own Yeast-Free Bread, Cheap and Easy!

Have you ever thought about making your own yeast-free breads? It's certainly a cheaper option than buying commercially produced yeast-free bread such as soda bread and sourdough bread. Apart from seasoning and leavening agents, really all you're out when you make your own yeast-free bread is the cost of the flour and the gas or electricity used to bake it.

Buy Sourdough Bread On Amazon

No Yeast In The Storecupboard? How About Soda Bread?

Soda bread is a traditional Irish delicacy available in most supermarkets, and has also long been considered a storecupboard staple by resourceful and thrifty housewives, for when they were short of yeast to make traditionally leavened bread. It's leavened with the storecupboard staple of bicarbonate of soda (and cream of tartar in some recipes) and buttermilk (a soured dairy product) is a traditional ingredient. However for vegans, a vegan version of soda bread is entirely viable (made with vinegar instead), and that's the recipe I used myself recently. You can find it here, and check out my rather impressive photo of the results above!

Yummy Bread!

Creative Commons licence
Creative Commons licence | Source

Sourdough Bread

Copyright: Ollie Hicks.
Copyright: Ollie Hicks.

How Do You Make Sourdough Bread?

My vegan boyfriend loved the results and couldn't believe how simple the recipe was. He swore the flavour was too complex and subtle for the ingredients list to be so short, and that I must have put some hidden extras in!

Sourdough bread is an oddity as far as cooking and baking yeast-free is concerned. I wouldn't myself in fact class it as yeast-free baking, since it is actually produced with the assistance of 'wild' yeasts – i.e. ones not sold commercially. However many anti-candida books class it as acceptable for use by those who are seeking to avoid foods made with commercial yeast. I have been making it for many years and actually got my sourdough bread technique from a book on candida albicans (thrush) health problems.

There's a massive mystique that is (wilfully?) built up around the making of sourdough bread. Going by my own (borrowed) technique, I can't quite see why as it really couldn't be any easier. Many books and cooks will talk of starter 'mothers', of feeding the 'mothers' with yeast, sugar and all kinds of arcane ingredients, of throwing out starter according to a defined set of criteria and starting again. But why?

According to the anti-candida bible where I pinched my recipe from (and it was quite some time ago and the book appears to be out of print – at least I can't track it down), all a starter requires is some whole grain flour or meal and water, mixed together and covered with a clean teatowel for a day or two. At some point between twenty-four and forty-eight hours the mixture begins to 'fizz' up due to the action of wild yeasts on the whole grain. That means it's live and ready to go, and can be used to leaven dough. (If the thought of eating 'wild yeast' seems a bit grotty, well, it hasn't killed me yet, and it makes a delicious loaf. Try it at your own risk! Although if you do have a yeast-sensitive condition it may be an idea to check with your doctor first.)

I find that the flour or meal used does have to be whole to work: white flour simply sits there, inert and lifeless. (A little sugar or dried fruit seems to help it along too.) However the last starter that I made I did successfully use white flour for, by the addition of a heaping tablespoon of brewer's yeast. Brewer's yeast is dead, so I think it worked due to the extra B vitamins for wild yeasts to feast on, rather than by action of the brewer's yeast. This starter fizzed up nicely and produced a lovely loaf, even though I used white flour for the loaf too (also usually a no-no). Check out my picture!

Making yeast-free bread: it's not as hard as you might think. Try it out!


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    • earner profile image

      Dedicated Content Curator 

      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great. I just pinned this on Pinterest. Thanks for this easy soda bread recipe

    • FOREX NINJA profile image


      7 years ago

      Interesting and very very educative which is very well shared.

    • crystolite profile image


      7 years ago from Houston TX

      Interesting and self educating article which is capable of making some one to be self employed in life.

    • profile image

      Yeast Free  

      8 years ago

      Hi Ollie,

      This is really a good list of yeast free breads. Anyway, what amazed me is the list of yeast free products listed over amazon.

      I think its shipping fee would be expensive since I am in Asia.

      Anyway, I will find an alternative on that. Thank you very much.

      - Sherryl


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