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Choosing Yeast vs. Baking Powder for Bread: Two Basic Recipes

Updated on September 1, 2013
Yeast breads require gluten to trap the carbon dioxide emitted by the yeast as it ferments sugar.
Yeast breads require gluten to trap the carbon dioxide emitted by the yeast as it ferments sugar. | Source
Quick breads have a more cake-like texture.
Quick breads have a more cake-like texture. | Source

Leavening with yeast

Bread can be leavened with either yeast or baking powder. While both forms of leavening create the carbon dioxide that makes bread rise, they are not interchangeable. Yeast produces carbon dioxide as a product of fermentation. The process is slow, requiring about one to two hours before the bread is baked. The dough also needs to be kneaded, to develop gluten that creates pockets that help store the carbon dioxide that makes the bread rise.

Leavening with baking powder

Baking powder produces carbon dioxide as soon as the liquid and dry ingredients are mixed- produces a very quick rise. Quick breads have a lighter, cake-like texture than yeast breads do, as they don't require gluten to trap the carbon dioxide during a long slow rise. The batter is mixed, and begins to bake and rise at the same time. Heat accelerates the rising process, and the carbon dioxide is trapped by the crust of the bread as it is baked.

Basic Yeast Bread Recipe

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 6 cups flour

  1. Place warm water in large bowl. Add sugar and yeast, and allow to proof for several minutes until yeast begins to bubble and foam.
  2. Add salt and oil into the yeast mixture.
  3. Mix in flour by hand one cup at a time until dough is too stiff to take any more.
  4. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
  5. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk. This will take about an hour.
  6. Punch dough down. Knead 10 times, and divide in half.
  7. Shape each half into a loaf and place the halves into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans.
  8. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, While the dough is rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, or until loaf sounds hollow when you tap it. Cool completely before slicing.

Basic Quick Bread Recipe

  • 31/2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Sift flour with baking powder, soda, and salt, and set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add eggs to butter mixture, combining well.
  5. Add flour mixture alternately with milk to butter mixture, until all is incorporated. Do not over mix.
  6. Divide mixture in half, and pour into 2 greased loaf pans.
  7. Bake for one hour. Cool in pans 10 minutes, then remove to wire racks.
  8. Cool completely before slicing.


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