No yeast? Here's how you can bake bread, pizza and naan without it

08 April 2020 - 14:33 By Toni Jaye Singer
Hilary Biller's delicious yeast-free, no-knead soda bread.
Hilary Biller's delicious yeast-free, no-knead soda bread.
Image: Christoph Hoffman

Mzansi has been baking up such a storm while stuck at home that there's a now a shortage of yeast on supermarket shelves.

If you've been struggling to find this essential ingredient, our food editor Hilary Biller has some good news: you don't necessarily need yeast to bake bread, you can use bicarbonate of soda and bake no-knead soda bread instead.

It's quick and easy to do, explains Biller. Try her simple recipe, which makes one loaf:

  • Mix 500g (4 cups) cake flour, 5ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda and 5ml (1 tsp) salt in a bowl.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add 500ml (2 cups) amasi, buttermilk or plain yoghurt. (If you don't have any of those on hand, you can use milk to which you've added a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice.)
  • Using your hands, mix the buttermilk/yoghurt/curdled milk through to just bring the dough together. Don't overmix, as this will make the dough tough.
  • Place the dough on floured surface and shape as desired, ensuring whatever shape you make is no taller than 3cm — this will ensures it cooks through. (Biller made a rectangular loaf, pictured.) Using a sharp knife, score diagonal lines on top of bread. Sprinkle a little flour over the top.
  • Place the bread on a sprayed baking tray and bake for 15 minutes at 200°C, then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C and continue baking for another 20 to 30 minutes. If it browns too quickly, reduce the temperature to 160ºC. If you tap the loaf underneath and it sounds hollow then it's ready.
  • Cool on a wire rack and enjoy.

“This soda bread is best eaten on the day it's baked, and is delicious served warm with lots of butter or margarine,” says Biller.

Of course, yeast isn't just a key ingredient in bread, it's used in pizza, vetkoek, naan and bagels — all of which can luckily also be made using a simple two-ingredient, yeast-free dough recipe from Foodies of SA.

All you'll need to make it is self-raising flour and yoghurt; watch the video below and click here to get the full recipes.

WATCH | How to make pizza pies, naan bread, vetkoek and bagels from a simple 2-ingredient dough.

Love to try this versatile dough, but are out of self-raising flour? Make your own by adding 5ml (1 tsp) of baking powder to every cup of flour called for in a recipe, says Biller.