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Bread, pizzas and focaccias, the best substitutes for brewer’s yeast

Bread, pizzas and focaccias, the best substitutes for brewer’s yeast

April 12, 2020
What to use instead of brewer's yeast? Here are some ideas, from sourdough, to dry yeast and finally baking soda
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Brewer's yeast is an essential ingredient for various culinary preparations, such as bread or pizza. However, it cannot always be used, sometimes it cannot be found in shops, sometimes we don’t have it at home and there is no time to buy it, sometimes there can be an intolerance against this type of yeast. But, luckily, there are substitutes, which can be used. Let's see them.


Sourdough is certainly one of the best substitutes for brewer’s yeast. Bread, pizza or desserts will be fragrant, well leavened and even more digestible than baked goods prepared with brewer’s yeast (Rizzello et al, Nutrients, 2019). However, times are significantly longer. In fact, sourdough requires leavening times approximately three times longer than brewer’s yeast. And how to have sourdough at home? You can buy it ready in the store or you can prepare it by yourself. Be careful though, in the latter case the sourdough will not be usable for 4-5 months. In any case, here's how you can proceed. Mix 200 grams of white wheat flour with 100 ml of warm water, mix the ingredients, place in a bowl covered with a damp cloth and leave to rest for 48 hours. After this time, take 200 grams from this dough and add 200 grams of white wheat flour and 100 ml of water and let it rest for 48 hours. This process is called the refreshing and is a fundamental process for keeping sourdough alive. Continue with refreshments every 2 days for 2 weeks, then refreshments can only take place once a week. The sourdough should be kept in the fridge and should appear as a mixture full of bubbles and with a scent reminiscent of sparkling wine. Any crust that forms on the surface must be removed at the time of refreshing. In order to use sourdough instead of brewer's yeast, you can consider that 25 grams of brewer's yeast corresponds to 300 grams of sourdough. However, in order to maintain the proportions, you need to remove the flour and water from the starting recipe in the quantity with which they are added through the sourdough. This depends on how the sourdough was made, whether it is liquid or solid, like the recipe we have given. In the latter case, you should remove 200 grams of flour and 100 ml of water to replace 25 grams of brewer’s yeast.

Baking soda

Baking soda can replace brewer's yeast, for example when you want to make desserts or pizzas. However, baking soda alone does not replace the leavening agent, for this to happen an acid must always be added, usually lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Mix an equal amount of baking soda in a small glass, usually half a teaspoon is sufficient, and the acid you have chosen, always half a teaspoon, this will form bubbles, at this point you can add your DIY yeast to the dough. As an alternative to lemon and vinegar you can also use yogurt, in this case the proportion is half a teaspoon of baking soda and 125 grams of yogurt.

Dry brewer's yeast

Finally, brewer’s yeast can also be found in a dried form, excellent for the preparation of bread or pizzas. As for the quantity of dry yeast to be added, the general rule is that 23 grams of fresh yeast correspond to 7 grams of dry yeast. So, to find how much dry yeast you need to use starting from the quantity of fresh yeast indicated in the recipe, simply multiply the quantity of fresh yeast of the recipe by 7 and divide by 23. To know how to add dry yeast, you should instead follow the instructions on the package as this depends on the type of yeast, sometimes it can be added directly to the flour, sometimes to the water.

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