Much to the dismay of preppers everywhere, yeast does expire. It loses the ability to make bread rise, as it’s a living culture. You can get it to last about a year or more in the freezer, but since it isn’t great for long-term food storage, alternatives to making bread should be made.
It isn’t that difficult to make bread without yeast, but you need to understand your options and prepare your food stash accordingly. Personally, I like to practice too. It’ll help you know what method you prefer and which changes can be made to the recipes to be more palatable for your needs.
SOURDOUGH – The first thing I would try to make is sourdough bread. Sourdough is bread with “wild-harvested yeast”, meaning that it’s yeast you can grow naturally at home. Sourdough bread takes practice, but there are several great guides out there. You can keep your starter going and your yeast alive all the time, so you’ll never run out. You can also buy starter if you don’t feel like making it from scratch.
Baking Soda ONLY – If all you have on hand is some baking soda, you can make what is often referred to as “salt-rising bread.” This the bread pioneers on the Oregon Trail made often. The salt was saleratus, or what today, most closely resembles baking soda. Give this one a try! Unfortunately, this isn’t a great option for those with any kind of sensitivity to dairy. Most recipes call for milk or buttermilk.
Baking Powder ONLY – If you have some baking powder on hand, you can make bread using it as a leavening agent. You can make some pretty good biscuits and cornbread using baking powder. The Augason Farms Biscuit Mix, right, has no leavening, meaning that you will need to add leavening to make your biscuits, but can do so with baking powder. Cornbread mixes also require baking powder. Once you make the batter, you can also make muffins.
Bread With Baking Soda and Baking Powder -These breads will have no yeast, but require both baking powder and baking soda. Try Irish Soda Bread. Mixes can be purchased at most grocery stores and online and the flavor is not too bad!
Unleavened Bread – unleavened bread, such as tortillas and flatbreads are made without using rising agents at all. Try making hardtack or matzo. Matzo resembles a cracker, much like hardtack. It’s made generally only of flour and water (the flour is barley, oat, rye, spelt, or wheat). Here’s a great recipe showing how to make a homemade Matzo (sometimes also called Matzoh).
These options for bread when you have no yeast should be a great place to start! The important thing is to experiment with making these types of breads so you know what you personally prefer. While you should probably still store yeast, it is important to realize that it has a fairly short shelf life, so knowing how to make some tasty bread after the SHTF will be beneficial for helping you stay satiated.