Don't let anything stop you from baking delicious breads, pizza doughs, brioche or any recipe based on fermented doughs.
Old dough makes new dough
If you have only one packet of yeast left, you never need any more if you use the “old dough method”. Make some bread or pizza dough with your last remaining yeast. You could start with pizza dough, baguette, or a sandwich bread.
Once the dough has fully risen, remove a small amount, the size of an egg or a small bun, mix it well with equal amounts of water and flour and let it sit in a jar or bowl overnight at room temperature. In the morning you will have a bubbly starter ready to be incorporated into any recipe instead of yeast. Simply subtract the weight of its ingredients from the ingredients of the recipe.
Rising time may be slightly longer, so be patient. Good thing you are staying at home… Your reward? A deep, rich flavour that only hours of fermentation can deliver. But remember to set aside some of the new dough for the next batch.
Sourdough like our ancestors
If you have no yeast at all, this may be the time to grow your own sourdough starter. Sourdough existed long before commercial yeast was available, and is the best leavener for delicious artisanal bread. Raising sourdough starter from flour and water can be achieved in 5 days to a week. Every baker has their own method, from simply combining white flour and water to adding rye flour, apples or grapes for extra fermentation stimulation. The general principle is to encourage the yeast that is naturally present in flour to develop, by feeding it regularly with added water and flour. An active sourdough starter can then be left to “sleep” in a jar in the refrigerator for several weeks at a time.
Flatbreads from around the world
Many flatbreads require no leavener. Wheat tortillas, Indian rotis or chapatis and lavosh are only a few of the fun international options you can make with your children, rolling them out or hand pressing them and then cooking them in the frying pan instead of the oven. Use them as wraps or serve alongside the meal to soak up gravy or sauce. A hearty galette, or Breton crêpe made with buckwheat flour (so easy to grind to flour in Thermomix®), can be filled with eggs, cheese, ham or more; it's a distant but worthy cousin of the flatbread.
Chemically leavened is good too
Baking powder and bicarbonate of soda are not just for sweet baking. They can also help quick breads to rise. Ireland is famous for its soda bread, scones now have a reputation far beyond their British origins, and cornbread or biscuits from the American South will make any meal feel special.
By the time you get your hands on yeast again, the alternative recipes will have become such daily favourites in your household that standard bread baking may feel like a thing of the past!