Hot, homemade bread with no yeast, no eggs, no oil and no sugar. For hardcore bread lovers, that may sound awful, but you just have to try this.

For those times when you’re fresh out of yeast, this is the recipe you’ll be glad you kept handy.

No-yeast bread, often referred to as soda bread, is different than a light, airy yeast bread. It’s rustic, dense and a bit heavier than yeast bread — and oh, so delicious. Eat it plain, toasted or served warm and all slathered up with butter.

The process of making no-yeast bread is somewhat different than traditional yeast bread, so pay close attention.


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour

2 cups buttermilk

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 425 F. Prepare baking surface: If using a bread pan, grease it well. If opting for a free-form loaf, line a baking sheet with parchment. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda and salt. Add buttermilk, stirring until incorporated well in the flour mixture.

Prepare a work surface with 2 tablespoons of white flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface, and gently knead exactly 8 times. If it’s super sticky, add a tiny bit more flour, but go easy! And remember — 8 kneads. That’s all!

Place dough in prepared pan or baking sheet. Slash the top of the loaf with a serrated knife. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 F. Reduce oven temp to 375 F. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until loaf is brown. It should produce a hollow sound when you tap it in the middle. Remove from oven to a rack. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.


Kneading: Excessive handling (kneading) of this dough will prevent it from rising in the oven as it should, and you’ll be very disappointed when you produce something better used as a doorstop than enjoyed as a great loaf of bread.

Flour: If you don’t have whole-wheat flour, you can use 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour. Using part whole-wheat in the ratio above is optional but will add wonderful flavor to the otherwise bland bread. There is no need to substitute with bread flour, however. If you go with the all-purpose plus whole-wheat combo, use no more than 1 3/4 cups whole-wheat. A greater ratio of whole-wheat to all-purpose flour will produce a very dry result.

Buttermilk: You can make your own by adding 1 tablespoon plain white vinegar to a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Fill to the 2-cup mark with milk. Stir gently to mix. Now remove and discard 1 tablespoon of the “buttermilk.” This substitute requires a bit less than if you are using commercial buttermilk. Allow to sit for a few minutes until it starts to thicken and curdle. Proceed as above.

Would you like more information? Go to for links and resources for recommended products and services in this column. Mary invites questions, comments and tips at, “Ask Mary.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a lifestyle blog, and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.”


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