The keto diet can get quite tricky if you don’t know what foods are keto compliant. Most people tend to fall off the keto wagon due to difficulty in kicking their need for carbs on a daily basis.
Going on a low carb journey means being familiar with ingredients, reading labels, and learning how macronutrients affect your body’s metabolism. Cravings for carbs., mainly bread have led to the rise of various recipes for keto bread. Flour substitutes are keto compliant for low carb bread– but is yeast keto friendly?
What is Yeast?
Yeasts are single-celled organisms that are essential in the science of bread making. They feed on simple sugars and break them down into different substances that contribute to the process of fermentation. Yeast and gluten play very important roles in the kind of dough you eat from cakes, doughnuts, and loaf bread. Carbon dioxide, alcohol ( ethanol ), flavor molecules, and energy form in the dough once yeast is added. These substances are the keys to making bread rise
- Carbon Dioxide – this major gas plays a major part in baking. Yeast organisms create carbon dioxide when they feed on sugars causing the dough to rise and “proof”. As the carbon dioxide expands, it moves while the bread dough starts baking in the oven and doubles the dough in size.
- Alcohol ( ethanol ) – if carbon dioxide helps bread rise, alcohol is responsible for bread flavor. However, that is just part of its role in bread dough. As yeast starts to break down glucose, two molecules of carbon dioxide, as well as two molecules of ethanol, begin to form for every glucose molecule. As soon as the bread starts baking in the hot oven, the alcohol molecules turn into gas bubbles which also helps the rise of your bread.
Now that you know the science behind yeast in bread, we can conclude that yeast only feeds on sugar molecules and gluten.that is usually present in typical bread. The keto diet focuses on low carbohydrate food which basically eliminates consuming bread altogether. But there is a workaround compromise to this as we all know how much of a challenge it is to break up a long term relationship we all have with bread.
Yeast and Keto Bread Flour Substitutes
With the ketogenic diet taking off, we have seen the rise of low carbohydrate alternative products. Almond flour and coconut flour are making quite the noise in the baking industry as people have discovered the wonder of low carb bread that are keto compliant as well as gluten and PCOS friendly.
You need not give up bread nor do you need to stop using yeast in baking your keto bread. Remember, yeast only feeds on sugar and gluten. Keto flour substitutes do not contain enough sugar or carbs for the yeast to grow and “ proof” your bread. Hence why most keto bread relies on other leavening ingredients for help to make the dough rise.
Almond flour is basically high in fat. Contains moderate protein and low in carbohydrates. Meaning it does not contain much gluten and sugar. Since it is a nut flour and does not come from grain, it is much denser. Because it lacks gluten, your recipes may need more eggs or other leavening ingredients such as baking powder. Although almond flour is considered to be a great flour substitute for baked goods, it may not be the best choice for those allergic to nuts. A cup of almond flour is equivalent to 90 almond nuts. That is more than enough of what the average person will consume in one sitting. Aside from wreaking havoc on individuals with nut allergies, it can also fill your body with fats and phytates that cause or trigger inflammation.
Coconut flour, on the other hand, comes from the dehydrated coconut meat after the coconut oil has been extracted. It packs high amounts of fiber, moderate protein content, and about 2.5 grams fat. It is also low in carbohydrates and has great digestive benefits. Some may be put off with the thought of using coconut flour due to its distinct taste and smell. However, it is not all that bad since it can be masked with dominant flavors from other ingredients. Coconut flour is the best flour substitute for keto bread if you don’t do well with nuts.
Other nut-free flour substitutes are psyllium husk flour, ground chia seeds, ground flax seeds, oat fiber, and even cricket flour for the more adventurous keto baker.
Is Yeast Keto Friendly?
To answer that question, yes. Yeast is considered keto-friendly and can be used to bake keto-friendly low carb bread. Yeast contributes a special taste and texture to baked bread that no other leavening ingredient can do. But including yeast into the mix means you have to feed it with sugar and gluten which does not make it keto-friendly or low carb in principle.
The secret to using yeast in keto bread is in the other ingredients you are going to feed the yeast with. One of the best low carb yeast bread recipes calls for the use of dark rye flour – which contains about 67 gms of carbs and vital wheat gluten which is pretty much low carb since it is mainly the protein removed from wheat. The recipe calls for only half a cup of rye flour for the yeast to yield a loaf of bread. This adds up to 33.5 gms of net carbs for the whole loaf and roughly 2.79 gms net carbs per slice.
Another well-made recipe for bread with yeast uses an ingredient called inulin. Although you may think it’s sugar since its spelling closely resembles insulin, this naturally derived product is a soluble prebiotic fiber. It acts as food to feed the yeast which can help your keto bread recipe attain that delicious rise and allow it to become more fluffy.
Reasons to add yeast to your low carb bread
Many keto purists may frown on adding yeast to keto bread but as long as you know what you’re putting into your recipes to feed your yeast, there is no real reason not to add yeast but in fact, it gives you great reasons to do so. After all, there is no real joy in eating dry and dense bread.
- Inulin is keto compliant and is considered a super prebiotic with a powerful punch of health benefits for your digestive system.
- Typical keto bread is honestly dry and quite grainy. As much as it does what it does for our bread cravings, adding yeast makes it less of a tolerable thing to eat. It is important to not expect much from the addition of yeast in your keto bread recipe as it will not make your bread as light and fluffy. However, it will make your bread have a light bite and doughy texture.
- Yeast contributes much to the smell and aroma of baked bread. Nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread to fill your nostrils and hit that bread sweet spot.