How Was Bread Made in Ancient Times Without Yeast?

Bread is one of the most widely consumed food items across the world. It is a staple in many diets and has been so for thousands of years.

However, in ancient times, bread was made differently than it is today. One of the most significant differences was that bread was made without yeast. In this article, we will explore how bread was made in ancient times without yeast.


The history of bread dates back to around 8000 BC when early humans discovered that they could grind grains into flour and mix it with water to form a dough. This dough could then be baked on hot stones or in the sun to create a flatbread.

No Yeast?

Yeast is a crucial ingredient in modern-day bread making as it helps the dough rise and gives bread its fluffy texture. However, yeast was not used in ancient times as it had not yet been discovered.

Alternative Ingredients

So how did ancient people make bread without yeast? They used alternative ingredients such as sourdough starter, beer, or even milk to make their bread rise.

Sourdough Starter: A sourdough starter is a mixture of flour and water that is left out at room temperature for several days to allow natural yeasts from the air to ferment the mixture. This fermented mixture can then be added to dough to help it rise.

Beer: In ancient Egypt, beer was used as a leavening agent for bread. The beer would be mixed with flour and left out to ferment before being baked into bread.

Milk: In some cultures, milk was used as an alternative leavening agent for bread. The lactic acid present in milk can help dough rise and give the finished product a tangy flavor.

The Process

Regardless of which alternative ingredient was used, the process of making bread in ancient times was similar. Flour would be mixed with water and the alternative leavening agent before being kneaded into a dough. The dough would then be left to rise for several hours before being shaped and baked.


In conclusion, bread has been a staple food for thousands of years, and people have been making it without yeast for just as long. Alternative leavening agents such as sourdough starter, beer, or milk were used to make bread rise in ancient times. Although yeast is now a crucial ingredient in modern-day bread making, it is fascinating to see how people made do with what they had in the past.