Is Corn Flour Yeast-Free? (Yes, but watch out for . . .)


Corn flour is great for those looking to avoid wheat, and it can be used for everything from bread to pancakes, and much more. But sometimes people wanting to avoid wheat are also looking to avoid yeast. So is corn flour yeast-free?

Here’s what I found out:

Yes. Corn flour is yeast-free, making it an excellent choice for those on a candida diet or just looking to avoid yeast. 

But that’s just a quick snapshot.

And having answered one question, we often have follow-up questions. So in this article, we’ll dig into some related questions such as whether plain corn ever had yeast, to begin with, and how you can use corn flour to make such staples as cornbread or tortillas.

Let’s get going!

Does corn contain yeast?

Most vegetables, including corn, do not contain yeast. Because of this, corn oils and flours are popular choices for those who are looking to transition to a yeast-free lifestyle.

But it is important that you choose the unrefined versions of these. Some additives may include yeast, which can have a negative effect on those who need to avoid it.

Where corn and yeast sometimes get confusing is with some common products such as cornbread that actually use both corn flour (or corn meal) and wheat flour (which contains yeast).

Corn flour is an excellent ingredient to keep on hand if you are trying to stick to a yeast-free diet.

It makes the perfect breading for frying foods like fish and okra. You can even use it in place of regular flour when making your baked breakfast goods, like waffles and pancakes.

Can you make corn flour bread with no yeast?

Yes. You can make yeast-free bread using cornflour. But any bread made without yeast will be dense and flat in most cases. Adding eggs, however, can make the texture lighter.

Traditional corn flour bread, also called makki ki roti, is very popular in Punjab cuisine.

Essentially it is like a corn flour tortilla. This recipe calls for wheat flour mixed into the cornflour, so just be careful to choose a flour in addition to the cornflour that doesn’t contain yeast.

Flours that are naturally yeast-free include:

  • Rice flour
  • Potato flour
  • Oat flour
  • Spelt flour (which does contain gluten though)

There are other ways to make corn flour bread.

These recipes are simply bread that uses cornflour as its main ingredient, like this recipe from Poilane’s. This version can be made completely gluten and yeast-free.

Can I use corn flour to make cornbread?

You can use corn flour in making cornbread, which is just finely ground corn meal. But using corn flour in place of cornmeal when making cornbread will yield a much smoother result.

Corn flour. Cornmeal. How can you tell the difference? And are they interchangeable?

Corn flour is milled from dry corn kernels. It contains all parts of the corn and is considered a whole grain flour. It is ultra-fine and often yellow in color, though you can find it in white and even blue depending on the type of corn that was ground.

It is exceptionally versatile and using it to bake or fry brings out a unique sweetness that isn’t found in most traditional flours.

Most of the time, cornmeal and corn flour are interchangeable, but you do need to know that they are very different in texture. Cornmeal has a grittier texture, whereas corn flour is very smooth.

 You will end up with bread that is not as textured and has a much finer crumb than cornmeal gives.

That’s not to say you can’t use corn flour to make cornbread. You will just end up with a differently textured product. It may even have a slightly different flavor as well.

Corn flour is better suited for muffins, pancakes, and other baked goods that have a smoother texture and sweet flavor.

Can I make tortillas with corn flour?

You can make tortillas with corn flour. But corn masa or masa harina, the traditional base of tortillas, is treated with lime (calcium hydroxide), and this makes it much easier to form dough that holds together well and won’t crumble.

Corn masa and corn flour seem very similar at first glance. They are both the result of finely ground dried corn kernels.

However, these kernels are usually soaked in limewater (calcium hydroxide), and the result is a very different product.

There are some recipes you can find online, like this one, that says you can make tortillas with corn flour.

While the final product may seem somewhat similar, the ingredients are very different. You will often need to mix white flour with your corn flour, which isn’t the best choice for someone looking to cut yeast or gluten out of their diet.

Interested in making your own homemade tortillas?

Once you start to make your own, you’ll wonder why you ever bought them at the grocery store. But to do that, a tortilla press is indispensable. Check out this recent article on using a tortilla press, where I walk you step-by-step on exactly how to do it.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

What kind of bread has no yeast in it?

There are several kinds of bread that contain no yeast or can easily be made that way, including Irish soda bread, unleavened bread, brown rice bread, farinita, or gluten-free naan bread.

While most bread contains both yeast and gluten, they are very different things. Gluten is a protein found in a lot of grains that help keep its shape by giving it a glue-like texture.

Yeast, on the other hand, helps things to ferment and leaven. It’s what helps the bread to rise and gives it those beautiful air bubbles inside.

It’s also what helps make your favorite batch of kombucha.

When you are on a diet that exclusively restricts yeast but not gluten, you have a few more bread choices. However, you do still need to be careful as other flours containing wheat may also have yeast.

It’s typically safe to stick with bread made with corn, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, oats, barley, and brown rice. Also, using rising agents like salt or baking soda is a great alternative to yeast.

You can check out this recent article to maximize your options. This is about corn masa which is both gluten-free and yeast-free.

Bread you can include in a yeast-free diet include:

    • Sprouted grain bread
    • Unleavened bread (made with yeast-free flour, water, and salt or oil)
    • Flatbread
    • Brown rice bread
    • Salt rising bread
    • Quick bread (like Irish soda bread)

Conclusion

Cutting primary foods from your diet isn’t always a necessity, and it isn’t always healthy.

However, with the advice of your doctor and proper allergy testing, you may find that a yeast-free diet is necessary for you to maintain a healthy body and healthy gut.

Foods made with corn and corn flour are a great choice for those looking to transition into a yeast-free lifestyle.

It’s always best to go with homemade, so you know exactly what is in it, but if you choose store-bought items, just make sure to read the ingredients list first. You don’t want any of those sneaky additives that may affect your overall health and comfort.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades and is now a recovering foodie. When he's not spending time in the kitchen, he can usually be found with his wife & 3 daughters, he can usually be found practicing martial arts, making music, or blogging on his other sites. Click to learn more about me

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