What is Leavening?


When we first began this journey 6 years ago I had no idea what we were in for! I’m so glad everything was not revealed at once because it would have been so overwhelming! Can anyone relate?

Like many others we saw the traditions and errors of christianity and jumped right into the traditions and errors of Judaism.

It has been a continuous process of questioning, studying, learning, changing and then starting all over again. I used to feel like I knew all the right answers. Apologetics it was called.   I had the verses memorized and the words were ready to be said at any moment. Now I wonder how I could ever have all the answers. Even the simplest thing like what is leavening must be questioned and researched!

For the first years that we kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread we searched the entire house for any crumb of bread, any box of food with yeast in it, gave away our yeast, etc. It was lovely to have the house so thoroughly cleaned once a year, but then something occurred to me that made us do things differently this year.

Yeast only leavens if it is added to other ingredients. Also bread that is baked no longer has active yeast. If you leave out a jar of yeast or a piece of bread, it is not going to leaven anything.

HOWEVER, there is a type of leavening that would be able to do this. It’s called sourdough. If sourdough is left out, even without adding anything, it will create leaven. In fact, if water is added to flour and left out, it can also create leaven. I believe THIS is what we are to remove from our house! Yes, we could also rid the house of all yeast and yeast bread… but those are not going to do any leavening on their own.

This year we did throw out or give away our yeast (we don’t have much any more, we are trying not to use it as much these days), yeast breads and crackers and we cleaned out the toaster and some basic cleaning, but the main thing we did was use all the sourdough so that there is no *live* leavening in the house.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this!


4 thoughts on “What is Leavening?

  1. Dawn Yoder says:

    Thank you for this, I vascillate between practically nuking the house and thinking along the same lines regarding deactivated yeast and yeast in bread.

    I remember one year, when I was pretty new to this wonderful way of life, that it occurred to me that sourdough has yeast and I should probably get rid of it. That made me sad because it was a lovely starter and I had never been able to successfully start one myself.

    But, I obediently discarded it. After the Feast, I tried starting one again, and it actually worked! It was a picture then of how YHWH provides when we are obedient.

    Honestly, right now, I’d rather error on the side of caution simply because the matter is not settled for me. I don’t remove baking powder or baking soda though because I do believe that the leaven scripture talks about is the kind from yeast, a living creature.

    One question we have in our fellowship right now is what about Kombucha or Kefir? Would love to hear your thoughts on that as we haven’t found ANYTHING on that yet.

    • Kare says:

      Hi Dawn! Thank you for your response! I have not felt inclined to remove Kombucha, Kefir, Wine or Vinegar from the home… I remember reading something about this at one point, but I don’t remember where… will have to research again. =) For one thing, I have never heard of using any of those to leaven bread and that seems to be the context of Unleavened Bread. Great question though! I would love to hear what you decide and why =)

      • Dawn Yoder says:

        I haven’t heard of wine being used to leaven bread, but you can use kombucha (https://www.kombuchakamp.com/kombucha-recipe-sourdough-kombucha-bread-starter-plus-more-recipes) as well as Kefir (http://naturalfertilityandwellness.com/recipe-kefir-bread/). Our fellowship’so general consensus is that chametz = fermented grain, so many remove vinegar, though I’m not sure I agree with that. White distilled vinegar is made from fermented grain, but seems like the distilling process would deactivate any live critters.

      • Kare says:

        That is interesting and it makes sense! My thoughts off the top of my head are that by itself, Kombucha or Kefir or wine or vinegar would not leaven bread, only if they are mixed with flour or dough, so I would not personally rid my house of them. Similar to yeast… My main concern would be not having any sourdough in the house that would become leavened bread if left out. If it is the feast of unleavened bread and I don’t have anything that could produce leavened bread if left on its own then that seems ok. I do have a question about bread that is leavened but the leavening is no longer alive… We don’t have any in the house, we got rid of it this year, but I still have a question about whether or not this is necessary. =)

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