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No-Yeast Yeast Dough


I recently saw a recipe for quick cinnamon buns and, immediately, visions of quick babka and quick rugelach danced before my eyes. But when I tried to parvify the recipe (and, yes, I hereby declare “parvify” a word) it was a disaster. By disaster, I mean not edible. As in, the whole thing went into the trash, because no one would eat it. But I wanted to make this work, because many of us who would love to show off a platter of homemade buns or rugelach are daunted by the very idea of yeast cake. And besides, who has time to plan ahead, as you must with doughs that need resting time? I don’t want a prima donna dough, I want a dough with grit! (I mean that figuratively, not literally!)  

So I set out to create a dough that could puff up nicely with chemical leaveners instead of yeast, and I present the results below. Beware that the dough I concocted differs from yeast dough in both taste and texture. Still, it makes a very respectable substitute. And how cool is it to start a babka and serve it one hour later?


1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a two-cup measuring cup, whisk together the whip, oil, water, egg yolks, and vanilla.
2. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together. Once it is too difficult to use a spoon, continue mixing with your hands until combined. Knead briefly until a cohesive dough forms, about one minute. The dough will be stiff. Add a little more water, one tablespoon at a time, if it is too dry.
3. Use as directed in the following recipes: Cinnamon Babka, Pecan Sticky Buns, Chocolate-Cinnamon Rugelach.