What's the difference between nutritional yeast, brewers yeast, and yeast extract?

What's the difference between nutritional yeast, brewers yeast, and yeast extract?

Nutritional yeast is a gluten free and vegan ingredient that is often used for its cheesy and nutty taste and naturally occurring B vitamins. It’s also often fortified with B12 and is a complete protein, making it a great supplement to a vegan diet.

yeast powder

The yeast is usually a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that is grown from a base of glucose from sugarcane or beet molasses. After a few days, the yeast is deactivated with heat, washed and dried, then sold to consumers in a flake or powder form. Because the yeast is deactivated, The yeast selected is grown for it’s desired traits of cheesiness and nuttiness, which is why its often used in vegan cheese products. You can find nutritional yeast in many stores, such as Trader Joe’s, and you can also find it on Amazon.

anthony’s yeast

Note that nutritional yeast and brewers yeast are different products, although both are eaten for their high vitamin and mineral content. Brewers yeast is grown as a biproduct of malted barley when brewing beer, and the same yeast strain is used to begin this fermentation process. Because brewers yeast is made from beer brewing, it has a different flavor profile and is bitter rather than cheesy. Neither nutritional nor the supplement form of brewers yeast can be used for brewing or leavening bread, because the yeasts are no longer active and have been heat-treated. Brewers yeast is not a gluten free product in most cases, although certain companies mark their bakers yeast as gluten free. In these cases, the producers might use a medium other than malted barley to grow their product. Anthony’s Brewers Yeast states that theirs is grown from a medium of molasses rather than barley and that it has been tested to be gluten free.

gf vegemite

Yeast extract (the main ingredient in Marmite and Vegemite) should also not be confused with nutritional yeast. Yeast extract is not gluten free because it is a byproduct from beer brewing. When making yeast extract, the alcohol is evaporated off, but the product is not processed enough to remove gluten. However, if you’re a fan of Vegemite, you’ll be happy to know they’ve now released a gluten free version. The Aussie Coeliac has also put together a review list of other gluten free yeast spreads available within Australia.

gf vegemite rolls

Here’s a gluten free Vegemite scrolls recipe, if you’re interested in experimenting with the savory spread.

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