photo: Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever run across a recipe calling for nutritional yeast and you didn't have any?  Maybe didn't even have access to some?  Or maybe you attempted to make a batch of bread and the yeast wasn't working anymore?

Too bad I didn't know, a month ago, what I'm about to tell you.  I threw away an entire pound package of baking yeast (Saccharoymyces cerevisiaebecause it wasn't raising my dough.  Sad.

First of all, what IS nutritional yeast?  It's deactivated yeast, frequently the strain used is   Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  Totally dead yeast.  Usually it is cultured in something sweet for a few days, then heated to deactivate it.  It adds a nutty, savory, almost meat-y depth of flavor to recipes. (The term is 'umami'). It also contains B vitamins and is a complete protein. 

I've been studying a new (to me) breadmaking book  (more on that later!), and in it,  the author, Peter Reinhart, gives instructions for making your own nutritional yeast:

 Put 1/4 c. active dry yeast in a hot skillet.  Toast over med-hi heat until it turns a medium shade of brown. 

That's it.

Now, was my dysfunctional pound of yeast ready to be used as nutritional yeast without toasting?  No.  It was only  partly dead.  Or maybe 'mostly dead', to quote a favorite movie.  But it needs to be totally dead  before you consume it.   Besides that, toasting brings out flavor.

Ways to use nutritional yeast:
  • as a topping on popcorn
  • sprinkle on top of things in place of cheese
  • mix into mashed potatoes or scrambled eggs in place of cheese
  • add to soups or white sauces to improve flavor (the flavor acts similar to adding bouillon or broth)
  • use in this recipe for dairy-free buttery spread
  • sprinkle on top of homemade crackers or breadsticks before baking
  • make your own vegetable broth recipe, on this post.  Tastes like chicken.  :)



06/09/2014 23:04

I've read all of Peter Reinhart's books on making bread and I cannot find anywhere in the books of his that I have what you mentioned above. Where did you read that?

07/05/2014 18:14


Peter Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor" has this information on page 294 in a sidebar about toppings for his recipe for Seeded Crackers. The information can't be found by looking through the index.

09/16/2014 12:56

Is there a way to grow it?

the sir
03/19/2015 15:39

Indeed, you could make beer. But the hops in the trub would give it an off flavor, however there are youtube videos on "washing yeast" to reharvest for another batch of beer. Presumably you could put this on a cookie sheet and toast on an oven's lowest setting to get rid of the moisture. And if you do grow your own yeast, you really do want to "wash it" since any process that ferments quickly will produce congeners and various compounds that are not healthy. I imagine a 2 month aging process would be overkill and uneccessary, further, since there is no wort to be concerned with you could oxygenate with an aquarium pump without having to worry about oxidation. I'm going to try this eventually. Yeast needs oxygen to grow initially, and a little throughout fermentation. If you use a yeast that floats, you may be able to reuse the same solution over and over so that you are not wasting sugars. idk

10/13/2014 11:27

Thank you for this timely 'recipe' for nutritional yeast. Simple, easy, cheap!!! May the Lord bless you richly for your endeavors.

01/05/2015 23:10

I'm wondering what it taste like. Does it have the cheesy flavor everyone raves about?

09/05/2015 09:21

I smells yeasty, it tastes yeasty on it's own, however it does give a cheesy flavor when mixed into things.

04/27/2015 04:38

Thank you so much! for this information your kindness of sharing will never be forgotten I am a Mom of 7 too with 5 still in the nest I have a catering business and a big Vegan party to do and I was raised with the same values ''make do and share may God continue blessing you and your family thank you so much I have a life time tip for you burnt toast/activated charcoal is good for stomach aches, diarrhea, bee stings, food poisoning, and acne it pulls toxins out of your system with no side effects. In the store you will pay about $10.00 for 100 capsules or you can burn toast to keep on hand. It is the Amen in my family and the little ones eat it like it's nothing. Sometimes I put the capsules in grape juice you don't have to use the whole capsule you can open it up and sprinkle some on top of the juice but it works fast!

09/26/2015 23:34

Thanks, Lisa! Very resourceful.
I remember reading a story years ago in the Readers' Digest about a captive with dysentery who was cured by burning a sweet potato and eating it. Sounds like a similar idea.

01/04/2016 12:36

What is the idea of burning toast? It does not contain that much yeast

10/26/2015 21:04

You should mention that when mixed with a little turmeric& tony chachere, you can make scramble tofu.

12/08/2015 07:16

Thank you so much for this... I have some really old dry yeast and will give it a try. It's good to know, because nutricional yeast is not very cheap... Thanks!


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