The Difference Between Brewer’s Yeast and Nutritional Yeast

When it comes to yeast, there are two common types that people often encounter: brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast. While they may seem similar at first glance, the two differ in a variety of ways. Understanding these differences can help you determine which yeast is best for your needs.

Brewer’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is the yeast strain used in the fermentation of beer and bread-making. It is a single-celled fungus that contains a wide range of B vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid. Its ability to convert sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide is what gives beer its characteristic flavor and carbonation.

Nutritional yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is a deactivated form of brewer’s yeast that is grown specifically for its nutritional profile. It is typically sold in the form of flakes or powder and is a popular ingredient in vegan and vegetarian diets, as it is a rich source of protein, fiber, and vitamins. Unlike brewer’s yeast, nutritional yeast is not used for fermenting alcohol or bread dough.

One of the primary differences between brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast is their taste. Brewer’s yeast has a bitter and slightly yeasty flavor, which makes it unsuitable for many people’s palates. Nutritional yeast, on the other hand, has a nutty, cheesy flavor that is often described as “umami.” This makes it a popular ingredient in recipes that call for a savory, cheesy taste without using dairy products.

Another significant difference between the two types of yeast is their nutritional content. While both brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast are rich sources of B vitamins, nutritional yeast is also a good source of protein, fiber, and minerals like zinc and selenium. Nutritional yeast is also low in calories and fat, making it an ideal choice for those watching their weight.

In conclusion, while brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast share some characteristics, they are different in many ways. Brewer’s yeast is mainly used for brewing beer and has a bitter taste, while nutritional yeast is used as a nutritional supplement and has a nutty, cheesy flavor. Nutritional yeast is also a good source of protein, fiber, and minerals, while brewer’s yeast is mainly a source of B vitamins. Choosing the right type of yeast depends on your needs and taste preferences, so be sure to consider these differences when selecting a yeast product.

How to Use Brewer’s Yeast:

  1. As a supplement: Brewer’s yeast can be consumed in supplement form, available as tablets or capsules, to increase your intake of B vitamins.
  2. In cooking: Brewer’s yeast can be added to soups, stews, and gravies to enhance the nutritional content and add a slightly bitter taste.
  3. In baking: Brewer’s yeast can be used in bread dough to help with rising and add flavor to the finished product.
  4. In brewing: Brewer’s yeast is the primary yeast used in the fermentation of beer and can be used as a starter culture for homemade beer.

How to Use Nutritional Yeast:

  1. As a flavor enhancer: Nutritional yeast can be sprinkled on top of popcorn, roasted vegetables, or salads to add a nutty, cheesy flavor.
  2. In cooking: Nutritional yeast can be added to sauces, dips, and dressings for added flavor and nutrition.
  3. In baking: Nutritional yeast can be added to bread dough or pizza crust for a slight cheesy flavor.
  4. As a substitute for cheese: Nutritional yeast can be used as a dairy-free alternative to grated Parmesan cheese in pasta dishes and salads.