Nutritional yeast, aka “Nooch”, is an unusual, yet incredibly nutritious ingredient. Let’s dive and see what it’s all about.
What is Nutritional Yeast? Nutritional yeast is an inactive (aka dead) yeast that is a good source of B vitamins. Most nutritional yeast on the market (ours included) has been fortified with B12, making it an excellent supplement for vegetarian and vegan diets. Nutritional yeast comes in a variety of styles from a very fine yellow powder to larger yellow flakes. Bob’s Red Mill nutritional yeast falls on the larger end of the spectrum.
Is Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Yeast fortified? Yes, our nutritional yeast is fortified with niacin (B3), pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6), riboflavin (B2), thiamin hydrochloride (B1), folic acid (B9), and B12. B vitamins play an essential role in metabolism. B vitamins are available in whole foods such as whole grains, legumes, bananas and meat, as well as, fortified foods like white flour, nutritional yeast and others. While vegans and vegetarians can get most of the essential B vitamins from plant-based sources, B12 is only found in animal proteins. Nutritional yeast provides an excellent way for plant-based eaters to get the essential B12 vitamin while maintaining their diet.
How is Nutritional Yeast made? Our nutritional yeast is grown on molasses then sprayed onto a hot drum to dry it in real time, instantly. This effectively deactivates it. The flakes slough off and are handled as the extremely thin brittle film they are. As they continue to be handled and packaged the flakes they break up and get smaller.
How is Nutritional Yeast different from Active Dry Yeast? Both are strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Active dry yeast (or baker’s yeast) is still alive, in a dormant state. This is why it is often recommended to keep it refrigerated. If conditions are too warm or too cold, the yeast will die and your bread will not rise. When you proof active dry yeast with water and sugar, it foams. The yeast is feeding on the sugar. Nutritional yeast is not active. It is dead. It will not cause your bread to rise, no matter how much sugar you throw at it.
Is Nutritional Yeast the same thing as Brewer’s Yeast? No. While many, many people will tell you that they are one and the same, this is not true. Brewer’s yeast is a byproduct of brewing beer. Call it the spent yeast, if you will. They look very similar and both come from the same strain of yeast, but they are nutritionally quite different.
Is Nutritional Yeast gluten free? Yes, Bob’s Red Mill nutritional yeast is gluten free and produced in our gluten free facility.
Is Nutritional Yeast vegan? Yes, nutritional yeast is vegan.
How do you use Nutritional Yeast? Nutritional yeast has a naturally cheesy, nutty flavor, making it ideal for savory applications like sprinkling on popcorn, pizza and pasta. There are myriad recipes for using it to make cheese substitutes available online. It’s also a great addition to pasta sauce, chili and beans.
Our favorite recipes using Nutritional Yeast: