Brewers yeast is used mainly to make beer, but it can also be used to make bread and there are several bread recipes that feature brewers yeast. If you can’t get a hold of this kind of yeast or you’d rather not use it, you will need a brewers yeast substitute.
Brewers yeast is mainly substituted with other kinds of yeast like nutritional yeast. Sometimes, you can also look for an alternative outside of the yeast family and use products like baking soda, however, this will need some further adjustment to the recipe.
The best substitutes for brewers yeast
Brewers yeast is made from a one-celled fungus called saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is commonly used to make beer and bread, but it can also be used as a nutritional supplement.
When used to cook, brewers yeast transforms sugar and starch into carbon dioxide and alcohol. It has a bitter taste, which might not make it the ideal ingredient for sweet bread, but on the other hand, it could make your bread really tasty and full of flavor.
Brewer’s yeast substitute for baking is baker’s yeast. This is the most common type of yeast used to bake goods like bread, cakes, and croissants.
These two types of yeast can be swapped for one another in recipes, but when you substitute brewers yeast for baker’s yeast, make sure to use the active version.
Brewers yeast is a good source of:
– B vitamins
The microflora contained in brewers yeast aids digestion and could help prevent disorders of the digestive tract like diarrhea. Brewers yeast also enhances energy levels and boosts the immune system.
There is no substitute with the same qualities as brewers and baker’s yeast, but when you’re in a pinch you can try one of the following replacements. Keep in mind that, when possible, it is always better to use the original.
1. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is commonly considered vegan yeast because it provides a rich non-animal source of B12, which is hard to find in other vegan products.
It is nonetheless important to note that all yeast is vegan-friendly since fungi aren’t considered animals from a biological point of view, since they’re mono-cellular organisms that do not have a neurological system and do not reproduce.
Both nutritional and brewers yeast are the same species of yeast, however, you do not want to use nutritional yeast to make beer, because it will taste too bitter.
Nutritional yeast is a good substitute for brewers yeast as a natural supplement in smoothies, juices, and dressings because it is as rich in micronutrients as brewers yeast.
One of the main differences between nutritional and brewers yeast is that the former is said to have a nuttier flavor than brewers yeast. Actually, nutritional yeast resembles grated parmesan in both aspect and flavor, so it’s a popular seasoning for pasta sauce, salads, and cooked vegetables.
Miso is a paste made from soybeans, rice (or barley), salt, and koji mold. It is a recurring ingredient in Japanese cuisine and it’s the key ingredient of the popular miso soup. This mixture is left to ferment for up to 3 years.
Miso has many different varieties and colors. Usually, the darker the color, the stronger the flavor. In the U.S. you can usually find white and red miso: while white miso has a sweeter and milder flavor, red miso has a more intense and saltier taste.
Since miso is a fermented paste, it is rich in probiotics just like yeast, and can therefore be a good aid for the digestive tract. However, it is also rich in sodium, although it depends on the type, so make sure to check the components before buying it.
Miso is mainly used to add umami flavor to your dishes. It is very versatile, can be eaten cooked or raw, and can also be eaten on its own although it is not recommended. It is commonly used to enhance the flavor of sauces, soups, dressings, and batters.
In many ways, miso is very similar to nutritional yeast, because they’re both rich in vitamin B12. When you need a substitution for brewers yeast and you don’t have any other kind of yeast, you can use miso as you would use nutritional yeast.
Marmite is a yeast extract often used in place of butter. It’s a typical British product and it’s one of those things that have such a peculiar and strong taste that you either love it or hate it.
This caramel brown syrup-like spread is very popular even outside of the UK and the most common way to eat it is to spread it over buttered toast, but it has many other uses in cooking.
Marmite can be added to soup, casserole, mushrooms, desserts, fritter dough and it works really well with onions. It adds the sought-after umami flavor to everything it touches, so if you love it, you will use it anywhere.
This spread has a sort of saltiness to it that is well-balanced with its sweetness, and it has a smooth texture that really resembles caramel.
Since it was originally created from leftovers of brewers yeast, it works really well as a brewers yeast alternative. You can substitute one tablespoon of brewers yeast with one tablespoon of marmite in your recipe.
Vegemite is the Australian alternative to marmite, though vegemite lovers wouldn’t call it that way. The two products are easily compared and confused, especially because they’re usually sold in very similar packaging.
Vegemite is another yeast extract, however, it’s different from marmite. It has a dark brown chocolate-like appearance and texture and tastes saltier than marmite.
This spread owes its name to the mixture of spices, salt, onion, and celery extracts contained in it. It has a very particular flavor that seems to change depending on who tastes it, which makes it another one of those “love it or hate it” products.
On top of all other uses that are common to yeast and marmite as well, vegemite in Australia is also used as filling for pastries. This spread is a good source of B vitamins and folate and has also a low-salt alternative available.
Vegemite and marmite can be used interchangeably as a brewers yeast replacement.
5. Baking soda
Despite its chemical simplicity (or maybe thanks to it), baking soda is one of the most popular leavening agents for baked goods.
However, baking soda cannot work alone. In fact, it only activates its leavening properties when mixed with acid, which is why it is often used with lemon juice, vinegar, yogurt, or buttermilk.
When an acidic substance and baking soda mix, this produces carbon dioxide which remains trapped in the butter, causing it to rise.
If you don’t want to use any acids, you can also expose baking soda to a temperature higher than 80° and you will obtain the same gassy reaction as the baking soda decomposes because of the heat.
Muffins, cakes, pancakes, fried foods, and many other foods whose batter is quick to rise are usually baked using baking soda.
When substituting brewers yeast with baking soda, make sure to mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with half a teaspoon of acid of your choice in a separate container or glass. Once the mix produces bubbles, it is ready to be added to your dough.
Sourdough is probably the best substitute for brewers yeast, but it doesn’t make the top of the list for a simple reason: it requires around three times the leavening time of brewers yeast, so it’s certainly not a last-minute solution.
You can find it ready to use in stores, or you can also make it at home. In the latter case, remember that it won’t last as long as the one you can buy, which usually lasts up to 4 months when well-preserved.
Sourdough in its simplest and most traditional form is just flour, water, and salt. To replace 25 grams of brewers yeast you will need 300 grams of sourdough.
You can use sourdough to make pizza, baked goods, and, of course, bread. Foods made with sourdough will actually be more fragrant and digestible than those made with brewers yeast.
7. Dry brewers yeast
Brewers yeast in its dried form is a popular alternative to the common wet product. Although for a long time people believed that dry brewers yeast wasn’t as good as the classic one, especially for beers, today we know that the two are almost interchangeable.
“Almost” because of course, between the wet and the dry form, there are some substantial differences, such as:
– Dry brewers yeast has a longer shelf life (up to 3 years).
– Dry brewers yeast is temperature-resistant, therefore it holds up well in warm environments and shipping conditions.
– Dry brewers yeast is cheaper than liquid brewers yeast.
– Wet brewers yeast has a large variety of options to choose from.
– Wet brewers yeast is the fresh option, but that’s also why it has a shorter shelf life (up to 3 months).
– Wet brewers yeast can be destroyed by temperatures higher than 90 F.
Dry brewers yeast is an excellent replacement for brewers yeast when making bread and pizza. You also need less dry brewers yeast in comparison with the classic yeast for the same purpose (7 g of dry brewers yeast are the equivalent of 23 g of wet brewers yeast).
This kind of yeast is not always used in the same way, so follow the instructions provided to know how to properly add it to your recipe.
How to choose a brewers yeast substitute.
Yeast comes in many varieties, however, each one has its peculiarity and is used for different purposes.
Brewers yeast is mainly used in the making process of beer and it’s best used for its designed purpose. However, there are many non-alcoholic recipes that feature brewers yeast if you want to try your hand at something new.
When you need to substitute brewers yeast, it would be better to remain within the yeast family (dry yeast, sourdough, nutritional yeast) in order to obtain similar results.
There are many options to choose from, so you should start with what you have in mind to see what kind of yeast can best replace brewers yeast in the recipe.
If you feel like experimenting with new flavors, yeast extracts and miso are valid alternatives, but keep in mind that not everyone might enjoy the peculiar taste some of these replacements might bring to your final product.
When you’re out of yeast substitutes and you don’t feel like taking risks with the flavor, baking soda is a safe option for all baking recipes.