While it isn’t the most famous yeast option, brewer’s yeast remains an interesting product. It shines in making beer and several pastries, and some people actually like it for its taste.
However, there are times when brewer’s yeast might not cut it for a recipe – due to one reason or the other. In that case, you’ll need a substitute.
So, what is the best substitute for brewer’s yeast? Nutritional yeast has emerged as the top substitute for brewer’s yeast. Both are similar in taste and application, and you will most likely find it easier to get nutritional yeast around you.
An Overview of Brewer’s Yeast
Brewer’s yeast is a yeast variant that is made from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is primarily used in brewing beer, hence its name. With a bitter taste, brewer’s yeast is undoubtedly distinct. Beyond its beer application, it also works well as a nutritional supplement and an ingredient in things like pastries and more.
When it is applied in cooking, brewer’s yeast will transform starch and sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. With enough versatility, it is easy to see why people will love brewer’s yeast so much.
In terms of health benefits, brewer’s yeast provides a rich source of chromium – which can help your body to regulate its blood sugar. It also provides a healthy dose of B vitamins. In addition, many consider brewer’s yeast to be a probiotic that can help to boost digestion.
Why Replace Brewer’s Yeast?
- Non-availability: If you’re unable to get any brewer’s yeast around you, then a substitute will need to come into play.
- Taste issues: Brewer’s yeast has a bitter taste, meaning that it might not be ideal for some pastries and other recipes.
Options for Brewer’s Yeast Substitutes
Best Overall Substitute for Brewer’s Yeast: Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast are very similar. They are made of the same species of yeast, so you get quite similar taste profiles. However, you should note that nutritional yeast has a bit of a more bitter taste. You can easily work around that, of course.
Also known as “vegan yeast,” nutritional yeast provides a rich source of vitamin B12. The B12 is a non-animal variant, and it’s pretty difficult to get in other vegan products. Of course, the fact that all yeast is vegan-friendly should be noted.
While it has a similar flavor to brewer’s yeast, nutritional yeast tastes more like grated parmesan.
With all of this, you should know that there are some differences between brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast. One of the most prominent is the fact that brewer’s yeast has more of a nuttier flavor than nutritional yeast.
For application, nutritional yeast works well as a brewer’s yeast substitute in juices, yeasts, and dressings. It has just as many micronutrients as brewer’s yeast, so you don’t have to worry about nutritional value. You can also use nutritional yeast in salads, pasta sauce seasoning, and cooked vegetables.
Its bitter taste might not make nutritional yeast so appropriate for beer making. However, if you’re the type of person who loves beer being strong and bitter and you’re an expert at brewing, you could try nutritional yeast out.
Best Substitute for Soup: Miso
Miso is a Japanese seasoning that is obtained from soybeans, salt, rice, and koji. It is the primary ingredient of the famous miso soup, and it takes quite a while to make. In fact, the mixture of the above is usually left to ferment for years.
With miso, you get different colors and varieties to choose from. The consensus is that a variant with a darker color usually has a stronger taste and flavor. However, the two most popular types are white and red miso. White miso is sweeter and milder in taste, while red miso has a more intense and salty flavor.
Like brewer’s yeast, miso has rich probiotic content. This means that it is good for the digestive tract. However, you want to note that miso usually has a high sodium content. So, you want to be careful when purchasing it to watch your intake.
Miso can be used for many things. However, its primary use is to add a flavor of umami to dishes. It can also serve as a flavor enhancement for things like batters, soups, sauces, and dressings.
You can eat miso raw or cooked, and you can also eat it on its own. Miso also has a rich content of vitamin B12 – like nutritional yeast.
Best Non-Yeast Substitute: Baking Soda
Baking soda is the ideal replacement for brewer’s yeast if you’re looking for something that isn’t yeast-based. So, if you’re looking to make a pizza or some other dessert, baking soda is your guy.
Even though it is chemically simple, baking soda works really well. The only problem is that it doesn’t quite work alone. The leavening properties in baking soda will only be activated when you mix it with an acid – usually apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, buttermilk, or yoghurt.
All you have to do is mix an equal part of baking soda in a glass and the acid you’ve chosen. The mixture will form bubbles, and you can add it to whatever you’re making. Note that when you’re using yoghurt, the best mixture is half a teaspoon of baking soda and 125 grams of yoghurt.
If you don’t want to use any acid, you can simply expose the baking soda to any temperature exceeding 80°. Doing this will provide the same reaction as when you add acid, as the baking soda will decompose due to heat.