Can you bake bread with nutritional yeast? (+5 health benefits)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you bake bread with nutritional yeast?”, and what are the health benefits of using nutritional yeast in your recipes.

Can you bake bread with nutritional yeast?

No, bread cannot be baked using nutritional yeast in place of baker’s yeast. Both these types of yeast are strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae but have a different end-use. Baker’s yeast is alive when bought and produces carbon dioxide as a by-product of fermentation when added to bread or activated in warm water and sugar.

Yeasts are unicellular basidiomycetes and ascomycetes with budding or fission reproduction. Most likely only 1% of the total yeast species is known, and those microorganisms have shown the potential to produce many bioactive substances, such as glucans, glutathione, toxins, enzymes, phytase and vitamins with application in aquaculture, chemical, cosmetics, food, environmental protection, and pharmaceutical industries (1).

What is baker’s yeast?

Baker’s yeast gets its name from its wide applications in the baking industry. It is manufactured in the dormant form and is added to food where it acts as a leavening agent. The fermentable sugars present in food act as food for yeast. Yeast converts these sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide giving the bread a rich yeasty flavor. Carbon dioxide is what traps within the bread and causes it to rise while baking.

What are the different types of baker’s yeast? 

Instant yeast

It has a smaller grain size and a greater number of live yeast cells per unit volume than active dry yeast. As the name suggests, this yeast needs no time for rehydration and is directly poured into the dough mixture.  As the yeast is dry it generally does not require refrigeration as the low water content reduces the risk of microbial contamination (2).

Osmotolerant yeast

High salt and sugar concentration hinder yeast growth. Hence, in bread with higher sugar content, osmotolerant yeast comes to the rescue. High sucrose concentrations apply harsh osmotic stress that badly damaged cellular mechanism and hold back the optimal fermentation aptitude of yeast (2).

Cream yeast

Cream yeast is just compressed yeast in a liquid state. This compressed yeat slurry is widely used by bread industries. Cream yeast is basically the liquid product and can therefore be transferred into sterile tanks/containers and distributed to bakeries, where it is used to produce yeast based products (2).

Active dry yeast

It is relatively stable than other forms of yeast and has bigger grains than instant yeast. It is sold in its dormant form and requires proofing before adding to the dough. Cake yeast is another form of compressed yeast and can be categorized as active dry yeast. It differs from granular yeast in that rather than granulation, the dried yeast is extruded or cut into blocks/cakes. Similar to granular yeast cake yeast also contains about 30 % solids (70 % water) (2).

Brewer’s yeast

As the name suggests, it is used by breweries to make alcohol. Brewer’s yeast is also used for its nutritional benefits. It keeps the digestive system healthy and has considerable amounts of chromium. A study showed that brewer’s yeasts were clearly differentiated from baker’s yeasts. The former organisms have been highly adapted to maltose fermentation but possess poor leavening ability (3).

Rapid-rise yeast

It is a type of instant yeast but with smaller grain size and a greater dissolution rate. It provides a pronounced carbon-dioxide yield. Its granular form gives the practicality of granular products coming both from their instantly soluble nature and the fact that they are easily measured (2).

Compressed yeast

It is basically dry cream yeast shaped into small or large blocks wrapped with foil. Despite being very perishable, it is still used in bakeries.

Compressed yeast is produced from cream/liquid yeast. In the production process, it passes through a filter, usually a filter press or rotary vacuum filter, which removes water increasing its solids content to approximately 30%. Salt may also be added to the cream yeast prior to filtration to aid the removal of water. The filtered yeast is then dried using fluid-bed dryers (2).

Other FAQs about Yeast which you may be interested in.

How much does a packet of yeast weigh?

When does yeast die?

How many cells does yeast have?

All you need to know about nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast is a different strain of S.cereviseae that comes in its deactivated form and is entirely used for its nutritional benefits. It is also known as ‘nooch’ and is hailed among vegans for its cheesy taste. The glutamic acid present in nutritional yeast gives it a rich umami flavor.

After harvesting, this strain of yeast is exposed to heat to deactivate the cells and then dried and packaged. Nutritional yeast also comes in the fortified form where additional vitamins or nutrients are added to improve its nutritional profile.

The yeast biomass or extract are an excellent source of B vitamins which are particularly recommended for people with increased vitamin B requirements. The yeast biomass also contains trace minerals, including calcium, cooper, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, sodium, and zinc, and a biologically active form of chromium known as glucose tolerance factor, in a trivalent form, which potentiates insulin activity, measured in vitro (4).

How to store nutritional yeast

After opening, do not keep the nutritional yeast in the non-resealable bag. Instead, transfer it to a dry and sterilized glass container with a tight lid.

If bought in a plastic container, keep it as it is in the pantry like other spices or put it in the freezer to keep it around for longer. Yeast can be frozen and thawed without loss of fermenting activity or with only minimal losses. It can also be stored as frozen compressed yeast for weeks without such loss (5).

How to use nutritional yeast in recipes?

Add it to your pasta, soups, vegetables, sauces, crackers, eggs, nachos, or even popcorns for a cheesy flavor and nutrient boost. It is also added to pet food to improve its nutritional profile.

  • Sprinkle over your risotto, mac-n-cheese, or any other pasta where you use parmesan.
  • Add to your soups or sauces as a thickening agent.
  • Use it to make whole wheat bread to add extra flavor and make it nutrient-dense.
  • Add it in vegan mozzarella and gouda cheese for a cheesy flavor.
  • Sprinkle it on top of roasted vegetables or add in mashed potatoes.

Health benefits of nutritional yeast

  1. Nutritional yeast is considered a complete protein source because of the presence of the nine essential amino acids.
  2. Only a Tbsp of nutritional yeast provides 30-180% of RDI for B vitamins. Vitamin B12 is essential for cognitive functions, energy metabolism, and for optimal neurological and physiological functions of the human body. Hence, nutritional yeast helps prevent B12 deficiency which is very prevalent in vegans.
  3. Anti-oxidants like glutathione and selenomethionine present in nutritional yeast protect the cells against oxidative damage.
  4. The carbohydrates, beta-glucan and alpha-manan, present in nutritional yeast boost immune health by preventing infections.
  5. Beta-glucan has also been found to lower the bad cholesterol levels in the blood.


In this article, we answered the question “Can you bake bread with nutritional yeast?”, and what are the health benefits of using nutritional yeast in your recipes.


  1. Ernesto Ceseña, Carlos, et al. Update on the use of yeast in shrimp aquaculture: a minireview. Int Aquatic Res, 2021, 13, 1-16. 
  2. Ali, Akbar, et al. Yeast, its types and role in fermentation during bread making process-A. Pakis J Food Sci, 2012, 22, 171-179.  
  3. Oda, Yuji, and Kozo Ouchi. Principal-component analysis of the characteristics desirable in baker’s yeasts. Appl Environ Microbiol, 1989, 55, 1495-1499.
  4. Jach, Monika Elżbieta, et al. Yeast Protein as an Easily Accessible Food Source. Metabol, 2022, 12, 63.
  5. Reed, G., Nagodawithana, T.W. 1991. Baker’s Yeast Production. In: Yeast Technology. Springer, Dordrecht.