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I have a budding vegan in the house.

Even after reusing yeast for brewing I send a lot of yeast to the compost bin.

Has anyone out there used the yeast as a nutritional supplement? If so, could any of you share a recipe or a link?

Thanks.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The short answer is yes, it's the same species of yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, so you can do it.

The long answer is, you will have a hard time getting it to taste the same as commercially produced nutritional yeast (a.k.a. nooch). Just as there are dozens of different strains of homebrew yeast, selectively bred for different characteristics, there are also strains of yeast bred just for making nooch. These are all the same species of yeast, as are those used in baking, but you won't get a Belgian dubbel if you use English ale yeast.

This question from the cooking SE site has some info on preparation: http://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/34558/how-can-i-make-nutritional-yeast

Lesaffre makes Red Star, one of the more popular brands, they give an overview of the steps also: http://lesaffre-yeast.com/five-steps.html

Inevitably it will involve:

  • heating it (boiling) to pasteurize and kill the yeast
  • cooling and washing it, to rinse off the wort, hops, trub, etc.
  • thoroughly spreading it out to dry it in a thin layer in a dehydrator or maybe oven on low temp

However, even with washing, you may still have flavors from the malts used and bitterness from the hops. This post on making homemade Marmite mentions this issue when using yeast from a brewery: http://www.msmarmitelover.com/2011/04/how-to-make-your-own-marmite.html So it might end up being too bitter.

Commercial nooch is usually fed on a diet of glucose. Even that pure commercial stuff can have a bitter twang when used in large quantities.

Homemade nooch also won't be fortified in the same way. Wort has a lot of nutrients in it, so it will certainly have vitamins, but the commercial stuff is fortified with various vitamins and minerals. See http://blog.bobsredmill.com/recipes/nutritional-yeast-demystified/

In the end, it will be a fair amount of work, so you'll have to decide if it's worth it. But it would certainly be interesting to try it and compare the results of yeast grown in different styles of beer. But I think you'll probably just want to buy it in bulk from a reputable source so you know you're getting a product with a reliable flavor and nutritional profile. Or else risk some bitter vegan mac n cheese :)

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Awesome answer! Thank you for the links. vitamin B12 seems to be a concern - we may have to supplement no matter what. –  emsr Feb 9 at 17:07
    
No prob. Don't forget to mark an answer as accepted when you're ready :) Also, even if you buy the commercial stuff, you need to eat a lot nooch to get "enough" B12, though it certainly helps. I like Deva brand vegan B12 supplements - they dissolve under the tongue and taste like lemon. amazon.com/Deva-Vegan-Vitamins-Sublingual-Tablets/dp/B001GAOHTS –  paul Feb 9 at 18:17
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I have two different mashed potato recipes that I love. One includes bacon and steamed shredded cabbage (obviously out of the question here), the other is Stone's IPA garlicky mashed potatos, which calls for 1/4 tsp of brewer's yeast. As a personal suggestion, unless someone has an aversion to the potato skins, I prefer to leave them 100% on for texture purposes. Also don't be afraid to mix up the potatoes for variety. I like to go 50:50 yukon gold and red.

Also, unless the recipe is a very starch-driven, be careful using the leftover yeast cake from an IPA, as it will no doubt have a very bitter kick to it, which will not reduce well.

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It might be worth experimenting with adding it to soups and stews. Many traditional recipes call for bay leaves or other bitter herbs; a bit of hops bitterness might be a very appropriate variation. A bit of extra protein and vitamins, at least!

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