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Can You Eat Yeast On A Gluten Free Diet?

  • Amy 

The source of yeast extract, yeast itself is present in many recipes as a rising agent. Different types of yeast are commonly found in gluten containing recipes, such as the beer brewing process. But is the yeast itself gluten containing according to the product label?

Can you eat yeast on a gluten free diet? Yes! Nutritional yeast is a healthy addition to many recipes, and active yeast is full of good bacteria for your body. However, varying amounts of yeast are used in many gluten containing recipes.

Can You Eat Yeast On A Gluten Free Diet?

Fans of yeast extract like Marmite and Vegemite don’t need to worry about this form of yeast, but dry yeast and instant yeast used in bread and pizza dough can upset the average celiac sufferer. Even the most amazing looking yeast brands may end up surrounded by gluten, even if they don’t contain the protein themselves. 

Dry yeast products are rarely made of only yeast. Straight up yeast extract is also generally unpopular, and an aquired taste. While you can eat a teaspoon of yeast extract, the flavor of the dish is not for everyone. Still, yeast extract manufacturers all provide food for gluten intolerances. 

What are the Different Types of Yeast?

Nutritional yeast is the best for you, as this fresh yeast contains no gluten or barley protein. Filled with other vitamins and minerals, compared to instant yeast this yeast contains plenty to keep your body and heart healthy. Even if bread recipes tend to be quite fattening and caloric. 

As an ingredient in food, brewer’s yeast is rarely used. Instead this is yeast from beer manufacturing, usually used alongside hops and other food item like barley malt. Of course, this means barley protein is often present besides brewer’s yeast, as well as the gluten from barley. 

Dry yeast, or instant yeast, is a nutritional yeast usually reserved for baking. Also called baker’s yeast, most amazing looking yeast breads will contain this type of yeast. Nutritional yeast can make your breads and other doughy bakes more healthy in the long run, but ultimately most recipes call for gluten containing, self raising flours. 

Other than nutritional yeast, you may find autolyzed yeast. These kinds of yeast used as ingredients yeast extract are famous for, also can be found alongside barley grains. While the status of yeast extract as a gluten free product is quite far reaching, barley may be found in some brands.

Yeast in Gluten Products

Check the food labels of anything containing yeast, including a yeast extract product. Any single food item can contain gluten as wheat or barley protein, which will naturally lead to an upset stomach for those who are celiacs, or with a non-celiac gluten intolerance. 

Yeast in Gluten Products

Food products containing gluten is nothing new, but different species of yeast are all used in gluten filled, carbohydrate rich bakes and meals. Even vegan friendly yeast, such as sugar beet based yeast, is commonly accompanied by gluten cereal grains. 

Is Beer Gluten Free?

No! Gluten fills most beers, so you will have to find specialist gluten free beers sold commercially. While you can find vitamin D rich nutritional yeast in many dried gluten free yeast products, beer is not among them. So practise caution when drinking and buying lagers. 

Much like single ingredient yeast extract, beer can be gluten free if produced in that way. Much like alcohol free beers, many manufacturers are willing to accomodate to alternative diets and allergen requirements as a new market for profits. 

Gluten Free Bread Ingredients

Making gluten free bread from a recipe is very easy. However, you may need to get some ingredients in. Fortunately for you, we’re here to help with just that. So what might you need for this bread? Well, yeast is a good start.

On top of yeast, sugar forms a good part of any good bread dough, and can encourage the yeast to act more quickly. Unless you want to be baking bread all day, this neat trick of adding sugar can reduce your baking time down by several hours. 

While substituting flour can sound easy, not everything is a one to one copy of wheat flours. Instead, we suggest using a mix of flours and other ingredients to make a more hardy flour base. Almond or lentil flour, combined with rice flour, is a good start. However adding some ground flax seeds will make the flour stronger too. 

The flax also adds a nutty flavor, but you may need an additional binding agent. This can be exotic like psyllium husk, or more common like xanthan gum. Other common ingredients to include will be salt to taste, baking soda or powder, and some common cooking oils for preference. Egg whites and vinegar are also called for in most recipes. 

Gluten Free Bread Recipe

For the actual recipe, you will want to follow instructions closely. This is to avoid any headaches with the cooking process, which can take as long as three hours, and help you prevent the need to start over. Bread is infamously fragile and precious when being made, and the lack of gluten only takes this to a new level. 

  1. Begin by adding your yeast and sugar mix to warm, but not boiling, water. This should be left for five to ten minutes, and your hot water faucet should be more than enough to get the heat. This is called proofing.
  2. As you proof, start to combine ingredients in the bowl of your mixer or food processor. You will want to add your flax and flour mix, as well as some salt and your binding agent of choice. Last but not least, add your baking soda. 
  3. Mix these ingredients until combined, and when done stop the mixer. You will want to add your egg whites and vinegar here, as well as your cooking oil, before continuing to mix. You should also add your yeast and sugar proofed mixture here, and try to keep to a medium setting speed. 
  4. Once your dough is prepped, add it to your bread pan. You can use a spatula or wooden spoon to smooth the edges of the dough, ensuring that you fill the corners and edges properly to avoid gaps. Smoothing the top will also help your bread bake.
  5. Allow your bread to rise with some oiled cling film covering it, then simply bake it in your oven. One neat trick to avid your bread from burning or browning too much, is to cover it with foil halfway through your bake. Once thoroughly baked, simply remove the bread from the oven. 

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Amy Toliver

Hey'all I'm Amy, a born foodie and diagnosed with celiac disease 7 years ago. I refused to cave into tasteless, boring gulten free food and create my own! On my blog you'll find info & cool facts along with recipes, all on gluten free foods!