Autolyzed Yeast Extract Vegan
The Autolyzed Yeast Extract (Yeast) is a type of yeast which is not naturally occurring. It comes from microorganisms or bacteria that have been artificially grown in lab.
They are usually cultured in petri dishes and then fed nutrients through tubes until they grow into large colonies, at which point they are harvested and dried for use as food additives.
In some cases, such as in beer brewing, it may be used as a preservative. However, the main purpose of using yeast is to produce alcohol.
Alcoholic beverages are often consumed during holidays and celebrations because they provide a sense of celebration and joy. In fact, there are many types of alcoholic drinks that include yeast extracts as ingredients. Some examples include: wine, beer and hard liquor.
There are several different types of yeast that can be used in making alcoholic beverages. These include Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Brettanomyces bruxellensis, Pediococcus pentosaceus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii.
There are other types of yeasts that can be used but do not produce alcohol. Examples include Candida glabrata and Kluyvera syringae.
However, the types of yeast that are most used for food purposes are the first two mentioned above. These are the most common types found in alcoholic beverages.
If you have ever wondered whether a drink contains alcohol or not, then it is important to know that even if the drink does not taste like alcohol, it still could contain some.
Is It Allergens?
Autolyzed yeast extract is not considered an allergen. This means that consuming it will not result in an allergic reaction. If you are allergic to crustaceans, then you may experience an allergic reaction to autolyzed yeast extract because it is made from the same family of animals. In some cases, this can result in an itchy and tingling sensation on the skin or even a mild rash. However, this is not common and most people can consume autolyzed yeast extract without any issues.
It is Not MSG!
In addition to being allergen, autolyzed yeast extract is also not considered to be a flavor enhancer. It does not result in a large flavor impact on the food or drink that it is included in.
As a result, MSG is often used to enhance the savoriness of food products. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will never find yeast extract in savory foods, you will likely find it more often in sweet foods and drinks. For example, you may find yeast extract in cookies, cakes, ice creams and other desserts. Some fast food restaurants even use it in their frosting.
So What is It Good For?
In general, the main purpose of yeast extract is to add a savory flavor to dishes. In order to make foods more savory, MSG can be added. However, some people do not like the taste of MSG and thus yeast extract is used as a natural alternative. Of course, it doesn’t actually have any nutritional value and is not considered a protein source. This means that you should not expect it to make you feel full after eating a meal that contains yeast extract.
In addition to adding a savory flavor to food, yeast extract can also help to improve the texture of certain dishes. It can help to thicken sauces, bind ingredients together and give foods a creamy texture.
It is able to do this thanks to the breakdown of the proteins during the production process. The breakdown of these proteins allows them to act more like a glue that can hold food together.
Does it have any nutritional value?
Autolyzed yeast extract does not contain any fat, carbohydrates, sugar, fiber, or sodium. It is also low in calories. A single tablespoon of yeast extract contains only 2 calories. It is also a good source of certain B-vitamins such as thiamine and riboflavin.
In addition to thiamine and riboflavin, yeast extract is a good source of glutamic acid. Glutamic acid has been shown to improve mental performance in healthy individuals and helps the brain to function at its best.
It is also a common flavor enhancer in many foods.
Glutamic acid is commonly known as glutamate and is the primary component of monosodium glutamate (MSG). Many individuals claim to have reactions to monosodium glutamate, but in reality, these reactions are most likely caused by other chemicals that are found in MSG but not naturally found in food.
It is always best to avoid processed foods and eat whole foods instead.
While autolyzed yeast extract does contain glutamate, the amount of amino acid is significantly less than that of MSG. It is also less likely to cause any reaction as a result of consuming it.
It should also be noted that some individuals may still experience a reaction to yeast extract. This can be due to other compounds that are found in yeast extract such as other free glutamates or other compounds such as histamine.
These compounds may be naturally occurring or may result from the production process of the yeast extract.
Those that have a sensitivity to yeast or those with gluten intolerance may also experience an allergic reaction to yeast extract.
How is it made?
Before diving into the actual production process, let’s take a look at the starting ingredient, which is the yeast. As the name suggests, this ingredient provides the extract with its key flavor. Different types of yeast can produce different flavors in the finished product. The most popular varieties include bakers yeast and brewer’s yeast. The type of yeast that is used can greatly affect the final taste of the extract.
The second ingredient is water. The type of water that is used will affect the flavor of the finished extract.
In general, hard water will provide more of a bitter taste due to its higher calcium and magnesium content compared to soft water. If you live in an area where the water is known to be hard, you may want to try using bottled or distilled water when making your yeast extract.
The third and fourth ingredients are salt and a carbohydrate. The type of carbohydrate used can greatly affect the flavor of the extract.
In general, yeast extract made with corn syrup will taste sweeter than that made with glucose. Different producers may also add various spices and flavorings to their yeast extracts to give it a unique flavor.
Once these four ingredients are mixed together, they are left to ferment for several days. During this time, the yeast breaks down the carbohydrates into alcohol and then continues to eat the alcohol until all that is left is an organic acid.
It is this acid that provides the key flavor compound in the yeast extract.
After several days have passed, the yeast is filtered out of the liquid and this liquid, known as ‘wash’, is what will eventually become your yeast extract.
The wash is then heated to remove any potential bacteria or other microorganisms that may be present. Typically, this is done by heating the wash in a large kettle and letting the steam that is generated escape into the atmosphere.
Some producers, however, choose to directly heat the wash using an external boiler.
Once the wash has been heated, the remaining liquid is allowed to cool and the solid material that settles out is removed. This solid material consists of proteins, yeast cells, and other soluble materials that have coagulated due to the heat.
The liquid that remains is a light brown liquid consisting of soluble proteins and amino acids that provide the key flavor compounds to the extract. This liquid, also known as ‘essence’, is what will eventually become your yeast extract.
At this point, it should be stored in a sealed container until it is ready to be used.
The next step in the process varies between manufacturers. Some producers choose to pasteurize their essence while others do not.
Pasteurization keeps the extract from growing any potentially harmful bacteria. The process of pasteurization involves heating the essence to a specific temperature for a specific amount of time. Most producers choose to heat their essence to about 150 degrees Fahrenheit for twenty minutes.
After the essence has been pasteurized, it is left to cool and a crystalized substance will usually form at the top. This substance consists of amino acids and solids that have coalesced due to the heat.
It is this substance that gives yeast extract its distinctive texture and flavor.
After the crystals have formed, they are separated from the liquid using a strainer or by decantation. The remaining liquid still contains the soluble material that provides the key flavor compounds for the yeast extract.
The final step in the process is to remove as much of the liquid from the solid material as possible and then to salt the remaining liquid to create the desired taste.
At this point, the yeast extract is ready to be packaged and sold.
To read more about how yeast extract is made, see the following links:
How Is Marmite Made?
(from How Products are Made)
How Is Vegemite Made?
(from How Products are Made)
How Is Brewer’s Yeast Made?
(from How Products are Made)
How Is Nutritional Yeast Made?
(from How Products are Made)
Thank you for reading this week’s Chemistry of Food Thursday post. I hope you have enjoyed learning about the chemistry that occurs when making yeast extract!
Enjoy your weekend!
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Bread Cuisine of Britain by Alan Davidson (pg 66-68)
Wikipedia (Marmite, Vegemite, and Brewers Yeast)
Food Chemistry Basics
Food Chemistry and Cooking – Clarifying Curds and Whey
Food Chemistry and Cooking – The Chemical Process of Cooking
The Many Types of Cuisines and Their Chemical Composition
The Chemistry of Coffee
The Chemistry Behind Food Additives
The Many Types of Beer and Their Composition
Why do We Use Salt to Cure Meats?
Harnessing the Power of Yeast in Bread Baking
Exploring Chocolate Through the Chemistry of Its Main Components
The Many Processes That Go Into Cheese Making
The Chemistry of Citrus Fruits: A Comprehensive Guide to the Flavors, Analysis & Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits
A Starter Guide to Fermentation
The Chemistry of Vinegar
The Art and Science of Japanese Cuisine, Or Why Soy Sauce Is So crucial to so Many Dishes
The Many Types of Alcohol and Their Uses
The Chemistry of Cheese and the Process of Making Cheese
The Chemistry of Wine and Other Alcoholic Beverages
Nitrogen, the Mustard Gas: A Brief Look at Its Chemistry and Health Effects
Chemistry and You: The Science Behind Soft Drinks
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Studies on neplanocin A, new antitumor antibiotic. I by S Yaginuma, N MUTO, M TSUJINO… – The Journal of …, 1981 – jstage.jst.go.jp
Production of vascular permeability factor by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli isolated from man by DJ Evans, DG Evans, SL Gorbach – Infection and Immunity, 1973 – Am Soc Microbiol
Improved semiselective medium for isolation of Legionella pneumophila from contaminated clinical and environmental specimens. by PH Edelstein – Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 1981 – Am Soc Microbiol
In vitro infection and of dentinal tubules by M Haapasalo, D Ørstavik – Journal of dental research, 1987 – journals.sagepub.com