There are many types of yeast products produced for use in the food industry. Brewers and Baker’s yeasts are the best known. There are also yeasts grown and used to enhance savory flavors and add smoothness and texture to foods as well.
Whole cell is used primarily to provide mouthfeel and texture and adds some flavor enhancement. The cell wall remains intact and then dried after reaching maturity. It has both insoluble and soluble parts so used in thicker opaque food products.
Autolyzed yeast is where the cell wall has been ruptured with enzymes and the internal contents of the cell leaks out before drying. Along with the cell wall there is some mouthfeel and texture improvement and a lot more flavor enhancement than whole cell yeast produces. This product still has the cell wall so also has insoluble as well as soluble parts and may cloud or color some lighter food products.
Yeast Extracts are the more powerful in enhancing savory flavors. The whole cell yeast is autolyzed and then the cell wall removed. Only the internal contents are dried, making it totally soluble. So much so that it can even be used even in beverage applications.
Yeast extracts contain concentrated amounts of Glutamic acid and High ‘5’ Prime nucleotides. In combination together they can increase flavor enhancement as much as 3,000 times more than salt alone. It’s so powerful that suggested starting usage is recommended at .5% or lower depending on the application.
Since yeast extracts are more powerful than salt or MSG in flavoring foods. They are used frequently to replace these products. This allows food scientists to formulate lower sodium foods and ones free of MSG.
Applications include soups, sauces, gravies as well as meats, vegetables, and egg products. Even in beverages, it brings out sweetness and enhances the flavors used. Some yeast extracts add no flavor and some are grown to taste like the foods the customer is looking for – including meat flavors for vegetarian products.
Yeast Extracts are considered natural ingredients and can be labeled yeast extract or natural flavor within the ingredient deck. Being so versatile and powerful in enhancing flavors as well as being natural. Yeast extracts are a valuable tool in any Food Scientists tool belt.
SPI represents Ohly who produces the finest yeast extracts available. In Germany they product the Ohly line made from brewer’s yeast and in Minnesota they product the Provesta line made using Torula yeast. With dozens to choose from they have one for almost any application where enhancing or adding savory flavors is the goal.