The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Yeast has no taste

box255's picture

Yeast has no taste

Not getting a good yeast taste in my breads.  Called the yeast maker and they tell me that the old time yeast is not being produced anymore.  What they have now is for ease of use and shelf life.  Even tried some yeast cake type and still no good taste in the bread.  Help Please!!!  How do I get that old time yeast taste in my breads???

sphealey's picture

I think that saccharomyces cerevisiae has been unchanged as far as humans are concerned for 10,000 years. Unless you are theorizing some mutation or genetic engineering of the yeast itself I don't think it is any different now than it was 50 years ago, nor is it any different dry or in moist chunks.

The improvements in the granulation of dry yeast, plus the dough enhancers that some yeast mfgs add to the coating, may be producing a rising cycle that doesn't develop the flavors you prefer. Have you tried creating a long liquid poolish, say with 150 g flour, 345 g water, and a pinch (1/16 or 1/32 tsp) of active dry yeast left covered for 18 hours? Or a poolish with a bit more yeast (1/8 or 14 tsp active dry) left out for 4 hours at 72-82 deg.F then in the refrigerator overnight (or a 63 deg.F space if you have one)? You will get plenty of "yeasty" aroma from such poolishes.


Avid Baker's picture
Avid Baker

I totally agree the the flavor of the bread has changed due to something done to the yeast.  I use the same brand of yeast, ingredients, oven, and method, but the bread and rolls I bake now do not have the old fashioned taste.  It is so frustrating to me.  While looking for an answer, I found this website and just had to comment.  I just finished baking dinner rolls and I'm disappointed with the flavor again.








proth5's picture

a big fan of the "yeasty" taste - but I do recall from my old Betty Crocker cookbook that "she" claimed that a yeasty taste came not from using large quantities of yeast, but from the bread being "too warm" during rising.

Certainly recipes in older cookbooks have higher baker's percents of yeast than what I would use today and recommend higher temperatures for rising and proofing than I would use today.

Something to consider.

I will say that during the mix, it is much easier to taste and smell the yeast when fresh yeast is used - but all things being equal this levels out as the dough is fermented.  I just had an opportunity to spend a week baking with nothing but fresh yeast.  I can't say that the final result was all that different, but I liked the process better with fresh yeast.

Not a definitve answer - just something to think about.

cranbo's picture

I agree completely with Pat, yeast quantity and rising temp are important if you're trying to get your bread tasting yeasty. 

Want really yeasty flavor? As others have mentioned, double the yeast. Your bread will rise really fast (probably 1/2 the specified time, or less)  and maintain that "yeasty" character. 

Personally I don't like that flavor at all, and I consider it a baking defect...but whatever floats your boat. 

box255's picture

Thanks for your information.  I know that the breads I am producing do not have the aroma or flavor of the breads my mother made years ago.  Will try the poolish and feed back the results.  A call to Fleischmann's helpline offered up they do not make yeast like they did years ago.  Adviser there says she gets a number of calls per day with the same complaint, no taste in the yeast.  Off to make the poolish.  Thanks again.

holds99's picture

Let me first say that I'm no expert on baking and it's a continual learning process.  Having said that, it sounds as though you need to understand the fermentation process, which produces aroma and flavor.  Using yeast (direct method) is only one method of leavening bread.  My advice would be to get yourself a good artisan bread book and read it carefully so that you can begin to understand the leavening process and how it works, along with the 11 steps to baking (Step 1: scaling/measuring through Step 11: Baking.)  I know that I didn't really enjoy and begin to have succees with baking until I understood the process.  Good luck.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

MangoChutney's picture

Maybe you could try some distiller's yeast.  I have some that I used to use for making plum mead.  It has a rather strong yeast smell.  If it doesn't make good bread, you can always make some hooch with it and drink away your tasteless-bread woes.  *wink*

fthec's picture

If you're expecting yeast to give your bread flavour then you are not making it properly (unless of course you like the flavor of yeast).  The flavor is developed from the starches in the wheat (or other flour) that are broken down into simple sugars after long periods of fermentation.

Breads made with minimal bulk fermentation, high quantities of yeast, and short proofing times will tend to derive most of its flavor from the yeast itself--  hence the 'yeasty' flavor.  But if that's what you prefer, go crazy.  Have you tried different brands as well as instant, fast rise, and active?


box255's picture

Thanks for the input.  Guess what I am trying to produce is from long ago.  When I would be out in the field on the tractor, I could smell that great aroma of fresh bread baking in the oven at the house.  This bread was very "yeasty" tasting and that is what I am trying to make.  Unfortunately, the ones that did that baking are all gone.  Yes, I have tried several different yeasts but none yield the taste I am looking for.  Even hunted down some yeast cake type and it too failed the taste test.  None of the old bakers I knew used any Poolish, long fermetation times, etc.  Was the basic flour, water, yeast, salt, sugar.  Will get there in time but it will take more work on my part.  Everyone wants to bake the bread they remember they had in the past someone made for them.  When the rep at Flieschmann's admits freely that their yeast is made differently than long ago, that is probably where the taste I am looking for went.  Thanks again for your suggestions and input. 

DobieOne's picture

Greetings, did you ever succeed in making bread that tastes like your mother's?  For me it was my grandmother.  I have tried to reproduce that wonderful flavor and aroma for years.  If you have learned how to do it, perhaps you would share the secret with me.  Thanks

1Luvfostermom's picture

I totally agree with the other posts. No aroma! I can make great Wheat bread it looks perfect but it does not have the "aroma" it use to have. I am going to try next time a different wheat grain perhaps Golden 86? I am using spring wheat now I have used winter wheat too. Grinding it the same as before. You can not smell it when outside (I don't have a tractor in the fields) but just 20 feet away or even in the house.

I have tried, dry and cake. The rise is good. No yummy aroma though. It is very disappointing. Now on another observation. In Italy while walking through the streets the bread smells like grandma use to make, they are using white flour & also wheat.. I am not sure of the yeast brand. But the aroma travels outside and brings you to the window wishing for a nice hot loaf. That is what I want...


cranbo's picture

This whole thread is kinda funny. 

How can anyone compare the aroma generated by baking 1 or 2 loaves at home to the smell of breads while walking through the streets which are coming from a bakery that is possibly producing hundreds of breads per day? It's just not the same scale. If you want the same aroma, try loading 6-8 loaves of bread in your oven, you will likely get a stronger aroma in your house. Keeping your windows shut, or having poor ventilation will help this too. 

I really don't think bread smells significantly different today than yesteryear. For example, my grandma's bread recipe, which I still make, smells exactly the way it did when she baked it for me when I was a child. I remember the aroma, it's what got me into baking, and it's the same today. Maybe it smelled stronger when I was a child; I would more likely attribute this to my  senses dulling somewhat with age, rather than changes in the ingredients. When I bake this recipe in the evening (as I did this last weekend), I woke up the next morning, the house still smelled of fresh-baked bread. 

I'm not debating that different recipes produce different aromas. A buttermilk rye will certainly smell different while baking than a white baguette, which will differ from a whole-wheat sandwich loaf. 

I guess what I'm saying is that if there is a certain aroma you are aiming for, it's likely coming a combination of ingredients and technique, so try varying your technique  before you blame lack of aroma on changes to "the way things used to be" in your ingredients. You may want to locate and try out some really old recipes (think 1950 Betty Crocker cookbook, search Amazon for examples) to re-create those old techniques.  




1Luvfostermom's picture

Thank you for your reply. Your remarks makes me chuckle. It is nice to giggle in the morning.

I have baked 5 loaves at a time but perhaps one more will make a difference? I am not so sure about that. 

I am using a flour from King Arthur, dough enhancer from King Arthur to get a lighter loaf & a bit of Lecithin, also flax seed, honey, wheat. I did add buttermilk in yesterdays batch. I give my bread out to friends & family. The texture is amazing. As for the aroma, there just does not seem to be much if any at all.

I don't believe it is my age, ( some say you loose the ability to smell when you get older) although that has crossed my mind.  I still smell roses, fresh laundry & dirty diapers just fine. So perhaps the additives change the aroma?

I only made the remark about the fresh smell of bread outside of a bakery as many people have walked past a bakery whether they have baked a loaf or not. It is the "aroma" of fresh baked bread. I am not talking about the smell outside of Cinnabun just the smell of yummy bread coming out of the oven.

Maybe this question is for Frank Fornaca Jr. I haven't seen him in years. But I am sure he is around somewhere. He is the one who got me on the right track of which wheat to use after he found out I was using hard winter wheat. He got a chuckle out of that.

MissHoneychurch's picture

Have you found any answers yet? I can't figure it out! I'm dying to find the recipe that has that great bread aroma that I used to help make! Cinnamon rolls, bread, pizza omg!

MissHoneychurch's picture

Hi, did you figure out what yeast to use? I remember the bread that our commercial cooking teacher made--you could smell it before you got in to the school. I remember that it had the same aroma of brewer yeast that you buy at the health food store. I have not smelled it since!  Let me know please!! I have tried every yeast on the planet and every procedure.

longhorn's picture

In my experience yeast flavor is maximized by using lots of yeast - so try doubling your yeast. It will rise a lot faster and you will get a less complex bread flavor but you will get more yeast. To counter it, mix the flour and water (loosely) the night before and let it soak overnight. Then add the yeast and salt the next morning. The soak will allow the enzymes to do some flavor enhancement before you quick proof it.


DobieOne's picture

Thanks for your suggestion longhorn. I will try using two packs of yeast the next time I make bread, probably in a day or two.  BTW,  your username makes me think you may be located in Texas?  I am. ;D

longhorn's picture

I am in the San Antonio area. 

You will probably find that your dough with extra yeast will rise a bit further than "slower" doughs with less yeast so you may want to let it rise a bit more (say 2.5X instead of doubling. I would suggest you follow your normal procedure first try but to expect it to behave a bit underproofed and potentially to "burst" on you a bit which would tell you to extend the proof. If the bread is fine problem!

Good luck!

DobieOne's picture

Knew it!  No one but a Texan would call his self "longhorn."  ;D  I'm a 4th generation Texan and my granddaughter makes six straight generations born in Tarrant County.

I REALLY appreciate all your suggestions - I'm baking again tomorrow.  I've noticed that with each loaf, my quality is getting better.  My son gave me the bug again.  Years ago, I tried a few times, but could never come close to my grandmother's bread so I gave up.  A few months ago, my son and daughter-in-law started making all their own bread.  Now I'm back at it with a vengeance.  No way can I let those young-uns make better bread than Grandma.  Hah !!

Thanks again Jay,


MangoChutney's picture

I've noticed since we got new windows in our house that I can no longer smell my cooking when I am outside, unless the windows are open.  Could this be part of your problem with not being able to smell the bread from the yard?

1Luvfostermom's picture

Not for me, it has been warm here in Southern California so the windows are open. I guess I will just have to deal with it. thanks

electric80's picture

I have tried everything to get the 'fresh breadyeast smell' and it's the yeast that's the problem .....for sure. I too have talked to the yeast manufacturer's and they claim the process for making current yeasts is to blame...what a more great smell or taste!

AncientYeastLover's picture

Thanks for doing the research with the manufacturers and finding out that they don't make yeast like they used to.  That explains why bread does not taste the same as when I used to make it in the 1970s and 1980s.  It has nothing to do with the process or how much yeast you use, and all to do with the variety of yeast itself.  I learned that when I went to Australia and lived for 3 years in the 1990s. Their yeast smelled different during the mixing and baking process and it wasn't pleasant like the old USA yeast used to be.  So my breads there were never as good.  When I came home, I didn't bake for a long time and then tried again in the 2000s  and it was not like it used to be.  It was not as bad as the Australian yeast, but it just has no flavor.  The old strains of yeast some how changed the whole baking process.  It smelled better, it worked better and it tasted better.  Now that I know that the old yeast is gone for good, I will no longer bake bread again - it is just not worth it because the bread will never be like the ideal in head - of how wonderful it used to be in the past.  That wonderful bread-baking aroma and texture that is not achievable today.

clazar123's picture

I have to offer a different perspective.

First of all, one of the posters above this claimed their ancestor baker achieved flavor and never used a polish to do so. I beg to differ. I'm sure 99% of bread bakers back then (assuming more than 40 yrs ago) used a "sponge" method, which is just a different-named variant of a polish. Flour,liquid,yeast was mixed and sat for multiple hours before being mixed into the main dough. Then there was a bulk fermentation for several hours more.

Also, the quantity of yeast used was much more than a lot of current recipes. A lot of the "aroma" of bread baking was the roasting of yeast and carmelization of the sugars in the loaf. A lot of the bread in that era were also highly enriched-milk,sugar and butter or lard. Those breads release a LOT of aroma while baking.

Sweet memories.

"bread will never be like the ideal in head - of how wonderful it used to be in the past"

I think this is where the issue really is. Scent-driven memories always evoke wonderful feelings. Scent is the only sense directly connected to our brain pleasure/pain center.

 But I totally disagree that good bread is not achievable. I do it often-with sweet, lean, fruited, whole wheat and even rye loaves. I use dry yeast and/or natural levain. I usually use some form of a sponge /polish/pre-ferment to develop the best flavor.  I am old enough to remember the aromas when my mom and uncle baked (he was a WWII army baker, in his day). Mine are just as good and always evoke those memories. Probably why I love the experience.  

Don't give up!





oldyeastbread's picture

To those who remember what it was like to make yeast bread or old fashion pizza dough that had the wonderful and yes wonderful yeast flavor, we all know it is not the same anymore!!!!

I used to make yeast bread that just overflowed the pans and the flavor---well, it was unmistakably yeast flavor.  So light and flavorful.  I cannot get that type of flavor with the type of yeast on the market today!


The pizza dough I used to make was just awesome!  It rose wonderfully with that awesome yeast flavor that was once famous for old italian pizza doughs.  That was why I used to make my own pizza.

So, it is the fault of the yeast!  I keep looking for the old type yeast that once created those famous breads and doughs, but it is useless.  So, don't anyone bother trying to convince me otherwise because it won't work period.  I know what's going on out there in the world!  My mother would roll over in her grave knowing what the manufacturers have done to the yeast!!!

I am a bread baker from way back.  Learned when I was a child.  So, I know what I am talking about. 

mbresso's picture

I, too, am wondering if doubling the yeast has done anything to increase the yeasty flavor in bread? I have purchased dinner rolls in the Amish area of Pennsylvania and I can't seem to replicate them at home. They are tall and light, that part is easy, but they have the most delicious yeast flavor. They are still making these rolls, so it's not an old recipe that has lost the flavor with new processing.

I messaged King Arthur Flour, they weren't sure but suggested a sourdough roll recipe, but I got rid of my starter when I realized we weren't using it enough (just 2 of us) to warrant keeping it.   They also sent me the link to their Amish Dinner Roll recipe, but the very first comment said they were glad the rolls had no yeasty flavor.


inventordrew's picture

There is only one way to get more yeast flavor. And that is to rise your bread slower.

I made a loaf last yesterday that put in the fridge for the second rise, I left it in there 12 hours, then left it on the bench for 4 hours to get it back to room temperature before shaping, and it tastes very yeasty! Yum!

The slower you rise the dough... the more time the yeast has to actually put flavor into the bread (the "yeast flavor" is not the yeast itself... it's actually the result of yeast working away at the flour).

inventordrew's picture

Ok, after thinking about it some more, there are actually other ways to do it. But they all involve giving the yeast some time to work nice and slow for a while.

The other way that comes to mind is to make a biga or preferment overnight (I think I someone else actually mentioned this already) that you then use in your loaf the next day.

I've never tried it so couldn't compare the flavour..

albacore's picture

I'm not sure enhancing the yeasty aroma and taste of bread is something I would wish to do, but I have the following (all untried) possible lines of investigation for those that wish to do so...

  • use active dried yeast (and plenty of it)  as opposed to IDY/FY. It's got more dead cells which might give the desired traits.
  • Mix up some FY in cold water and slowly heat up to about 80C and maintain for a few mins, then cool down. Use some of this autolysed yeast "broth" as part of the liquid in your bread making.
  • For hundreds of years, ale yeast from beer making was used for making bread, so get yourself some ale yeast, dried or fresh from a brewery and try that. I suggest ale rather than lager yeast. If using fresh ale yeast you would need to wash it several times to remove hop bitterness prior to use. Expect much longer fermentations.

"Nostalgia isn't what it used to be"