The Fresh Loaf

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Yeast Nutrient

Anonymous baker's picture
Anonymous baker (not verified)

Yeast Nutrient

When brewing alcohol often one adds yeast nutrient (i've been reading up on it). Basically it does what it says on the tin. Food for the yeast, rich in nutrients and helps them on their way. This can be bought from brewing stores and is added to the must or wort. What is also interesting is boiled yeast can act as yeast nutrient! 

While i've never done it I am aware that people use deactivated yeast in bread doughs for increased elasticity and as a bread improver. Now i'm not sure if the two are used in exactly the same way. In alcohol brewing it's a yeast nutrient so more as a food. In bread baking it's done more so on how it reacts with the gluten. So both are improvers but coming from a slightly different angle. One targets the yeast and the other targets the gluten and therefore structure. 

Question is can yeast nutrient when talking about brewing alcohol be used in the same way as a yeast improver in a starter? Would adding deactivated yeast into a starter give it a boost? And can this be done without the special 'chemicals' and instead boiling baker's yeast to be used in feeds? 

Purely looking at this from a scientific point of view. Don't think a starter should need it (although in alcohol brewing it's done quite often) but could be an option if someone feels their starter needs a boost. 

I've been reading up a bit on wine, mead and beer brewing when I came across this and interested if it translates into bread baking. 

albacore's picture

Yeast food for bread baking does exist, Abe. Here is a spec sheet for an example made by Lesaffre.

As you say, in the normal run of things, it's not necessary, but might be useful for revitalising a sluggish starter. Probably some of the stuff sold my homebrew shops would be the best thing as being more balanced than boiled yeast and the Lesaffre product comes in 50lb bags!

I know a lot of breweries routinely add yeast foods to every fermentation, but of course wort and dough are different animals.


Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

I know a lot of breweries routinely add yeast foods to every fermentation, but of course wort and dough are different animals.

Funnily enough i've come full circle. Never had any need for 'yeast food' when it came to baking so never even crossed my mind. Now that i've been reading up in it when it comes to brewing I was wondering if it translates into bread baking. 

One tip was to throw some baker's yeast into the boil and that would act like yeast nutrient for the added live yeasts. So got me thinking if the same technique could work when it came to baking. They're dead so it's not like adding live yeast to starter but could make a sluggish starter happier. Might be a nice too to tell someone if they ask about starter troubleshooting. 

So while I am more experienced in bread baking this idea only came to me when trying to learn about brewing. And one wouldn't have to buy any special yeast nutrient just relying on something one would generally have in stock or could easily buy in their local store.