Wondering if yeast is gluten-free? Be sure to read this post to find out if yeast is safe for a gluten-free diet and which types of yeast you can eat!
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If you follow a gluten-free diet, you may be wondering if yeast is gluten-free. Most people associate yeast with baked goods, and most baked goods contain gluten.
After all, most bread contains yeast, as well as rolls, pizza dough, donuts, pretzels, and bagels. It’s no wonder that we associate yeast with containing gluten. All these foods contain gluten and yeast!
So if you want to enjoy baked goods on a gluten-free diet, we need to dive into understanding what types of yeast are okay on a gluten-free diet and which ones we want to be on the lookout for.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is yeast? What is yeast used for?
Yeast is technically a single-celled fungi, which eats sugar to gain energy to grow. When a yeast cell eats sugar, it releases gas in the form of carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol, a process known as alcohol fermentation.
Yeast is used in bread baking and other baking, so when the yeast ferments, the gas gets trapped inside the dough, causing the dough to puff up and become elastic and stretchy. The end result of baking dough with yeast in it is a bread that has risen or been “yeast-leavened.”
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
Gluten is naturally occurring, and therefore is impossible to strip away from the grain. If a grain naturally has gluten in it, there’s no way to make that food gluten-free.
Is yeast gluten-free?
Some types of yeast are gluten-free, but most are gluten-free. The ones you mostly associate with baking, active dry yeast and instant yeast, are gluten-free and safe to enjoy and use in your baking.
Types of yeast
Knowing that some types of yeast are gluten-free while others aren’t, let’s go through the different types of yeast and discuss whether or not they are safe for a gluten-free diet.
Is active dry yeast gluten-free?
Active dry yeast is indeed gluten-free and can be used in your baking or enjoyed in the gluten-free products you buy from the store.
Is instant yeast gluten-free?
Instant yeast is similar to active dry yeast, but in this product you don’t need to add water to activate the yeast. You can simply add it to your recipe.
Yes, instant yeast is gluten-free.
Is torula yeast gluten-free?
Torula yeast is not made from a gluten-containing grain, therefore it is gluten-free and safe to use and eat on a gluten-free diet.
Is nutritional yeast gluten-free?
Nutritional yeast is grown on sugar beet molasses or cane sugar, making it naturally gluten-free. This ingredient is used as a dairy-free and vegan alternative to creating a “cheesy” flavor without any dairy products. It’s great on salads, soups, dips, pasta, potatoes, and popcorn.
Is Bragg’s nutritional yeast gluten-free?
Yes, according to the Bragg’s website and the labeling on the packaging, this brand of nutritional yeast is gluten-free.
Is yeast extract gluten-free?
Yeast extract is not usually gluten-free, but you can check the label of the product you’re buying to confirm.
Yeast extract is usually made from barley, but the manufacturer is required to disclose the source of the yeast extract on the ingredients list so you know what you’re looking at before you buy,
Is brewer’s yeast gluten-free?
Brewer’s yeast is often used as a nutritional supplement usually contains gluten. However, there are some brewer’s yeast products that are gluten-free, so you can look for those specifically if you’d like to add this to your diet.
Here is a gluten-free brewer’s yeast option to try.
Is autolyzed yeast gluten-free?
Autolyzed yeast is gluten-free.
Be on the lookout for “autolyzed yeast extract” as it’s not the same as autolyzed yeast, and is usually made from barley, which is not gluten-free.
Now that we know which types of yeast are safe and not so safe for a gluten-free diet, let’s talk about if you can use yeast in bread and some popular yeast brands.
Can you use yeast in gluten-free bread?
Depending on the type of yeast you use, yeast can be used in gluten-free bread. If you use active dry yeast or instant yeast, it is safe to enjoy on a gluten-free diet.
Just be sure all your other ingredients are gluten-free, as well.
Are these popular yeast brands gluten-free?
Is Fleischmann’s yeast gluten-free?
Though their website doesn’t confirm whether their products are gluten-free, I was able to do some research to find out that these different types of Fleischmann’s yeast are gluten-free:
- Active dry yeast
- Rapid rise yeast
- Pizza crust yeast
- Bread machine yeast
- Fresh active yeast
Their Simply Homemade Baking mix is not gluten-free.
Is Red Star active dry yeast gluten-free?
According to their website, Red Star active dry yeast is gluten-free.
Is Saf instant yeast gluten-free?
According to their website, Saf yeast is gluten-free.
Is Bob’s Red Mill active dry yeast gluten-free?
According to the Bob’s Red Mill website and packaging on the product, this brand is gluten-free.
The bottom line
The types of yeast that are gluten-free:
- Active dry yeast
- Instant yeast
- Torula yeast
- Nutritional yeast
- Autolyzed yeast
The type of yeast that may or may not contain gluten:
- Brewer’s yeast
The types of yeast that contain gluten:
- Yeast extract
- Autolyzed yeast extract
If you’re an avid baker or just love to enjoy baked goods, I hope this post has helped you get the information you need to get back to the kitchen and baking!
Most types of yeast are gluten-free, but be on the lookout for those that sometimes or always contain gluten in your cooking and baking, and when looking at ingredients lists on the packaging of products at the grocery store.