Producing organic yeast is better for the environment. It’s that simple. Conventional yeast production, on the other hand, uses harsh acids, bases (like lye, also known as sodium hydroxide), synthetic vitamins, ammonia and ammonium salts, and anti-foaming agents. With certified organic yeast production, all the raw materials used are 100% organic, benefiting the entire organic supply chain. Going with organic yeast is better for the planet and a healthier choice for the consumer.
When the National Organic Program was created, it didn’t appear to be feasible for yeast to be made organically, so it was classified as a non-agricultural food substance. At that time yeast was added to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances for foods labeled as organic or made with organic ingredients because many organic food companies rely on yeast to produce their products.
In 2010 the National Organic Standards Board recommended that yeast’s listing include an annotation stipulating that yeast used for human consumption be subject to the principle of “organic preference”, which says that if commercially available, organic ingredients must be used.
Marroquin Organic International's founder and president, Grace Marroquin, has been a persistent voice and driving force in bringing about this change by educating industry leaders and regulators. Her key message: Organic yeast has been commercially available for many years, and is, in fact, a far better choice in terms of impacts when compared to conventional yeast.
The word yeast comes from the Sanskrit word for boiling, a reference to the carbon dioxide bubbles that occur during fermentation. In fact, yeast has been a critical ingredient for baking and fermentation for millennia. Archaeologists have discovered bakeries and breweries in Egypt that existed more than 3000 years ago.
There are two yeast strains used in brewing. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is typically used for baking, winemaking, brewing certain beers like ales, and in flavorings. Saccharomyces carlsbergensis is used almost exclusively for brewing beer. Yeast extracts are typically used for flavoring, food additives, and as a nutrient source for cultivating other yeast cells.
The proteins found in yeast contain significant amounts of the amino acid glutamate, which imparts a savory flavor called umami. These same proteins are also found in high-protein foods like meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, and eggs. In yeast extracts the yeast cells are treated, splitting the cell walls open. This frees the cell components and enzymes that are naturally present, activating their ability to break down proteins.
Yeast takes a variety of forms, each typically used for a specific application: active yeast for baking and fermentation, and yeast extracts and powders for nutrition and flavor. Brewer’s yeast is a byproduct of beer production, absorbing some of the flavors and some of the nutritional components of the hops, humulone and lupulone, used in fermentation. That makes it unpleasantly bitter. “Debittered” yeast is brewer’s yeast that has been treated with an alkali like sodium hydroxide, making it palatable for human and animal consumption. Once it has been used for brewing, brewer’s yeast (commonly labeled as nutritional yeast) is no longer active, has no utility in fermentation, and will not make dough rise.
Marroquin Organic International offers nutritional yeast that isn’t a brewing byproduct. Instead, it is grown on organic grain, specifically as food for human consumption. That means it isn’t bitter, so it doesn’t need to be treated with sodium hydroxide. Technically speaking, it is a non-debittered organic yeast.
We work closely with our supplier, Germany-based Agrano GmbH & Co. KG, because of their unique and environmentally friendly organic yeast production methods. Protected by four patents, you won’t find a better product than Agrano organic yeast, anywhere in the world. Take a look behind the scenes at Agrano here.
Contact Marroquin Organic International to learn more about your choices when it comes to yeast.