Using bakers yeast for brewingbeer

Saturday, May 2, 2020
bakers yeast for making beer

How to use active baker's dry yeast instead of brewer's yeast to make beer

I once read of beer a craft brewer made from yeast that he had apparently discovered on his hipster beard. Sounded like some smart ass bollocks but the reality is the yeast can be found in all kinds of places  -  think on fruit like grapes for a start. 

And then given the world wide shortage of brewing yeast due to the Covid 19 crisis, I wondered about using baking yeast in my beer instead. 

So I did some research, and yep, you can totally can use baking yeast for brewing beer as it is an 'active dry yeast'.

Many holier-than-though craft beer brewers would probably shudder violently at the concept of using a yeast that's normally used to make bread but let's have a look at the idea.

Yeast is a wholly active part of the fermentation process, which is hugely relying on all kinds of factors to go right and a good yeast will make a good beer better.

You can totally use baking yeast for brewing, as both yeasts (beer and baking) are different strains of the same species, Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

So you may be wondering then, what is the difference between baker's yeast and brewer's yeast?

The difference between the two kinds of yeasts is their historic cultivation.

Each has been grown for the attributes they bring to the plate and bottle. 

In the case of beer yeast, the popular strains have been cultivated for hundreds of years to hone their specific attributes being the beer flavour produced and for attenuation ( which how well the sugars are fermented by yeast).

In general terms brewer's yeast was bred and cultivated to produce more alcohol & less carbon dioxide whereas baker's yeast was bred to make more CO2 and less alcohol. CO2 is really good for baking as it makes bread nice and fluffy. 

This is why if you made bread with brewer's yeast your bread will not turn out fluffy but will be a more doughy result.

So, if you do need to use baking yeast you need to have the patience to know that it will work but it will not necessarily be as efficient was brewer's yeast. 

Which leads us to a very good question.

How much baking yeast to pitch into the wort?


A reasonable amount is 11 grams of baker's yeast per 5 gallons or 23 liter fermenter drum is a fair amount to pitch in. 

Beware that baker's yeast will not make clear beer


When using this yeast, you just have to be conscious that your beer won't taste as 'clean 'or look as clear as the beer that has been brewed under normal conditions.

If you are bottle conditioning, a trick you could try to clear the baker's yeast is by cold crashing the fermented wort (often referred to as the primary) and then racking it to a bottling bucket and then bottling.

You can of course also try and use finings to help clear the baking particles.

Can I use baking yeast to re-start a beer that's stopped fermenting


If for some reason your pitched beer yeast has run out of puff and you think you need to re-start fermentation, then yes, in a pinch you could add some baker's yeast to help get things going again.

Just remember by adding a second yeast, the intended nature of your beer's taste and characteristics will change.

It's always handy to activate the yeast in water before you pitch it, just to give it a helping hand. When you add it in to the wort, gently stir the wort with a clean spoon or implement it.

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