The Differences Between Brewer's Yeast & Bread Yeast

Updated March 23, 2017

Novice cooks may struggle with basic definitions of certain ingredients, while more experienced cooks may make careless mistakes by not reading the names of similarly-titled ingredients properly. Baker's yeast, or the yeast that is used to make bread, and brewer's yeast, are two of these products. By learning about the differences that distinguish brewer's yeast from bread yeast, you can ensure your recipes go according to plan.

Cooking Uses

Though their names are similar, Baker's and Brewer's yeasts have two very different purposes. Baker's yeast is used for baked goods, including bread, muffins, cinnamon rolls, and most other baked goods that require the dough to expand. Brewer's yeast is used for brewing beer when it is activated, and can be used as seasoning or a nutritional supplement when it is deactivated.

Origins and Other Uses

Brewer's yeast comes from fungus, called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, studies suggest it may positively affect high blood sugar in diabetics. Brewer's yeast may also be used for the treatment of high cholesterol and acne, though baker's yeast has not been proven to have similar benefits.


Baker's yeast comes in either packets or jars of powder, suitable for cooking. Brewer's yeast, on the other hand, comes in a variety of forms, from powder to liquid. It is usually found only at speciality health stores, while baker's yeast is found in the baking aisle of most grocery stores.


Women should avoid any products with yeast if they commonly get yeast infections. Brewer's yeast also has several specific precautions: its effects have not yet been fully studied in children, can cause hypoglycaemia in diabetics, and should not be ingested if you also take MAOI inhibitors, among other supplements. Consumers should check with their doctors before consuming Brewer's yeast.

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