Yeast in Gastronomy: Easy Recipes for Your Enjoyment!

The uses of yeast in gastronomy are diverse, from baked goods to fermented foods, sauces, and even vegan specialties. People often associate the use of yeast in gastronomy with the role that it plays as a leavening agent or as a means of promoting fermentation. What many overlooks in gastronomy is that yeast itself is also a critical flavor component and that often it is the yeast that is adding or modulating other flavors which result in the perfectly rounded flavor of your favorite bread, fermented foods, sauces, and vegan specialties. 

Let’s explore three easy-to-make recipes to highlight the diversity of uses yeast can have in gastronomy! 

Reading time: 5 min.
close up of rustic golden baked macaroni and cheese

Yeast in baking gastronomy: Pretzels

The history of Pretzels or “Brezel” as they are commonly called in Germany is as tangled as their form itself. It is unclear where exactly pretzels have their origin, but legend has it that Italian monks invented them to reward children for their prayers and they were made to look like a person crossing their arms in prayer or “pretiola” (little rewards).

Today, however, pretzels have become more commonly associated with Oktoberfest and paring with beer, or New York City street food. 

Fresh pretzels can be enjoyed by all and are fun to make with kids or to serve at parties for adults!


For the pretzels (makes 8 pretzels)

  • 150 ml of water
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast 
  • 500 g of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 40 g semi-salted butter at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Fleur de sel.

For the cooking water

  • 1 L water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 55 g baking soda.


  1. Warm the water and milk, add the yeast and let rest for 10 minutes. 
  2. Pour the water/milk mixture into a large bowl and add the flour and butter. Knead the ingredients for 5-10 minutes until it becomes a nice dough and there are no lumps of flour or butter.
  3. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for one hour and a half. The dough should be roughly double the size at the end.
  4. Preheat your oven to 200°C.
  5. Divide the dough into eight pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a long sausage shape and then wrap it into a pretzel form. 
  6. In a large sauce pot or saucepan, heat the water with the salt and baking soda until it is boiling.
  7. Gentle place each pretzel into the boiling water for roughly 3 minutes and then place them on a baking sheet covered with baking paper.
  8. In a small bowl whisk the egg yolk with a liter of water. Brush each pretzel with the whisked egg mixture and sprinkle the fleur de sel to your taste on top.
  9. Bake in the oven for roughly 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown. 
  10. Remove from the oven and let them cool before serving.

Learn more about yeast and baking! 

Nutritional yeast in gastronomy: vegan mac and cheese

Mac and cheese is a classic, loved by all ages! It is the perfect dish to share with the family or to take to a party. But not all of us eat cheese and dairy either because of allergies or personal choice, which is why nutritional yeast is the perfect means to make your favorite mac and cheese dish dairy free!

Nutritional yeast can be used for a variety of purposes in vegan cooking, but one of the best ways is to use it to add a cheesy umami flavor whenever you need to exclude cheese and dairy products. 

In this recipe, we show you how to use nutritional yeast to replace the cheese sauce in your favorite mac and cheese, but without losing your favorite cheesy flavor! 


For “Cheese” Sauce and Pasta

  • 475 g of water
  • 195 g raw cashews
  • 25 g nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 x 200 g bag shredded vegan cheddar cheese
  • 345 g elbow pasta.

For the bread crumb topping

  • 92 g panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoons melted vegan butter
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika.


  1. Place the cashews in a heat-resistant bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let them soak for roughly one hour.
  2. Boil water and cook your elbow pasta for the amount of time indicated on the box.
  3. Drain the cashews and blend them in a blender together with the water lemon juice, nutritional yeast, vegan cheese, and spices. Blend all ingredients until silky smooth if possible.
  4. Mix the panko, melted butter, and paprika in a bowl.
  5. Preheat oven to 175-180°C.
  6. Add the cooked pasta to an oven-ready dish and pour in the cheese sauce. Mix all together to ensure all the pasta is coated evenly.
  7. Sprinkle the panko mixture over the top of the pasta.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through. You can broil it for 1-2 minutes, in the end, to ensure the bread crumbs are golden. 
  9. Remove from the oven and let briefly cool before serving.
  10. Enjoy!

Explore all the health benefits of nutritional yeast!

Yeast gastronomy in sauces: the original ketchup 

Did you know that ketchup was originally from Hong Kong where it was known as Ke-Tsiap?

Ketchup was originally more similar to a hot sauce and was brought by British sailors from Hong Kong to England where it later spread throughout the west with different variations until it became what we know as ketchup today.

In this recipe, we explore how to make a ketchup that is closer to its original version so you can impress your friends and family. This sauce can be used like any condiment in a variety of ways.

Since this is a fermented sauce, we first need to prepare the fermenting agent, which in this case will be what is known as a “Ginger Bug.”

Ginger Bug Recipe


  • A sealable jar


  • 250 ml of water
  • 2-3 tbsp of white or brown sugar 
  • 2-3 tbsp of finely chopped ginger


  1. Put the water, a tablespoon of sugar, and a tablespoon of finely chopped ginger into a jar with a sealable lid. 
  2. Seal the jar and put it in a warm place in direct sunlight. 
  3. After 24 hours, add another tablespoon of finely chopped ginger and sugar to the mix. Shake the jar and put it back in the same place. 
  4. Repeat this process every 24 hours. The drink should become opaque and bubbles should appear. This will usually take 4 or 5 days, depending on the temperature.

Ke-Tsiap (Ketchup) Recipe


  • 300 g jar 


  • 100 ml Ginger Bug (see above recipe)
  • 1.5 kg fresh tomatoes or 800 g canned peeled tomatoes 
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey 
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Pinch of French allspice or “four spice” (white pepper, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves)
  • ½ tbsp sugar for after fermentation
  • ½ tbsp brewer’s yeast


  1. Wash and seed the tomatoes and puree them in a blender or food processor. Strain them through a sieve and boil the remaining liquid in a saucepan for 3 minutes.
  2. Place a sieve over a bowl and line it with a clean kitchen towel. Pour the tomato puree in and let it sit for 12 hours or until all of the tomato juice has drained through. 
  3. Transfer the tomato juice to a mixing bowl and mix with all the other ingredients. The consistency should be like normal ketchup. If it is too thick add more tomato juice.
  4. Fill the jar with the mixture ensuring you have a roughly 1 cm gap at the top and close the jar.
  5. Leave it to ferment for 1 week at room temperature.
  6. Move the jar to the fridge to continue to ferment for 2-3 weeks. 
  7. Once it is done fermenting you can open the jar and enjoy your wonderful specialty tangy and sweet Ke-Tsiap (Ketchup).
  8. If it is too sour you can add a little more sugar to your taste.
  9. Kept refrigerated it should last roughly 6 months to a year. 

Discover more about the role of yeast in fermentation 

The wonderful world of yeast in gastronomy

From pretzels to hot sauces, you now have experienced the true diversity of uses yeast can play in cooking and gastronomy! 

We hope that with these easy recipes you can also enjoy the wonders of yeast and share them with your friends and families!