Yeast extract is a food ingredient that is made by breaking down yeast cells, typically from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, through a process of autolysis. This process involves allowing the yeast cells to self-digest and release their contents, which are then filtered, concentrated, and dried to produce a powder or paste.
Yeast extract is commonly used as a flavoring agent in a variety of foods, such as soups, sauces, and snack foods. It has a savory, umami flavor that is similar to that of monosodium glutamate (MSG), and is often used as a natural alternative to MSG.
Yeast extract is also a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It contains high levels of B vitamins, such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, as well as essential minerals such as potassium and phosphorus. It is also a good source of protein, with an average protein content of around 40%.
While yeast extract is generally considered safe for consumption, it can contain high levels of sodium, which can be a concern for individuals who are on a low-sodium diet or who are sensitive to sodium.