Nooch is the fun term used for nutritional yeast. I decided to write about it as it's an ingredient that I use quite a lot, so if you're trying out some of my recipes you're likely to see it and think to yourself, what the heck is nooch?
Nutritional yeast is made from a single celled organism called, are you ready for it, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. This is grown on molasses! Wild huh. It is then harvested, washed and dried with heat to 'deactivate' it. It does not froth/grow/expand like baking yeast does because it is inactive.
NOTE: Never try to substitute nutritional yeast for baking yeast. They are different things with different tastes and will give very different results!
HOW TO USE IT.
Nutritional yeast can be used in so many things! As the alternate name suggest (savoury yeast flakes), it is best in savoury foods. It is often used to create a cheesy taste in dishes like pasta, risotto and it can even be sprinkled on pizza! I use nutritional yeast on toast with vegemite (the ultimate B12 hit if you're using salt reduced vegemite), mixed into smashed avocado, creamy pastas, just to name a few! There really is no limit. You can add it to anything you like! When mixed into sauces or avocado it basically completely melts in, it's not like a grain or seed, so you can taste it but you may not be able to see it.
Nutritional yeast is packed full of awesome stuff. Two tablespoons contains 9g of protein! That's more than a cup of dairy milk! It is also high in fibre, folic acid, zinc, selenium and most also contain vitamin B12! This is super cool as B12 is a super important vitamin that is quite hard to come by. Below I have written a bit about B12. Nutritional yeast is also naturally low in fat, low in calories, gluten free and contains no added sugars or preservatives.
B12 SIDE NOTE.
B12 plays an important role in the production of red blood cells, and for producing and maintaining myelin, the protective insulation around your nerves. Some will argue that you can only get B12 through animal products - this fortunately isn't the case! Most foods don't contain B12 naturally so are fortified with it. Some foods that are often fortified with B12 are nutritional yeast, plant milks, soy products, cereals, maca powder and salt reduced vegemite.
B12 comes from micro organisms that live in the soil. Cows, chickens and other livestock animals would usually get their B12 from eating grass or pecking in the soil for worms. Because of overuse of pesticides however, B12 levels in soils have become so depleted that it is now necessary for livestock to be supplemented with B12. Still it is estimated that 70-90% of the population is deficient in the essential vitamin and so it is recommended that everyone makes a conscious effort to consume fortified foods and/or use a B12 supplement.
WHERE TO GET IT.
While nutritional yeast isn't a new thing, it isn't a very well known product. Up until recently it was quite difficult to find. Luckily you can now get it from all good health food stores and even some supermarkets and bulk food shops! It is sometimes called Savoury Yeast Flakes. Common brands are The Raw Food Factory, Braag and Lotus.
Places you can get it from if you're local to Mandurah:
Farmer Jacks Halls Head
The Glass Jar Halls Head
Dynamic Organic Silver Sands