Yeast extract, or the essence of yeast, is an all-natural taste enhancer. The staple ingredient has been used by chefs for more than half a century as a savory seasoning in many foods including soups, meats, crackers, snack foods, and ready-to-eat meals like macaroni and cheese. Yeast itself has been used for thousands of years to make bread, beer, and wine. Yeast extract replaces salt, enhances flavor, and strengthens the cooking and baking process. With a concentrated flavor called “umami” – which means savory in Japanese – yeast extract is a versatile and welcome flavoring in vegetarian dishes, since it contains no ingredients from animal origin.