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I am planning on making a pretty standard (read: whichever pops up first in Google) recipe for Broccoli Cheddar soup; i.e. brocolli, cheddar, chicken stock, and about 1/2 cup flour per 4 bowls of soup.

To try to reduce using that much bleached flour, I would like to substitute nutritional yeast. Obviously the flavor will be sufficiently similar without taking away from the flavor of broccoli and cheddar (and the stock is pretty potent so I'm also not worried about that) so I am not worried about using too much nutritional yeast.

To achieve the effect of 1/2 cup flour thickening, what is an approximate ratio for the same effect with nutritional yeast? Also, I have noticed with other dishes that, unlikely the grainy/clotty results of flour, nutritional yeast can be added after the fact without whisking. But in a case like this, am I still better off whisking it in at the beginning?

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Don't have an answer for your main question, just the last part- if you cook the NY at too high a temperature for too long, you'll lose nutritional value. Just something to take into account. – Mrs. Garden Dec 1 '10 at 18:45
You can avoid grainy/clotty flour by making it into a roux before adding it to whatever you want to thicken. I wouldn't expect sprinkling plain flour into a soup to work very well. (I have no idea what to do with yeast, though) – Bob Dec 1 '10 at 18:53
@Bob Right, I was still planning on making a roux for whatever flour I still end up using (I want some for the starchiness texture NY doesn't quite match) at the outset of the base rather than just dumping it in the broth. – mfg Dec 1 '10 at 18:55
@mfg I've never used NY before, but I think your best option is to just start with about 1/4 cup and mix more in a little bit at a time until you get the consistency you want. Assuming nobody comes up with a real answer, that is. – Bob Dec 1 '10 at 19:33
To be honest my comment is predicated by the fact that I think NY is possibly the nastiest tasting stuff on the planet. My wife made me drink it for awhile in protein shakes. Why not just use unbleached organic flour? – Varuuknahl Dec 1 '10 at 19:33
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I think this is not such a good idea. It is going to take a lot of nutritional yeast to get anything like the thickening power of flour. If you really want to thicken this with less flour, there are plenty of other things that will do the trick, like xanthan gum, potato starch, corn starch, ultra-tex, some formulations of methylcellulose, etc. Just add however much nutritional yeast you want for flavor or health reasons, and get your thickening elsewhere.

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Found it out last night; I hadn't relied on it for any thickening and I used the recipe's flour measurements. Not only did it not do much to thicken the soup, the concentrated flavor caused me to need to double the almond milk by starting a second flour roux (thus adding more flour, not replacing) and then whisking what soup I had made into the second base. Wow does my wrist hurt today. – mfg Dec 2 '10 at 13:29
Sorry, I should have answered you sooner! I thought off and on all day about how to say it nicely :). – Michael at Herbivoracious Dec 2 '10 at 16:34
agreed. but be aware that starches don't have much flavor (I love corn starch or rice flour for this), but does still require cooking and can be harder to mix in without causing clumping. – zanlok Dec 2 '10 at 23:23
np, I appreciate the reply; and @zan I also used some corn starch towards the end for that finer level of thickening – mfg Dec 6 '10 at 15:23

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