Bread is a universal staple good in everyone’s kitchen, in any of its forms. From buns and bagels to sourdough loaves, mini rolls, and baguettes, it is almost impossible for people on a regular diet not to consume the bread.
However, when you go on a vegan diet, you have to reconsider many of your previous food options, and even ask yourself: is bread vegan?
Vegans have to eliminate many of the obvious food options from their diet – meat, eggs, cheese, and any other animal product – but they also have to skip any food that contains even traces of it.
So, if you have never made bread yourself and have no idea what its exact ingredients are, this article has all the answers you need to eat bread as a vegan!
What Are The Main Ingredients Of Bread?
A simple, basic bread recipe has a handful of ingredients and those are flour, water, salt, olive oil, and yeast, all of which are 100% vegan.
And yet, while everything looks great thus far, certain bread types deviate from the standard recipe and have other ingredients included in them.
Naan bread, for example, is made with yogurt and those juicy brioche buns meat lovers enjoy with their burgers have milk and eggs.
The same is the case with many types of crumpets and bagels sold in supermarkets.
So, before you rush into buying any type of bread item thinking that it’s vegan, read the ingredients listed in the package first to make sure you can eat it.
Alternatively, if you are getting your bread from a bakery, you could (and should) request an allergens list to ensure that any of the baked goods you are buying are vegan-friendly.
How To Tell The Difference Between Vegan And Non-Vegan Bread
Now that you know what the basic ingredients of bread are, you understand that whenever you start reading a label that has more than those 5 ingredients, you should double-check the rest to make sure you are not having something that doesn’t suit your diet.
And, if something is clear, that is the fact that vegan bread does not include any animal products like eggs, honey, and dairies such as milk, butter, whey, or buttermilk.
However, another thing you should be wary of are all those ingredients that you might not be familiar with or not realize that they are indeed animal products.
What are those? Things like royal jelly, casein, and gelatin are a few examples. And when you see those weird words that remind you of your chemistry lessons in high school, it’s probably not the bread you are looking for.
Some examples of those substances you should be avoiding are:
Di- And Monoglycerides
These fats serve as emulsifying agents to provide a better smoothness and help with moisture retention so that the bread can be softer and fluffier.
Monoglycerides and diglycerides are not exclusively extracted from animal fats as they sometimes also come from soybean oil, but you wouldn’t want to take your chances with that.
Lecithin is also a kind of emulsifying agent that is typically derived from soybean oil. But even so, it can also be obtained from egg yolks.
As a result, you should again avoid buying any bread products containing these ingredients, except for any types of bread that include them but are labeled vegan-friendly.
What Are The Most Popular Kinds Of Vegan Bread?
Numerous bread varieties are vegan-friendly, and we have a list of the most popular kinds below:
A bread made with a fermentation process using flour, water, salt, and, occasionally, yeast. Several variations, while rare, replace water with milk, but a quick look through the ingredients list will let you know of that.
Baguettes are long, stick-shaped bread that is usually around 26 inches long but can even be made longer. They are known for their French origins and are typically made only with vegan-friendly ingredients.
The answer for Italians to French baguettes, is ciabattas are commonly used for panini sandwiches. The ciabatta loaves are flat, oval-shaped, and distinguished by a hard crust and alveolar holes inside.
Almost all ciabattas made are vegan, but ciabatta al latte substitutes milk for water, thereby rendering it unsuitable for a vegan diet.
Another Italian bread, focaccias are even flatter than ciabattas. This bread type is baked in flat pans and comes with herby toppings like rosemary and thyme.
What makes it unique is the higher oil content, however, there are a few exceptions where butter and eggs are used instead of it.
A plain flatbread made using flour, water, yeast, and salt. Although most kinds of pita bread sold are vegan, a few could include milk, eggs, or honey for some extra taste.
A loaf of bread made with sprouted whole grains and legumes. This bread is generally vegan and has a higher nutritional value than other types of bread.
How To Make A Vegan Bread At Home
If you want to make your own vegan bread at home, the preparation is quite easy as you will only need a handful of ingredients.
As we have made clear in this article, the most basic bread recipes are vegan. Nonetheless, you can always tweak several more complex recipes that call for non-vegan ingredients by replacing them with vegan ones.
In the case of eggs, for example, you can use chia seeds or flaxseeds. To be more precise, by mixing 1 tablespoon of chia flax seeds and 3 tablespoons of water and then setting it aside until it looks like jelly, you can substitute one egg in any bread recipe.
Another great alternative is aquafaba, that liquid that’s left from cooked chickpeas, which you can use instead of eggs or egg whites. 3 tablespoons of it can replace an egg, while 2 tablespoons can replace an egg white.
The Bottom Line
Most bread types are vegan and the classic bread recipes use vegan-friendly ingredients.
Even so, always read the ingredients listed in every package or ask for the allergens list in bakeries to make sure that you are enjoying bread that’s 100% vegan!