Have you recently gone vegan and want to know if you can use flour or not? Maybe you have been looking at baking recipes and want to know if flour is vegan or not? No matter what the question is, we have the answer for you!
Figuring out what food is vegan can be tricky. These days ingredient lists can be confusing, hard to read, and filled with long, overly complicated chemical names that leave you unsure where to turn or who to trust. How can you know if flour is vegan?
Well, you can stick with us! Today, we are here with a complete guide for you. Keep reading to find out if flour is vegan and everything else you need to know about it!
Is Flour Vegan?
Yes, flour is vegan! All kinds of flour, plain, self-raising, whole grain, and any other type of flour you can think of are vegan. This is wonderful news for those avid bakers or new vegans with cupboards full of flour.
Flour is derived from plants, typically wheat that is milled to create the fine powder used in pastries, cakes, and even pasta!
You can also purchase flour made with nuts such as almonds, cassava, rice, oats, lima beans, chickpeas, and buckwheat. The main ingredient of the flour will always be listed on the packaging of the flour.
You can expect to also find vitamins and minerals in flour. These are usually the vitamins and minerals that are in the plant or vegetable that has been milled to make the powder, like vitamin C, calcium, iron, and vitamins B1 and B3.
As they are naturally found in the ingredients of flour, you don’t need to worry about any added artificial ingredients.
Why Do Some People Think Flour Isn’t Vegan?
So where has the question, is flour vegan come from? Well, there was some debate recently about how flour, especially refined flour, is bleached.
There were suspicions that flour is bleached using bone char, which some sugar companies use to filter and bleach sugar.
Bone char is made by charring animal bones, making it and any product it bleaches, unsuitable for vegans. However, there is no proof that flour is bleached by bone char, making it suitable for vegans to enjoy. You can always check the label on your flour too.
It should state on the packaging that the flour is suitable for vegans and list any potential allergens in bold. Typically, wheat is the only thing listed in bold, so unless you have a wheat (or gluten) allergy, you can enjoy flour and add it to your recipes worry-free!
Some vegans still avoid white or bleached flour, but there is no need to. There is no animal byproduct in here which would mean you are not using vegan flour.
There is the addition of sodium benzoate or benzoyl peroxide that can be used as a bleaching agent, which some strict vegans view as non-vegan, but both ingredients are vegan!
Typically, it is avoided over safety concerns, as these ingredients can convert to a carcinogen in certain conditions. The FDA has limited the use of these ingredients to safe levels, so you don’t need to worry. If you are concerned, then you can purchase unbleached flour to avoid these ingredients.
Is Flour Made Humanely?
Yes, all flour is made humanely. The milling process does not involve any animals or by-products, making it safe for vegans to eat!
The grains used to make flour pass through a series of machines that will open up each grain, scrape, and separate each component before grinding them.
This process is repeated until all the components of the grain are ground and separated, taking up to sixteen times!
The result is finely milled flour that we all know and love. Flour should feel like a slightly thick powder that is then packaged up and sent to stores to be sold.
In the US, some flour is bleached to give it a crisp white color. In other parts of the world, this process is illegal, so it is only in the US you will see bleached or unbleached flour being sold.
Places like the UK and EU don’t need to place a distinction on the flour but don’t worry, all of this flour is safe for you to eat!
Despite some concerns about the bleaching process, flour is vegan! You can expect the next bag of flour you purchase or the one sat at home to be free of any animal products or the risk of cross-contamination! You can use it worry-free to make your next baked good.