Can vegans eat bread? This is a question I get asked all the time! If you're wondering if bread is vegan friendly, you aren't alone. In this article, I'll cover the most commonly asked questions vegans ask about bread.
Do Vegans Eat Bread?
The short answer is, yes! The majority of everyday breads are suitable for vegans to eat.
Bread recipes are traditionally made using flour, salt, water and yeast (more on this later.) From there, different ingredients can be added.
What about eggs? Are there eggs in bread? No, typically bread doesn't contain egg, which is surprising since most baked goods do. However, there are specialty breads that do contain eggs. This is a list of breads that sometimes, but not always, contain eggs:
- Brioche Bread
- Challa Bread
- Corn Bread (Try my vegan corn bread.)
- Banana Bread (Check out my egg free banana bread recipe.)
- Naan bread (Check out my vegan Turkish flat bread recipe.)
- Sweet breads such as panettone
- Gluten Free Breads (gluten free breads sometimes contain egg whites.)
To be on the safe side, you should check the ingredients label for the following non-vegan items that are sometimes found in bread:
- Eggs or Egg Whites (see above)
- Milk Powder, Milk, Skimmed Milk Powder, Lactose
- Royal Jelly
Is Yeast Vegan?
Is yeast vegan? This is a question that lots of people ask.
The good news is that yeast are single celled microorganisms that contain no nervous system. They can't experience pain or suffering, so they're vegan friendly.
There are more than 1,500 kinds of yeast, but the one most commonly used kind today is saccharomyces cerevisiae, which translates to sugar-fungus. This is the yeast most often used in breads and alcohol.
Is nutritional yeast vegan? Nutritional yeast, sometimes referred to as "Nooch" is a deactivated, dry form of saccharomyces cerevisiae. Hence, it's vegan!
What makes nutritional yeast different from normal yeast is the additional nutrients that are added during the fermentation process. These include B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc and protein. It's a powerhouse of nutrition, and is a healthy addition to any diet, including vegan.
Nutritional yeast has a funky, cheesy flavor that is integral to making many vegan recipes, especially vegan cheese. Check out these recipes, for ideas on how to incorporate nutritional yeast into your diet:
Is Pita Bread Vegan?
Pita bread is a family of yeast leavened flat breads that are typically made from flour and water, both of which are plant based. So the answer is yes, pita bread is vegan.
In a small number of cases, pita bread might contain non-vegan ingredients. A few of these ingredients are a gray area for vegans, and strict vegans might want to avoid them. These are:
- Xantham Gum: Xantham Gum is a thickening agent that could be a problem ingredient for some vegans. It's typically manufactured using a fermentation process that involves simple sugars. However, in some cases xantham gum is made using a fermentation process that involves whey, the byproduct of manufacturing cheese. Strict vegans may with to avoid pita breads that are made using xantham gum.
- Lecithin: Lecithin is a fat that typically obtained from soybeans or other vegetables. However, it can be obtained from egg yolks. So, lecithin is an ingredient for strict vegans to be aware of.
Is Naan Bread Vegan?
Naan, so named for the Persian word for bread, "non," is a flat bread that came to popularity in India by way of Persia. It's typically shaped by hand and cooked on the side of tandoori oven.
Unfortunately naan is not typically vegan. In most cases it contains ghee, clarified butter, milk, yogurt or eggs.
You can however make a delicious homemade flatbread that is guaranteed free of non-vegan ingredients.
Is Sourdough Bread Vegan?
Is sourdough bread vegan? The answer is that traditional homemade sourdough bread is vegan. It's a fermented bread made with flour, water and yeast.
However, if you buy your sourdough bread at the grocery store, there are a few ingredients to look out for.
- Enriched Sourdough Bread: If your sourdough bread is marked as enriched, you should check the ingredients label to make sure it doesn't contain milk, eggs or butter.
- Whey: Whey is the byproduct of manufacturing cheese, and is in the dairy family. Some store bought brands of sourdough breads are made with whey, and these are not vegan friendly.
- Honey: Some specialty sourdough breads are sweetened with honey. It's not a common ingredient, but is worth checking for.
Is Ezekiel Bread Vegan?
Ezekiel bread is a nutrient dense vegan bread that's made with organically grown sprouted grains and legumes. Ezekiel bread contains no dairy, eggs, honey or sugar. It's a truly vegan bread that is a great source of protein.
Most store bought breads are made with all purpose flour. In contrast, Ezekiel bread is using four different cereals: millet, wheat, barley and spelt. Because of the numerous cereals and legumes in Ezekiel bread, it's high in fiber, containing 4 grams per slice!
Is White Bread Vegan?
Is store bought white bread vegan? Almost all white breads are made with flour, salt, yeast and water, so they're suitable for a vegan diet.
You should always check the ingredients label on commercially prepared white breads to ensure that non vegan additives weren't added during the production. Some ingredients to look out for include:
- Casein or Lactose