Is Bread Vegan?

Who doesn’t love bread? It’s versatile, it’s convenient, it fills you up, and can be eaten at any time of the day for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! 

Bread is a staple food for many people, and it has been a staple food for many, many years.

Is Bread Vegan?

This is not only because it is enjoyable, but because it has such a high carb content, it has been able to help people sustain themselves, and has thus sustained populations during trying times. 

But, these days there is less need for a survivalist mindset, and as a result, diets can vary dramatically between people.

A popular diet today is veganism, which includes everything except animal products and by-products. 

This begs the question: Is bread vegan?

We will discuss this in the article below, so read on for more! 

What Is Bread Made From?

In its purest form, there are four key ingredients used to make bread. They are:

  • Flour 
  • Yeast
  • Salt 
  • Water

So, if the bread you want to buy contains just these ingredients, then it is vegan and you can go ahead and tuck in! 

Let’s check out the vegan credentials of these ingredients in more detail! 

Water

Water consists of hydrogen and oxygen and occurs naturally on the earth. There is no disputing the fact that it is vegan-friendly! 

Salt

Salt is an inorganic chemical compound made up of sodium and chlorine. It is completely vegan!

Flour

Flour is a powder made from crushing roots or grains. Flour is vegan-friendly for the most part, but you may find additives such as L-cysteine which is not suitable for vegans or vegetarians.

However, this is a rare occurrence these days, so vegans should be able to eat flour without having to worry. 

Yeast

Yeast is a fungus, and fungi are perfectly acceptable for vegans to eat! 

However, there are many different variations of bread all over the world, and many of these varieties will include other ingredients like:

  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • Buttermilk
  • Oil
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Baking soda
  • Fruit 
  • Nuts
  • Vegetables 
  • Herbs 
  • Spices 

As you can see, some of these ingredients, such as butter and buttermilk, are not vegan and so this bread should be avoided if you are following a vegan diet. 

For example, naan bread is made using yogurt, and brioche is made using eggs and milk. So, as delicious as they are, these bread varieties are not suitable for vegans.

What Are Some Other Non-Vegan Ingredients In Bread?

What Are Some Other Non-Vegan Ingredients In Bread?

Some non-vegan ingredients in bread, such as the ones listed above, are obvious. However, some ingredients will not be so clear-cut, and you may miss them as you scan the ingredients list. 

For example, you may see “lecithin” as a listed ingredient on some bread loaves. Lecithin is used to aid in the preparation and increase the volume of the bread.

You can get lecithin from plants such as soybeans, which are vegan! 

However, you can also get lecithin from egg yolks, which is not vegan. 

It is not always clear on the packaging how this lecithin was obtained, so it may be best to find bread that just contains the four simple ingredients listed above.

Try looking for a “suitable for vegans label” or even vegan alternatives to your favorite carb in the plant-based section of the supermarket or grocery store! Alternatively, you can try your hand at making your own bread! 

How To Find Out If Bread Is Vegan At Eateries?

If you are eating at a cafe or restaurant and want a dish containing bread, then you will first need to make sure that it is suitable for vegans.

Often, this will simply be listed next to the item so you can order the food without any issues. However, this is sometimes not the case. 

If you are at a cafe or restaurant, then the best thing to do is ask if something is vegan or not!

Either your server will know the answer, will ask the restaurant owner or chef, or will provide you with an allergen and ingredient list so you can see for yourself.

Even if the bread is not vegan, there may still be a vegan option there for you to eat.

For example, in South Asian eateries, while naan bread is not vegan, you can still eat bread with your meal in the form of a chapati, which is vegan! 

Is Garlic Bread Vegan?

Garlic bread is a comfort food for so many people, but is it vegan? 

Well, traditionally no. Garlic bread is not vegan because it has butter as a listed ingredient.

However, there are plenty of vegan alternatives to garlic bread that taste just as good! What’s more, you can make garlic bread at home using vegan butter (Also check out Is Cocoa Butter Vegan?)!

Although, it is important to note that there is some garlic bread on supermarket shelves that is accidentally vegan.

This is because cheaper alternatives to garlic bread, like own-brand items, use oils rather than butter when it comes to making the bread and garlic butter, thus making the product vegan without actually intending to. 

Final Thoughts

In its purest form, bread is made from water, salt, flour, and yeast (Check out Is Yeast Vegan?), so it is perfectly fine for vegans to eat.

However, sometimes bread contains other additives such as eggs, milk, or buttermilk, which are not suitable for vegans to eat. So, you should always check the back of the bread loaf packaging before purchasing. 

Additionally, there are certain types of bread that are not vegan across the world, such as naan bread or brioche. 

Sometimes, bread will contain ingredients where the line between vegan and non-vegan is blurred. Lecithin is a great example of this since it can be extracted from either soybeans or egg yolks. 

Luckily, most bread packaging you can buy in supermarkets or grocery stores will clearly label if something is suitable for vegans or not.

If it is not so clear cut, you may be better off searching for vegan bread from the vegan section of the store, or making your own bread at home! 

Clara Howie
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