New vegans often wonder if bread is vegan. It’s a good question! When we actually take the time to read labels, we often find ingredients we have never heard of and have no idea what — or who — they have come from. But, when it comes to bread, at least, there is a wide range of readily available options to choose from.
CAN VEGANS EAT BREAD?
Yes! And isn’t that great news? Bread is often an important part of our diets, whether that is having toast for breakfast, a sandwich or burrito for lunch, or a burger in a bun for dinner. But while many types of bread are entirely free of dairy, eggs, and other animal products, some are not.
Vegans should watch out for bread and other baked goods that contain eggs or have an egg wash brushed onto the top. Milk, casein, and whey can also be found in some breads, especially softer breads. And there are many flavored breads that contain cheese or have other non-vegan items added to them.
WHAT IS BREAD MADE FROM?
The two ingredients that are essential for bread are water and flour. Adding other ingredients provides a better flavor and texture to the bread once baked. Other ingredients that are common in bread are salt, yeast, oil, and sugar. Depending on the type of bread, milk and eggs may also be found in the ingredients list. Some breads may also contain flavorings such as cinnamon and raisins, or garlic and rosemary.
IS ALL BREAD VEGAN?
Although there are a lot of different varieties of bread that are vegan, there are some that contain animal products. The best way to ensure that the bread that you are eating is vegan is simply to check the label before buying, or if eating out at a restaurant, to ask the waiter or chef.
It is also useful to be aware that some ingredients that may seem innocuous are actually derived from animals, such as whey and casein, a protein found in milk. Other ingredients such as mono- and diglycerides and lecithin are commonly vegan, but are sometimes also derived from animals. When it comes to lecithin, if the pack says ‘soy lecithin’ then this is vegan. But for the mono- and diglycerides, there is no way of knowing unless the pack explicitly states that the bread is vegan.
IS PITA BREAD VEGAN?
Pita bread is a leavened bread made out of yeast, water, and flour, and sometimes a sprinkling of sugar and salt. Pita bread is generally safe for vegans, although consumers should still check the label for any surprise ingredients.
IS SOURDOUGH BREAD VEGAN?
The foundation of sourdough bread is a good starter, consisting of yeast, fermented flour, and water. Generally speaking, sourdough is fine for vegan consumption, but there are seemingly endless versions of the bread, so it’s worth checking the label to be sure the water hasn’t been swapped out for milk. If it has, you can always opt for a whole-grain bread instead.
DO VEGANS EAT WHITE BREAD?
We do! Many, but not all, of the commercially available brands contain butter or eggs, unfortunately, but there are some that are vegan.
IS WHEAT BREAD VEGAN?
Many wheat breads are vegan, although as in all cases checking the label is good practice. The animal ingredient that most frequently appears in wheat breads is honey, included to provide a sweeter taste.
IS NAAN BREAD VEGAN?
Sadly, naan bread is usually not unsuitable for vegans due to the presence of ghee (clarified butter), milk, eggs, or yogurt. However, vegan naans do exist but you may need to order them online or make your own.
IS FRENCH BREAD VEGAN?
French bread is renowned for its airy, soft inside and deliciously crispy thin crust. We’re delighted that most varieties of French bread are vegan.
IS GARLIC BREAD VEGAN?
Garlic bread can be vegan depending on how it’s made. Some garlic breads are made with olive oil and fresh garlic on a thickly sliced baguette while others are made with butter. Be sure to check the packaging or ask the waiter when choosing whether or not to consume garlic bread. Of course you can make it quite easily at home using vegan butter.
WHAT BREAD IS USUALLY VEGAN?
There are a vast array of vegan breads on the market, and some breads are more reliably vegan than others.
- Ciabatta. Almost all ciabatta bread is vegan.
- Pita Bread. It’s rare to find non-vegan pita bread.
- Wraps and Tortillas. Most of the commercially available wraps are vegan but check the pack to be sure.
- Baguette. When on the lookout for vegan bread, baguettes are a great option, and are almost always vegan.
- Focaccia. Focaccia is typically made using olive oil to give it the delicious crust but sometimes it does contain butter or eggs instead.
- Kosher Bread. When shopping for vegan breads, opting for kosher varieties may be a good choice, as Jewish tradition prevents the mixing of dairy with meat, meaning most breads are dairy-free. It is still important to check the label though, as some may still contain eggs.
- Ezekiel. Ezekiel is a type of sprouted bread that is made using a variety of different grains and legumes and is commonly found in the refrigerated section of a grocery store due to its lack of preservatives. The bread also reliably lacks animal products.
WHY ARE SOME BREADS NOT VEGAN?
Some of the most commonly occurring ingredients in bread that would make them unsuitable for vegans are honey, eggs, milk, butter, buttermilk, whey, casein, and ghee. There are also some ingredients such as mono- and diglycerides and lecithin that are generally derived from plant sources but that on rare occasions may come from animals.
IS THERE A VEGAN GARLIC BREAD?
In restaurants, you can ask for it to be made with olive oil instead of butter, and at home you can make it quite easily using vegan butter.
HOW DO I KNOW IF BREAD IS VEGAN OR NOT?
The best way to check whether a particular bread product is vegan or not is to pay close attention to the label. There are two things to check. Firstly, check to see if the bread carries a seal of vegan certification or the words ‘suitable for vegans’. If it does, you need look no further. If it doesn’t explicitly say that it is vegan, that does not mean that it isn’t! It just means you need to check the ingredients. Look for any items that come from animal-derived ingredients such as eggs, butter, buttermilk, whey, casein, and honey.
When it comes to vegan diets, bread is here to stay. Although checking the label when purchasing a new product is important, the world of vegan-friendly breads is expansive, ranging from thin pitas to hearty sourdoughs. So, regardless of your preference and what you plan to use the bread for, there is likely a bread out there that fits the bill.