When it comes to the types of bread a vegan can eat, it can get confusing.
You may find yourself asking, is challah bread vegan, is brioche bread vegan is naan bread vegan, is this type of bread vegan is that type of bread vegan, and you find that the list becomes endless.
The best way to understand why certain types of bread are vegan and others are not is to understand what a vegan diet is and what makes certain foods vegan friendly while others are not.
A vegan diet is one that does not include any animal products, be that meat, animal fats, eggs, milk, yogurt, or cheese.
All animal products are excluded from a vegan diet, and it is strictly plant-based.
When it comes to vegan bread, this is usually not a concern because traditional bread is made using whole wheat flour (or any other flour), yeast, water, and salt.
In most grocery stores, you can find vegan bread; unfortunately, some bread has whey (a milk protein) added to the bread, which means the bread is no longer vegan-friendly.
Vegan bread can easily become unsuitable if non-vegan ingredients are used in the baking process.
These include egg yolks and whites, milk (although oat milk, almond milk, or any other plant milk), butter, clarified butter (known as ghee), and royal jelly.
If any of these ingredients are used in freshly baked bread, it is non-vegan.
The good news is that just as some ingredients can make bread unsuitable for vegans, replacing these ingredients with vegan ingredients can rectify this issue and make the bread vegan.
For example, you can use vegan milk to replace milk, maple syrup to replace honey, and flaxseed or chia seeds combined with water to replicate the effect of eggs in bread.
In this way, you can turn a once unsuitable bread like challah bread into something that a vegan can eat.
How is Bread Made?
How you make certain types of bread determines whether you have vegan bread or non-vegan bread.
Generally, whole wheat bread made from whole wheat flour, water, yeast, and salt is vegan bread and can easily be found in any grocery store.
However, you still need to check that you are buying completely vegan bread as some bread brands add ingredients like whey (a milk protein) to bread, making it non-vegan.
The alternative is to buy vegan bread from your local bakery, and these are more likely to be vegan-friendly.
Yeast and How It Works
Yeast can cause some confusion among new vegans and those who are not vegan. The question arises, is yeast vegan.
Wild yeast is a tricky thing as it is neither an animal nor a plant.
Yeast is technically a fungus; what this means is that if you eat mushrooms, then you should be comfortable enough to eat yeast.
So, for all intents and purposes, yeast is completely and 100% in the list of foods that vegans can eat.
The way yeast works in vegan bread (all loaves of bread, actually) is that it causes bread to rise.
The way this occurs is through the release of carbon dioxide gas.
When yeast consumes the sugars present in whole wheat flour, it releases this gas, and because the gas has no way out, it causes the bread to rise—creating a beautiful fluffy loaf of bread.
This is also why you will find gluten-free bread like pita bread to be flat and dense compared to bread that are not gluten-free.
It is also why you need to ensure that your yeast is activated through proper mixing and kneading.
Why Do People Choose Gluten-Free Products
Some people have no other option than to eat gluten-free foods, and this is due to their body reacting adversely to gluten.
For this reason, they have to eat gluten-free bread, as well as other gluten-free foods, to ensure that they do not suffer any harmful side effects from eating gluten.
Is Sourdough Bread Vegan?
Sourdough bread is made from a sourdough starter.
Sourdough bread encompasses a wide range of bread recipes from french bread, the most popular of which is the baguette, Bazlama, and Maltese bread.
This bread is made in an almost identical manner to whole wheat bread, and the only difference is the use of a starter.
The issue of vegan and non-vegan arises when we consider the sourdough starter. This starter is what differentiates your whole wheat bread from a sourdough.
The starter is usually made using whole wheat flour, yeast, and bacteria that are left to ferment over a long period of time, and this makes the bread vegan.
However, there is always a small chance that the starter contains milk or honey, meaning that the bread is no longer vegan friendly.
Usually, sourdough bread is considered vegan, but before you buy the bread, make sure to read the label or ask the seller if there is no label present on the bread.
What Types of Bread Are Vegan?
So the question comes back to what breads can vegans eat.
Which breads are made using vegan recipes that can be bought from the store or used to make your own bread at home?
Knowing this can make selecting choosing vegan bread easier for those who are vegan and for anyone thinking of inviting them for dinner.
1) Pita Bread
Pita Bread is a flatbread; unlike wheat bread, they do not rise; this is due to using little to no yeast in its ingredients list.
It is regularly eaten in the Mediterranean and middle east.
From people in this region, this is their standard bread.
This bread is made using the same ingredients found in a standard loaf of bread, which are flour, salt, water, and yeast (but very little).
For this reason, pita bread is a great choice of bread that is vegan-friendly.
However, like other loaves of bread, you should be careful when buying the bread from a store. Ensure that you read the ingredients carefully, or ask someone if you are shopping from a bakery.
Some bakers may add honey, milk, or eggs to the bread to enhance its taste.
2) Focaccia Bread
Another flatbread originates from Italy. This bread is herby, delicious, and made using olive oil.
It is made using large, flat pans in which it is baked, hence it being a flatbread.
It can be easy to think that because this bread is flat, it will be hard and crunchy, but that is far from true. When made right, focaccia is beautifully fluffy, soft, and chewy.
It is drizzled with olive oil (an Italian favorite) and any herb that you wish; rosemary is the most often used choice.
The use of olive oil means that this bread is perfectly acceptable for anyone who is vegan to eat.
3) Ciabatta bread
If you are looking for bread that has a crispy crust, then look no further than ciabatta; this Italian flatbread is a great vegan option.
A fun fact about ciabatta is that it means slipper because of the elongated shape the bread has, although you may not want to have an image of a slipper in your mind when eating this delicious bread.
Ciabatta can easily find its place on the list of sandwich bread ( along with french bread like baguettes)with its crunchy exterior and soft, chewy inside.
All you need to make this bread is the staple bread-making ingredients, yeast, water, salt, and bread flour.
Thankfully, this delicious bread is among the many vegan options for bread.
However, there is still a need to be cautious when purchasing ciabatta; this is due to ciabatta al latte.
This version of the bread is made with milk, hence the use of the term latte (meaning milk).
4) Rye Bread
Rye bread is a rich bread that is a great alternative to wheat bread.
Rye makes a heartier bread compared to wheat.
Rye is a bread that is free of gluten, making it a denser bread as compared to bread that contains gluten.
Some people add eggs or milk to the bread in an attempt to give it a fluffier and lighter texture.
This is why it is important to read the ingredients list when purchasing this bread.
While it is usually a delicious bread that is suitable for vegans, it is possible to buy a load that is not for vegan consumption.
5) Grain Bread
This is a bread that is made using fully intact grains.
These grains include brown rice, rolled oats, and barley, among many other options. These bread are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, great for a healthy diet.
Usually, you will find that whole wheat bread (vegan-friendly) is the most widely available, but other options are available.
Each grain has its own nutritional value, but they are all beneficial for your overall health.
6) Ezekiel Bread
When you think of vegan bread brands, one name immediately comes to mind, Foods for Life.
This brand is not only aware of those who are vegan; they cater especially to their diets.
Their foods are free of honey, eggs, and dairy products. This is why you can trust them to provide you with a brand that is perfect for your vegan lifestyle,
Their Ezekiel bread is sprouted bread.
This means that the grains used in this bread have sprouted; this considerably boosts the nutritional value of this bread compared to other grain bread.
Ezekiel bread is an incredible source of plant protein due to the ingredients used, which include millet, barley, lentils, wheat, splet, and beans.
It is also a great source of essential amino acids, which are used to make proteins; these proteins then carry out numerous functions in the body.
One of the best things about this bread is that you never have to worry that you can buy a version that is not fit for vegan consumption.
The reason for this is that the brand that makes this bread is focused on catering to vegans.
7) Naan Bread
Naan is another flatbread that has become increasingly popular. It originates from Southeast Asia and is synonymous with Indian cuisine.
The major issue with naan is that it is not suitable for vegans.
This bread is made using eggs, yogurt (or other dairy products), and ghee or clarified butter.
Of course, there are ways that you can make naan fit for vegans.
You will need to tweak the traditional naan recipe, but the results will be just as delicious and worth the effort.
You will need water, active yeast, cane sugar, flour, sea salt, baking powder, dairy-free yogurt, and coconut oil/avocado oil.
The combination of these ingredients will give you delicious naan that can be eaten with the side of your choice.
So, is bread vegan?
The answer is a resounding yes.
Not only is bread vegan there are numerous options to choose from, and if that is not enough, you can make bread using vegan alternatives to make some of your favorite bread vegans.
If you are buying your bread instead of baking it, ensure that you read the ingredients carefully to ensure that the bread is fit for vegans.
Other than that, there is nothing to fear; you can have your bread and eat it too.
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