In many countries around the world, bread has been a staple food for centuries. Think about all your favorite luscious sandwiches that only a good bread can hold together.
Won’t it be hard to imagine the world of food without bread in all its varieties? Generally cheap and literally sold everywhere, bread is quite accessible for everyone in most locations.
However, on a health-conscious note, many people still ask, is bread vegan?Traditional plain bread is only made from flour, yeast and water.
Traditional plain bread is only made from flour, yeast and water. These ingredients are pretty basic and are considered safe, right?
The problem is, bread today comes in way too many flavors and varieties. Even if it looks plain and bland, it can be made with a handful of additional ingredients, such as eggs and butter.
So, can vegans eat bread? The answer: most breads are, but not all.
Types Of Bread
So to take away much of the guesswork, I made a comprehensive list of the most common bread types. Most importantly, the list will tell you if that specific type or brand of bread it’s vegan or not (keep in mind, that I’m speaking in general terms).
Check it out below:
Arnold Premium Bread
Artisan Bread (unflavored)
None (some may have eggs)
Dave’s Killer Bread
Yes (except Honey Oats and Flax Bread)
Milk; Eggs; Whey; Casein
No (not anymore)
May contain traces of milk
Longhorn (Steakhouse) Bread
Nature’s Own Whole Wheat Bread
Refined white sugar
ALWAYS check labels and ingredients first!
What Makes Bread Non-Vegan? The Ingredients To Watch Out For
Stay clear of any bread with any of the following ingredients as they are not vegan-friendly:
- Eggs – commonly added to make bread fluffy and softer, but it is a no-no for strict vegans.
- Milk – may be used either in dry or fresh form.
- Honey/Propolis (or Royal Jelly) – it comes from bees, which makes it an animal product.
- Casein – a by-product of milk used to enrich bread with protein.
- Whey – another milk product used in the same way as casein: to increase its nutritional value (protein).
- Gelatin – this ingredient is often made from animal connective tissues.
- Ghee – butter commonly found in Indian breads.
- Rennet and Trypsin – these enzymes are derived either from animals or animal products.
Other Questionable Ingredients:
- Mono and Diglycerides – may come from both plant and animal sources
- DATEM – Diacetyl Tartaric Ester of Monoglyceride
- Lecithin – may be produced using egg yolks
- Sugar – According to Huffington Post, most commercial sugars, especially the refined ones from sugar cane are filtered using bone char, which contaminates sugar with traces of animal products. What should you choose? Go for sugar beets or those that use granular carbon instead of bone char to filter and refine sugar. Most labels, however, can be difficult to work out as details are left out, which is why it is often best to just avoid refined sugar.
The Question About Yeast
Yeast is one of the key ingredients of bread. However, for some reason, a lot of people seem to think that yeast is not vegan-friendly. Yeast is actually a type of fungus, which is totally okay for vegans since they are not animals (nor are they derived from animals).
In fact, yeast is everywhere: invisibly floating in the air, in our fingers, the fruits we love, and in most foods we eat.
BONUS: To learn how to make homemade Vegan bread check out the video below..
Checking The Labels
When I want to try something new, I make it a habit to ALWAYS check the labels. If my favorite brand changes their label, I will definitely check it again.
Why? Because many brands with vegan-friendly varieties may change their ingredients or remove the “vegan” labels that we always count on.
As a matter of fact, there are bread varieties that are not labelled “vegan” even if the ingredients are all vegan-friendly.
On the other hand, some basic ingredients may be questionable especially for strict vegans. For example, I am personally quite particular when it comes to sugar. I make sure to avoid refined sugars if it does not clearly say how it’s processed.
Another thing to note with commercial bread, especially those served in cafes or pastry shops, is that plain bread that is usually vegan such as focaccia and wheat bread may contain extra ingredients like milk and honey.
A lot of bakeshops may do this to give their bread a signature taste, which may ruin it for those who want it in its basic form.
What You Can Do
Whether shopping or dining out, ALWAYS pay attention to the labels! Regardless if a food is labeled as vegan, it will always pay to read the list of ingredients. It will only take you a minute or two.
Besides, even if you are in a hurry, it’s better safe than sorry, right? It’s better if we can just dine at vegan restaurants, but we all know that they’re not as common as we’d want them to be.
If you’re eating in a restaurant or café, you can always ask the baker for their vegan-friendly breads. However, if you can’t get this information for some reason (if their bread comes from a supplier, for example), then it’s best to just avoid it.
Also, keep in mind that fluffy breads are often made that way with help from eggs. If it’s shiny, then it is most likely glazed with egg whites.
Now let’s go back to labels. Some ingredients don’t make sense most of the times when they sound cryptic, or it’s so baffling that you need to google it.
This is common when a food is processed or has chemicals in it. A bread should be plain and simple, you’d think. Well, not these days.
Watch out for these words on the labels and ingredient list:
“May contain…” – …eggs or milk; best to avoid than take chances
“Dairy-free” / “Lactose-free” – not necessarily vegan, check the ingredients to be sure
“Enriched” – often contains milk, eggs, and butter
These words can be really tricky, and what to do best when something’s tricky? Yes! Avoid it and RUN FOR THE HILLS!
The Best Vegan Bread Brands
Here is a quick list of bread brands with vegan varieties. Do note, however, that NOT ALL PRODUCTS FROM THESE BRANDS ARE VEGAN. So don’t forget to always recheck labels, especially if you’re choosing breads with flavors. Labels can also change anytime.
- Alvarado Street
- Arnold (Thins and Rolls)
- Cobblestone Mill
- Dave’s Killer Bread
- Engine 2
- Nature’s Own
- Simply Nature
- Silver Hills Sprouted Tortillas
- Thomas (Bagel Varieties and Sahara Pita)
- Tortilla Land (uncooked tortillas)
- Trader Joe’s (Sprouted and Lavash Breads)
- One Degree Organics Veganic Ancient Whole Wheat
- Weight Watchers English Muffins
- Whole Foods 365 Brand (sold at Whole Foods)
The Best Gluten-Free Vegan Bread Brands
If you are allergic to gluten or have gluten-related health issues, then you should opt for these brands/varieties:
- Food for Life (some varieties only)
- Kinnikinnick Foods
- Manna Organics
- Mission Corn Tortillas
- New Grains
- Northern Bakehouse
- Paleo Wraps
- Silver Hills
- Rudi’s Organic (some varieties only)
- Sandwich Petals tortillas
- Three Bakers
- Udi’s Gluten Free (check for eggs!)
The Best Organic Vegan Bread Brands
What’s better than vegan bread? Organic vegan bread! For obvious reasons, of course! Check out these brands if you love going organic:
- Alvarado Street
- Dave’s Killer Bread
- Manna Organics
- One Degree Organics
- Rudi’s Organic Bakery
The Best Vegan Bread Overall (in no particular order)
It’s a tie between these two. These breads are not just vegan, they are also organic and gluten-free. What more can you ask for?
Food for life – no artificial ingredients; cooked/baked slowly so all natural nutrients are preserved. It offers a lot of varieties, too!
Manna – aside from being organic and gluten-free, their organic varieties have no salt, no oil, no sweeteners, and no leavening agents.
How To Bake Vegan Bread
If you are like me that loves to take chances when it comes to real vegan food, then baking your own bread is your best bet. It’s surprisingly easy! Plus, it will cost you so much less!
Knowing how to make your own bread will be quite handy if you are a bread-loving vegan. It also allows you to control what goes into your bread. You can invest in a bread machine if you want faster and easier baking.
There are also vegan bread mixes that you can get from groceries. Stock up your pantry with a few boxes so you can make your own bread anytime!
If you don’t have a bread machine, don’t worry, you can do it with a bread pan or your good ol’ oven! Here are the basic ingredients you will need (to always have at home!):
- Unbleached flour
- Baking powder
- Salt (optional)
- Sugar (optional)
- Oil (optional)
2 cups unbleached flour
1 ⅛ tsp active dry yeast
¾ tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
12 fl.oz. hot water
- Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and create a well in the middle and add oil and water.
- Use a wooden spoon and carefully blend the mixture until all liquid is evenly absorbed by the flour.
- From the resulting dough, form a ball using your hands, then place it in a clean, flat surface dusted with flour. It must be tacky enough but not too sticky.
- Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until it becomes elastic.
- Grease a large bowl, place the dough in it, and lightly cover it with a plastic sheet or a clean, damp cloth.
- Put the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise until it becomes twice its original size. This may take an hour or so.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and put it back on your flour-dusted working surface. Knead lightly to remove air bubbles.
- Shape it into a bread loaf, lightly grease a pan and place the loaf-shaped dough in it.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. While waiting, let the dough rise for 20 more minutes.
- Bake for 30 minutes or so until you achieve the crust color and quality you want.
4 cups whole wheat flour
10g (1 pack) yeast
½ tsp salt
2 tsp maple syrup
2 cups warm water
- On a mixing bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt. Mix together evenly.
- Put the maple syrup in warm water to dissolve. Mix evenly, then add to the mixture of dry ingredients.
- Mix evenly until you get a sticky dough.
- Grease your bread pan and transfer the dough to it. Leave for 20 minutes to rise while you preheat the oven to 390ºF.
- Once the dough has risen enough, place it in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
Easy, isn’t it?
You can also get a vegan bread baking book that gives you more ideas and varieties!
With so many different types of bread, the answer to the question “can vegans eat bread?” is not a simple yes or no. The truth is that it depends on what specific type of bread.
All the information above might be hard to process, but once you find your favorite vegan bread, it will be much easier. Just try several of the vegan breads I listed above, and I’m sure you will find a winner.
I love sourdough bread! What is your favorite vegan bread? Have you tried making your own at home? Let me know in the comment section down below. And don’t forget to share this article in your favorite social media platform!