By Lucy Yanckello, Ph.D.
Although the simplest form of bread – flour, water, yeast, and salt – is vegan, not all bread falls into the category of vegan. Vegans exclude all foods derived from animals in their diets, for instance meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, and honey. As such, it can be challenging to tell whether a food contains animal products or animal byproducts. Bread is one of the foods that can be challenging to determine if it is vegan.
What bread is best for vegans? Can vegans eat any bread? Do vegans need special bread?
Vegans can eat bread that does not contain animal products or byproducts. This includes breads that only use some variation on flour, water, yeast, and salt including ciabatta, baguette, focaccia, sourdough, pita, and ezekiel breads. Vegans do not need special bread, they just need to make sure to check the ingredients before buying bread or substitute vegan ingredients if making their own bread.
What breads are good for a plant-based diet? What breads are healthiest for a plant-based diet?
Multigrain breads, whole grain breads, and breads that use sprouted grains, such as ezekiel bread are packed with health benefits and are great for a plant-based diet. Breads made from refined flours do not contain the fiber and protein that whole grain, multigrain, or sprouted grain breads offer. Protein is important for vegans as they do not eat animal products, so all of their protein must come from plant-based sources. In addition, fiber is an important ingredient no matter what diet you choose – it helps regulate digestion, plays a role in heart health, and also has a hand in lowering cholesterol. Because of these factors, the best breads to eat on a plant-based diet are those full of fiber and protein, like multigrain bread, whole grain bread, and bread with sprouted grains.
What bread can vegans not eat?
Vegans can’t eat any bread that contains animal products or byproducts. Although many types of bread are naturally vegan, ingredients such as eggs, milk, butter, and honey are used in some recipes to give dough a specific consistency and flavor. Examples of breads that add these enhancements include challah and brioche. However, it is also important for vegans to check the label of all store bought breads because companies often add milk products, honey, or eggs to many breads that would seem vegan-friendly.
Can vegans eat sourdough bread? Is sourdough bread a vegan food? What’s the best sourdough bread for vegans?
Sourdough is made from a starter culture – a mixture of flour and water that ferments and develops natural yeasts. This, along with flour, water, and salt create sourdough bread. As such, most sourdough bread is vegan, but when buying store bought bread it is always important to check the label. As long as it does not contain animal products or byproducts, any sourdough bread is great for vegans.
Can vegans eat wheat bread? Is wheat bread vegan? What’s the best wheat bread for vegans?
Just like white bread, wheat bread contains just flour, water, yeast, and salt. The only difference is the type of flour used. Wheat bread is made with whole wheat flour instead of the refined all-purpose flour used in white bread. However, many brands will add honey for sweetness, or eggs for leavening and protein content. The wheat bread best for vegans is made with whole-wheat flour and sticks to the original four ingredients – flour, water, yeast, and salt – with no other additives or animal products.
What do vegans use instead of butter on bread?
Many companies offer plant-based alternatives to butter. These alternatives are made with different types of plant oils including coconut oil, vegetable oil, or safflower oil, just to name a few. Often, margarine, a butter substitute, is also vegan and can be used in place of butter on bread.
Where can I buy the best vegan bread online?
At Wildgrain, we specialize in making high-quality, fresh breads that are delivered directly to your door. Wildgrain is the first bake-from-frozen delivery subscription service for breads, rolls, pastries, and fresh pastas. Some of our popular vegan breads include sourdough, ciabatta, and baguettes. We are proud to offer healthy breads, made with non-GMO flour and without added sugar or preservatives. Learn more about Wildgrain and our artisanal baking and cooking methods.
About the Author
Lucy Yanckello received her Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. She currently works as a medical writer and enjoys being able to help people better understand nutrition and science.
This content is for informational use only and does not replace professional nutrition and/or medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is not a substitute for and should not be relied upon for specific nutrition and/or medical recommendations. Please talk with your doctor about any questions or concerns.