Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Is Bread Vegan? Pita, Sourdough, Ezekiel, Naan and More

Health + Wellness
Pexels

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

Veganism refers to a way of living that attempts to minimize animal exploitation and cruelty. For this reason, vegans aim to exclude all foods containing meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy and honey from their diet (1).


That said, it can be challenging to tell whether a food contains ingredients derived from animal products. This causes many new vegans to question whether the foods they eat are in fact vegan — including bread.

This article tells you how to determine whether your bread is vegan.

Is All Bread Vegan?

At its core, a bread recipe contains four simple ingredients: flour, water, salt and yeast — a type of microscopic fungus used to help bread rise. Therefore, the simplest form of bread is vegan.

However, some types include additional ingredients like sweeteners or fats — both of which can be of animal origin.

For instance, some recipes may use eggs, butter, milk or honey to modify the flavor or texture — which means that not all types of bread are vegan.

Summary

The simplest forms of bread are generally vegan. Still, some call for ingredients of animal origin like eggs, dairy or honey — making them non-vegan.

How to Tell Whether a Bread is Vegan

It's usually straightforward to tell whether a bread is vegan.

You can easily distinguish vegan from non-vegan bread by looking at the ingredient list. Bread containing eggs, honey, royal jelly, gelatin or dairy-based ingredients like milk, butter, buttermilk, whey or casein isn't considered vegan.

You may also come across these ingredients that are usually — but not always — vegan:

  • Mono and diglycerides. These types of fat are used as emulsifiers to improve texture and help retain moisture. They're often derived from soybean oil but can also be sourced from animal fats.
  • Lecithin. This is another type of emulsifier usually derived from soybeans. However, lecithin can also be sourced from egg yolks.

It's impossible to tell whether these two ingredients are made from animal products or plants simply by looking at the label.

If you want to be sure that your bread is vegan, it may be best to avoid types that include monoglycerides, diglycerides and lecithin altogether — unless the product in question is certified as vegan.

Summary

Checking the ingredient list is the best way to avoid bread containing animal-derived ingredients like eggs, dairy, gelatin or bee products. Ingredients like monoglycerides, diglycerides and lecithin may or may not be vegan.

Most Common Types of Vegan Bread

Many types of bread are naturally free of animal products. Here's a list of types that are commonly vegan:

  • Sourdough. A type of fermented bread made from flour, water, salt and sometimes commercial baker's yeast. Though uncommon, some varieties use milk instead of water, making them non-vegan.
  • Pita. A flatbread made from a simple mixture of flour, water, yeast and salt. Though often vegan, some varieties may add milk, eggs or honey for flavor.
  • Ezekiel. A bread made from sprouted whole grains and legumes. This type of bread is often vegan and typically richer in protein and other nutrients.
  • Ciabatta. A flat, elongated bread recognizable by its harder crust and soft, airy crumb. Most versions are vegan, though ciabatta al latte replaces water with milk — making it non-vegan.
  • Baguette. A popular type of French bread that's long and thin with a crispy crust and tender crumb.
  • Focaccia. An Italian flatbread topped with herbs and a source of fat, baked in a flat pan. Most recipes call for olive oil as the fat of choice, making this bread vegan — but a few use butter or eggs instead.
  • Kosher bread. Jewish dietary laws prohibit mixing dairy with meat, so many kosher types of bread are dairy free to allow for meat toppings. Some — though not all — also contain no eggs, making them vegan.

The less processed bread is, the higher the likelihood it's vegan. Moreover, flatbreads, savory or dry types of bread are more likely to be vegan, whereas fluffier brioche-types often contain dairy, eggs or both, making them non-vegan.

However, there are exceptions. For instance, Indian-style naan flatbreads often contain milk or a clarified butter known as ghee, while a specific type of Jewish bread known as challah often contains eggs.

Therefore, checking the ingredient label remains the best way to ensure that no animal products have been added to the food.

Summary

Many types of bread are naturally vegan, including a lot of flatbreads, savory or dry types of bread. Fluffier brioche-style types are more prone to including animal-derived ingredients. The best way to ensure your bread is vegan is to check the label.

How to Substitute Non-Vegan Ingredients in a Bread Recipe

Making your own bread is a great way to ensure that it's vegan.

The simplest recipes are naturally vegan. Still, it's possible to modify more complicated recipes requiring non-vegan ingredients by substituting them for vegan ones.

For instance, eggs can often be replaced with flax or chia seeds.

To replace one egg, simply mix 1 tablespoon (15 mg) of chia seeds or ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of warm water and let sit until the mixture gets a jelly-like consistency. Then add to your batter in the same way you would add an egg.

Egg whites can also be replaced with aquafaba — the viscous liquid in which legumes have been cooked. Chickpea aquafaba appears to be the most popular in recipes and you can either make it at home or use the liquid from a can of chickpeas.

Use 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of aquafaba in place of 1 whole egg, or 2 tablespoons (30 ml) to replace 1 egg white.

Plant oils like olive or coconut oil are a great substitute for butter. Unsweetened plant milk like soy, almond or oat milk is a good alternative to dairy milk. Finally, maple syrup can be used in recipes calling for bee-products like honey.

Simply add plant oils, milk or maple syrup to your recipe in the same amount as the non-vegan alternative.

Summary

Making your own bread is a great way to make sure it's vegan. Non-vegan ingredients can easily be swapped for vegan alternatives like flax seeds, chia seeds, aquafaba, plant milk, maple syrup or vegetable and nut oils.

The Bottom Line

Many types of bread are naturally vegan. Still, some include non-vegan ingredients like eggs, milk, butter or honey.

Checking the ingredient list is the best way to ensure your bread is vegan. Alternatively, you can make your own by substituting non-vegan items for vegan ones.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

People relax in Victoria Gardens with the Houses of Parliament in the background in central London, as a heatwave hit the continent with temperatures touching 40 degrees Celsius on June 25, 2020. NIKLAS HALLE'N / AFP via Getty Images

The chance that UK summer days could hit the 40 degree Celsius mark on the thermometer is on the rise, a new study from the country's Met Office Hadley Centre has found.

Read More Show Less
A crowd of people congregate along Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, Florida on June 26, 2020, amid a surge in coronavirus cases. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP / Getty Images

By Melissa Hawkins

After sustained declines in the number of COVID-19 cases over recent months, restrictions are starting to ease across the United States. Numbers of new cases are falling or stable at low numbers in some states, but they are surging in many others. Overall, the U.S. is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of new cases a day, and by late June, had surpassed the peak rate of spread in early April.

Read More Show Less
A Chesapeake Energy drilling rig is located on farmland near Wyalusing, Pennsylvania, on March 20, 2012. Melanie Stetson Freeman / The Christian Science Monitor / Getty Images

By Eoin Higgins

Climate advocates pointed to news Sunday that fracking giant Chesapeake Energy was filing for bankruptcy as further evidence that the fossil fuel industry's collapse is being hastened by the coronavirus pandemic and called for the government to stop propping up businesses in the field.

Read More Show Less
Youth participate in the Global Climate Strike in Providence, Rhode Island on September 20, 2019. Gabriel Civita Ramirez / CC by 2.0

By Neil King and Gabriel Borrud

Human beings all over the world agreed to strict limitations to their rights when governments made the decision to enter lockdown during the COVID-19 crisis. Many have done it willingly on behalf of the collective. So why can't this same attitude be seen when tackling climate change?

Read More Show Less
A crowd awaits the evening lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota on June 23, 2012. Mindy / Flickr

Fire experts have already criticized President Trump's planned fireworks event for this Friday at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial as a dangerous idea. Now, it turns out the event may be socially irresponsible too as distancing guidelines and mask wearing will not be enforced at the event, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
Mountains of produce, including eggs, milk and onions, are going to waste as the COVID-19 pandemic shutters restaurants, restricts transport, limits what workers are able to do and disrupts supply chains. United States government work

By Emma Charlton

Gluts of food left to rot as a consequence of coronavirus aren't just wasteful – they're also likely to damage the environment.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The gates of the unusually low drought-affected Carraizo Dam are seen closed in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico on June 29, 2020. RICARDO ARDUENGO / AFP via Getty Images)

Puerto Rico's governor declared a state of emergency on Monday after a severe drought on the island left 140,000 people without access to running water, despite the necessary role that hand washing and hygiene plays in stopping the novel coronavirus, as The Independent reported.

Read More Show Less