Sourdough is a popular choice for vegans looking for plant-based bread.
Most sourdough bread is vegan-friendly.
Sourdough does not contain any non-vegan ingredients, with very few exceptions.
It’s full of naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria that give sourdough its unique taste and keep baked goods fresher for longer.
We will discuss what makes sourdough different from other commercially-produced bread and what ingredients you should be looking for when reading food labels or choosing menu options.
Is Sourdough Bread Vegan Friendly?
Sourdough starts with a mixture of flour and water.
This starter is left at room temperature and begins to ferment.
It gives sourdough its distinctive sour taste and chewy texture.
The starter is home to various naturally occurring microbes, including yeast lactic acid bacteria.
Both lactobacillus and yeast (both members of the fungi-family) are considered vegans, despite not being technically made from plants.
These microbes then eat the flour.
The bacteria produce lactic acid, which gives sourdough its tart flavor.
Off-gassing also creates carbon dioxide that sourdough bread requires to rise.
Traditional sourdough bread, also known as Type I, doesn’t contain any yeast to rise.
However, some sourdoughs use a sourdough starter and baker’s yeast.
Although the starter improves Type II sourdoughs’ texture, flavor, and shelf life, it is not the main leavening agent.
Type II sourdough is a more common type of industrially made bread.
However, most sourdough bread today is made by the artisanal bakery.
It is made traditionally using only water, flour, and salt, not even baker’s yeast.
It is easy to find vegan sourdough.
When Is Sourdough Bread Vegan?
Sometimes, you might find additional ingredients in a simple and vegan-friendly recipe for sourdough bread.
These non-vegan ingredients are more common in homemade bread, often more processed.
You may find eggs in the highly processed sourdough sandwich dough, but it’s not common.
Some sourdough milk bread uses butter and milk.
These sweet sourdough bread often have a non-vegan designation in the name.
This makes it easy to avoid for vegans.
Honey is sometimes used in whole-wheat bread sourdough recipes.
Vegans should check the ingredients of whole-wheat bread sourdough bread before serving.
Is All Bread Considered Vegan?
A bread recipe comprises four basic ingredients: flour, water, salt, and yeast.
This microscopic fungus helps bread rise.
Vegan bread is the easiest type of bread.
Some types may contain additional ingredients such as sweeteners and fats, which can be from animals.
Some recipes use butter, milk, or honey to alter the texture or flavor of the bread.
Vegan bread is the simplest.
Some breeds, however, contain ingredients from animals like eggs, milk, and honey, making them non-vegan.
How to determine if a loaf of bread has been made vegan
It is usually easy to determine if a loaf of bread has been made vegan.
The ingredient listing will help you distinguish between vegan and non-vegan bread.
Vegan bread does not contain eggs, honey, royal jelly, or gelatin.
These ingredients may be vegan, but they are not always.
- Mono and Diglycerides. These fats are used to improve texture and retain moisture. These fats are often made from soybean oil, but they can also be obtained from animal fats.
- Lecithin. Another type of emulsifier is usually made from soybeans. Lecithin can also come from egg yolks.
The label alone is not enough to determine if these ingredients are animal products or plant-based.
You can be certain that your bread is vegan by avoiding monoglycerides and diglycerides.
By checking the ingredient list, you can avoid bread made with animal-derived ingredients such as eggs, gelatin, and dairy.
Monoglycerides and diglycerides, as well as lecithin, can be vegan.
The most common varieties of vegan bread
Bread of all kinds is naturally without animal products.
Here are some of the most popular vegan bread:
- Sourdough. A type of yeasted bread made with flour, water, and salt. Some varieties are non-vegan, even though they are not common.
- Pita. Flatbread made with a simple mixture of flour, water, and yeast. Although many varieties are vegan, some may contain milk, eggs, or honey to enhance the flavor.
- Ezekiel. Bread is made from sprouted whole grain and other legumes. This bread is usually vegan and has higher protein and other nutrients.
- Ciabatta. It is a long, flatbread that is easily recognized by its hard crust and soft crumb. Although most versions are vegan, Ciabatta al Latte replaces water with milk, making them non-vegan.
- Baguette. French bread with a long, thin-crust and tender crumb.
- Focaccia. A flatbread made from flatbreads of Italian origin, topped with herbs and fat. Many recipes call for olive oils, the preferred fat, making this bread vegan. However, a few recipes use butter or eggs.
- Kosher bread. Jewish diet laws prohibit the mixing of dairy and meat. Many kosher slices of bread are dairy-free to allow meat toppings. Some bread, though not all, contain no eggs and is therefore vegan.
The more processed bread, the greater the chance it is vegan.
Flatbreads, savory, and dry bread are more likely to have vegan ingredients.
At the same time, brioche-types that contain eggs or dairy may be non-vegan.
There are exceptions.
There are exceptions, however.
For example, Indian-style naan flatbreads may contain milk or clarified butter called ghee.
A specific Jewish bread known is challah, which often contains eggs.
It is important to check the ingredient label to ensure that there are no animal products added to the food.
Many types of bread can be made by vegans, such as flatbreads, savory, and dry bread.
The brioche-style brioche is more likely to contain animal-derived ingredients.
Check the label to make sure your bread is vegan.
Here are 4 Things You Need to Keep in Mind
#1 Sourdough Bread With Non-Vegan Ingredients Could Be Enhanced
An enriched bread has been enriched with other ingredients to alter the bread’s flavor and/or texture.
Many enriched sourdough loaves will have milk, eggs, and butter.
It is especially important if the bread is sandwich bread.
All of these are not suitable for vegans.
You can quickly determine if the bread you are buying is traditional sourdough bread by looking through the ingredients.
The list should only have 3 or 4 ingredients
Sourdough starter (made from flour and water).
#2 You May Have Used Non-Vegetarian Ingredients To Make Bread Tins.
Even though the bread does not contain any additional ingredients, it is worth checking what the loaf pan has oiled.
While vegetable oils are fine, the loaf tin may have been greased with butter and margarine.
If you’re buying from a local bakery, this is a great question to ask.
Some bakery’s butter loaves right after coming out of the oven to soften the crust.
Another question to ask the baker is:
#3 Some Sourdough Bread Can Be Sweetened With Non-Vegan Ingredients
For 2 reasons, sweeteners can be added to sourdough bread.
This gives the sourdough bread an extra boost of energy, which helps it rise even more.
This sweetens the taste of the sourdough bread and makes it less sour.
Many sweeteners are available, but honey is the most popular non-vegan one.
#4 To Boost Their Activity, Some Sourdough Starters Are Given Non-Vegan Foods.
While most starters use only flour and water, some are artificially enhanced with pineapple juice, honey, or milk.
Although the ingredients list may only state “sourdough starter,” it is important to check an additional list with ingredients for the actual sourdough start.
This is easy to miss.
Non-Vegan Sourdough Bread
Some sourdough recipes contain non-vegan ingredients.
However, you may occasionally find vegan options in stores and restaurants.
- Amish Friendship Bread. This sweet, cinnamon-and sugar-sweet bread usually includes milk in its starter.
- Coppia Ferrarese. This non-vegan Italian sourdough is made with lard, malt, and olive oil. It’s also known by the names pane ferraese or coupe.
- Panettone. This Italian candied sourdough loaf has become a holiday favorite. Panettone is usually made with honey, butter, and milk. However, there are vegan options.
- Sourdough milk bread. Variations of sourdough bread are very popular in Asian cuisine. They can be made with non-vegan ingredients like butter, milk, honey, and sometimes butter.
How to substitute non-vegan ingredients for bread recipes
You can make your own bread to ensure it is vegan.
Naturally, vegan recipes are the easiest.
It is possible to substitute vegan ingredients for more complex recipes that require non-vegan ingredients.
Flax, chia, or chia seed can often replace eggs.
Mix 1 tablespoon (15mg) of ground flax or chia seeds with 3 tablespoons (45ml) warm water until the mixture becomes jelly-like.
Add the chia seeds or ground flax seeds to the batter just as you would an egg.
aquafaba can be used in place of egg whites.
This is the viscous liquid that legumes are cooked in.
Chickpea aquafaba is the most widely used recipe.
You can make it at home or use the chickpea liquid from a can.
3 tablespoons (45ml) aquafaba can be used in place 1 whole egg or 2 tablespoons (30ml) to replace 1 yolk white.
You can substitute butter with plant oils such as olive oil or coconut oil.
Plant milk that is unsweetened, such as soy, almond, or oat milk, can be used in place of dairy milk.
Maple syrup can also be used in recipes for honey and other bee products.
Simply add plant oils or milk to your recipe in the exact same amount as the non-vegan option.
You can make your own bread to ensure it is vegan.
You can swap out non-vegan ingredients for vegan options like flax seeds and chia seeds, maple syrup, plant milk, or vegetable oils.
Many breeds are vegan.
Some bread contains non-vegan ingredients such as butter, eggs, and honey.
You can ensure that your bread is vegan by checking the ingredients list.
You can also make your own bread by substituting vegan items for non-vegan ones.