Flour, water, salt, and yeast – the basic recipe to make bread is quite simple and is naturally vegan. So, why is it so difficult to find vegan breads at the grocery store? The reason is that bread manufacturers usually add various ingredients that have animal products. This would, therefore, make it not vegan.
In this guide, you’ll discover what to look for when shopping for this kitchen staple. The next time you go shopping, you’ll know which vegan breads to pick to make your purchases cruelty-free!
If you’d like to make your own, try this Easy Homemade Vegan Bread
Why are there so few vegan breads available?
Many recipes commonly found in commercial bread use eggs, butter, milk and milk byproducts, honey, or even gelatin. These ingredients are used to change the bread’s texture and flavor.
Commercial bread also contains additives that are used for various reasons such as extending shelf-life and enhancing flavor. However, additives that come from animal products are not always so easy to spot. When checking an ingredients label, you might come across words like “lecithin,” “monoglycerides,” and “diglycerides.”
These odd-sounding ingredients function as emulsifiers. They can be both plant-based and animal-derived. However, not all labels will specify their origin. Also, the problem is, while some brands may use soybean oil to produce them, a large percentage of these ingredients are derived from animal fat.
What types of bread are likely to be vegan?
As a general rule of thumb, sweet and fluffy brioche-type loaves are not suitable for vegans. These types of bread will contain eggs, honey, or dairy products to give them their flavor and texture.
In contrast, less processed, dry, savory bread, and flatbreads will most likely be vegan.
However, to be 100% certain, it’s best to check the ingredients label or ask the baker if the bread is vegan-friendly.
Best types vegan breads
You’ll be happy to know that animal-based ingredients are not at all necessary to have a tasty, perfectly baked bread roll. In fact, you might already be familiar with quite a few types of bread that are 100% animal-free and delicious.
Knowing what to look for in the first place will definitely make the search quicker! So keep an eye out for the following types of bread.
Popular bread that can be vegan
The basic recipe for bagels is also vegan, because flour, water, salt, and yeast are the only truly necessary ingredients. However, sweet bagels may contain honey or eggs, while commercial bagels might also contain L-cysteine, an animal-derived amino acid functioning as a dough softener.
An often stereotypical French staple that is just as delicious as it looks. The original French recipe is always vegan, and you’ll find that its crisp crust and tender crumb make it the best dipping bread for winter soups.
Ciabatta is an Italian favorite when it comes to making tasty paninis. The original recipe is vegan, although the equally popular “ciabatta al latte” replaces water with milk. If you want to keep your sandwich cruelty-free, make sure to opt for the most basic version.
Unusual types of bread that are vegan
This is a type of fermented bread that contains nothing but flour, water, salt, and yeast. As you might have guessed from the name, sourdough has a tart, sour quality to it that makes it significantly more flavorful than your regular white bread roll.
- Ezekiel bread
This is a very interesting variety of bread, made from sprouted whole grains and legumes. Ezekiel bread is packed with nutrition and provides a good amount of plant-based protein. It can be pricier and harder to find, but if you value its nutritional benefits and rich flavor, you might want to make it the next staple to your plant-based diet!
If you prefer flatbreads, the following types should be vegan.
Soft and airy, pita bread is one of the most popular flatbreads originating in the Middle East. Its original recipe is simple and plant-based, making it the best accompaniment to hummus, tahini, or even guacamole!
Another Italian favorite with a classic vegan recipe. Focaccia is a type of flatbread that is incredibly soft and bouncy, usually topped with heart-healthy olive oil, Italian herbs, and occasionally cherry tomatoes.
This beloved Mexican staple is always plant-based, and that is the case for both corn and wheat tortillas. More traditional recipes might call for lard as one of the key ingredients, however, this is quite rare to find outside of homemade and restaurant varieties.
Our ultimate list of vegan bread you can buy at the grocery store.
Here is our ultimate list of vegan breads that you might be able to find at your nearest grocery store:
- Aldi bread
- French Meadow Bakery
- Cobblestone Bread Co.
- Food for Life Baking Co.
- Rudi’s Bakery
- Pacific Bakery
- Arnold Rolls and Arnold Thins
- Nature’s Own
- Thomas Bagel
- Trader Joe’s
- Whole Foods 365
Gutted your favorite bread brand didn’t make the list? You don’t have to worry just yet. Commercial brands are known to modify their recipes quite frequently and plant-based products are becoming more popular. Therefore, there is a chance that those sneaky animal products won’t make the cut the next time a recipe is changed. For now, one essential vegan principle holds true: When in doubt, always check the label!