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Is Yeast Vegan?
While yeasts (and mushrooms) are technically not a plant (or an animal) since they belong to the Fungi Kingdom, they generally get swept up into the "plant food" category and are eaten by vegans and people following a plant-based diet.
Can Vegans Eat Bread?
Usually. Traditionally bread is made from yeast, flour, water, and salt, so it would be suitable for vegans.
Unfortunately some commercially sold breads (e.g. sold at supermarkets) contain dairy such as whey (a milk protein) or eggs as fillers or stabilizers and those breads would not be considered vegan (or plant-based).
Fresh breads from a bakery, bagel shop, or Farmer's market usually do not contain egg or dairy (just ask the bakery workers or sellers to be sure if the product is being sold without a label).
What Kind of Bread Do Vegans Eat?
Generally, any bread that does not contain eggs or dairy (most bagels, sandwich breads, loaves, rolls, buns, pitas, lavish, flatbreads, and crackers fit this definition) with two caveats.
Caveat #1: commercially sold whole-wheat and whole grain breads sometimes contain honey, which some vegans abstain from. Why vegans do not eat honey.
Caveat #2: A small minority of vegans also abstain from sugar (since it may be processed with bone char) and these vegans may equally abstain from a bread that has sugar added. I find most vegans tend to overlook this issue, I sure do.
Is Bread Plant-Based?
Yes (ish). If your definition of "plant-based" is similar to mine ("contains no animal products or products of animal origin and is minimally processed or a whole food") then several breads (and bread cousins like buns or bagels) will fit that definition.
You can usually find at least one brand of whole wheat or whole grain bread at your local supermarket that has fewer than 10 ingredients. See below for a list of vegan and plant-based bread brands.
To demonstrate: this bread is vegan, but I would not consider it "plant-based":
Is Bread WFPBNO? (Oil-Free, Sugar-Free)
If you're looking for a bread that has no oil and/or no sugar AND is also minimally processed, you'll have a harder time finding one (especially with bread cousins like buns or tortillas) but it is possible. You'll have better luck finding this extra "clean" bread at health food stores. See below for a list of brands.
What Bread is Better for You?
This is a balancing act for me. Generally I look for the bread that is the most whole grain with the least amount of ingredients.
However, if a whole grain bread has a lot of sugar added (or a lot of oil) I might opt for a slightly more processed grain variety that has fewer ingredients and less sugars.
I might also pick a fresh sourdough that rose and underwent fermentation (i.e. purchased at a bakery fresh) even though it is made with white flour and not whole-wheat. I prefer the more natural process of wild yeast and fermentation.
The real question you should be asking is: What are you most concerned about? What is your priority? Taste? Organic? Whole grain? Processing? Number of ingredients? Sugars? Do you even care about any of this? (It's okay if you don't and just want yummy vegan bread).
Is Whole Wheat Bread Better than White Bread?
Whole wheat bread is usually more nutritious and less processed than white bread.
Is it Healthy to Eat Gluten Free Bread?
Gluten-free breads are not automatically healthier. Some gluten-free breads are high in sugar and made from very processed grains. Some have few ingredients and are minimally processed. Gluten-free breads also tend to be much higher in fat and calories, if that is a concern to you.
If you do not have a gluten sensitivity, you should factor this into your balancing act--what is most important to you? Taste? Calories? Number of ingredients? Sugars? Select based on your criteria.
What is "Sprouted" Bread?
Sprouted bread is made from whole grains that have been allowed to sprout (germinate). These breads contain the whole grain which provides more fiber, vitamins, and proteins.
A comparison of nutritional analysis shows that sprouted grains contain 75% of the energy (carbohydrates), slightly more protein, and about 40% of the fat compared to 'regular' (non-sprouted) whole grains.
Ezekiel is a brand of sprouted breads, available at most supermarkets.
Is Ezekiel bread really better for you?
Ezekiel bread is less processed and more nutritious compared to other breads. Most of their breads also contain no oils, no sugars, no preservatives, and no artificial ingredients.
However if you are eating an otherwise whole food, minimally processed plant-based (vegan) diet, using this bread over another is a drop in the bucket.
Which Bread is Good for Weight-Loss?
Bread is a highly caloric food, and very easy to over eat, which makes it a poor choice when losing weight. Instead of bread (or bread products) put your meal over a potato, whole grains such as brown rice, or spaghetti squash.
We do this often with meals on the plant-based meal plans - it is much more satisfying this way and you get more volume so you never feel like dieting.
If you absolutely must eat bread, select the bread with the least amount of calories and from there, select the bread that is the least processed (the most whole grain).
How to Easily Identify Vegan Breads (Tip!)
Before reading the entire ingredients list, look at the allergy warning at the bottom.
If the item contains dairy or eggs, it should say "Contains Dairy or Eggs"
IF it does not say it contains dairy or eggs THEN scan and read the label to double check the ingredients. You'll save yourself from a lot of unnecessary reading this way!
What Makes a Bread NOT Vegan?
(*) These ingredients COULD be plant-based, they're not necessarily animal derived.
What is Casein?
Casein also called Caseinate and Sodium Casinate is a milk protein used as a filler like whey in some commercial bread products.
Is Whole-Wheat Bread a Whole Grain?
Only if it says 100% whole wheat. Check the ingredients, don't trust the label (that's pure marketing). Very often "whole-wheat" breads are actually white bread with a tan.
Truly whole wheat breads should not include white flour, wheat flour, enriched flour, enriched wheat flour, all purpose flour, etc. If it contains any "wheat" flour other than whole wheat -- the bread is NOT 100% whole wheat.
Are Bagels Vegan?
Usually. Thomas New York Style Bagels are a common supermarket brand with several vegan "flavors" including blueberry, cinnamon swirl, everything, plain, and cinnamon raisin. Lender's brand also has many vegan options.
Bagels from local bagel shops and bagel chain retailers such as Noah's, Einstein Brothers, Dunkin' Donuts, Manhattan, Brueggers, Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Au Bon Pain, Great Harvest (etc) are typically vegan, just avoid the egg bagels or anything with cheese on it. You can also check their website or call HQ to confirm.
Are English Muffins Vegan?
Usually not but there are a few "accidentally" vegan brands. You'll have to look.
LIST OF (SUPERMARKET-FRIENDLY) VEGAN BREAD BRANDS
Please check the ingredients as some "flavors" may not be vegan and the companies can change their products at any time.
Can you Make Bread Without a Bread Machine?
ABSOLUTELY! All you need is flour, beer, baking powder, and a bread pan to make 3-ingredient whole-wheat vegan beer bread (no oil) recipe. You can omit sugar/salt. AND YES! You can use a GF all-purpose flour blend with GF beer!
IKEA Bread Mix is also pretty amazing if you like dense, dark, German-style breads.
Vegan Whole-Wheat Pita for ALL Your Bread Needs
Here's a ridiculously easy whole-wheat pita recipe. I find pita breads work for everything. As a "pizza" or "flatbread" and/or open up the pocket for a sandwich.
I'll even use pitas instead of a bun with burgers and hot dogs.
Most supermarkets sell whole-wheat pits in the bakery. Made with no sugar or oil too!
Vegan Corn Tortillas
Tortilla Land is my favorite but Mission is good if you don't want to do any work whatsoever. You can also make your own oil-free corn tortillas recipe.
How do you Make Whole Grain Bread?
If you don't want to make beer bread, or use a bread machine, check out this book, The New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.