Is Bread Vegan?

Answer: frequently vegan.

Like our previous question of pasta, this one is pretty broad. In this question and answer, we’ll just focus on the traditional loaf of bread. Not quick bread (which isn’t a bread at all), buns, muffins or sweetbread (ewww, nasty). Bread is traditionally made with flour, water, yeast, sugar and some type of fat. Other ingredients often used in home baked bread are milk, eggs and butter. You will need to ask about most home baked breads. One of my favorite home baked breads is frequently vegan, sourdough potato bread. Some good stuff!

Store bought breads, pre-sliced in plastic bags, are a different story. These breads usually do not contain milk, butter and eggs. But they frequently contain honey and some potentially non-vegan dough conditioners or additives. Again, read those labels closely.

Result: potentially vegan friendly, read those labels.

28 comments for “Is Bread Vegan?

  1. Sa
    March 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    You might clarify this a bit more to specify what exactly would be in store-bought breads to make them non-vegan besides honey or milk:

    Whey is very common, but also specific ingredients such as mono or diglycerides, including anything with a “glyc-” prefix or sodium steroyl lactylate. These ingredients can be both animal or vegetable derived; in my life I tend to err on the side of vegetable-derived, but avoid bread in general for health reasons. Nature’s Own, for instance, states that there are no animal fats in their products, and they have a bread line without the above ingredients as well.

    A better way to shop for breads is to look for legit, organic companies such as Rudi’s which will have clearly marked ingredients; some do contain honey, but most are vegan otherwise and do not contain the preservatives or conditioners in question. Food for Life (Ezekiel) is a good one as well.

  2. Bud Stoner
    May 1, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    My question is with “enriched” flour. I’ve seen multiple accounts claiming that riboflavin, for example, may not be necessarily vegan, and this is one of the vitamins added to enriched flour.. Many vegans claim that enriched flour IS vegan. Which is it?

    • Ashley
      June 24, 2012 at 8:00 pm

      When you see the word “enriched” on bread packages it means they added animal bone tissue, so no it is not vegan.

      • @isitvegan
        June 24, 2012 at 8:35 pm

        Ashley, I’d love to see the resource that gave you that information. I’m not saying enriched wheat is good for you, but claiming ALL ENRICHED products aren’t vegan is a little far fetched without understanding how the enriched nutrients were sourced.

  3. AlexK
    August 3, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I am in Canada and had bought some Robin Hood “Best for Bread” flour, and didn’t even think to look at the ingredients at first (how can flour not be vegan??). I did later look at the ingredients and found that they had l-cysteine hydrochloride listed. I googled that and found it is derived from chicken or duck feathers! I wrote to the company and they told me that all their bread flours (they didn’t say whether their regular flours did or did not) may contain amino acids coming from animal source.

    Very disappointed to say the least, flour is the last thing I thought I would need to be careful of. Robin Hood flours is off my list.

    • @isitvegan
      August 10, 2011 at 10:06 pm

      Bread can be a tricky one, sadly. Especially sweet breads. There are plenty of vegan-friendly brands out there. Don’t give up the perfect pb & banana sandwich just yet. ;)

  4. November 28, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I am vegan and love bread.(:

  5. Zippy
    December 10, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Yeast is a living organism, therefore any bread made with yeast is by definition not vegan or even vegetarian. Discuss.

    • Ian
      December 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm

      Wheat is a living organism (and, given that it has a nucleus and a multicellular structure, a great deal more complicated than yeast). Therefore any bread made with flour is not vegan or even vegetarian. Reductio ad absurdam.

      • gradywhite
        January 20, 2012 at 3:28 am

        wow, you are a limp-wristed, liberal, sally pants.

      • Les Funguy
        February 29, 2012 at 10:00 am

        We all know plants are living organisms. I think what @zippy meant was that yeast is not a plant, i.e. not in kindgom Plantae. It is in kindgom Fungi (the others being Animalia, Protista, Monera). The question pointed to here is does vegan mean only Plantae-eating or only non-Animalia eating?

        • October 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm

          We don’t know what Zippy meant; perhaps they were confused about what Kingdom yeast belonged to; perhaps they were trolling. Veganism has always been defined as non-Animalia.

      • March 13, 2014 at 10:14 pm

        all organisms are living organisms.

    • Jay Cee
      February 5, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      Plants are also clearly living organisms, and that is what most vegans eat. Yeasts are Fungi microorganisms. Mushrooms are also fungi and are living organisms. Veganism is based on the concept of not consuming animal, animal derivatives, and animal products for the simple reason that these products constitute exploitation and harm to the animal kingdom. Fungi are by definition not members of the animal kingdom. The point of honey is that it comes from honeybees that are insects, and therefore animals, and the enslavement of bees for this purpose is unethical in the view of vegans.

      • Tiabo
        February 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm

        Agree, basic bread (flour, yeast, salt and water) is vegan. Honey, milk, cheese and other additions move those breads out the vegan list.

  6. Rocky
    January 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    New vegan, this post and feed is largely un helpful. What about general terms like sourdough? Or french? Are there animal products or not, come on why make a post if you don’t actually know! Google wast of time.

    • @isitvegan
      January 30, 2012 at 9:13 pm

      Keep digging, dude. People ask questions. We answer. The generic “bread” question is one we get often. So our best answer, well, it has to be generic too. We get plenty detailed, unless you consider Jacob’s Twiglets generic … http://www.isitvegan.com/2012/01/11/are-jacobs-twiglets-vegan/

  7. Shell
    February 19, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    One thing I’ve noticed about a lot of breads in my local grocery store’s bakery – they bread itself is completely vegan, but before baking they add an egg wash to make the bread shiny. Boo.
    Also, as a Puerto Rican, I had to give up Puerto Rican bread, as it is made with lard (which was absolutely disgusting to find out) but most Cuban breads seem safe, which is a decent substitute.

    • @isitvegan
      February 19, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      I hate it when that happens. It shocks me how many “bread” items can be made with lard or butter. Usually by traditional or “authentic” style bakers. Everything from pie crust to tortillas. Yuck.

    • Miami Native
      November 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      Cuban breads safe? Yeah right!!!! ever heard of manteca ? that is what most Cuban breads is made in.

      -Miami Native

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  9. Steve
    March 7, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    I doubt any flour could really be considered vegan due to the weevil eggs.

  10. March 27, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    I feel for you, Rocky. This is the reason it took me so long to go vegan, I found it too frustrating trying to get a straight answer and with all these different answers and not knowing what was what in the ingredients…I ended up with no idea what I was doing. Fortunately when I moved, I moved 20 minutes from the only ALL vegan grocery store in the country, Viva La Vegan. However they’re closed right now, and I need bread and some other staples, and there’s a 24 hour grocery store nearby, and I’m struggling to figure out how I’m going to buy bread and make sure it’s vegan. This page was not a help at all.

  11. Wilf
    June 2, 2013 at 10:28 am

    This is by far the daftest page on the net today! Why eat anything at all?? Major unhelpful and as someone who needs to feed 6 vegans for ten days I wish I ever turned up on here..

    • @isitvegan
      June 2, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      Hey Wilf,

      What’s the issue? What is your question or concern?

  12. Tiabo
    January 24, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    The simplest basic bread is flour (nothing added), yeast, water and salt. Yeast is not an animal, it is a fungus, as living as many other vegetables. My viewpoint is that bread, in its basic form, is vegan. If you add butter, milk, eggs or else, then it is out the vegan list.

    • March 17, 2014 at 5:12 am

      You replied on my birthday!

      Anyway, to reply to your post, I think breads need shortening. If the labels state only “shortening”, is it safe to assume that it is vegetable shortening? Because from what I have read, shortening refers solely to vegetable shortening nowadays.

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