Yes, traditional sourdough bread is vegan. It’s made from a sourdough starter (just flour and water), salt, and more flour and water. However, always check the ingredients list if you’re buying from a store, as some bakeries might add non-vegan ingredients like honey or dairy products.
What Is Sourdough Bread?
Sourdough bread is made by the fermentation of dough using naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeast. It has a mildly sour taste not present in most bread made from baker’s yeast and better inherent keeping qualities than other bread due to the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli.
Ingredients Of Vegan Sourdough Bread
Sourdough Starter: This is a fermented mixture of water and flour that contains the yeasts and lactobacilli necessary to make the bread rise. It’s what gives sourdough its distinctive taste.
Flour: This provides the structure for the bread. Different types of flour can be used, such as whole wheat, rye, or all-purpose flour, depending on the desired flavor and texture.
Water: It hydrates the flour and starter, allowing the dough to form.
Salt: Enhances flavor and helps with the gluten structure of the bread.
Shapes of Sourdough bread
- Boule: A round, dome-shaped loaf.
- Batard: Similar to a baguette but shorter and wider.
- Baguette: A long, thin loaf.
- Ficelle: Similar to a baguette but even thinner.
- Bâtard: A loaf that is shorter and plumper than a baguette.
- Pullman or Sandwich Loaf: A rectangular loaf shape, perfect for slicing.
Characteristics Of Sourdough Bread
- Taste: It has a distinct sour flavor due to the lactic acid produced during fermentation.
- Texture: It often has a chewy texture and a crusty exterior.
- Appearance: It often has an irregular crumb structure with large holes, and the crust is typically darker and more robust than other bread.
- Keeping Qualities: Sourdough bread tends to have a longer shelf life than regular bread due to the natural preservatives (like acetic acid) produced during fermentation.
- Digestibility: Some people find sourdough bread easier to digest than regular bread, as the fermentation process can help to break down some of the gluten in the flour.
Vegan Sourdough Bread Recipe
- Sourdough starter
- Make the starter: Mix flour and water in a jar (e.g., 50g each). Let it sit, loosely covered, at room temperature for 24 hours. Feed it daily by discarding half and adding an equal amount of fresh flour and water. The starter should be bubbly and active after about a week.
- Mix the dough: In a large bowl, mix 100g active starter, 375g water, and 500g flour. Rest for 30 minutes. Then add 10g salt, mix well, and let it rest for another 30 minutes.
- Stretch and fold: Gently stretch and fold the dough in the bowl every 30 minutes for 2-3 hours until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Bulk fermentation: Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough rise at room temperature for 8-12 hours or until it has doubled.
- Shape and proof: Gently shape the dough into your desired form and place it in a well-floured proofing basket. Let it rise for another 2-4 hours.
- Preheat and bake: Preheat your oven to 475°F (245°C) with a lidded Dutch oven inside. Carefully transfer the dough into the hot Dutch oven, score the top, cover with the lid, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for 15-20 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
- Cool and enjoy: Let the bread cool on a wire rack before slicing and enjoying your homemade vegan sourdough bread.
How To Ensure That Your Sourdough Bread Is Vegan?
Read the ingredients list: Check labels carefully to ensure no non-vegan ingredients are present.
Choose trusted vegan brands: Look for bakeries or brands that produce vegan products or have a designated vegan line.
Ask the baker: If buying from a local bakery, ask the staff about their sourdough ingredients and confirm it’s vegan-friendly.
Make your own: The best way to ensure your sourdough bread is vegan is by making it at home using only vegan ingredients.
Ingredients To Avoid In A Vegan Bread
- Milk or milk powder
Vegan Wheat Bread Brands
Boudin Bakery, famous for its sourdough bread, also offers a vegan version made with traditional sourdough techniques. Their bread is crusty on the outside, with a soft and chewy interior, providing a delightful texture and sourdough flavor.
Alvarado Street Bakery
Alvarado Street Bakery produces organic vegan sourdough bread crafted using traditional methods and baked to perfection. It has a robust flavor, a slightly tangy taste, and a hearty texture, making it an excellent choice for vegan bread lovers.
Tartine Bakery, renowned for its artisanal bread, includes a vegan sourdough option in its lineup. Their bread is made with wild yeast, resulting in a complex and rich flavor profile. The crust is beautifully caramelized, and the crumb is airy and moist.
Angelic Bakehouse offers vegan sprouted sourdough bread that combines the benefits of sprouted grains with the tangy taste of sourdough. The bread is made from nutritious ingredients like sprouted whole grains and boasts a hearty texture and a subtly sour flavor.
Bread SRSLY specializes in gluten-free, vegan sourdough bread options. Their bread is made with organic ingredients and fermented for 48 hours, resulting in a soft, tangy loaf free from common allergens like gluten, dairy, and eggs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Sourdough Bread Healthy?
Yes, sourdough bread is considered healthy due to its lower glycemic index, which means it doesn’t spike blood sugar levels as drastically as other bread types. It is also easier to digest due to the fermentation process that partially breaks down the gluten in the flour.
Is Sourdough Bread Dairy-Free?
Yes, traditional sourdough bread is dairy-free. It is made with a sourdough starter (flour and water), flour, water, and salt.
Is Sourdough Bread Gluten-Free?
Traditional sourdough bread is not gluten-free, as it’s typically made with wheat flour. However, there are gluten-free variants available that use gluten-free flour.
Is French Bread Vegan?
Traditional French bread, which includes baguettes, is generally vegan. It’s typically made from wheat flour, water, yeast, and salt. However, always check the ingredients, as recipes can vary.
Is White Bread Vegan?
Some white bread is vegan, but not all. Some manufacturers may use honey, milk products, or other animal-derived ingredients. It’s always important to check the ingredients list.
Is Wheat Bread Vegan?
Yes, wheat bread is vegan as its ingredients are not animal-derived.