Is Sourdough Bread Vegan?

Sourdough bread is getting more and more popular, but can vegans eat it? Continue reading to find out when it is vegan friendly, as well as its health benefits and more.
Zeynep Ozdemir, RDN

Written by Zeynep Ozdemir, RDN. Updated on November 18, 2022.

Recently, the efforts of individuals to make their recipes at home, to enrich these recipes, and to make them more nutritious have been increasing.

This trend causes sourdough bread to come to the fore again and increase its popularity.

In fact, sourdough bread has been around for thousands of years. We can even say that it is one of the oldest types of bread recorded, and it still exists in many cultures and meets consumers.

Sourdough bread is actually naturally vegan and contains no animal products. It is based on water, yeast, flour, and salt. Yeast creates the property of bread.

However, some producers can use milk instead of water, which means that it is no longer suitable for vegan consumption.

In this article, we will discuss sourdough bread. You can continue reading to find out its health effects, nutritional values, recipe, and any other question marks you may have.

What Is Sourdough Bread?

One of the earliest methods of fermenting grain, sourdough dates back thousands of years.

The consensus amongst experts is that it was first used to leaven bread in ancient Egypt approximately 2000 B.C., where it remained the primary technique of leavening bread till it was superseded by baker’s yeast only several hundred years later.

Leavened and unleavened bread are the two primary classifications of bread.

Leavened bread is those in which the dough is allowed to rise while the bread is being made. This is due to the gas that is produced when the wheat in the dough starts to ferment, which is the root of the problem.

To aid in the rising of the dough, the majority of leavened bread needs the use of industrial baker’s yeast.

Leavened bread is what you get when you bake with sourdough. However, rather than employing baker’s yeast to cause the dough to rise, it is flavored by “wild yeast” with lactic acid bacteria which are already present in the wheat.

This results in the dough having a much more robust texture.

Lactic acid bacteria may also be found in their natural state in a variety of different fermented foods, such as kefir, pickles, yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut, amongst others.

A sourdough starter is a mixture that contains lactic acid bacteria, wild yeast, wheat, and water. It is used to produce sourdough bread.

The sugars inside the dough are fermented by the starter as part of the process of manufacturing bread. This fermentation process is what causes the bread to rise and gives it its signature taste.

The distinctive smell of vinegar that is associated with sourdough bread is caused by a type of bacteria known as acetic acid bacteria. Sourdough bread naturally includes various quantities of these bacteria.

Starters with large concentrations of acetic acid bacteria need more time to ferment and rise, which contributes to the distinctive texture of the bread.

It is believed that the yeast that occurs naturally in sourdough bread contributes to an increase in the bread’s nutritional content and makes it simpler for your system to digest than dough that is produced with baker’s yeast.

However, not every store-bought sourdough bread is baked following the traditional sourdough process, which may limit its health advantages.

If you want to improve the possibility that the sourdough bread you buy is “real”, it’s best to get it from an independent bakery or a farmer’s market.

Is Sourdough Bread Gluten-Free?

It’s possible that wheat sourdough bread has a lower gluten content than conventional yeast bread, but it’s still not gluten-free.

If you have celiac disease and are required to follow a gluten-free diet, you shouldn’t eat ordinary sourdough bread.

You should instead either purchase sourdough bread that has been produced with grains that are gluten-free or spend some time and effort activating your own sourdough starter from a gluten-free type.

Can Vegans Eat Sourdough Bread?

Sourdough bread basically consists of flour, water, salt, and yeast. If we are talking about simple sourdough bread, yes it is vegan.

However, commercial products may go beyond these simple ingredients. This means that sourdough bread can no longer be vegan.

There are a few things you should pay attention to:


Enriched sourdough bread may not be vegan. Most of these bread are likely to contain ingredients such as milk, eggs, and butter.

Cooking Pot

In some cases, even if the bread is completely vegan, sourdough bread made in the baking dish may be greased with non-vegan ingredients such as butter.


Some sourdough bread can be sweetened to increase its nutritional content or suppress the sour taste. This sweetening uses non-vegan options such as honey.

Artificial Booster

Sourdough bread should rise with the water, but some manufacturers may try to strengthen the bread artificially by adding milk or honey.

The ingredient list always needs to be checked to get real sourdough bread. You can obtain vegan bread from your local bakeries or you can make it yourself at home.


The nutritional profile of sourdough bread is similar to other types of bread. It differs according to the type of flour used in making the bread.

However, sourdough has several properties that make it more nutritious.

More Nutritious

We mentioned that the flour used occupies an important place in the nutritional profile. Whole grain bread is rich in minerals such as phosphate, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

However, phytic acid, which is naturally found in most plant foods such as grains, prevents the absorption of these minerals.

Sourdough bread contains lactic acid bacteria. These lactic acid bacteria neutralize phytate by lowering pH levels in bread.

In other words, since the phytate in sourdough is less effective than in other types of bread, it becomes easier for the body to absorb the nutrients in the bread.

In addition to this, the low pH of the dough, in conjunction with the lactic acid bacteria that it incorporates, has a tendency to boost the antioxidant and vitamin content of sourdough bread.

Easy to Digest

Wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria, which are involved in sourdough fermentation, facilitate digestion in several ways.

They promote more comfortable digestion as they reduce the activity of phytates and help neutralize antinutrients.

Also, fermentation can produce prebiotics (a type of indigestible fiber) that are beneficial to your gut and facilitate digestion.

Gluten tolerance is individual and can vary from person to person. While it may not cause a problem in some individuals, it may cause bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea in others.

Sourdough bread contains less gluten than other types of bread. However, it should be noted that it is not at all gluten-free and should not be consumed by celiacs.

More Effective Blood Sugar Control

When compared to other forms of bread, sourdough bread could have a more favorable impact on both insulin levels and blood sugar levels.

Fermentation of sourdough, according to the findings of certain researchers, may alter the structure of carbohydrate molecules.

This brings the glycemic index (GI) of the bread lower, which in turn decreases the rate at which sugars are absorbed into the circulation.

However, the GI reaction may be affected by a number of other variables, and further study is required to determine how sourdough influences this response.


Sourdough bread is simple to prepare. It is made using a starter, which is a combination of water and flour that is used to cultivate a colony of wild yeast.

Baker’s yeast is not used in the making of it. This yeast is responsible for the production of lactic acid, which is what gives sourdough bread its signature tangy flavor.

This acid imparts a taste to the bread in addition to eliminating microorganisms that might otherwise spoil a sourdough starter before its time. Here are the steps you can follow to make your own sourdough bread:

  1. The sourdough starter should be made a few days before starting the recipe. Feed this starter every day until the day of bread making and let it grow.
  2. On the day of making the bread, some of the starter cultures are taken and the rest is set aside for later use.
  3. The continuation will be no different from making leavened bread. Flour, water, and starter are mixed and rested for a few hours. Salt is added later.
  4. After folding it a few times, it is left to rest again. This cycle should continue until the dough becomes pliable and smooth.
  5. After the final resting, you can shape and bake your bread. Allow the baked bread to cool for 2-3 hours before slicing.

Sourdough bread is easy to make, but keep in mind that it will take a few days.

By continuing to feed your starter culture regularly, you can use it in the production of your next bread.


Sourdough bread has been made for thousands of years and still remains popular.

This nutritious and delicious food is essentially vegan and consists of 4 basic ingredients. However, some manufacturers may make the bread not vegan by changing the ingredients or using products such as butter or milk in their cooking methods.

The nutritive elements of sourdough bread can be absorbed more easily than other types of bread and thus exhibit a more nutritious profile. It also contains lower gluten and is rich in prebiotics.

Although it contains lower gluten, it is not gluten-free. If you want to make sure you’re making completely vegan or gluten-free derivatives, it’s safest to make them at home.

Sourdough bread is very easy to make. Still, it’s important to take into account that it takes several days.

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