Is Sourdough Vegan Bread?

Sourdough bread has gained popularity for its unique tangy taste and health benefits. However, for those following a vegan lifestyle, it is important to consider whether sourdough bread meets vegan requirements. Let’s explore if sourdough bread can be considered vegan and understand the factors that determine its vegan status.

Basis of Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread is traditionally made from three main ingredients: flour, water, and salt. The fermentation process of sourdough is fueled by naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria present in the environment. These microorganisms create a starter or culture that is maintained and used to make subsequent batches of bread.

No Animal-Derived Ingredients in Basic Sourdough

Sourdough bread, in its basic form, does not contain any animal-derived ingredients such as eggs, milk, butter, or honey. The simple ingredients of flour, water, and salt make it suitable for a vegan diet. However, various factors can influence its vegan status, including the addition of other ingredients and the production process.

Possible Non-Vegan Additions to Sourdough Bread

While the basic sourdough recipe is vegan-friendly, certain variations or additions can make the bread non-vegan. Here are some examples:

  • Eggs: Some sourdough bread recipes include eggs to enhance texture or provide richness.
  • Milk or Dairy Products: Sourdough bread may incorporate milk or dairy products to create a softer crumb or add flavor.
  • Honey: Occasionally, sweeteners like honey might be added to enhance the flavor of the bread.

It’s crucial to check the ingredient list or inquire about the specific sourdough bread to ensure there are no non-vegan additions.

Commercial Sourdough Bread

When purchasing sourdough bread from stores or bakeries, it is important to be cautious about its vegan status. Commercially produced sourdough bread may include additives or other ingredients that are not vegan-friendly. These might include:

  • Commercial Yeast: Some manufacturers may use commercial yeast instead of relying solely on natural yeast. Commercial yeast can be grown on animal-derived substances such as whey or gelatin.
  • Enriched Flour: Sourdough bread made with enriched flour may contain certain additives, such as vitamin D3, which can be sourced from animal products.

Checking the label or consulting with the manufacturer can provide clarity on whether the commercial sourdough bread is vegan.

Making Vegan Sourdough Bread

If you follow a vegan lifestyle and want to make sourdough bread at home, there are several ways to ensure its vegan-friendly nature:

  1. Use a traditional sourdough starter made with flour and water instead of a starter that may contain dairy products.
  2. Opt for plant-based milk alternatives like almond milk or soy milk instead of dairy milk if you prefer a richer flavor.
  3. Choose a sweetener such as maple syrup or agave nectar instead of honey to maintain the vegan status.

Making your own sourdough bread allows you to have full control over the ingredients and ensure it aligns with your vegan choices.


Sourdough bread, in its basic form, is generally considered vegan-friendly since it is made from flour, water, and salt. However, variations or commercial production may introduce non-vegan ingredients, such as eggs, milk, honey, or additives derived from animals. Therefore, it is essential to read ingredient labels and check with manufacturers or bakers to confirm the vegan status of sourdough bread. By taking these considerations into account, vegans can enjoy the delicious and nutritious goodness of sourdough bread.