A Vegan-Friendly Guide To Flour
Flour is a staple in many household pantries and can create delicious recipes, but is flour vegan? While certain processed food products like pasta and bread might not be vegan, flour on its own is 100% vegan. However, suppose you are new to the vegan lifestyle. In that case, you may search for answers on your many essential ingredients in everyday cooking. If so, we have you covered.
Our Vegan-Friendly Guide To Flour will highlight the basics, let you know which flours have added benefits for our health, and suggest a few gluten-free options to check out!
An Introduction To Flour
Common types of flour include all-purpose flour, white flour, bread flour, self-raising flour, and whole wheat flour. In addition, all of the varieties of flour mentioned in this article are suitable for a vegetarian and vegan diet. Furthermore, flour is considered cruelty-free. It does not contain animal products, and there are no animal by-products used in the process.
There are two basic types of wheat grain; hard and soft. Wheat kernels contain three main components endosperm, bran, and germ. Hard wheat contains a higher level of protein, and a soft grain has a lower protein level and is higher in starch.
There is a higher level of gluten in hard wheat, so it is commonly used in baked goods. It is not uncommon to find that some bread or pastry recipes require a combination of different flour, such as white flour and whole wheat flour. Combining two types of flour allows the baker to find the correct balance of soft and hard wheat for the perfect result.
Each flour varies in texture, flavor, and nutritional value. While refined white flour has very little fiber or nutrition, whole wheat flour is a healthy source of fiber minerals and can be part of a balanced vegan diet.
Is Flour Vegan-Friendly?
Yes, flour is vegan. There are no animal products used in the manufacturing or processing of flour. Therefore, flour is a suitable ingredient for vegetarians and vegans.
Is refined white flour vegan?
Yes – white flour is vegan. However, white flour typically contains a low nutritional profile and is high in calories. This is because the bran and germ of the wheat are removed to make white flour.
White flour is still vegan, but there are many healthier alternatives.
Is all-purpose flour vegan?
Yes – all-purpose flour is vegan. All-purpose or all flour is the same as white flour. It is commonly used in baking and pastry making.
Is whole wheat flour vegan?
Yes – whole wheat flour is vegan. It is also higher in nutritional value than white flour, making it the better choice for your overall wellbeing.
In addition, whole wheat flour is made with bran, germ, and endosperm, ensuring the fiber and vitamins are not removed from the flour during processing.
Is Flour Gluten-Free?
Traditionally, flour is derived from wheat. Therefore, wheat flour is not gluten-free. However, there are gluten-free flours such as rice flour. Gluten is also vegan as it is a group of proteins found in flour and contains no animal product.
Vegans without gluten intolerance or allergies do not need to avoid gluten. It can be included in a vegan diet. However, if you are gluten-intolerant, there are several gluten-free flours, bread mixes, and alternatives on the market.
Health & Nutrition
Flour provides an essential source of macronutrients (carbohydrates and protein), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), antioxidants, and essential dietary fiber.
Healthy varieties of flour include almond flour, brown rice flour, coconut flour, cassava flour, chickpea flour (besan), oat flour, whole wheat flour. You don’t have to settle for plain white (refined) flour in your vegan recipes.
Let’s take a further look at some of the best vegan flours which will inspire you in the kitchen.
Different Types Of Flour
Rice flour is both gluten-free and vegan. It is made from milling grains of rice (naturally gluten-free) and is available in both white rice and brown rice. The flour is wonderfully light compared to most wheat flours and is widely available. Rice flour is mild in flavor and is suitable for both sweet and savory dishes.
It can also be a thickening agent to make rice noodles or delicious and light pancakes. The health benefits of rice flour are high in fiber and help with digestion.
Chickpea Flour (Besan)
Chickpea flour, also known as besan or gram flour, has been used in Indian cuisine for centuries and has a delicious earthy flavor. Besan flour is lower in calories than other flour, is naturally gluten-free, and is high in vitamins, folate, and protein. Besan is an excellent flour for vegetarians and vegans, providing an excellent source of iron.
Try adding besan flour as a vegan replacement for eggs! The bright yellow color of the all-natural chickpea flour, mixed with water and seasoned with spices such as turmeric and cumin, creates a batter that can be used to make flatbread, an easy vegan omelet, or even a healthy vegetable quiche.
If you love baking, you will be familiar with self-raising flour. Self-raising flour is essentially flour with salt and baking powder to help the dough rise. You can purchase self-raising flour or make it at home with plain flour and baking soda.
There is nothing better than the smell of fresh bread filling your kitchen, so if you want to try your own vegan bread recipes at home, you must use suitable bread flour. Bread flour will contain a higher ratio of protein and a lower ratio of carbohydrates.
The dough will produce a lot more gluten, the dough will have the right chewy texture, and the bread will still be light delicious. For gluten-free bread flour, you can find a range of gluten-free bread recipes that swap regular bread flour with buckwheat flour, tapioca flour, rice flour, and potato flour.
A vegan and gluten-free option that is mainly unheard of in buckwheat flour. Despite the confusion with the name, buckwheat is naturally gluten-free. This is because buckwheat is a seed, not a grain.
Buckwheat flour can be used in a wide range of recipes and is enjoyed by several cultures worldwide, such as the famous soba noodles of Japan. Try buckwheat flour in crepes, flatbread, pancakes, or make your own gluten-free noodles.
Almond flour is one of the healthiest alternatives to most of the other options listed in our guide. If you can eat almonds, almond flour is a beautiful substitute for vegan recipes. Almond flour is low in carbohydrates, reduces insulin resistance, reduces bad cholesterol, and is rich in Vitamin E.
Oats, oatmeal, oat milk, and now oat flour; the possibilities for vegan recipes are endless with this one ingredient. Oat flour is simply oats ground into a powder. The taste is mild, but the texture is excellent for vegan pancakes, waffles, muffins, or baking bread.
Oat flour is high in magnesium and iron and is a good energy source. While oat flour is naturally gluten-free, there is a risk for cross-contamination with other grains, so if you have an allergy, it is recommended that you look for certified gluten-free oat flour.
Coconut flour is ideal for gluten-free, vegan baking. A vast majority know coconut milk, coconut milk powder, and coconut oil to be staples in vegan cooking. Still, coconut flour is one ingredient you need to add to your pantry.
The coconut milk is made from dried coconut meat removed from the coconut husk once the water has been drained. Coconut flour is high in iron, potassium, fiber and is an excellent source of plant-based protein. Try using coconut flour to bake vegan cookies, cupcakes, muffins, or pancakes.
- Flour is 100% plant-based
- Flour is suitable for vegans & vegetarians
- Gluten-free flour is widely available
- White flour is not the healthiest option
- Choose a whole wheat flour for added fiber
- Flour can be used in many vegan recipes
Flour is essential for many vegan recipes, so it is fantastic news for everyone to know flour is 100% vegan-friendly.
The range of flour alternatives continues to increase with consumer demand calling for gluten-free, organic, vegan choices for almost all household staples such as flour, milk, butter, and sugar.
If you are searching for the perfect vegan flour, you can be sure to find it in our guide or check out our Old El Paso vegan products article for more inspiration.