If you take a look at most of your favorite crunchy snacks, you’ll see that they almost all contain some form of flour. It doesn’t stop there, either. Flour is in 99% of all bread and pasta as well. If you’ve just started your vegan diet, then you’re probably wondering, “Is all-purpose flour vegan?”
Yes! All-purpose flour is 100% vegan and plant-based. Whether you’re talking about white flour, enriched flour, cornflour, or even self-rising flour, all forms of flour are vegan-friendly.
This means that you can eat all of the bread, pasta, chips, pretzels, cake, and anything in-between. As long as there aren’t any other non-vegan ingredients, they’re fine to eat.
Today, I’ll explain a little bit more about why all-purpose flour is vegan, show you some of the best vegan-friendly flour options, and answer a couple of commonly asked questions about flour and veganism.
Can you imagine if all-purpose flour wasn’t vegan? You’d pretty much have to scratch off every snack item in your pantry, including cereal and vegan milk! Thankfully, this isn’t the case.
Let me start by defining what all-purpose flour is…
Simply put, all-purpose flour is a finely ground powder made from dried grains, beans, roots, nuts, or seeds. All-purpose flour is just regular flour and is designed to be used for “all purposes.” From baking cookies to making pizza crusts, it all starts with a flour base.
So, what makes all-purpose flour vegan? Let’s take a look:
- It’s 100% plant-based.
- Flour does not require any animal byproducts.
- The plants used to make all-purpose flour are not harmful to the environment.
- In general, flour is ethically produced and comes from sustainable farms.
When it comes to vegan living, it’s not just about eating plant-based; it’s about doing what’s good for the environment. The reason why so many people have asked me if all-purpose flour is vegan is that some farming is not ethical.
Take the palm oil industry, for example. Although palm oil, by itself, is 100% plant-based, the way it’s farmed and produced is incredibly harmful to rainforests and wildlife in South America. Thankfully, all-purpose flour is perfectly fine for the environment and doesn’t harm wildlife.
If you’re curious and want to learn more, I highly recommend watching this PBS mini-documentary on how wheat becomes flour:
Making all-purpose flour is incredibly simple. It only requires a dried flour base and something to grind them with. In ancient times, grain was ground up with a large spinning stone that was powered by water or spun by hand.
Today, mills involve a series of several industrial grinders that grind the flour smaller and smaller until it becomes a fine powder.
When most people talk about all-purpose flour, they’re mostly referring to your typical wheat flour. If you walk down the baking aisle at your local grocery store, around 90% of the products are going to be white, wheat-based flour.
However, white flour isn’t the only type of all-purpose flour that you can use for baking. In fact, many people opt to use other types of all-purpose flour to create different flavor profiles, cater to dietary needs, or as a healthier option.
Below are some of the most popular vegan-friendly all-purpose flour options that you can use in your baking!
White flour is, by far, the most popular type of flour on the market. However, whole wheat flour is a lot healthier and is arguably better-tasting.
Whole wheat flour uses the entire wheat berry, whereas typical white flour only uses the endosperm of the wheat berry (which consists of about 75% of the berry).
The main reason why white flour became so popular is that it doesn’t contain any of the wheat germ or the berry’s protective outer shell. While removing these components makes the resulting flour less nutritious, it increases the flour’s shelf life.
Whole wheat flour contains more nutrients, more protein, and is generally more filling. Whole grains contain more fiber, which promotes healthy digestion and is better for your metabolism.
Enriched flour is another common option you’ll find on store shelves and within ingredients lists.
The only difference between regular all-purpose flour and enriched flour is that the enriched alternative has added vitamins and minerals. This is where popular breakfast cereals get their vitamin content from.
If you’re on a vegan diet, then you’re probably getting all of the vitamins you need from your more natural diet. However, enriched flour is a good way to get some extra vitamins and doesn’t taste that different from regular wheat flour.
If you’re making vegan tacos, I highly recommend using tortillas made from corn flour. Although white flour tortillas are popular in America, cornflour (or maize) is traditionally used in Mexican cuisine.
Authentic tortilla chips are also made from cornflour. The flavor of the corn adds a nice savory note that perfectly compliments a tasty salsa, dip, or tofu taco.
A lot of my friends who are on low-carb diets use almond flour to bake low-carb cookies, make healthy protein bars, or for breading fried food.
Although almond flour tastes a lot different from traditional wheat flour, it serves the same purpose and helps maintain the food’s consistency. It’s a healthy, low-carb, nutrient-loaded alternative to wheat.
Coconut flour is another low-carb flour option that’s used in baking and cooking. It has a similar consistency to almond flour but tastes a lot sweeter. This makes coconut flour a great option for baking pastries and sweet treats!
When eaten in balanced amounts, all-purpose flour is perfectly healthy and can be a part of a healthy diet. However, it’s worth noting that eating too much wheat flour can be unhealthy as you’ll be overloading your diet with carbs.
There’s nothing wrong with a few slices of toast or some vegan cookies; just make sure that they’re not the only thing you’re eating!
Self-rising flour is commonly used in baking because it helps the dough rise in the oven. The only difference between all-purpose flour and self-rising flour is that the latter has added baking powder. This helps dough rise in certain cooking applications, such as baking bread.
Baking powder is just a mixture of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), cream of tartar (a byproduct of wine fermentation) or monocalcium phosphate (to act as an acid group), and starch (either corn or potato starch).
As you can see, all of the ingredients in baking powder are 100% vegan and are ethically sourced. So, following this logic, self-rising flour is also vegan!
So, long story short, all-purpose flour is completely vegan. This extends to plain old-fashioned wheat flour as well as alternative all-purpose flour options, such as coconut flour, almond flour, and cornflour.
I get it, going vegan can be a bit confusing at first… That’s why I created Vegan Calm! For more great tips on going vegan, eating ethically, and vegan shopping, check out my Vegan Living Blog here!