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Bagels are an incredibly versatile, staple breakfast and lunch food in households all over the world.
Navigating life as a vegan can be challenging. It’s not always easy to tell if foods are vegan as they are often not marketed as being vegan even though they inadvertently are, particularly when it comes to baked goods that may contain ingredients that are not immediately recognizable.
Individuals new to the vegan lifestyle and diet might be wondering, are bagels vegan? The good news is, bagels are usually vegan!
However, there is a caveat that you should know. Although a standard recipe for a bagel is typically vegan, there are some ingredients that you need to be careful of when you’re adapting to this lifestyle.
Even the experienced vegan can have slip-ups so it’s not the end of the world, but remaining informed is an important part of this lifestyle.
In this article, we cover the factors you should take into consideration if you’re vegan, so you’re not caught out by a delicious bagel next time you want to eat one!
Let’s break it down.
Some bagel recipes or store-bought products may include non-vegan ingredients. First off, what ingredients can make bagels unsuitable for vegans?
- Honey. Occasionally you’ll find that bagel recipes use honey or honey powder in place of sugar or malt. While some vegans eat honey, the majority don’t so be aware of this ingredient in bagels.
- Milk. In some bagel recipes, milk is used in place of water which, of course, is a dairy product that isn’t suitable for vegans.
- Eggs. Eggs are sometimes added to the bagel dough for flavor as well as to make make a lighter, softer bagel. Also, some recipes call for an egg white to be used as a glazing agent.
- L-cysteine. This amino acid and dough softener is occasionally used in commercial bagels that you’ll find at the store. It is usually derived from human hair or poultry feathers. That being said, there are vegan alternatives in terms of production methods, so it can be a bit of a grey area to navigate.
Next time you’re craving a bagel, you’ll want to take the following factors into consideration, too!
Make homemade bagels
This might sound obvious, but the easiest way to know if you can eat a bagel as a vegan is if you make them yourself. A standard bagel recipe is suitable for vegans, however, you should always take into consideration that recipes vary between brands.
To avoid any mishaps, you can easily make your own bagels at home. Although you might think it’s an effort at first, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll adapt to your new lifestyle of knowing what you can and can’t eat in terms of the ingredients that go into everyday foods.
If you want to try making homemade bagels, a standard bagel recipe includes:
- 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) of warm water.
- 2 and 3/4 teaspoons of instant or active dry yeast.
- 4 cups (500g) bread flour, plus more for work surface and hands.
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar or packed light or dark brown sugar (or barley malt syrup).
- 2 teaspoons of salt.
If you don’t want to make your own bagels at home, an easy way to know whether a bagel is suitable for vegans is to check if the packaging has a vegan certification.
The majority of countries don’t regulate the labeling of vegan products by law. That being said, many independent organizations, such as Certified Vegan, offer vegan certification of products.
If you find a bagel with a vegan certification, it is always a good idea to check out the requirements of that organization to see whether they meet your expectations and morals as a vegan.
This is because although a product claims to be vegan, you might not agree with other things that the manufacturer stands for. As a result, depending on your own personal preferences, it is always worth doing your own research.
Read the label
This might be time-consuming for you, but reading the label is incredibly helpful when it comes to buying store-bought food.
The most important ones to look out for are honey, honey powder, eggs, L-cysteine, milk, and milk products such as lactose, casein, and whey.
Without doing this, you really have no other way to know whether a food is safe for you to eat as a vegan. As so many products aren’t specifically marketed as being vegan, you’ll be able to figure out if it is through the other ingredients.
After all, why would you want to miss out on food that you can actually eat?
If you’re ever unsure on whether a product is vegan, ask someone who works at the store and they’ll be able to verify it for you.
It goes without saying, the majority of traditional bagel toppings are non-vegan. Two of the most popular bagel toppings, cream cheese and smoked salmon, are both derived from animal sources. As a result, you’ll need to ensure that the toppings that you choose are suitable to eat
You’re likely to already have your favorite toppings, but if you’re new to veganism finding new favorites is one of the greatest parts of adapting your diet.
There are multiple dairy-free cream cheese alternatives are readily available from Daiya, Wayfare, Go Veggie, and many, many more brands! You just need to know where to look!
Yes, vegans can eat bagels. The majority of standard bagel recipes are inadvertently vegan, even if the product isn’t advertised as such.
As a result, user discretion is advised as some vegans do include non-vegan ingredients, such as eggs, milk, honey, or L-cysteine. However, if you want to wholeheartedly know that the bagels you are eating are vegan, the best way to ensure this is to make them at home.
If you’re struggling with knowing what you can and can’t eat, hopefully, these few factors will aid you in your search for the best vegan bagel!