Does Bread Have Dairy?

Does Bread Have Dairy?

Does Bread Have Dairy?
Updated on
January 2, 2023
Gareth Busby
Gareth Busby

Bread is the staple of many diets, but what if you’re intolerant to dairy? Does bread have dairy, and is it safe to eat if you have a dairy allergy? Here’s the truth about bread and dairy!

Does bread have dairy?

The short answer is bread does not need to contain any dairy, but it is found in many types of bread. The longer explanation requires an understanding of what bread is made from and where dairy may be hiding.

What is dairy?

Flow diagram of possible milk products

Dairy products are derived from milk. Though milk is a dairy product that can be used to make bread, products created from it are also classed as dairy. These include cream, butter, cheese, whey and plenty of others. Some people are allergic to dairy or lactose, a key component.

Many people can use a product such as Lactaid to allow themselves the pleasure of consuming lactose, but not all allergy sufferers.

How can dairy end up in bread?

Speciality bread like brioche or croissants contains high levels of butter and milk. These are obviously not dairy free and often extremely high in fat! But many types of bread available contain dairy when you might not expect it.

Many commercial bread recipes contain ingredients such as milk powder, butter, cream, whey and sometimes cheese. These may be used for textural or conditioning benefits, not necessarily flavour, so yit may be a surprise to see them on the list of ingredients.

Bread types that often contain dairy:

  • Brioche
  • Soft bread/rolls
  • Croissants and other vieniessorie
  • Danish pastries
  • Bagels
  • Milk loaf

Bread can contain dairy through cross-contamination

Another way that bread may contain dairy is through cross-contamination during manufacturing or processing. This is where a factory worker handles both gluten-containing items (such as wheat) and dairy products.

If the equipment between doughs is not thoroughly cleaned or bakers do not change gloves or wash their hands, all baked goods can be contaminated with traces of milk proteins. You will see this appear as a “trace allergy” on the packaging.

It’s best to avoid eating products where traces of dairy products are found if you have a severe allergy. However, for those who are only mildly intolerant, you can be fine to eat the bread.

How to tell if bread has dairy

The first thing you need to do is check the ingredients list. If bread contains milk or lactose, it should be listed there.

Depending on the country you are in, it might not be clear. In this case, read each ingredient to see if any are composed of dairy products. Digesting and reading everything on food labels will ensure you are not consuming any dairy products.

Some bread ingredients that have milk products in them are:

  • Milk solids are milk proteins that have been concentrated and then added to bread.
  • Skim milk powder is a dried form of skimmed milk with the water removed. It’s often used in bakery products to extend shelf life and a creamy flavour without affecting the recipe too much.
  • Whey – whey is a by-product of cheese production, and it’s often used as an additive in bread, cookies, and other baked goods.
  • Lactose is the sugar molecule in milk that some people have trouble digesting. It’s not always listed as an ingredient since it occurs naturally in dairy products, but it’s worth checking for.
  • Butter – this one is pretty self-explanatory! Butter is used in bread recipes to add flavour and moistness.

Is there milk in bread?

Bread doesn’t need to contain milk, yet, milk is found in many types of bread. Milk is a tenderising agent used to soften and sweeten bread dough. It’s common for bread such as brioche, croissants and pain de mie to use milk instead of water to make a softer bread texture.

What bread can you eat when reducing dairy intake?

If you don’t have a lactose or dairy allergy but still want to reduce your intake, it is best to stay away from white bread. Many people do not realize how much dairy they consume just by eating sandwiches for lunch because even though it may be a small amount, it adds up over time.

Stick to whole wheat or other whole grains instead. Alternatively, eat artisan bread if you have a local bakery, or even better, make bread yourself!

So, does bread have dairy?

To wrap up this article, I hope you’ve grasped the common dairy products in commercial bread. We’ve also covered the types of bread most likely to contain dairy products. So if you suffer from dairy allergies, don’t make yourself sick by eating something without knowing all the facts.

With a bit of research, you can easily find the right kind of bread for your needs and avoid any stomach problems down the line. There are plenty of other types of bread available that don’t contain any dairy products, so there’s no need to miss out on bread! 


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