Does Sourdough Bread Have Eggs In It?

Does sourdough bread have eggs in it?
Published on
28 June 2021
Gareth Busby
Gareth Busby

Switching to a vegan diet but don’t know if your favourite sourdough bread has eggs in it? Eggs are a food that many vegans closely watch out for in bread. So if you’re wondering if sourdough bread has eggs in it, here’s the answer.

Eggs are not an ingredient in traditional sourdough bread. They are included in enriched bread types such as challah or brioche. For standard sourdough bread, eggs won’t be included in the recipe.

What ingredients are in sourdough bread?

Unlike other yeasted bread, sourdough doesn’t use commercial yeast to rise. It uses a starter that is naturally leavened and contains wild yeast and good bacteria. The starter is the reason behind the tangy and distinct flavour of the sourdough bread. 

What is in a sourdough starter?

A sourdough starter is a mixture of living wild yeasts and organic acids. To make a starter, it only takes flour and water as its ingredients. After they’ve been mixed together, given time, and warmth, the mixture will develop into a levain. 

Besides the starter, the ingredients of sourdough bread are just water, flour, and salt.

Why sourdough bakers use eggs

Eggs weren’t traditionally added to the traditional recipe for sourdough bread. But they are now being incorporated by many bakers for a variety of reasons. Eggs are high in protein and fat. Adding it enriches texture and taste for a softer crumb. 

This is also the same thing with other dairy products like milk and butter. They help to create a loaf that’s denser but with a more complex flavour profile.

How to replace eggs in bread

Eggs are a powerful ingredient in baked goods. But if you don’t want to eat them, or can’t due to allergies, there are some replacements. 

First, consider the role of eggs in your recipe while determining a substitute.

Do you want to mimic the richness of eggs? Silken tofu and yoghurt can lend wonderful creaminess. This is gentle enough not to overpower delicate recipes like cupcakes. 

Looking for bread that will rise and get light and fluffy? Adding vinegar or baking soda will contribute to its natural leavening. 

Flaxseed and banana are replacements for quick-breads and cookies.

Always consider the taste and texture of the egg replacement. If you’re doing something that’s dainty and delicate, avoid flaxseed or banana. They are too powerful and will overwhelm the flavour. 

Some substitutes might work better with certain recipes than others. They all have their own unique properties which could impact consistency and flavour.

Is sourdough bread vegan?

If you’re on a vegan diet, traditional sourdough bread is good for you. It’s best to ask at the bakery just to be sure and check the label. Sometimes non-vegan ingredients are included in the recipe. Whether you’re making your own or buying from grocery, here are some things to consider:

  • Traditional sourdough breads only have three or four ingredients. These are flour, water, salt, and the sourdough starter (which is just flour and water mixture).  
  • Sourdough bread with “enriched” on its label will most probably consist of other ingredients. Beyond those three ingredients, eggs and dairy products might be present. Which, of course, is not vegan-friendly.
  • Boosting the sourdough starter with non-vegan food. Sourdough starters are sometimes being artificially boosted with ingredients like juice and honey.
  • Sourdough breads that have been brushed with egg wash. Putting an egg wash is commonly used in making bread to achieve a golden brown finish. Even though it’s more appetising, this is not good for a vegan diet.

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