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Answer: Yes. Flour is vegan because it is a product of organic grains and all types of grains are plant-based.
Flour is an essential element for baking like cakes, bread, biscuits, cookies, etc. Without them, I don’t think you can enjoy your favorite cake or cookies.
But does it qualify as vegan? The answer is yes, and various reasons and factors support the claim.
Why All-Purpose Flour Is Vegan
First and foremost, flour is vegan because it is a product of organic grains. And all types of grains are plant-based, so there are no problems with flour as a non-vegan product. Additionally, producing flour does not involve any animal cruelty, making it an ideal vegan commodity.
Controversies Around All-Purpose Flour
Like many other products, whether all-purpose flour is vegan or non-vegan has its fair share of controversies. And most of them are not because of direct reasons but the different processes involved in producing flour as a commodity.
The first controversy is with regards to environmental factors. All industries and factories use water as an essential element, and the flour mills are no exception. Compared to a lot of other sectors, flour mills use less water. However, it still uses about five times more than other commodity industries like cabbage and tomatoes.
The excess use of water is a concern for vegans because they are also environmentalists. Water is a necessity in the industries, but when it is used in excess, it can have adverse effects on the surrounding areas. And this is why there are controversies with this issue.
Another concern that vegans have is the working conditions of workers in the field. It is safe to assume that workers and laborers do not work as slaves, and in most cases, the production of flour is a local affair.
However, that does not mean that working conditions are the same everywhere. And keeping this in mind, vegans tend to keep an eye on how the flour they consume is produced to ensure that they are safe to consume.
When it comes to animal products as an element in the flour production process, most industries do not use them. However, there are certain things you need to keep in mind if you are a strict vegan. For example, some flour production industries use dairy products or eggs. And these are not vegan-friendly products. Watch out for them, and make sure you look for the details before purchasing any all-purpose flour. You should also know that some flour production industries also use certain types of animal products such as bone marrow and other animal products. But this is a rare case, and even if they contain some of the animal products, it is explicitly mentioned on the packets, so it is easy to avoid. Nonetheless, you must know about it.
Types Of Vegan All-Purpose Flour
Flour comes in different varieties, so there is a wide range of options you can take. Each has a specific taste and purpose and depending on the recipe; you can pick one. Here are some types of flour you can try:
White flour is one of the most common flours. It is obtained from wheat and is also called cereal grain. The white flour is extracted and prepared without the bran and the germ from the wheat plant. It is a very versatile flour, and you can use it on any baking recipe.
However, one negative aspect of white flour is the decrease in nutrients. The production process diminishes the nutrient contents, so most of it is washed away. So compared to other flours, they are not nutritious, but they are vegan-friendly.
Almond flour is an excellent type of flour. They are prepared by crushing large chunks of almonds and grinding them into a fine powder. And almonds are known for their rich nutritional values, so it is a very healthy flour for baking some of your favorite recipes.
Typically, almonds are rich sources of vitamin E, proteins, fiber, vitamin B2, iron, potassium, calcium, etc. And they are also gluten-free, so it makes almond flour a healthy, nutritious option for baking.
Whole Wheat Flour
Compared to all-purpose flour, wheat flour has more nutritional values. Typically, wheat is an excellent source of proteins, fiber, carbs, calories, etc. Whole wheat flour supplements you with some of the vital essential nutrients. It retains all its nutritional contents because the bran and germ are not removed in the production process.
Most vegans use a mix of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour to make it more nutritious. It also adds to the taste, and for vegans, all the extra essential nutrient is a bonus. And yes, whole wheat flour is a vegan-friendly product.
Enriched Unbleached Flour
Enriched unbleached flour is a type of flour obtained by following two methods in the production process. First, the flour is not chemically treated with any artificial elements to make them look white. And secondly, the flour is enriched with nutritional contents, which get lost during the production process.
Typically, the enriched nutrients are folic acid, vitamin B, and iron. And enriched unbleached flour is an excellent vegan flour that works well for bread, cereals, and cookies. They do not contain any animal-based ingredients as well.
Malted Barley Flour
Barley is a nutritious food. It has excellent nutritional values like proteins, essential fats, carbohydrates, calories, etc. And to make malted barley, the barley is allowed to germinate first, and then they are steamed, dried, and then grounded before sifting.
Malted barley makes an excellent vegan flour because there are no animal-based products used during the production process. It also gives a darker color when baked, and you can enjoy your favorite baked recipe.
If you love rice, there is also an option for picking up rice flour for baking. It is gluten-free, and it comes from either white rice or brown rice. They are packed with nutritional values like carbohydrates, protein, fiber, etc.
Rice flour is purely vegan based. They do not have other animal-based ingredients and best consumed when mixed with different types of flour.
Corn flour is another excellent vegan-friendly flour. Corn is a commonly consumed commodity, and it is also nutritious. The coarser varieties of corn are generally referred to as ‘cornmeal,’ while the more refined type is called ‘harsha marina.’
Vegans use the more refined variety of corn as an alternative to all-purpose flour. You can also mix it with other types of flours when you prepare your recipes. And it is vegan-friendly because it is a plant-based product.
Oats are a significant component of a vegan diet. And oat flour is another alternative for all-purpose flour. They are excellent for making gluten-free cakes and pastries, and you can also use them for baking your favorite type of bread and cookies.
Oat flour is purely based on plant products, so it is pure vegan. And you will not find the use of other animal ingredients during the production process.
Chickpea is an excellent source of plant protein. And for vegans, using chickpea flour is a great way to enhance their daily diet. It is known by many names like garbanzo bean, besan, gram flour, etc.
Vegans love chickpeas. It is a vegan pulse, which is a dietary staple for many vegans. They are great for baking pancakes, and the bean flavor gives it a rich aroma packed with proteins.
Coconut flour is another vegan flour that is great for baking purposes. Many vegans use it as a replacement for wheat flour because it is gluten-free and low on carbs. And like most flours, it is purely a plant-based product, so there are no concerns for vegans.
Coconut flour is not widely used as much as the other types of vegan flours. But you can find it used on cakes and bread.
Is Flour Healthy?
Yes, flour is a healthy product for all vegans and non-vegans. And the reason is that the primary source of all the different types of flours is generally rich in essential nutrients and vitamins.
For example, wheat flour is known to help regulate blood sugar levels and beneficial for diabetic patients. And even if you are not a patient, consumption of wheat flour prevents such type of diseases. That is one reason why most vegans stay healthy.
Flour is also a staple commodity in all pantries. The bread that you consume and the different cakes and biscuits all have flour as the primary ingredient. And most important of all, flour is a vegan product.
All-purpose flour is therefore considered a vegan-friendly commodity. Yes, there are instances where controversies crop up, but most vegans do not think it a big issue. The controversies surrounding all-purpose flour as non-vegan is based on indirect sources and ingredients which do not come packed with the product. Most often, the problems lie in the manufacturing and production processes.