Answer: Yes. Flour is vegan because it is a product of organic grains and all types of grains are plant-based.
Flour is essential 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.
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Why Is All-Purpose Flour Vegan
First and foremost, flour is vegan because it is a product of organic grains. And all types of grains are plant-based, so flour has no problems as a non-vegan product. Additionally, producing flour does not involve 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 for direct reasons but for the different processes involved in producing flour as a commodity.
The first controversy is about environmental factors. All industries and factories use water as an essential element, and 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 water use is a concern for vegans because they are also environmentalists. Water is necessary for industries but can adversely affect the surrounding areas when used in excess. And this is why there are controversies with this issue.
Another concern 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, flour production 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 they are safe.
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 look for the details before purchasing any all-purpose flour. You should also know that some flour production industries also use certain animal products such as bone marrow and other animal products. But this is a rare case, and even if they contain some animal products, they are explicitly mentioned on the packets, so they are easy to avoid. Nonetheless, you must know about it.
Types of Vegan All-Purpose Flour
Flour comes in different varieties, so you can choose a wide range of options. Each has a specific taste and purpose; 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 wheat plant’s bran and germ. It is a very versatile flour, and you can use it in any baking recipe.
However, one negative aspect of white flour is the decrease in nutrients. The production process diminishes the nutrients, 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 healthy flour for baking some of your favorite recipes.
Almonds are rich sources of vitamin E, proteins, fiber, vitamin B2, iron, potassium, calcium, etc. And they are also gluten-free, making almond flour a healthy, nutritious option for baking.
Whole Wheat Flour
Compared to all-purpose flour, wheat flour has more nutritional value. 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-purposeand whole wheat flour to make it more nutritious. It also adds to the taste; for vegans, all the extra essential nutrients are 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 artificial elements to make it look white. And secondly, the flour is enriched with nutritional contents, which get lost during production.
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 ground before sifting.
Malted barley makes an excellent vegan flour because no animal-based products are used during production. 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 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 are 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 flour 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 to all-purpose flour. They are excellent for making gluten-free cakes and pastries, and you can also use them to make your favorite bread and cookies.
Oat flour is purely based on plant products, so it is 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, 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, a dietary staple for many vegans. They are great for baking pancakes, and the bean flavor gives them 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 as widely used as other 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 flour is generally rich in essential nutrients and vitamins.
For example, wheat flour is known to help regulate blood sugar levels and is beneficial for diabetic patients. And even if you are not a patient, wheat flour consumption prevents such diseases. That is one reason why most vegans stay healthy.
Flour is also a staple commodity in all pantries. The bread you consume and the different cakes and biscuits 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 is 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.