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Are Bagels Vegan?

by Doug

Question: I had an onion bagel with hummus today, are bagels vegan?

Most bagels should be vegan, as the traditional recipe is simply a bread dough that is boiled and then baked. However, some places put an egg wash on top before baking to make it shiny. And, the dough sometimes has egg, honey, and/or whey added to it.

I find it decidedly frustrating when I investigate breads in grocery stores and cafes and find animal products in the bread. Picture me doing that and loudly sighing before tossing (okay fine, I still try to be gentle) the offender back on the shelf. There is simply no need to add animal products into bread. People just keep doing it because they always have, or were taught to do it that way.

If you are buying your bagels from a grocery store, you just need to get in the habit of reading the ingredients list. At big name bagel shops, they will gladly show you an ingredient list, and you can sometimes find the list online. Even smaller bagel shops do have someone who can tell you what is in the bagel because there are so many food allergies nowadays that restaurants have to be up on their knowledge of their ingredient lists.

What you do need to check vigilantly are the toppings and the specialty bagels. At Panera Bread, for instance, the Asiago bagels, Egg bagels, and Honey-Wheat are obviously not vegan. And, many times the ones with sugary toppings are going to be made with butter and/or milk, to make sure the toppings stick to the bread.

You can also learn to make your own bagels, and it's easier than you think. In my ebook The Vegan Bread Box, one of my favorite recipes is for NYC Style Bagels. They're fun and satisfying to make yourself.

Hope this helps!

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L.Cysteine is from feathers
by: Annie

The dough conditioner used in many bread products, such as at Einstein Bagels and many store-bought bagels and/or donuts, is L.Cysteine, which is derived from duck and chicken feathers. I'm discovering it's going to be impossible to be 100% vegan in this world, but we can do the best we can I guess.

Sugar and eggs are not your biggest problem
by: Charlie

If you're like me, there isn't a bagel shop locally and you go to foodlion or walmart or wherever for your groceries. Check the bagel ingredients carefully, my mom brought some home and I was going to eat one until I noticed it had cholecalciferol (vitamin d3) in it. Cholecalciferol is generally derived from animal skin, feathers, brains etc. Also watch out for mono and dyglcerides (animal or vegetable fat) unless they are listed clearly as vegetable based. Mono and dyglycerides also pop up frequently in almost all breads.

Don't forget the sugar
by: Arnold

Any bagel or bread that contains sugar is not vegan (unless it specifically says "vegan sugar" on the label). It's not even vegetarian. Most sugar is processed with bone char from cows, and I doubt they are surgically removing the bones humanely from the cows!

If your looking for VEGAN bagels
by: Katie

Look at ingredients closely. If you don't know what something is or how it's derived stay away. One key thing to beware of with bagels is niacin; which can be animal sourced.

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