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What Is Lactose-Free Bread?

By Norma Jean Howland
Updated May 16, 2024
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Lactose-free bread is any type of bread that has been made without the use of dairy products. Usually this kind of bread is part of a lactose-free diet for patients who are lactose intolerant and unable to digest lactose, or milk sugar. If these individuals do eat milk products, they often experience painful symptoms, including abdominal pain, gas, cramps, and diarrhea. Although lactose-free bread may be a challenge to locate in mainstream grocery stores, it can often be found in health food cooperatives or baked at home.

People who are diagnosed as lactose intolerant have a deficiency of the enzyme lactase, which helps the body to digest lactose, or what is sometimes called milk sugar. During the digestion of milk products, lactase is produced in the small intestine. Lactase assists in breaking down lactose in order to completely digest it. Patients who are lactose intolerant have a deficiency of this enzyme, which makes it difficult and painful to digest any type of milk product.

In order to stabilize the digestive system, a lactose-free diet is often recommended to these patients so that they can eat normally again without experiencing pain. For many patients lactose-free bread can be helpful in maintaining a healthy digestive tract. Since bread is such a common dietary staple, lactose-free bread may make eating more enjoyable and pain free. There are several lactose free products available on the market which can also be helpful in addressing the diet problems of the lactose intolerant population.

Many different types of lactose-free bread can be integrated into this type of eating plan for patients who live with lactose intolerance. If a recipe for bread calls for milk, it can be made lactose-free by substituting rice, almond, or soy milk. Both French and Italian bread are usually baked without dairy products.

If a patient enjoys baking, lactose-free recipes for just about any type of breadstuff from biscuits to corn bread are available. There are lactose-free sweet breads, fruit breads, and corn breads. Plain white or whole grain bread can also be dairy-free, and even buttermilk cornbread can be baked using almond milk and soy margarine instead of buttermilk.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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Discussion Comments

By fBoyle — On Jul 07, 2014

Flatbreads like Greek pita bread, Indian roti and Mexican tortillas also usually do not contain any dairy. I'm lactose intolerant and I only eat these types of breads.

By burcinc — On Jul 06, 2014

@literally45-- Yes. Lactose is milk sugar. So it's only found in milk and in processed milk products in lower amounts. Technically, those who can't have lactose can have eggs. If the individual is also avoiding eggs for a different reason though, that's different.

There are breads labeled "lactose free" which can be found at some health food and organic food markets. Otherwise it's necessary to check the ingredients list. Unfortunately, lactose can be hidden in breads with unusual ingredients. Milk powder or other additives that give bread texture or flavor may contain lactose. Generally, the fewer the ingredients in a bread, the better it is for lactose intolerant individuals.

Some people prefer kosher or vegan bread because these breads have less likelihood of having lactose.

By literally45 — On Jul 06, 2014

Can lactose free bread contain eggs? And are there lactose free breads on shelves that are actually labeled "lactose-free" or do I need to check the ingredients list of each bread?

My sister is coming to visit me and she doesn't drink milk or other products with lactose. I just want to make sure that I have bread at home that she can actually have.

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