Vinegar for baking bread tips

How To Use Vinegar For Baking Bread And Cakes?

Vinegar for baking bread tips
Updated on
December 7, 2022
Gareth Busby
Gareth Busby

Vinegar is most commonly known for its use in cooking and cleaning. But did you know it’s also a great ingredient for baking? Let’s talk about it so you can learn how to use vinegar for baking bread or cakes for your next bake!

Vinegar can be a surprising addition to the arsenal of baking ingredients. But it is often found in baked goods because it reacts with baking soda. This creates carbon dioxide bubbles while cooking and it helps the batter rise in the oven.

What is the use of vinegar in baking?

Vinegar is a mild acid that helps break down the starches and proteins in your bread. It changes the pH levels of the batter. Adding it to your bread dough can help with good rise, moist crumb, airy texture, and also enhances the flavour.

How vinegar improves the rise of bread

Vinegar dissolves the chemical connections that hold protein threads together in a twisted state. This causes the gluten to denature or unravel and “tenderise.” With repeated exposure, the unravelled gluten eventually collides to create new bonds. These linkages coagulate the proteins gradually, re-forming them into a more solid structure.

The air pockets created by gluten will burst if the dough isn’t mixed and risen correctly. Adding vinegar strengthens the gluten structure. This is especially helpful for short-kneaded and quickly-risen bread. It also provides a better environment for yeast fermentation which will accelerate the rising time.

How vinegar changes the bread’s crumb

Adding vinegar reduces the oxidation of the flour. This will make the bread taste bitter and less extensible. Including vinegar in bread will improve the texture and feel of the crumb by enhancing the crumb structure.

How vinegar improves the flavour of bread

Vinegar is made from acetic acid. This is an organic acid that appears naturally during yeast fermentation as part of the dough fermentation process. When bread is made quickly, a little bit of vinegar enhances the properties of the dough as if it had been made in a slow, more artisanal method. This makes bread taste more aromatic and lowers the pH value of the dough.

Does vinegar help bread stay fresh?

A dough with added vinegar will have a better shelf life. This is mainly to do with the lowering of the pH value of the bread. This environment is harder for bacteria to bread. Therefore, reducing the likelihood of mould developing.

Should I add vinegar to bread?

Vinegar is a great ingredient for those who wish to make their own dough or bread. A lot of vinegar kills the yeast when they are mixed together. It’s important not to leave them in contact for too long, but small amounts can be added without fear.

Will bread taste sour if I add vinegar?

Only if you add too much! But a single tablespoon of vinegar has a mild taste and won’t sour the dough. In contrast, it can help create a more flavourful dough as it slows down the yeast in its process. It also lengthens the lifespan of baked goods.

What do baking soda and vinegar do in baking?

Adding vinegar with baking soda is ideal for many types of cakes. They create a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide. This makes the baked products rise in the oven and results in a fluffy, moist texture. 

What vinegar is good for baking?

The most common type of vinegar for baking is plain white vinegar. It has a mild, uncomplicated flavour. Another one is cider vinegar, which is made from fermenting apples. This has a slightly sweeter flavour than white vinegar. But neither type leaves an aftertaste behind when you use it in baked goods when used sparingly.

Is it necessary to add vinegar to cake?

Yes! With all the benefits that it can do to cakes, it should be necessary. Always consider that adding vinegar to cakes can result in your cake being great! A dash of vinegar will make your cake moister while baking. Not to mention that adding acidic ingredients will cut through the sweetness. 

What can I use if I don’t have vinegar?

Although it’s usually used for cooking, lemon juice can be substituted in baking. If your recipe calls for 1/4 cup of white vinegar, you can use a 1/3 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice. This ratio can retain your desired consistency, but it will alter the flavour a little bit. 

Can I skip adding vinegar to a cake recipe?

Skipping vinegar from your recipe might not be that good of an idea. While yes, the flavour profile of your cake will surely be the same even if you skipped it. But the texture, lightness, and tenderness of your cake will not be present. So it’s really best to use it if the recipe says so.

How much vinegar do I substitute for an egg?

Vinegar is a natural way to bake your cake if you don’t want to use eggs. It works well as an egg substitute in cake, cupcake, and muffin recipes. Although it doesn’t contain protein or fat it will still improve the structure and rise as an egg would. Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda along with 1 tablespoon of vinegar to replace 1 whole egg. If your recipe calls for two or more eggs, just adjust the amount of baking soda and vinegar with the same ratio.

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Comments (44)

  • Avatar for Charlotte Firbank-King
    Charlotte Firbank-King

    Sounds like an interesting idea.
    I bake bread for a lodge and always try new things, especially things that improve bread’s shelf-life. However, I work with strict weights so a recipe would be good. For example if I have 900 gm bread flour and 600 gm water, 1 TBSP olive oil, 16 gm salt and about 5 gm instant yeast, unless it’s I use a starter. How much vinegar would I need? I usually have a 24 hour fermentation period in a fridge because it makes the bread taste better. Could I still do this?

    • Thank you! Start with a teaspoon (approx 5 grams). 24 hours -That’s my sort of bread! Vinegars use is more widespread in shorter breads, but you should still see some improvements. Let me know how it works!

  • Avatar for Charlotte Firbank-King
    Charlotte Firbank-King

    Thank you. I’ll definitely try it–I also make a moist chocolate cake that I developed, and I put in a 1/4 tsp baking soda and have been tempted to add 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, but a little gremlin keeps saying why fix what ain’t broke–it took me years to develop this cake to the point where I was really happy with it. I guess I’m worried that the vinegar may unbalance the flavor–do you think it will? The lodge is way off the beaten track. People come from long distances and specifically ask for this cake, so imagine if it tasted different–I’d end up with a red face and a, “well, I tried something different.”

  • I make bread with gluten free flour what it help to add vinegar to it? When to we add it and what s the proportion for 2 cup measure flour?

  • What amazes me Garth and I am truly amazed. I have spent a couple hours researching “when” do you add the vinegar to the bread making process and literally every site including yours don’t give a straight answer. Is it in the beginning yeast is being activated (proofed)Is when the sugar, oil and salt is added? Is when the dough is kneaded? Is it before the first rise? Is it after the first rise? You don’t know either?

  • Hi Gareth,
    I am new in baking bread, really love to have home made fresh bread vs buying from supermarket.
    I have been trying a few recipes, but always faced the problem that my bread turns dry and hard the next day. I am going to try and add vinegar, hope that will keep my bread moist and soft.
    The question I have is do I add vinegar on top of the all the ingredients on a recipe? or I substitute it by reducing other liquid ingredient?

  • Hi Irene, That’s awesome! I would add a little bit on top of the rest of the ingredients. You should only add a small amount so you shouldn’t need to decrease the water in the recipe. Having the oven warm enough to bake the loaf in under 35 minutes, plus a dough that contains fat will make a big difference too.

  • Thanks Gareth! I added the vinegar(apple cider) 1tbsp for my bread recipes on my bagel s and brotchen and I can say it really made my artisan bread great! Guys, add the vinegar together with your liquid ingredients. Try an experimental batch first. Before contemplating to add it in your existing recipes. It works for me, I’m sure it will work with yours.

  • Hi Gareth,
    I tried a flourless Keto bread recipe that uses almond flour, golden flaxseed meal and psyllium husk powder instead of wheat flour. Also uses baking powder instead of soda, salt, cream of tarter and dry beef gelatin powder. It used yeast, honey and water which foamed beautifully. The wet ingredients were eggs, butter and yogurt with 1 TBSP VINEGAR. The bread rose about 25%, looked great with browned top and moist texture but tasted awful! Very vinegary. Should I cut the vinegar in half?
    Could any of the other ingredients
    be causing that sour taste?
    Sorry for long message but wanted you to have all the facts.

    • There is a lot of acid in that recipe. Baking powder, yoghurt, vinegar and cream of tarter are all acidic. It will be in some way to counteract the alkaline in the almond flour. It’s quite a complicated recipe which could be expertly balanced to make the bread rise in perfect harmony, but if the flavour is too vinegary (acidic) I would consider using less of those ingredients. So yes, I’d skip the vinegar and see how it goes. Maybe add a bit more yeast or replace the baking powder with soda to speed up the rise if you feel the dough needs it.

  • I can’t wait to try the vinegar. My basic recipe uses 4 c flour, 16 oz water two eggs, a tbls dark sugar,1/4 c ground flax seed, 1/4 c sesame seed and dialstatic acid 2 tsp, and yeast of course. I bake this in a Dutch oven. Always great results. I am baking now so I will use the vinegar in four days. I will let you know.

    • Interesting, recipe. I’ve never heard of Dialstatic acid. I’m trying to learn about it, is it similar to amylase, or activated malt? Where do you get it from?
      Yes, keep me updated I’m interested to know how you find it!

  • I am a baker, I mix and mould my bread and bake it the next day morning, can I add vinegar to it without any cause?


    Hi Gareth…I’m on a Daniel fast and I want to bake bread. We cannot use any raising agents, no salt, no butter as well, and no animal products.. I’m glad to know that I can substitute vinegar for raising agent. Can I use wheat flour, olive oil, almond milk, almond nuts to make this bread work… I’m not sure right now what to do..

    • Hi Michelle! If you are planning to use vinegar as your raising agent are you sure you are allowed to use it? I mean vinegar gives the bread a bit of a boost when it rises, but it’s not going to produce light and fluffy bread without a levain to work alongside. I think you are expecting too much. Maybe make a savoury pancake batter or dough with the suggested ingredients (with or without the vinegar) and fry some healthy pancakes or flat breads?

  • Hi
    My wife has prediabetes. Vinegar with a meal is said to reduce the peak in blood sugar after a meal. I’ve been adding apple cider vinegar to my seeded bread for that reason. It seems to help with blood sugar control.

    • Hi Roger, that’s great and another vinegar bonus, thank you for sharing. You might like to look at sourdough as well for good blood sugar control.

  • Hi Gareth, i am starting a small home business doing with cakes, in future I will be packing this tipes cakes but the area where i am in Mozambique they not Saling preservatives so i have to mack plan, help me with this vinegar option, lats how many tea spoons i need to add to the each cake, or which way i have to use

  • 0.005555556 is the percentage us in figuring the amount of vinegar to use in my 7 different loaves of bread.
    3,883 grams of flour X .00555556 = 12 grams of vinegar.

      • Thank you! I have an allergy to yeast and yeast proteins. So I can only use distilled vinegar. What ratio do you recommend? Or should I dilute I dilute it with water first?

        • Ah, I see! I’ve looked into this for you and there are a lot of contrasting views as to which is more potent (and by how much). It seems that distilled vinegar is usually less potent than white vinegar, but they can be the same! Start with a teaspoon per loaf and see how you get on. What products are you baking?

          • It’s been 4 years since I’ve had a sandwich! LOL. I really want to make a loaf of bread so I can make a sandwich and/or toast. I tried with 00 flour and it didn’t turn out good at all. So I want to try with King Arthur’s Whole Wheat All Purpose unenriched flour (because B vitamins are made with yeast). I use buttermilk as a raising agent along with baking powder and baking soda. But it doesn’t turn out good at all! So I came across your article with hopes that vinegar would act as a good raising agent and to make a good yeast free loaf for myself 🙂

          • Crikey that’s a challenge! I’m not sure if vinegar alone will do the job, but worth a try! I’d consider using lots of foaming agents, binding agents and aeration agents in your dough. Eggs might be a good option, alongside vinegar and baking powder. There are lots of things that will give a little lift that you could combine!!

    • Yes, but during the time spent chilling the dough to become cold enough to shape, fermentation activity will produce ethanol and acetic acid (vinegar) naturally. There isn’t really any point, and I’d rather allow the brioche dough to ferment a bit longer for better flavour. The only situation I would consider adding vinegar to brioche is when doing a quick-dough and using the freezer to drop the temperature right down after mixing.

  • I am starting to make sourdough bread; looking at recipes.. never have I seen vinegar listed for any bread . Is this a trade secret? I have been baking bread for many years!

    • It’s a common ingredient in sliced bread in the UK. I wouldn’t add it to sourdough bread, you could, but it’s acidic enough

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