What Does Vinegar on Bread Do?

If you search for “What does vinegar on bread do?” you’ll be met with many people soaking their bread slices in vinegar and placing them in stinky areas. That’s because vinegar-soaked bread sucks up unpleasant odors, such as in the garage or inside a trash can.

Okay, that’s great and all – but today we’re talking about what vinegar does in a bread recipe.

So, if your bread recipe calls for the addition of vinegar, is it really necessary? It is. Vinegar works wonders in bread dough. It helps the bread to rise better and creates a moister crumb and a delicious flavor.

Hello! I’m Michelle, a long-time baker that’s still as enthusiastic as the first time I picked up a package of brown sugar. I’ve spent lots of time whipping up loaves of bread, and I wanted to share why vinegar can be a crucial ingredient in your loaf.

Let’s learn!

What Does Vinegar Do in Bread Recipes?

Vinegar plays a role in four elements of your bread: the rise, moistness, flavor, and longevity. Let’s take a closer look at how this versatile ingredient works in your bread dough.

1. Enhances/Quickens the Rise

Your bread dough has to rise – there’s no getting around that. But did you know that vinegar can help in this process?

Vinegar breaks down the proteins in bread dough, causing the gluten to tenderize. Over time, new – and, more importantly, stronger – gluten networks form. This results in bread with a perfect rise in a shorter amount of time.

2. Moistens the Crumb

Vinegar cuts down on flour oxidation, resulting in a superiorly moist crumb and a lightweight texture. So, if you’re one who enjoys a fluffy, airy loaf of bread, you will want to include vinegar in your bread recipe.

3. Improves Flavor

Think about your favorite type of artisan bread, such as sourdough. The flavors have plenty of depth and distinctiveness, creating a top-notch loaf. Well, this doesn’t happen quickly. Anyone who makes sourdough bread knows it’s a low and slow procedure to develop the taste.

What if you’re short on time but still want those same great flavors? Add vinegar.

Vinegar is an organic acid – the same kind that occurs naturally during yeast fermentation. So, by adding vinegar to your dough, you can create impressive flavors in a shorter amount of time. Nobody will be the wiser!

4. Increases Longevity

Unfortunately, bread doesn’t last forever – even if you store it in the fridge. This is especially true for homemade loaves, which tend to only have a few short days on the counter before they need to be frozen or tossed.

Well, one of the benefits of adding vinegar to your bread dough is that it will improve longevity, giving your homemade loaf an extra few days before going bad.

But how?

Vinegar reduces the pH level in your bread dough. In turn, this fends off mold formation, ensuring you can make toast, sandwiches, garlic bread, and other yummy bread-based recipes without fear of consuming old and moldy slices.

Do You Have to Add Vinegar to Bread?

It is not essential to add vinegar to your bread dough. It is recommended, though, and should be added if your recipe calls for it. It’s always best to follow along with the recipe you’re using – especially if you’re new to the world of bread baking.

Will the Bread Taste Like Vinegar?

Vinegar has a very pungent odor and flavor, and plenty of people (myself included) are not a fan. I can’t stand the taste or smell of vinegar. But when added to bread dough, you won’t notice it in your final product. That is, as long as you don’t use too much.

How Much Vinegar to Add to Bread Dough?

When it comes to adding vinegar to your bread dough, you don’t want to overdo it. Too much vinegar is going to cause two significant issues:

  • Odd flavor. Nobody wants to eat bread with a cast of vinegar, but too much vinegar in your bread dough will leave an unpleasant aftertaste.
  • Killed yeast. Too much vinegar can also kill off your yeast – a necessary ingredient that allows your bread to rise. Needless to say, if the yeast is killed off, you won’t end up with a beautifully-risen loaf of bread.

You can avoid these unfortunate outcomes by adding one tablespoon of vinegar per every two cups of flour. 


Vinegar can be an excellent addition to your bread dough! If you want to learn more about this interesting topic, check out these few commonly asked questions below.

Can you use apple cider vinegar in bread dough?

While white wine vinegar is typically the go-to for bread, you can use apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has an element of sweetness that may show through in your recipe. This isn’t a bad thing, though – it’s just something to keep in mind.

Can vinegar replace an egg in a recipe?

Vinegar can replace an egg in specific baked recipes, such as light and airy cakes and cupcakes. To replace an egg with vinegar, simply mix one teaspoon baking soda with one tablespoon vinegar. 

Is vinegar a rising agent?

Vinegar falls under the category of being a “rising agent,” which is one of the main reasons why plenty of bakers add it to their bread doughs.

Is vinegar a bread preservative?

Vinegar can help your bread last longer by reducing the pH levels and fending off bacteria that cause mold growth. 

Vinegar is a Must-Have for Bread Dough!

If you’re toying with the idea of adding vinegar to your bread dough, I highly recommend it. A little goes a long way and will help to create a delicious and moist loaf. It will also help your loaf last a few days longer without fearing mold growth. 

Do you use vinegar when you make bread? What type of vinegar do you use, and how much do you add? We’d love to hear from you!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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  • Robert Dunn

    I could not believe how much higher my dough rose and how soft and easy to slice, lighter and airier-delightful! Can it be used with whole wheat, rye, sourdough??? Thank you!

    • Michelle

      Hi Robert,
      So happy to hear about your success! Yes, you can use vinegar in those types of bread loaves as well.
      Happy baking,