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 adding vinegar to bread dough can be crucial.

Let’s learn!

What Does Vinegar Do in Bread Recipes?

Vinegar plays a role in four elements of your bread: 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 to 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 of baking soda with one tablespoon of 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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  • Bonnie

    When is a good time to add the vinegar? I have been adding it to the water. The bread does come out much lighter and lasts longer, but it’s not rising as much. I add 2T total. Thanks for any advice.

    • Michelle

      You can add with the water!

  • Taufik

    Can you please help me.
    If my recipe uses 1 kg of high protein flour and 580 ml of water. How much vinegar should I add? How to calculate it? What acidity level is the vinegar used, is it 25% or 5% vinegar?
    Thank You

    • Michelle

      Hello, add one tablespoon of vinegar to every two cups of flour.

  • Kim

    Mark Bittman made a shorter rise time version of Jim Lahey’s No-Knead bread & then had Jim give him input as to the quality of the finished loaf. Mark decreased the fermentation time from 12-18 hrs down to 3-4 hrs by increasing the amt of yeast from 1/4 tsp by 4-5 times but kept the rest of Jim’s recipe the same. But Jim wasn’t overly impressed with the resulting loaf as he reasoned that the substrate was over-populated causing the sugars & starch in the flour to be consumed too quickly to produce a good oven spring & crumb.
    Jim suggested, to speed up the fermentation process without sacrificing the result gained from the slow method, use the original recipe BUT increase the temperature of the water from cool to very warm / hot (but below the temperature that kills the yeast, of course) & add a few drops to 1/4 tsp of red wine vinegar to the water.
    I’ve yet to try this out but I thought you might find it interesting. You can view their discussion here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LaODcYSRXU

    • Michelle

      Awesome, Kim! Thanks for sharing.

  • kevin

    Great post.
    Just one thing.
    For cakes – Do not mix baking soda with vinegar and then add it to you batter.
    The baking soda and vinegar will instantly react neutralising both.
    Mix them into the batter separately and then get you cake into the oven before the baking soda is neutralised and looses it’s ability to gas.

    • Michelle

      Hi, Kevin!
      Thanks so much for your input!

  • sureshkumar kpd

    We are having bakery.
    We want to add vinegar to our bread dough to improve the quality.
    We want to make vineger from acetic acids.
    Can you help me how to make vinegar from acetic acids and then how much can i add vinegar per kg flour
    Can I add vinegar with water to make dough
    Please reply me immediately
    Thanking you
    K.p.d.suresh kumar

  • Betty

    Thanks so much for posting this article. The bread that I just baked is so much better with just a tsp of apple cider vinegar.

    • Michelle

      Hi, Betty!
      You’re welcome. I’m so happy to hear that your bread came out well.

  • D.K

    I started making bread at least 8 years ago, and have used vinegar in most of my bread. I did a lot of research before starting making bread and it was one ingredient I used regularly. I always ended up with light breads and my breads lasted longer then what many recipes stated. I do not remember reading that vinegar kills yeast. I added one tablespoon to about 4 cups of flour, I used both white & apple cider vinegars and never had a problem with either.. My bread always rose quickly (not sure it way from the vinegar, as I proofed it in a warm oven). Thanks for the information… I guess I should have did more research earlier, but it is never to late to learn.

    Thanks for the information.

    • Michelle

      Hi, D.K!
      So glad you found this article useful.

  • JC

    Hi Michelle, If my recipe asks for 2 cups of water, do i just incorporate the vinegar as part of the 2 cups or in addition to it? Just concerned to end up with a very moist dough

    • Michelle

      Hi JC,
      Start by incorporating the vinegar as part of the water. If your dough is dry, you can always add more water.

    • Jean Baptiste

      Good evening my friend, how much vinegar I can put in 220 pounds of flour to make bread?

  • 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.

      • RC

        Do I add the vinegar into the liquid portion where my yeast is or after I have made the dough? I am so confused.
        Thank you,

        • Michelle

          Hi RC,
          Always follow your recipe. However, most of the time, you’ll add it with the liquid ingredients.