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Baking with vinegar

Has anyone tried adding vinegar to their quickbread recipe? I heard that a teaspoon of vinegar with skim milk can be used to replace buttermilk, but I'm curious if there is any noticeable difference between baking with and without vinegar.

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  1. Yes, if your recipe calls for buttermilk you'll notice a difference in flavor, texture and rising/loft if you substitute with only skim milk and omit the vinegar.

    1. The flavor of vinegar is different from buttermilk. If you need an acidulant, consider using cream of tartar

      1. To clarify, I meant taking a standard quickbread recipe and adding a tspn of vinegar vs. the standard recipe without vinegar. The buttermilk substitution was just an example I saw of vinegar in baking. Any difference between the recipes with the only difference being a tspn of vinegar?

        1. What would be the reason for adding vinegar, i.e what result are you thinking you might get?

          3 Replies
          1. re: cookie monster

            I don't really have a reason beyond "what would happen if I did ...". Now that you bring up the subject, I want to know if there are ways to make baked goods more moist and chewy without adding fat. I know applesauce/mashed fruit is a good butter substitute. Anything else?

            1. re: ginbuw63

              I virtually always use yogurt or Greek yogurt to sub for milk/buttermilk in quick breads, muffins, and cupcakes. Just add water until the density is that of heavy cream. The tang and moisture are there, but without extra calories or harshness. Plus, the yogurt is something I routinely have on hand.

              1. re: ginbuw63

                It wouldn't make a big difference as moist and chewy go. Depending on what you're making, using brown sugar would help w/ that. There are other ways. It would help if you posted the recipe. It would help w/ playing w/ flour types, liquids/oils,...

            2. The leavening in quick bread is produced by baking soda reacting with an acid.

              Baking powder is baking soda plus 1 or 2 powdered acids. Typically it produces CO2 twice, when first mixed with water, and later when heated during baking.

              Buttermilk is a mild acid, so is commonly used in quick breads together with baking soda. Lemon juice and vinegar are stronger acids, and are used in small quantities instead of buttermilk. Fruit purees and molasses are also mildly acidic.

              Baking soda also promotes browning. Conversely a batter that is more acid won't brown as much. But more acid breads tend to keep longer, that is they resist mold growth. That is most obvious in a sourdough bread.

              Obviously too much vinegar will affect flavor.

              2 Replies
              1. re: paulj

                Thanks! I always like finding out each ingredient's effect on the final product. Now I want to get a muffin tin and do some mad science experiments with recipes.

                1. re: ginbuw63

                  If you're interested, read either Cookwise or Bakewise by Shirley Corriher. Very detailed and helpful information.

              2. http://www.sweetlittlebluebird.com/20...
                Crazy cake is the (perhaps) the simplest baked item that commonly uses vinegar. Notice that 1 tsp of vinegar is used with 1 tsp of baking soda to produce the leavening. I suspect 1/2 tsp, maybe even 1/4 baking soda would work just fine. With 1 c of sugar, the vinegar does not affect taste.

                It would be interesting to compare this recipe with an alternative that replaces the vinegar and water with a cup of buttermilk.

                2 Replies
                1. re: paulj

                  My daughter is looking for a science fair project and this might be perfect. Cocoa also has acid so that might possibly be enough for the baking soda. Start w/ dutch cocoa and then slowly increase acid levels by going to regular cocoa, both no vinegar. Compare to baking powder, etc. That would be the simplest recipe w/out adding all sorts of other ingredients that could affect results. Thanks! I'll run it by her.

                  1. re: paulj

                    This is the BEST chocolate cake -- cheap, easy, delicious. Use some coffee instead of water -- decaf for kids. I made this cake for all my kids' birthdays when they were younger -- sheet cake with piped icing decorations, and it was always a hit.