The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

is it too late to add vinegar to make buttermilk????

freckled's picture

is it too late to add vinegar to make buttermilk????

so i'm making whole wheat honey bread with a biga and soaker.  usually, i like to use buttermilk, but only have whole milk right now and used it for the soaker.  but checking on the internet, saw i could "sour" the milk to make "buttermilk" by putting in 1TBSP per cup of milk and WAITING 5 mins to sour. dang it, why didn't i check before adding the milk????

will i ruin my soaker if i toss in some vinegar and mix the soaker around a bit?  might it possibly sour the milk and create that buttermilk tang i luv or will i end up ruining my soaker which will then ruin my bread?

or any other suggestions?




inlovewbread's picture

I say go ahead and try to knead in the vinegar. 

I soak all my whole wheat flour now overnight before using (soaker) and it needs to have an "acidic" medium added to it like whey, vinegar (preferably raw or cider vinegar) or lemon juice. This helps to break down the phytic acid in the grain a little better than water or milk alone. The other thing you could use is buttermilk. I hardly ever have any on hand, so I add whey when I have it, or I use cider vinegar in the milk for every recipe calling for buttermilk.

Usually I add the vinegar (1 Tbsp per cup of milk, I think) and then add enough milk to make 1 cup or however much the recipe calls for. So, you may end up with a little more hydration to your dough by adding the vinegar after you've added all the milk, but you can adjust the consistency of the dough tomorrow when you do the final mix.

What I've noticed in the soaker after the overnight soak is that the dough is much more extensible and smooth using "buttermilk" versus regular milk. IMHO the vinegar acts as a sort of "dough conditioner".

I'd let the soaker sit on the counter for a while to warm up if you've had it in the fridge, or just knead it in if it's already at room temp.

I have forgotten to add an egg to the dough before and have added it in after I had kneaded the dough for the 10 min! Doy! The rolls still turned out great.

Good luck!

Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hi there freckled,

I can't give you advice when to add your vineger but for this is for your own information.

By adding vinegar to milk all you are doing is making the milk curdle and it becomes sour. Buttermilk, like milk is a dairy product  and is a by-product of the manufacture of butter known as "whey".(pronounced way) and has an unsweetened yogurt taste to it.(sour would be the best word). It is generally purchased in it's own right. Search google on buttermilk.

It can be used in different types of bread making and is especially good for scones and pancakes. Some people can drink it like milk and others will only use it in their cooking. Others will look down upon it.


Buttermilk has a zero fat content, high in protein and calcium and is a highly underrated health and cooking product. It has a wide range od cooking uses. Some see it as a health food and yet here in Australia I have known in days gone by where Dairy Co OPs sold it off as cheap pig(hogs) food because of it's high protein level.

 Sour milk and buttermilk are 2 different dairy products. Adding vinegar to milk only gives you sour milk, not buttermilk.

Hope I havent been to pedantic or seem rude but it may make a difference to what you are trying to achieve. .........good luck.............Pete.

cgmeyer2's picture

i've had good luck substituting yogurt or sour cream for buttermilk. i usu. use non- or low-fat varities. hope it works for you.

take care, claudia