I just bought a bread. It looks fresh, no mold or any other marks, but it has a strong smell of vinegar. I toasted and ate some, and it tastes totally fine... just the smell... Anyone know what this is and whether I can do something about it. Thanks!

  • 6
    Did you buy a sourdough bread?
    – Stephie
    Jan 5, 2017 at 17:43
  • 2
    can you tell us what brand? I recently bought "Colombo" brand extra sour, sliced, which my family often ate when I was a child. But now I see on the package it is owned by "Bimbo bakeries", Pa (arm of a Mexican conglomerate). I don't remember this bread smelling so weird long ago. Sort of like vinegar and yeast mixed together. Yes, that does sound like normal for sourdough, but it really doesn't smell like normal bread at all...sweet and almost cloying.
    – Lorel C.
    Jan 5, 2017 at 17:50
  • 1
    related, possible dup (some is about homemade bread, though): cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/46700/…
    – Cascabel
    Jan 5, 2017 at 20:22
  • I've had this happen with regular white bread recently (Sunbeam).
    – Batman
    Jan 5, 2017 at 22:55
  • it's possible to mistake the odor of ammonia for vinegar cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/6284-what-is-bakers-ammonia Jun 22, 2019 at 5:24

2 Answers 2


I'm guessing this is sourdough bread, naturally leavened. The tastes can vary because the fermentation is natural and therefore a little bit random. The microbiome is different in every bakery so two loaves from different bakeries will always taste different even if they have the same starting flour and water. The sourness of the bread comes from the fermentation duration and the microbial culture of the starter.


This is the natural breakdown process of the white bread. It's not supposed to do this before expiration date, but it happens. You should contact the bakery and inform them (they will usually replace it). Mine was Mrs. Baird's Hamburger buns, smelled and tasted of strong vinegar on June 18th with an Expiration Date of Jun 21st. This is nature's way of saying Don't Eat me! It can cause illness, but nothing that lasts, unless you are allergic to mold.

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