Here's Why You Should Add Vinegar To Your Homemade Dosa

You may have been making dosa for years but this beloved savoury crepe can be perfected in so many ways. For instance, did you know that vinegar plays a crucial role in the recipe of a flawless dosa. It doesn’t just speed up the fermentation but also makes dosa crispier and gives it the perfect texture.

Use a small amount of vinegar, typically 1 to 2 teaspoons per cup of rice used in the batter. Too much vinegar can overpower the flavour and make the batter too acidic. Add the vinegar to the batter after the initial grinding of rice and lentils, just before you set it aside for fermentation. Apple cider vinegar is a good choice due to its mild flavour and health benefits. However, white vinegar can also be used if that's what available in your pantry.

Accelerates Fermentation

Fermentation is a crucial step in making dosa batter, as it helps develop the batter’s flavour and texture. The natural fermentation process can be time-consuming, often requiring 8 to 12 hours, depending on the ambient temperature and humidity. Adding vinegar to the batter can expedite this process significantly.

Vinegar, being acidic, lowers the pH of the batter, creating an environment conducive to the growth of beneficial lactic acid bacteria and yeast. These microorganisms thrive in an acidic environment and kickstart the fermentation process more rapidly. As a result, the batter ferments faster, making it possible to prepare dosa even in cooler climates or when time is limited.

Additionally, vinegar helps in breaking down the starches in the rice and lentils more efficiently, which further aids in faster fermentation. This accelerated process not only saves time but also ensures that the batter reaches the desired level of fermentation more consistently.

Enhances Flavour and Aroma

The distinctive tangy flavour and aroma of dosa come from the fermentation process, which produces lactic acid and other compounds. Adding vinegar to the dosa batter enhances these characteristics, making the final product more flavorful and aromatic.

Vinegar, particularly apple cider vinegar, contains acetic acid, which contributes a subtle tanginess that complements the natural flavours developed during fermentation. This added acidity can enhance the overall taste profile of the dosa, making it more enjoyable.

Moreover, vinegar can help in achieving a more uniform and pleasant aroma in the dosa. Fermentation sometimes produces varying levels of acidity and flavours due to fluctuations in temperature or inconsistencies in the fermentation process. By adding vinegar, you can create a more controlled environment that leads to a consistent and desirable flavour and aroma.

Improves Texture

The texture of dosa is crucial to its appeal. It should be crispy on the outside while soft and slightly spongy on the inside. The fermentation process plays a significant role in achieving this texture by producing carbon dioxide, which makes the batter light and airy.

Adding vinegar to the batter can improve its texture by enhancing the fermentation process. As the vinegar lowers the pH, it promotes the activity of yeast and bacteria that produce carbon dioxide more effectively. This results in a batter that is lighter and more aerated, leading to dosas that are crispier and have a better overall texture.

Furthermore, vinegar can help in achieving a more uniform consistency in the batter. Sometimes, the fermentation process can be uneven, resulting in parts of the batter being under-fermented and others over-fermented. Vinegar helps in maintaining a consistent acidic environment, ensuring that the entire batter ferments evenly. This uniformity in fermentation translates to dosas with a consistent texture throughout.

Increases Shelf Life of the Batter

One of the challenges of making dosa batter is its limited shelf life. Once fermented, the batter needs to be used within a couple of days to prevent it from becoming overly sour or spoiled. Adding vinegar to the batter can help in extending its shelf life, allowing you to store it for a longer period without compromising its quality.

Vinegar acts as a natural preservative due to its acidic nature. It inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria and molds that can spoil the batter. By lowering the pH of the batter, vinegar creates an environment that is less conducive to the growth of these unwanted microorganisms.

This extended shelf life can be particularly beneficial for those who prepare larger batches of batter and want to use it over several days. You can enjoy fresh and delicious dosas without the worry of the batter spoiling quickly. Moreover, this can reduce food waste and make the process of dosa-making more convenient and efficient.