The secret ingredient that will take your bread to the next level

Step aside and make way because there's a new secret ingredient in town, er, sitting on your pantry shelves, or perhaps tucked away in the back of your refrigerator, and you will want to use the next time you are making bread. This unlikely ingredient will make the taste of your bread set off a firecracker of flavors in your mouth. What is it? Pickle juice. And if you haven't tried this briny liquid in your baking before, time to polish off those pickle spears and make use of the leftover green goodness.

Leftover pickle juice has long been touted as a recovery drink for athletes, a breath freshener, cramp reliever, and the list goes on (via Healthline). It should not come as a surprise that its vinegar and brine flavors can amplify the flavor of many recipes. From potato salad, to meat marinades, to delicious cocktails, that sharp intensity of pickle juice adds the salty je ne sais quoi that gets the mouth salivating. 

Using it in your bread actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it (Wide Open Eats). Even famed King Arthur's Flour recommends using pickle juice when making their rye sandwich bread (via King Arthur's Flour).

How to use pickle juice in your bread recipe

In fact, pickles and bread have been long been partners in culinary perfection. Claudia Roden's The Book of Jewish Food explores how pickled vegetables became part of the Jewish diet for those living in the Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Russia. The tanginess of pickles paired well with their often flavorless staples — bread and potato (via PBS). In the U.S., Jewish delis in New York serve pickles with sandwiches to help cleanse the palate, allowing you to taste all of the flavors of your sandwich (via The Kitchn). So it seems like a no brainer that pickle juice can take your bread to the next level.

How do you add this secret ingredient to your bread recipe? It's pretty simple. Instead of proofing your yeast with water — this is what you do to ensure your yeast is active and will make your bread rise — you substitute pickle juice. First, you want to heat the pickle juice. If you are a thermometer person, you are looking for the juice to heat to 110 degrees. The recommended ratio should be 1 cup of pickle juice, plus 1 tablespoon of sugar for every 1/4-ounce envelope of yeast. Once your pickle juice is warm enough, add it along with the appropriate amount of sugar and yeast (via Tasting Table). It's that easy, and when you bite into that warm tangy loaf of bread, pickle juice will be your go-to ingredient from that point forward.