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Olive Oil for Butter in Baking Sweets

post #1 of 24
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Curious if any of you (maybe this has been covered in another thread) use olive oil as a healthier baking fat instead of butter (in cake, muffins, cookie batters). Interesting article in the Washington Post.
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/sty...2001May21.html

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post #2 of 24
Usually, I use canola oil for cakes. Sometimes olive oil (and yes, the full flavor kind because that's what we need when substituting for flavor), particularly in muffins that are based on vegetables (carrot, zucchini, pumpkin). For banana and fruit based muffins, grapeseed oil, but it's really pricey. But I stick to butter for pastries. I never use margarine and/or shortening. I've cut lard out of my diet, even though, according to Zarela Martinez, lard you render yourself (and I always did) contains less sat fats than butter (OMG did that taste good, though).
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post #3 of 24
I use Earth Balance butter alternative. Great taste and spreadability without chemicals or trans fatty acids. Made from soy, palm, olive oils with vitamin E.
post #4 of 24
it was funny to see this subject becasue i was just researching this last week.

in italian baking, they use olive oil instead of butter or shortening. when baking,u can sub. 3/4 cup olive oil intsead of 1 cup butter or shortening.

hope this helps
post #5 of 24
I've used olive oil in place of butter in a pinch and was surprised at the nice results.
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post #6 of 24
Dear Friends:

I use both extra virgin olive oil and butter when it comes to baking sweets. It depends on what I am cooking.

I read with interest one response that included oil spredas as a healthier alternative to butter. Many of the artificial margarines and spreads that
have become popular with health-conscious consumers can contain higher levels of "dangerous" fats than butter, a study claimed in the Uk on June 13, 2001.

A survey of 100 spreads found that levels of "trans" fat, thought by experts to contribute to heart disease, exceed those of butter in 27 cases. It recommended that one brand should even carry a "health warning".

New product ranges such as butter blends also often contain high levels of saturated fats, and olive oil spreads mislead shoppers because they are made with only small quantities of olive oil, it was claimed.

The report, published by the Consumers' Association, found that Somerfield's own-brand Packet Margarine contained 21g of trans fat per 100g - about four times
that of an average butter.

UK Government guidelines recommend a daily intake of trans fat of about 4g to 5g - considerably less than the 20g-30g recommended for saturated fats, which are
linked to high cholesterol and heart disease.

A UK Consumers' Association spokesman said: "It is well known that the type of fat that we eat is important as well as the quantity so it is important to know what
is in the spreads we are eating. The level of 21g of trans fat in the Somerfield product was shocking. One of our experts said it should come with a health warning. Along with other products, some spreads are
not as healthy as they seem."

Somerfield, whose low-fat sunflower spread was recommended as one of the healthiest products, rejected the findings, saying the margarine was made for baking and was not a spread.

Uk shoppers have been drifting away from buying butter since the 1970s when the dangers of eating too many saturated fats were first revealed.

Some spreads made from sunflower and olive oils have been preferred, but the research reveals that shoppers are often unaware of the high levels of trans fats contained in many products.

Trans fatty acids can be produced from either mono or polyunsaturated fats during the production of margarine. This happens when hydrogen is added to make them more solid because in their natural state these
fats are found as liquids. Trans fatty acids behave like saturated fatty acids, they raise LDL cholesterol, but they also lower good HDL cholesterol, making them "worse" than unsaturated fats.

A spokeswoman for the Consumers' Association said: "Spreads which customers believe are made mainly from olive oil are nothing of the sort. This is not fair, particularly when they usually come with an olive-based name and a picture of an olive branch."

I hope this is of assistance.

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post #7 of 24
Dear Friends:

I apologize for the typos in my previous posting but I wrote it at 07:30 on Sunday morning before coffee. :eek:
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post #8 of 24
I've already had two cups of coffee, Papa, and probably need a couple more because I didn't notice your typos. I DID notice that there was a lot of good info in your post though :) I like Sicilian butter and will take it any day over processed spreads. Olive oil is in my opinion a health food. It gives you a gorgeous tan too, and after 57 years I don't have any wrinkles. My doctor looks at me stunned. He says that's not supposed to happen! LOL!

[ July 08, 2001: Message edited by: Pastachef ]
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post #9 of 24
I once made a recipe of melomacarona (Greek honey cookies) which called for olive oil. I used a light oil and the cookies were delicious. Of course, anything would be delicious that's soaked in honey!
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post #10 of 24
That reminds me. I've been dying to try this recipe -- I'm just waiting for the fancy Yuppie grocery to get its order of chestnut flour.

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post #11 of 24
In my own opinion (this coming from my head, and not any research necessarily) I think butter, olive oil, and other natural fats and oils (yes, even lard!) are supremely better for a person than margarine/shortening.

I just think, for centuries people used these food items with no adverse affects, yet in our modern era, with all our processed foods, heart attacks and other ailments are common- and increase despite the advice to eat margarine instead of butter, cut back on the saturated fats, etc.

I think saturated fats are given a bad name that they do not deserve. Of coure an excess of anything is bad for you, but I believe a certain amount of saturated fat is necessary- and I am highly suspicious of most of the "studies" that link saturated fats to heart problems (especially as many of these so-called studies are usually released by manufacturers of margarines, vegetable oils, and other unsaturated fats!) Anyone realize that breast milk is 50% saturated fat? (I believe that is the correct percentage).
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post #12 of 24
Here's the link to an article I read recently. It focuses on women, but I'm sure the guidelines are just as applicable to men.

http://www.msnbc.com/news/676556.asp?0dm=N3CGN
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post #13 of 24
I have been doing this for years and never been disappointed! (Using olive oil in baking). Here is the conversion amounts:
To make substitutions easier, the North American Olive Oil Association offered these guidelines:
1 teaspoon of butter = 3/4 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter = 2-1/4 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter = 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup butter = 3 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup butter = 1/4-cup olive oil
1/2 cup butter = 1/4 cup plus 2-tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup butter = 1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup butter = 3/4 cup olive oil

Hope this helps some of you! See, you even use less which takes out some calories, too! :)
post #14 of 24
Wow, Starlite- thanks for the info - that's great!

And Roon, I'm with you re using natural fats/oils instead of those made in a chemical factory - at least I know where they come from!

When I was little, my mom had margerine (oleo!) only in the house; but my grandma - her mother - who lived on a farm, always had butter. I spent two weeks each summer with grandma and grandpa on the farm, and one of the things I loved the best was grandma's bread with butter! I swore to myself at the tender age of 5 that I would ALWAYS use butter!!!!:)
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post #15 of 24
Aw shucks, no problem! What is a Fitness and Nutrition consultant for!?
And it really works, I promise! :)
post #16 of 24
Isn't it true that part of the purpose butter serves is its density? Even when soft, butter remains solid until touched and aren't there certain cakes where this feature is necessary - so olive oil would not be a suitable substitute?
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post #17 of 24
Well, yes, however, when you boil it all down, fat is fat and fat contributes to texture. Melt butter and you've got the equivalent of oil - in a sense (stress that). However, for some fancy cakes and even some cookies and such, yes, you would want to use real butter for the best results in texture and flavor. However, you can do your heart a ton of good by using olive oil as much as possible. I do it all the time and quite frankly, my cakes haven't suffered at all. In muffins it's great. And cake mixes - no difference there.

When I make a special cake I do use the ingredients exactly as specified - no substitutes. Sometimes it's shortening, sometimes butter - but for something special or a special occasion, I'm a believer in enjoying "the real thing"! :lips:

See, I am a fitness and nutrition consultant so I'm working with this type of thing daily and I look for ways to cut fat and all the "bad stuff" out of foods I cook and eat on a regular basis; therefore, much of what I know about is geared in that direction and recipes I have/give/sell are as well. That is why I enjoy this forum because I see "the real thing" and in the short time I've been a member, I've learned several things and even discovered names of recipes I never knew existed in my world of de-fatting, de-cholesterizing yada, yada yada..lol. I watch the cooking channel now as well and see much I have never heard of. There is one chef - I cannot think of his name off hand but he is on every morning - he deep fries so many things and you see, I wouldn't get within 10 feet of a deep frier much less eat something deep fried - however! I love learning about it! :) It's a big world of food and ways to cook it and it all fascinates me! It just so happens I know the most about the "healthy" stuff and the least about the "normal" stuff.

Sorry - got on a roll here didn't I?!?!
post #18 of 24
Grazie! And I don't mind you getting "on a roll." More information is better than less - especially coming from a fitness and nutrition professional.
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post #19 of 24
This may be a stupid question, but..........
I read that you can freeze olive oil and use it as a solid in recipes to replace a solid fat. Would that work? For example, you are making scones and the recipe tells you to cut int the butter into the dry ingredients to make a "pebble-like" mixture just before adding your wet ingredients. Is there any way to sub. olive oil in recipes where the butter needs to be cut in? Scones, pie crusts, crackers, etc.?:confused:
post #20 of 24
No, I don't think olive oil would freeze, but what I do is keep a bottle in the frig and use it in some crusts. It works well in graham crusts you don't have to roll, and in "real" crusts where one should really use shortening or butter I have and do use it but you can tell the difference in the dough some. I have to say the flavor is fine- but then I'm so used to this I don't really know if someone not used to doing this would think so!

If the olive oil is a real flop for this type of thing, I use Smart Balance - it's a chilled spread so not perfect but it does help make a mixture crumbly a bit better than the olive oil in some recipes.

Olive oil is, as you know, unsaturated which basically in nutrition speak, means it is liquid at room temp therefore classified as monounsaturates.

I guess in short, this is something you could try experimenting with. It may work better in some recipes than others - that's what I find, anyway. For myself and my dad who I make a lot of desserts for, I always use the olive oil or Smart Balance, even if it means the dough isn't quite as easy to work with - or has the same texture it would with butter or shortening. For example, I can tell you right off a pie crust doesn't come out as flaky and tender - shame, I know...

One more thing - if you're out to impress, do it the "normal" way!
;) But if it's for you and your overall health - give it a try when you're in an experimenting mood and see if it works for you. That Smart Balance I mentioned has no trans fats and I use it all the time in cooking with success if that helps a little..hope so because right now I'm thinking I may have confused you more than helped!
Sigh.:confused:
post #21 of 24
Again a plug for Earth Balance spread. It is natural spread that holds together by the inclusion of palm oil (3g of saturated fat) blended with olive oil and soybean oil with beta carotene and vitamin E. No trans fatty acids no partially or hydrogenated oils or DAIRY! I use it all the time in baking. :)
post #22 of 24
markdchef,
Is the Earth Balance a comercial or retail product?
My wife bought some of the smart balance, I'm not sold on that product. I know something turned me off in the ingredients, can anybody recall whats in it.
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post #23 of 24
Smart balance is a different product for assisting in lowering cholesterol.

Earth balance and Soy Garden are made by GF foods and are sold in Whole Foods, Wild Oats, HFS, Trader Joes, Kings, and some specialty stores. It is dairy free, trans fat free, and vegan.

I do not use any hydrogenated oils or any other spreads. A lot of them are pretty awful. Spectrum does not melt well or taste good.
post #24 of 24
I can't find Earth Balance where I come from - but am watching for it all the time. It's good to hear it spoken so highly of - now I just hope the stores get it pretty soon!
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