Sunday, September 15, 2013

Can I bake with olive oil?

I've heard that olive oil is more healthy than plain vegetable oil, but I'm wondering if I can use it for baking, like muffins and cakes. I've been told not to use any substituting in baking because its an exact science and altering the recipe will affect the final product.
Thanks! Darla J.

Hi Darla, 

Olive oil is monounsaturated and this type of oil probably raises your "good" cholesterol while also lowering your "bad" cholesterol levels. Other vegetable oils (corn, sunflower, safflower) only do the bad cholesterol lowering.

I've used olive oil in baking and never noticed a taste. Peanut oil is also monounsaturated, and may be interesting to bake with (peanut-flavored oil in a chocolate cake?!) if there was a hint of taste. 

All the oils act alike in baking, so it's not really substituting a different product at all.

By the way, there are ways to substitute some of the oil in baking to lower fat and calories in the finished baked good. You can use applesauce, mashed banana, yogurt, and even puréed prunes or beans!  Replacing all the oil often changes the texture noticeably. I've had mushy banana bread result more than once! But replacing half the oil with equal amounts one of these fat free healthy foods usually comes out well.