Thursday, February 17, 2011

Substituting Applesauce for Oil

The poppy seed muffin recipe given to me by a dear friend was yummy --- except (now quit laughing) I know, I know, I just had to tweak it a little, a cup of oil in a recipe making two quick breads is over kill in my opinion. The taste was good but greasy. Besides making it high in fat and calories. Not that calories has stopped me from eating anything. Solution to both problems is adding applesauce for part of the oil.

Cooking is science and to make changes you should understand the role each ingredient plays. Oil keeps flour protein from mixing with the moisture in the recipe and forming long strands of gluten that will make the cake or cookies tough. Think yeast bread and its texture. You want those long strands of gluten to develop hence, the long kneading process and lack of very much oil. I prefer yeast breads not only with less oil because of the fat levels and cholesterol but I don't like the crumb texture as well which is much softer.
Quick breads, cakes etc. are tough if mixed too long since you don't want those strands forming and oil helps in this. The solution is to mix the wet ingredients in one bowl.
Your dry ingredients in another. Then gently stir them together much like pancake batter or waffles. To best accomplish this, I hand mix my quick breads leaving the electric mixer in the drawer.

Another role of oil is to carry flavor so even though chefs say you can substitute applesauce for oil 1=1 ratio, I don't - especially in this poppy seed bread since it isn't applesauce bread. Yes, it would be changing the flavor too much for me. Another reason is applesauce softens the texture. Think applesauce cookies versus chocolate chip cookies. I want my quick bread soft but not fall all apart when I slice it. Therefore, I opt to use 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup of canola oil in the recipe. One chef recommends doing just that. Substitute half the amount of oil for applesauce and work your way upwards from there until it changes the recipe too greatly in sweetness and texture.

When substituting applesauce for oil, you have to keep in mind that the applesauce is sweeter and adjust the sugar in your recipe, especially if the applesauce is sweetened with sugar. Those of you do it yourselfers who can their own applesauce know the huge difference in the taste and sweetness it makes with choosing various types of apples. Think for instance Granny Smith apples compared to Fuji, Gala, or Braeburn. The first applesauce would be tart and the others sweet. If I could I'd use Winesapp exclusively but it is no longer available in our grocery stores and the tree won't grow here. Do any of you by chance have this tree growing in your area? I'm curious as to what happened to the supply.

Experts also caution us to use applesauce as a substitute for oil only as applesauce and oil are considered liquids and butter and shortening solids.
Butter causes cookies to spread, producing crispness and adding applesauce softens this crisp texture causing a cake like one instead. If you use appplesauce in a cake recipe you might want to substitute cake flour for the usual regular flour which will give the results an added lift. And since we mentioned spread, shortening does not cause as much spread as butter so if those cookies are looking a bit flat, you might use half shortening and half butter in the recipe.
For many years I've used applesauce in many of my recipes that call for lots of oil but now that I have ghee, I wonder if I could use it instead of the oil and of course use applesauce too. The ghee would add more nutreints as would the applesauce. It probably would work. Oh will my brain ever be still? Probably not. Then to keep it thoroughly revved for sometime to come a chef mentioned substituting yogurt for part or all of the oil. Now that's an idea. I could from what's in the cubboard trying to keep from running to the store for this and that saving loads of money that way. After all, I can't just buy one thing.
That is why I'm fondly called the dumb queen. Substituting is a way of life for me and as I've thought on this, I do have a cream biscuit recipe that has no oil or butter in it because the cream is its equivelent substitute. Cream makes butter and butter makes ghee. Hm........... see where my brain is whirling now. Yup, my new found ghee might just get worked into this applesauce or yogurt substituting.
I'm going to use yogurt more when I start making it again. Before I stopped this winter, I was happy with the yogurt's texture but not the flavor, too tart. I'm getting ready to order some cultures to refresh my stock, I noticed that yogurt cultures come in several tartness levels. My culture happened to be a gift from the neighbor. I can't remember exactly what kind it was but I'm thinking it was the tartest kind. This time I'll order the two less tart varieties and see what I like. The least tart is said to have a weaker, softer texture. I see another experiment brewing. We just might have to nick name my kitchen, Queenies Laboratory. The chefs also say to be careful what kind of yogurt you use as the tartness will change the recipe and a tart yogurt in poppy seed bread would not be good. In bread though it would impart a sourdough flavor. Hm.... yup, I've got some things to try. The old saying, " Make do, or do without.", was just raised to another level.
I suppose now I should give you the recipe so you can have some too.
Poppy Seed Bread
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil (canola)
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 teaspoon butter flavor extract
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cup milk
Place in a small mixing bowl and stir thoroughly.
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon poppy seeds
Stir together in a medium sized bowl.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir together until the flour is all mixed in but a few small lumps remain.
Pour into two greased bread pans and bake at 350F for 30 and then lower the temperature to 325F. until done. My recipe says an hour but I've never timed it. The first thirty minutes either. I just watch through the oven window for the bread to reach its highest rising level, let it bake for another five minutes or so and then turn the oven down. The purpose is a higher temperature creates a greater rise and the lowering of the temperture means the bread gets done in the center before the outside is burned.
Happy baking!!!

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