For some reason, baking is associated with desserts. I understand that cakes, cookies and pies are the ones we remember the moment we see the word 'baking'. But, we forget those dishes which aren't desserts at all but are baked too. Most of the breads are not high in fat unless you want them to be.
With the amount of baking I do or like to do (trust me, I can bake the whole day without getting tired if I can get someone to eat all the stuff), I always try to see if I can cut down on fat. It is not always possible to cut down on fat and get the same texture. But, if you are ready to compromise a little on texture, and little on less richness, you can always replace fat in baking. This doesn't apply to every recipe though.
These are some healthy alternatives that can be changed in a recipe without losing too much of textural integrity.
1. Use Oil in place of butter. This works in most of the recipes. If the recipe calls for baking soda, make sure you do not use olive oil. Olive oil won't work very well with just baking soda in the recipe. For every 1/2 cup of butter in a recipe, use 1/3 cup of oil. This is because butter is only 80 % fat. Rest is water. The baked good might bake couple of minutes earlier than when butter is used. So, check early.
2. When baking yeast breads, use 1/4 cut of buttermilk or low fat yogurt in place of every egg. This of course is not a great idea when you are trying to make a rich, sweet bread.
3. Instead of whole eggs, use egg whites. You are practically removing all the fat calories from the eggs in the recipe. For every 3 whole eggs, use 4 whites.
4. Applesauce makes a great substitute for butter or oil. End product might come a bit dense though. This can be fixed to a certain extent by increasing the leavening agent. You will have to experiment.
5. You don't really have to use applesauce everywhere. Any fruit puree will do.
6. Soft tub margarine or buttery spreads who do not have any transfat or no hydrogenated oils make good substitutes for butter without losing texture.
7. One of the best things I like to do is to use half the butter and half applesauce or buttery spread to cut down not only on calories, but on saturated fat too.
8. Use flax egg in place of egg where the baked good is nutty. This is good for you even when you are an egg eater since flax eggs provide so much omega fatty acids that it is good for you.
9. Use part whole wheat flour or full whole wheat flour in place of all purpose flour. If you can get your hands on whole wheat pastry flour (it is expensive, I warn you), use that instead of all purpose flour. Goodness of whole wheat and beautiful texture of all purpose flour.
10. Whenever baking recipe calls for heavy cream or half and half, you could use milk without compromising on the end product.
11. Wherever sour cream is called for, you can use low fat yogurt without any problems. Remember that sour cream is yogurt made with heavy cream (which has butter in it) and yogurt is from regular milk.
12. Tofu makes an excellent egg replacer which cuts down the fat. It also increases the nutritional value of the end product.
Do you have any tips on healthy, low fat baking? Share it with us.