Low-fat Baking Techniques
Create great-tasting low-fat baked goods by carefully balancing flavors and textures, creatively compensating for the contribution that fat makes to a dish, and wisely budgeting the fat that you do use. Fat helps to seal in moisture, adds flavor and richness to foods. To compensate for less fat, we need to add moisture, texture, and pump up the flavor, either by adding new flavors to the dish, or by increasing the seasoning.
Spend your fat-calorie budget wisely by selecting the healthiest ingredients available. Good quality olive oil is a much healthier alternative to processed vegetable oils, and does not alter the flavor of the finished product.
In baking, heavier textured items like brownies, muffins, plum puddings, etc. can be lowered in fat by substituting fruit puree for up to 75% of the fat usually used in the recipe. But remember, fat makes baked goods moist and tender. Low-fat baked goods will be more tender if you switch from all-purpose flour to cake flour. Milled from soft wheat, cake flour contains less gluten than all-purpose flour, which comes from hard wheat. Gluten turns baked goods tough and elastic — desirable in yeast breads but not in quick breads or cakes. If you’d like to boost the fiber content in a quick bread or muffin, replace about half of the white flour with whole-wheat pastry flour.
When a recipe calls for eggs, reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol by using a mixture of eggs and egg whites. For example, replace four whole eggs with two whole eggs and two egg whites. Adjust the liquid in the recipe accordingly.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your favorite recipes. Low-fat cooking actually can reveal the flavors of many fresh foods. Rather, it tastes as delicious as high-fat food — when it is prepared and served properly. And the potential health benefits are worth the effort.