You may love the taste and comfort of homemade breads, but worry about what the extra calories do to your waistline. Substituting fruit purees, such as banana, for oil not only saves calories and fat, but also adds flavor and moisture to a variety of breads.
Role of Oil in Baked Bread
In baking, each ingredient plays a role in helping to create the texture, taste and look of your goodies. Oil in breads, for example, adds volume, moisture and a soft, crumbly texture. Oil is also responsible for adding some flavor, as well as browning.
Replacing 1/4 cup of oil with the same amount of mashed banana can shave off more than 400 calories in a recipe.
What to Expect With Bananas
As a substitute, bananas impart many of the same characteristics as oil, but without the fat and calories. The fiber and sugar in the bananas hold onto moisture, according to the website Family Education, and add a tender texture. The sugar in the fruit also promotes browning of your baked goods.
While the banana does add some tenderness to your bread, it may not be quite as tender as the original goodie.
How to Substitute
You can replace 100 percent of the oil in a recipe with equal amounts of well-mashed banana. For example, if your quick bread recipe requires 1/4 cup of oil, use 1/4 cup of mashed banana instead. While you can replace all your fat with mashed banana, if you're uncertain of the effects, start slow and replace one-quarter or half the fat with the fruit and adjust as necessary.
Substituting mashed banana for oil may decrease your baking time by 25 percent, according to the Ohio State University Extension.
Bananas have a strong taste, which will add to the flavor of the bread recipe it's used in, so it's important to find the right pairings.
With baked goods that require a more tender texture, such as pastries and cakes, you may want to replace only half your oil with banana.
If you don't like the taste of banana, try a different fruit puree, such as applesauce or prunes, in your breads.