The scent of baking bread is heavenly for foodies and many bakers enjoy the old-world feeling of kneading and preparing the dough. Gourmet bakers are often on the lookout for ways to make their foods healthier and more flavorful. Substituting olive oil for canola or vegetable oil in a bread mix is an idea to consider since olive oil can add depth, flavor and health benefits to your loaves.
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The variety of bread mixes on the market range from gluten-free white sandwich slices to 12-grain loaves, garlic bread to French, rye, herb, potato and more. The cooking directions for many of these can be found at Amazon.com. Most of these mixes can be used in a bread machine or in your oven. The majority contain all the necessary dry ingredients, including yeast. In most cases, they direct the baker to add warm water and a small amount of vegetable or canola oil, usually 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp.
Though the majority of bread mixes call for vegetable or canola oil, it is simple to substitute olive oil for the other types. The others are recommended because of their mild, unobtrusive flavor. Olive oil has a stronger flavor but one that goes well with most savory loaves. Registered dietitian Nour El-Zibdeh of Practical Nutrition suggests substituting the same amount of olive oil for vegetable or canola oil in your bread mix.
Benefits of Olive Oil
MayoClinic.com explains that, though still a fat-filled oil, olive oil's fat source is monounsaturated. This type of fat can lessen the risk of heart disease and lower levels of bad cholesterol. It may also be helpful in regulating blood sugar and managing type 2 diabetes. As healthy as this oil can be, however, it is still high in fat and calories and can cause obesity.
Be careful when attempting to substitute olive oil for canola or vegetable oils in sweet bread mixes. Olive oil has a strong flavor that can overpower the headlining ingredient in dessert breads. You don't want your banana, pumpkin or zucchini loaves to lose their sweet, light flavors. If you'd like to experiment with olive oil in sweet breads, try using half of the recommended oil and half olive oil and testing the results before making the full substitution.