Replacing or reducing the oil in quick breads, like banana bread or zucchini bread, is easy and cuts the total fat and calories. In quick breads, the fat in oil acts to provide moisture, reduce stickiness and carry flavor. Other substances, including fruit purees and yogurt, can do this job nearly as well, making this an easy sacrifice that your waistline will appreciate.
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Applesauce is an accessible and affordable substitute for oil in quick breads. If your recipe calls for a solid fat, like butter or vegetable shortening, use half as much applesauce. Replace liquid oil with three-fourths the amount of applesauce. Opt for an unsweetened, all-natural applesauce as a fat substitute. Applesauce works well in fairly dense, strongly flavored quick breads or muffins, as well as in chocolate baked goods.
Nonfat yogurt can replace vegetable shortening, butter, oil, or sour cream in quick bread recipes. Yogurt adds moistness and an appealing tang to the finished bread. If you're replacing sour cream, use yogurt to replace all of the sour cream. Try replacing half of the butter with half as much yogurt or half of the oil with three-quarters as much yogurt for low-fat banana, cranberry or zucchini bread that doesn't sacrifice flavor or texture.
Purees and Butters
Fruit and vegetable purees, like pumpkin or prune puree, or rich fruit butters like apple butter can also replace fat in some quick bread recipes. Choose recipes with spicy or complementary flavors. Try pumpkin puree in your favorite cranberry bread or prune puree in a spice bread. Apple butter pairs well with other fall flavors, but can also work well with a cinnamon flavored zucchini bread. You may find that it helps to add a tablespoon or two of oil and a small amount of applesauce for additional moisture if you opt for one of these fruit purees.
Low Fat Baking Tips
You can improve your lower fat quick breads by changing the temperature and baking time. Lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees F. and begin checking your quick bread several minutes early. If you use a sweet fat substitute, like prune puree or apple butter, consider reducing the sugar by the amount of fruit puree to account for the additional sweetness. Reduce the sugar only minimally for less sweet substitutes and not at all for yogurt.