The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

substituting butter in cinnamon bread & dinner rolls

zorgclyde's picture

substituting butter in cinnamon bread & dinner rolls

I am avoiding diary restriction due to health-related reasons, and one of the persistent questions is what to do with the butter. I don't like the idea of using margarine. I've read that coconut oil works and when I tried that while making cinnamon bread the other day, the coconut oil seem to give the bread a crisper edge, which is a great quality for pie crusts (I know what I'll use next time I make pies now...) but not necessary for soft, sweet breads. Does anyone have good suggestion?

Also, does this mean that I can't have a good brioche??

andythebaker's picture

but one of my favorite recipes online is martha stewart's pumpkin challah recipe, where i take out the spices, and use baked sweet potato instead of pumpkin.  (oh and i use 3 eggs in lieu of the 11-12 egg yolks because, come on, that's a lot of egg yolks).

it has no butter, just a tiny bit of oil in it.  keep the dough soft, almost sticky.  it is one of the most nicely hued, moistest, softest, loveliest breads i make.  i use this base for dairy free challah, regular bread, rolls, and it makes the most knockout cinnamon rolls.

happy baking.

zorgclyde's picture

sounds lovely. do you have a link to it?

andythebaker's picture


(did that work?  if not, you can copy/paste... or google.)

zorgclyde's picture

saved :-)

mrfrost's picture

I substitute just about any fat for any other type of fat in most of the recipes I try.

Maybe butter one day, lard another, shortening another, margarines, various oils(corn, soybean, olive, etc). Of course there may be slight differences in the final bread(texture, taste), but all pretty much acceptable for me.

Lately, I've been replacing part of the butter(1 Tb of butter), with a large egg yolk in one recipe I've been making. Egg yolk is mostly fat, afaik. Great results, although I can't say how, or if, it compares much to the original, as I've never done the original version, as of yet.

Same with liquids. Sometimes water, sometimes milk, sometimes buttermilk. etc.

Of course, my belief is one cannot truly judge a recipe(as good, bad, etc), unless it's done as prescribed. By making changes, I've basically made my own recipe. Whether it turns out good or bad, it's on me.

Wild-Yeast's picture

There is no substitute for butter...,

Taught long and hard at cooking schools far and wide...,


Bien Cordialement, Wild-Yeast

swtgran's picture

When making cinnamon rolls, I use extra light olive oil in the dough.  When I roll them out, I spread honey all over the dough and then sprinkle with lots of cinnamon.  I usually sprinkle nuts or raisins or both on top that, but not always.  They are beautifully soft and fluffy.  Terry R

sustainthebaker's picture

I know that yogurt is a dairy product, but due to its fermentated nature, the bodily accepts it more readily then milk or cheese. This would be an option for butter. But again, I am not sure of your dietary restrictions. Just a thought.

G-man's picture

Not sure what your dietary restrictions are, but you mentioned coconut oil so I'll assume saturated fats are ok.


In my opinion, there's no substituting unsaturated fats (most vegetable-based oils) for saturated fats (most animal-based fats and coconut oil). They both bring very different qualities to what you're working with. Sub saturated for saturated, unsaturated for unsaturated.