The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Adding butter to a dough in small amounts? melted vs softened?

doublelift08's picture
doublelift08

Adding butter to a dough in small amounts? melted vs softened?

Question to all--

When adding butter to a dough in small amounts (lets say 10% or less)...Is there a difference between adding melted butter or kneading in softened butter?

 

Obviously for something like a brioche or a very enriched bread, adding melted fat would be a disater. But for a recipe with just a small amount of fat? Would using one versus the other create any benefit? Or subbing oil for butter? That would be just like using melted butter (minus the little bit of water that the butter would provide, i know)

 

Your thoughts?

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Extracts from Chapter 5 of the American Institute of Baking text on Baking Technology:

"...it is not recommended to use a liquid vegetable oil without the addition of some hard fat."

"The hard fat is essential for lubricating the gluten structure for a good extensibility of the dough and also for good gas retention during the early stages of baking."

Most bakers use only 2% soybean oil along with 0.5% dough strengthener and 0.5% monoglycerides for crumb softening

gerhard's picture
gerhard

It may be good for the gluten but what about your heart?

Gerhard

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

In clinical trials, there has been no correlation of significance found between dietary fats and serum cholesterol. There is an inverse correlation with vitamin C or Niacin. The more of either in your diet, the lower the serum cholesterol.

And no, I'm not going to look up the references. ;)

cheers,

gary

gerhard's picture
gerhard

The problem I have with hard fat used in baking is that it is generally made with hydrogenated (oil of some description), I just choose to avoid hydrogenated fats when possible but I am not religious about it.

Gerhard

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

On that we are in agreeance. I favor butter and lard for the solid fats.

cheers,

gary

gerhard's picture
gerhard

I made two pie crusts today and we used lard, I think back in the 70s lard was given a bad name by the veg shortening producers advertising campaigns.

Gerhard

doublelift08's picture
doublelift08

Perhaps I should clarify my question:

 

What I was refering to is, for instance, a recipe which calls for 10% or less of melted butter to be added to the dough. If I happened to have some softened butter sitting on my station and used that instead, is their any benefit or drawback. basically what is the net effect of having butter in a dough go in melted vs softened.

 

Secondly, if a recipe calls for a quantity of oil and you substitute butter (melted or softened), is there any difference other than the obvious difference in flavor and the small amount of water contributed to the dough by the addition of butter.

 

 

Thanks in advance for all your comments

Happy baking

Justin

 

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

If by melted, you mean clarified, use as a one-for-one substitute. Butter will generally give you more loaf volume than vegetable oils. Softened butter will have ~20% water, so increase the weight by 25%, and reduce the liquid by 20% of the new measure. E.g. If the formula calls for 100g oil, multiply that by 1.25 giving you 125g of butter. Of that, 20% (25g) is water, and 100g is fat. Reduce the liquid by 25g.

cheers,

gary

bakeshack's picture
bakeshack

I guess the best answer is for you to try it.  Either way, you bread will still turn out good.  I don't see any detrimental effect on the end product.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

I suspect the "amount" of butter is a less-than-great proxy for what really matters, which is "why" add butter?

If butter is being added simply for flavor, the answer will be very different than if the butter is being added to make the dough flaky. It's that "why" that really matters.

I suspect the shorthand assumption of small quantities of butter being purely for flavor and large quantities being for dough structure will be right often enough to seem reasonable, but doesn't really directly address the real issue and will sometimes point toward the wrong conclusion.

proth5's picture
proth5

pratical advice - perhaps.  If I am making something that has only a small amount of "fat" in the formula - like an enriched sandwich bread, I have successfully used soft butter, melted butter, or oil. 

A "hard" fat is not required.  I've made a number of successful breads using oil alone.  The requirements of a commercial bakery (ease of processing through machines, being a notable one) are not always valid for home baking.

You can knot yourself up in exact calculations of pure fat vs fat plus liquid, but at low percentages I have found the difference to be small. 

Frankly, I prefer softened butter, since it generally has the same temperature as "the air" when calculating desired dough temperature and it tastes better than oil.  But oil would have the same impact on dough temperature. 

I just heard a wonderful quote to the effect that I find that what I eat has been pronounced to be deadly poison and what I don't eat has been declared essential to life, yet still I go marching on.  (Can't find the exact quote just now...).  My philosophy exactly.  Make sure the taste and texture of the bread pleases you.

Hope this actually answers your questions and is of some help.

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

cheers,

gary

MickiColl's picture
MickiColl

I can't thank you enough for  posting these !! I am near 80, and have always been a promoter of "real" foods ..

real milk, real butter, real meat and of course home grown vegetables. (and fruits in season). ..

my ancestors way back in the early 1800's all lived this way and they lived to an average of 90+ years.

in a period when the average was 40 - 50.