The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Oil vs. Butter in slowing stale-ness

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thihal123's picture
thihal123

Oil vs. Butter in slowing stale-ness

According to Peter Reinhardt in his whole grain book, oil and butter slows the staling of breads. In practically all his recipes when lipids are called her, he lists "oil or butter" can be used. My question is this: which is a better agent to slow staling, oil or butter?

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

"Butter" is a member of the class "oil".  There are other products that delay the crystalization of starch but they all do approximately the same thing. If you like butter, use butter.  If not, use a different oil.  Bread is best when it contains some solid fat in addition to any liquid fat used, so if you are going to use butter, it can substitute for your solid fat (just remember not to melt it - solid fat means exactly that).

pepperhead212's picture
pepperhead212

But do you need that flavor, and will the amount you are using actually be noticeable? That's what you'll have to figure out. I rarely add butter, except in quick breads, where there is a generous amount, and it is part of the flavor, such as cornbread. Also, remember butter is only 80% fat.

Dave

Kollin's picture
Kollin

Butter or lard work better than liquid oils (at room temperature ~18-20C ) ;)

isand66's picture
isand66

If you are using a sourdough starter yet hat will in itself make the bread last longer before going soft.  With the amount of butter in his recipes for whole grain breads I doubt you will taste much from the butter so to be healthier the oil may be your best bet.  Potatoes also can help In Keeping your bread fresh longer.

mini_maggie's picture
mini_maggie

Seems to fly in the face of what the others have said but I've switched to Olive Oil (Extra Virgin when I want to taste it and Extra Light when I don't) and find bread keeps better than when I used butter.   Go figure.  My loaves are at least 50 - 100% whole grain, usually with some dairy and fat. 

Bake a loaf with each and see what happens.

pjaj's picture
pjaj

I use sunflower or rapeseed oil which are both essentially tasteless.

I think it's a matter of wether you want to  just prolong the life of the loaf or add flavour as well.

suelynn's picture
suelynn

I happened upon this really by accident.  Although butter gives it great flavor which is good for dinner rolls and loaves that are going to be eaten quickly, the very best way to make your bread last longer is with solid Crisco.  Sorry, but. I don't use any other shortening so I can't recommend any. It is amazing.

rcbaughn's picture
rcbaughn

Have you ever tried the butter flavored Crisco in loaves? I find it gives a more "buttery" flavor than even butter does without having that fake butter taste. I really like it in my hamburger bun recipe. They last a really long time and freeze beautifully. 

pepperhead212's picture
pepperhead212

Possibly put out by the Smucker's Food company?  There has been a government/big business conspiracy to replace coconut oil and many others (imports, that is) with hydrogenated oil since the 1950's, and maybe this was just one of the stories we were fed.  Fortunately, we have (almost) all realized the problems with it.  Even if it does last another half day longer,  I'll stick with oils, or the occasional butter in mine.

  Dave

 

pm.vonderheide@gmail.com's picture
pm.vonderheide@...

Conspiracy??

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

In my opinion water roux is much more effective as anti-staling than all fats I regularly use.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Nico - how much of the flour do you put into the roux?

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

6% with wheat flours and 10% in special preparations (mixed rye). In high-rye territory I go up to 30%.

Frankly in my opinion the anti-staling effect of fats in bread ranges from over-estimated to inexistent.

pjaj's picture
pjaj

Pardon my ignorance, but how do you use this water roux? Paint it on the outside of the loaf just before putting it in the oven, mix it in with the dough at some point or something else?

Would it work for any normal bread loaf, in a tin, boule etc?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven
nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

it applies to any bread, although in boules it tends to make the crust tender.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Have you ever seen how long it takes for wallpaper paste to stale?  It doesn't.  

I have year old jars of the stuff for hobbies. It can grow some funky stuff without a fungicide but it stays liquid until it dries out, it doesn't crystallize or go rancid on its own.  I don't suggest using commercial wall paper paste for food, not sure if it is food safe.  But to thicken water with starch/flour by bringing it up to a gelation is what we are talking about.

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

I use all three things, listed in the order in which I began using them: sourdough leavening, olive oil, and water roux. The water roux was the finishing touch and is amazingly effective considering the small percentage of the total flour that is contained in it. My water roux is made from 1.2 oz of the total of 30 oz of flour in my recipe. My bread now keeps until we eat the whole loaf. On the final day, the slices are harder to chew but the bread still tastes good. I think this means that the bread is drying out, rather than staling in the usual sense. I store it at room temperature wrapped in waxed paper, and the wrapping becomes somewhat haphazard as time goes by.

thihal123's picture
thihal123

Thanks for all these responses and wonderful to see how alive this thread has become!

I do understand that sourdough starter keeps bread longer/less likely to stale. I avoid things like Crisco as much as possible because my whole idea of making whole grain bread is to keep it healthy and we know that hydrogenated oils is not that healthy.

 

Edit: I forgot to add that for me, adding the oil/butter isn't for flavour. As someone else said, Reinhardt's whole-grain recipes use a minimal amount of oil so it probably doesn't do anything for flavour.