The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fats and Rise

charbono's picture

Fats and Rise

Is there a minimum amount of oil, or other fat, necessary in whole grain bread to promote rise?              


On page 129 of Reinhart’s new whole grain baking book he says: “Some studies indicate that it (oil) also may help trap CO2...”  On page 389 of the Robertson whole grain baking book, she calls this the “conditioning amount” of fat.  However, Robertson doesn’t use fat in every bread recipe.  Neither writer’s comments seem conclusive.  I don’t find this issue in either the King Arthur or the Greene whole grain baking books.


Baking911 says that fat prevents some gluten development.  Using fat to promote rise seems counterintuitive to fat’s widespread use as a dough tenderizer. 


Is there an authoritative explanation of fat’s enhancing rise?  Have other bakers noticed that bread, especially whole wheat bread, needs fat for maximum rise?

Ramona's picture

I always add at least 1/3 cup butter to my dough and I make only 100% whole grain breads.  I have good proofing ( in fact, my dough doubles fast, but I only use 2 tsp. dry yeast for 3 loaves) and ovenspring.  I make a sponge and an autolyze for overnight.  The next day I add the butter to the autolyze and then add all that to the sponge.  Works well for me, the bread is really good and fluffy.  But I am new to this, so my experience and knowledge is limited. 

Henry's picture

  charbono Should you happen to have a coffee table copy of:“Modern Cereal Science and Technology”by Y. Pomeranz, turn to page 225. Under the heading, Fats and Oils, the team of cereal chemists have found that fats:Mellow baked products Give you a finer and silkier crumbAND…in small amounts, up to 3%, ...actually increase volume If I’m reading this correctly, gluten becomes more extensible due to the fat and so volume increases

Same with sugar, in small amounts, helps to increase volume.

When I used to make restaurant table bread, fat and sugar were added for these reasons as I had no time for multiple folds, starters, etc.

Baker Henry

Vancouver Canada

JERSK's picture

  I have read about using small amounts of "conditioning fats". My source, The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book, says that solid fats, like butter, contain more of the fatty acids that condition the dough . They suggest using about 1 TBSP. butter per loaf or 2-3 TBSPs. vegetable oil. This is far less than 3%.Not all oils act the same and rancid oils should never be used. Olive oil and fresh sesame oil, not toasted,are used a lot in this book. There are probably other oils that would work well. I would think nut oils, like walnut or hazelnut, would work nicely for flavor. They do get rancid very quickly. I usually only use olive oil and in limited applications like foccacia and pizza, which don't have much rise. I did try olive oil in the ciabatta integrale recipe I found on this website at about 2 TBSP. per loaf and it rose beautifully. It wasn't as crusty a regular ciabatta, but was quite nice none the less. My family ate it right up.

Henry's picture

 actually, if it's fat you'd like to add

 to promote rise, go with hydrogenated



charbono's picture

seems to be missing from my library.  Thanks for the information. 


I’ve been reluctant to add fat to my dough because I don’t want a fine grain, and I want strong gluten.


Hydrogenation?  No thanks.  This is health bread.


I will add 1tbs oil for 1 lb flour, which is about 3%, and see if I can detect a little more rise.