The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A question about oil

Brian D's picture
Brian D

A question about oil

I've seen is several recipe that oil is called out as part of the ingredients. However, no specific oil, such as Olive, Vegetable, Corn or whatever was listed. Having different types of oil in my kitchen and not knowing yet what is good and what isn't, could someone list those oils the are not recommended. I think it easier to call out oils that should not be used instead of oils that can be used.


Floydm's picture

I think it depends on what you are baking. I tend to use a flavorful oil like Olive Oil or a nut oil when I'm going to be eating it with something that the flavor will compliment (a nut bread, Mediterranean food) and something relatively flavorless like Canola, Corn, or Vegetable Oil in something like muffins or a soft sandwich bread.

Rosalie's picture

I'll have to agree with Floyd.  Except that my breads are usually "generic" - I don't know what I'll be eating with my bread.  For pizza dough, I like to use olive oil and Itailian herbs, but usually I just use canola oil.


frogg's picture

I can't comment on oils that are better for baking than others as I'm simply not experienced enough, but in terms of health benefits and health concerns , you might find this interesting ( I've also posted this info. in the thread in this section on butter v oil :

This is an extract from an e book by Mike Geary - just thought it might be of interest. I recently purchased it from and actually it was money very well spent ! I learnt a lot from it, and am now in the habit of occasionally using coconut oil and unrefined palm oil in my cooking, as well as animal fat ( which I collect in a jar from the meat after roasting or grilling). I also now try to use butter in place of margerine, but can't always, due to the fact it gives me a runny nose !

"Trans Fats

Another of the most evil substances introduced into our food supply has been trans fats in the form of partially and/or fully hydrogenated oils. Some trans fats do exist naturally in some foods (such as beneficial CLA in grass fed beef and milk) and are good for you, but the trans fats created through artificial hydrogenation are the ones to avoid if you care about your health.

The process of hydrogenation essentially chemically alters unsaturated oil through high temperature, pressure, and metal catalysts, making it more similar to an industrial oil than an oil that should be consumed as food. Even non-hydrogenated vegetable oils (such as soybean, corn, and cottonseed oils) that are mass produced and heavily refined are not healthy choices. These oils are extracted under extremely high temperature and pressure using toxic solvents and bleaching aids in the extraction process. This process creates highly toxic oils full of free radicals that are then sold as cheap cooking oils or used in processed foods. Most vegetable oils you see on the supermarket shelves are processed in this highly toxic manner unless you see the words "unrefined", "virgin", or "extra virgin" on the label. These already toxic refined oils are made even worse when they are hydrogenated. In hydrogenation, the already toxic oils have a metal catalyst added to them and are again treated under high pressure and high temperature, and then steam cleaned and bleached. Now does that sound like something you should put in your body in even small quantities? Well, if you eat processed food, or fried restaurant food, you’re putting it in your body in huge quantities!


In recent years, studies have shown that trans fats are the most harmful fats to our bodies and may be the main reason for the explosion of heart disease over the last 40-50 years. That is why you’ve probably heard health professionals recommend switching back to butter instead of margarine, even though for years they were mistakenly taught that margarine was healthier.

The majority of processed foods contain hydrogenated fats. Hydrogenated oils will not only make you fat, but they also significantly increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, various forms of cancer, sexual dysfunction, and a host of other health conditions. The hydrogenated oils actually become part of your cell membranes, instead of the healthy fats that are supposed to comprise your cell membranes, essentially inhibiting and harming many of the cellular processes throughout your body. Make no mistake, consumption of trans fats contributes to body fat gain and will only inhibit your efforts to get lean. Avoid them at all costs; even on your overfeeding day.

Next time you’re faced with the choice of those deep fried French fries, chicken fingers, potato chips, etc., just think twice about the internal damage you are going to do to your body and hopefully that will be enough to make you want to pass up those deep fried or processed foods that are loaded with trans fats. If you buy packaged and processed foods, in order to avoid trans fats, you must inspect the ingredients to assure that they don’t contain partially or fully hydrogenated oils, shortening, or margarine of any kind. Just remember that (despite what the food manufacturers will try to claim in their ads) margarine made with hydrogenated oils is PURE EVIL, so stay away from anything made with margarine and choose butter instead!

Also, you can pretty much assume that any deep fried foods are fried in hydrogenated or refined oils. That includes almost all chips, unless they say "baked" (and yes, tortilla chips are deep fried). Keep in mind that even if chips or other foods are fried in non-hydrogenated oil, they are still dangerous because they are refined oils. In order to help health conscious consumers avoid trans fats, the FDA mandated in recent years that food manufacturers change nutrition labels to include the grams of trans fat per serving. One of the easiest ways to avoid HFCS and trans fats is to shop at a store like Whole Foods Market ( or other organic markets, which assure that all of their products are generally free from these types of nasty food additives. "