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any sweet/dessert bread recipes w/o butter??

I love bread-making, and now can't imagine buying a frozen pizza again. But I've never been able to make a sweet bread/roll, since my girlfriend does not eat butter or margarine. At all.

I've hunted around for cinnamon roll recipes (to give just one example), but they all seem to need butter. Any suggestions? Either for [1] recipes with zero butter or margarine, or, [2] a regular recipe with a good substitute for the margarine/butter?

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  1. Will she eat a heart healthy oil as a substitute? Such as canola or macadamia nut oil? If so, I have tons of recipes that fit the bill. Here are links to a couple I already posted on chowhound:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7016...

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7022...

    5 Replies
    1. re: cathyeats

      Thanks Cathy. I'd love to see some of those recipes. No problem at all using oils--I am assuming safflower, canola, etc., right?? (I followed the 2 links you gave me, but they were for brownies and a fruit crisp. Both looked delicious, but were not the bread/roll sweets I am specifically looking for here.) :-)

      Thanks again in advance.

      1. re: santamonica811

        Hi Santa :)
        Here is a great banana bread recipe, which uses canola oil and whole grain flour. I also have a raspberry muffin recipe on the blog.

        Lowfat banana bread

        1 1/2 cups well-mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 medium)

        1/2 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt – don’t use Greek yogurt here, it’s too thick. Stonyfield Farm brand works well

        1 tsp baking soda

        2 egg whites

        3/4 c. turbinado sugar

        1/4 c. organic canola oil

        1 t. vanilla

        2 c. whole wheat pastry flour

        1 t. baking powder

        ½ t. cinnamon

        ½ t. salt

        1 c. chopped walnuts

        Mix the bananas, yogurt and baking soda in a small bowl and let sit for five minutes. Add the egg whites, sugar, oil and vanilla and mix very well. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add to the wet ingredients, stirring just until blended. Fold in the walnuts.

        Spray a 9 x 5” loaf pan with cooking oil, and fill with the batter. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

        1. re: santamonica811

          Please don't use canola or safflower oil--they are artificial oils that are hideously processed from genetically engineered plants despite all the media plotzing over them. A good nut oil like walnut or macadamia (which has a nice buttery taste that would be very suitable for baked goods) is a much better choice. And why are you dating someone who doesn't eat butter? ;)

          1. re: MandalayVA

            Agree with you on commercial canola oils, but I only use organic canola oil that's expeller pressed, so I think it's much healthier.

            And hey, don't knock people who don't eat butter! If you had a 99% clogged artery like I had, you'd understand :)

            1. re: cathyeats

              My dad also had a blocked artery (94%) but his cardiologist told him to cut out grains, refined sugar and starches rather than give him the "saturated fat is bad and evil" thing after the surgery. Seven years out at age 76 he's doing great and his heart health has improved tremendously as has his cholesterol ... eating all the foods that 99% of doctors would insist would kill him within six months like red meat, butter and eggs. He did miss bread and pasta but after a couple "cheats" he felt like crap. He was borderline type-2 diabetic too and this plan helped with that as well. I love my buttered dad. :D

      2. I would suggest finding or using a recipe that calls for butter and subbing with Earth Balance buttery spreads (full fat). I use Earth Balance Soy Garden for all my baking. This product isn't your typical supermarket stick margarine, most of which contain some transfats. All the oils in Earth Balance products are nonhydrogenated and I believe they are both organic and vegan. I do not cook or bake with butter/margarine and have found Earth Balance to be wonderful in all my recipes. There is some sodium so you may want to adjust your salt amount down a bit. I don't bother doing this. I"ve been very pleased with my baking/cooking results. My palate has changed through the years and I no longer even like the taste of butter. Sacrilege, I know!

        4 Replies
        1. re: addicted2cake

          The only problem with Earth Balance is that it contains palm oil, which is very high in saturated fat. So while it may be better than regular margarine, you might not want to be putting a cup of the stuff in your cookies. Oil works well in many baked goods, and is is less processed, and more heart healthy.

          Cathy

          1. re: cathyeats

            cathy, you're right that there is more saturated fat in Earth Balance due to the palm fruit oil, but from the little I've read about this fat, it's pretty healthy as it contains antioxidants and vitamin e, no transfats. It's also supposed to positively impact HDL cholesterol, the good kind. Unless the op plans to consume the entire recipe in one sitting, I don't see the harm in a little extra fat, especially if the flavor and texture of the final product are satisfying . Just my opinion, I'm no expert. I cook/bake with oils, too ,but my Earth Balance gives me the taste and texture I enjoy in most of my baked goods. I think it's really terrific for those of us who don't eat butter.

            1. re: addicted2cake

              Yes, for most people Earth Balance is a fine choice. I just have to be extra paranoid about it because of heart problems :(

              1. re: cathyeats

                I certainly understand. It's good to be vigilant, especially with health concerns. I have a few myself! :)

        2. Would quick breads fit the bill? I'm thinking of things like banana bread, zucchini bread, even carrot cake. Recipes for these types of things often call for vegetable oil (I usually use canola) rather than butter or margarine.

          Wish I could help you with the no-butter/margarine cinnamon roll quandary...

          1. Angel food cake

            Meringues

            Marshmallows

            Biscotti

              1. re: chowser

                Thanks, Chowser. This is exactly the sort of thing I've been hunting for. (The other suggestions by prior posters all sound delicious, but are things I've made before and are outside the bread/roll area I want for this.)

                I even happen to have the potatoes (!?!) the cinnamon roll recipe calls for, so I'll try and bake it tonight. I'll report back as to my success/failure.

                Thanks again!
                -josh

                1. re: santamonica811

                  The cinnamon rolls had a mixed result, but were overall a success. I used a ricer on the potatoes instead of mashing them (as the recipe had said to do). The dough I ended up with was lovely, and I'm trying to think of other uses for it. (A pizza dough? Gnocchi??)

                  The final result was tasty, although you certainly can tell that butter is missing. But most of the melted filling ended up pooled at the bottom of the pans. Not sure how to keep the filling inside the rolls . . . anyone encountered this issue, and/or have a suggestion? After my first pan came out of the oven, I put tin foil under the rest of the rolls, so at least I didn't have to slave over scraping off dried melted filling from the pan bottoms of batches # 2 and 3. I also added a bit of frosting, which helped offset the relative lack of fat in the butterless recipe.

                  1. re: santamonica811

                    Is the filling supposed to ooze out below? I look for that in a good sticky bun. You could also just go w/ the brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon and cut way back on egg whites. I've never used the egg white like that. I like the butter.;-)

                    As the dough goes, I think you can use it for anything that you'd use a light, sweet dough for--brioche, dinner rolls, wrapped around almond paste or some filling, etc. Dough is limitless. Gnocchi? I don't think it would be the same thing, too much rise, but maybe a dumpling?

                    1. re: santamonica811

                      re: the filling, i have two thoughts...either you didn't roll them quite tightly enough, or you didn't let them rest long enough before baking - try giving that second proofing more time, because the more the dough expands, the more tightly the filling will be wedged in there.

                      chowser is on to something with the sticky bun question - next time, why not treat them like sticky buns? layer a sauce or caramel in the bottom of the pan and bake the rolls on top of it, then flip them out of the pan upside-down. that way if any of the filling escapes again, it will end up melting into the topping. problem solved ;)

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Great response.
                        1. I did not let the dough rest *at all*. My bad, and that certainly might help explain part of the problem.

                        2. Great suggestion re putting a sauce on the bottom of the pan. I will definitely do that next time I make them.

                        1. re: santamonica811

                          a-ha! they need to proof & rise again once in the pan - i think that was the problem. but go for the topping/sauce too. added bonus ;)

                          1. re: santamonica811

                            You can also make them the night the night before. Take them out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature (I usually shower) and then bake. Good catch, ghg.

                  2. If you are interested in whole grains at all, the Healthy Bread in 5 minutes a day book has a chapter of enriched bread doughs that can be made with oil and used for cinnamon rolls. The pumpkin pie brioche dough is on their website and it makes good cinnamon rolls. Lots of bloggers have made this dough if you google. I myself made cinnamon rolls with it and enjoyed them. They are a little denser/chewier but not in a bad way. Not pumpkin-y.
                    I do have the book if you have any questions not addressed by the Internet versions. As for leaky filling, maybe try just sprinkling cinnamon sugar?
                    www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=1209

                    www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=1209

                    1. I often substitute virgin coconut oil in baked goods. If you like the flavor of coconut, it is a great substitute -- just chill before using if you're making something like scones or a pie crust, in which flakiness is desired! Here's my recipe for scones using coconut oil:
                      http://operagirlcooks.com/2010/04/23/...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: operagirl

                        +1. when i read the OP, coconut oil was my top choice for the ideal solution here.

                      2. Blueberry Bread? http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/... you might even sub some of the oil with plain low fat or fat free yogurt..

                        Chocolate Babka (do or don't use soy or regular plain yogurt) http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/...

                        Apple Bread
                        http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/...

                        Sweet Yeast Rolls
                        http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/...

                        Hot Cross Buns
                        http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/...

                        1. An update . . . I was surprised to find out that the cinnamon rolls taste *significantly* better the next day. The flavors have blended together overnight, and now--after 40 seconds in the microwave--they are really delicious. I usually am not a big fan of microwaving bread products, but there's no need to use a toaster oven with these. (Maybe b/c the rolls themselves are already chewy to begin with?)

                          1. Do scones count? I made these scones this weekend and they were a big hit. A little more cake-y than regular scones, since there's no butter, but the taste is perfect. The oats add a nice flavor, I think. I want to try toasting the oats next time - that might be even better.

                            They're really pretty, too. The photo is at http://whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010/05/...

                            Oat and Currant Scones

                            1 cup old fashioned rolled oats

                            3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour

                            1/2 c. all purpose flour

                            1/4 c. packed brown sugar

                            1 t. baking powder

                            1/2 t. salt

                            1/2 c. organic canola oil

                            1/2 c. nonfat yogurt

                            1 egg

                            1 t. vanilla

                            1/3 c. dried currants

                            For glaze:

                            2 t. fresh lemon juice

                            2 T. confectioner’s sugar

                            Preheat oven to 375. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl. Whisk the oil, yogurt, egg and vanilla in another. Mix the two, stirring briefly to combine. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes, then fold in the currants. Pat the dough into an 8-inch round on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking oil spray. Cut into 8 wedges with a knife, using a spatula to move each wedge away from the circle to space them apart. (This may be a little tricky, as the dough is quite wet.) Mix the lemon juice and confectioner’s sugar and brush a small amount of glaze on the top of each scone. Bake for 18 minutes, or until the scones are lightly golden.