A simple way to reduce fat content and add nutrients in baking applications is with fruit. Applesauce is commonly known to be an excellent fat replacer, however, many other fruit purees can function as a fat substitute as well.
In baked goods, fat plays an important role in texture and flavor. Fat molecules act as a tenderizer by surrounding proteins and starches and preventing them from forming stiff structures, resulting in a crumb-like texture. The natural sugars and pectin in fruit mimic the tenderizing effect of fat by competing with gluten and starch for water to inhibit structure forming interactions. Additionally, since many fruits contain water, substituting fruit for fat adds more moisture to baked good providing a softer texture.
Fat also acts as a carrier for flavor compounds so when reducing fat, flavor can be compromised. It’s important to choose a puree that pairs well in flavor with your application. Apple and pear puree are ideal substitutes because they do not impart much flavor in the final baked good.
Breads, cakes, muffins, brownies and cookies are all great applications for fat substitution. In most applications, all of the fat cannot be replaced without compromising texture and taste. The key to substituting fat with fruit is finding the proper ratio for your application. A 1:1 fruit to fat ratio is a good ratio to begin experimenting and from there replace more or less fat with fruit until a desirable taste and texture is achieved. Since there is less fat to coat the gluten and starch molecules, be mindful not to over mix that allows more interaction between gluten and starch ultimately leading to a tougher texture. In addition, baked goods with fruit as a fat replacer tend to loose moisture faster so baking time and temperature may need to be adjusted.
Replacing fat with fruit is a nutritious way to increase the vitamins, minerals and fiber of your baked application while reducing cholesterol and saturated fats. Tree Top has many fruit puree offerings that can help you make a healthful fat replacement in your baking application!
Our R&D departments welcome any customization challenge and we love working with our clients to create something brand new. We’re ready to provide innovative ideas, prototypes, packaging alternatives, and the world’s juiciest, tastiest and most delicious fruit products — naturally.
Reference: Murano, S. P.2003. Understanding Food Science and Technology. Wadsworth, Belmont, California.