Lesson # 6 Healthy Substitutions in Baking

11 Nov

Making Healthy Substitutions in Baking

  • Am I a doctor? No.
  • Did I create this recipe for people I love with high cholesterol? Yes.
  • Can I guarantee that it will lower your cholesterol? No.
  • Why do I call it cholesterol lowering banana bread ? Because I took a family recipe and substituted high cholesterol ingredients with healthier ones and added cholesterol lowering foods.
  • Should you try this recipe if you don’t have high cholesterol? Yes.
  • Why? Because it’s still really good, and you will set a good example for everyone else.
  • Am I done asking and answering my own questions? Yes.

How to Make Healthy Substitutions in Baking


Eggs and yolks have a complicated story. One day they are good for you, one day they are bad for you and then they are back to good again. Here is what we know: Eggs contain about 213 mg of dietary cholesterol, all found in the yolk.   Many sources say whole eggs are still good for you because they now believe that dietary cholesterol affects your cholesterol levels a lot less than the cholesterol your body produces. On the flip side, “they” also recommend limiting dietary cholesterol to less than 300 mg per day. Therefore eggs can really push you over that limit quickly, especially if you already know you have high cholesterol. The catch 22 is that the yolk is also a great source of essential fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins, so don’t cut them out all together.  As with all nutrition advice, just don’t over do it. So here is my personal verdict on eggs: if you have high cholesterol and want to limit the amount of eggs you consume so this reason, an easy way to cut down is to use egg whites when you can and save the whole eggs for a delicious omelette. For every whole egg you can substitute 2 egg whites in baking.

Adding Whole grains:

We all know whole grains are a great source fiber, vitamins, and minerals as compared to refined grains which have had the bran and germ parts of the grain removed. Whole grains are even being researched for their phytochemical properties that may help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.  Making the switch to whole grains is a good idea for everyone but using whole grains in baked goods can be tricky. I recommend whole wheat pastry flour when baking delicate baked goods because it has a finer texture and milder flavor. Begin by substituting part of the white flour for the whole wheat and increase it with different batches until you have hit a ratio you like. For this bread I don’t mind 100% whole wheat, but that’s just me. If you are making heartier baked goods like breads and pizza doughs, you can try using regular whole wheat flour.

Reducing Saturated fats and Adding Healthy Unsaturated Fats:

Switching solid saturated fats like butter and lard for healthy liquid unsaturated fats is also a good change but keep in mind it changes both flavor and texture. Butter gives flavor and when creamed with sugar, it creates a light and uniform texture.  Skipping the creaming method in a recipe will change the texture, but you may not mind the results.  Fat can be reduced overall through the use of applesauce, which I happen to love ( see  my oatmeal applesauce cookies ) , prune puree, bean puree and even flaxseed meal ( see below) . I replaced the saturated fat this recipe originally called for with half flaxseed meal and the other half with olive oil.  Both of the them also happen to be cholesterol lowering foods.

Walnuts and oats are also known for lowering cholesterol, so I added those in as well.

Directions Directly Quoted from Bob’s Red Mill Website: http://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes_detail.php?rid=804
Flaxseed Meal in Recipes:  You can use Bob’s Red Mill flaxseed meal as a stand in for some or all of the oil or shortening called for in a recipe. Cooks recommend a 3:1 substitution ratio. We recommend that people do not replace more than half the amount of oil for best results, and not to replace more than ¼ cup of oil with this method. So if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup oil, you want to replace only ¼ cup. Use ¾ cup of Flaxseed Meal and add liquid since this will make the batter dry. There is not an exact liquid replacement formula, so you must add liquid to make the batter the right consistency. Keep in mind this replacement works best for recipes which contain small amounts of oil such as muffins and pancakes.Use as an Egg Replacer:  1 Tb Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed Meal + 3 Tb water = 1 egg. Mix Bob’s Red Mill flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl and let sit for one to two minutes. Add to a recipe as you would an egg. This is a very versatile egg replacement formula.

A healthy diet:  
Scientific evidence now confirms that flaxseed has three main health benefits: a high content of alpha-linolenic acid, as essential omega-3 fat; large quantities of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber; and the highest plant source of lignans. “Flaxseed Information .” Bob’s Red Mill . Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, n.d. Web. 8 Nov 2010. http://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes_detail.php?rid=804  

Reducing Sugar:

I  lowered the sugar content by removing some white sugar in the recipe and replaced it with naturally sweet fruit. I also decided to drizzle honey on top of the bread before baking so this way the first thing you taste when you bite into a piece is the caramelized honey sweet crust. As with substituting whole grains for refined grains, you can adjust and decrease the amount until you reach a ratio you like. Changing the amount of sugar changes not only the sweetness but the texture as well as I described  previously, due to things like creaming.

  After all that health talk, PLEASE DO NOT BE SCARED TO TRY THIS. The original recipe is a family favorite, its buttery and sweet and delicious like a piece of cake. The alterations changed it quite a bit but it is still delicious, just in a whole different way. This bread is nutty and complex and wonderful with a morning cup of coffee. It has the best flavor served cool rather than warm.

Cholesterol Lowering Banana Bread www.lessonsinfood.wordpress.com original recipe

Beat together:

4 egg whites

1/2 cup sugar

Mix in wet:

1/4 olive oil

1 tsp vanilla

2 over-ripe bananas (completely brown and mushy)

2 sweet apples, grated

Mix in dry:

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups whole wheat pasty flour

3/4 cup flaxseed meal

Fold in solid:

1 cup walnuts

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

Top with:

3 tablespoons of honey for drizzling on top

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.


Beat egg whites and sugar together until foamy. Mix in olive oil, vanilla, mashed bananas and grated apple. In a bowl, combine the salt, baking soda, flour and flaxseed meal. Add this mixture to the egg mixture and stir to combine. Fold in the walnuts and oats.  The batter will be very thick. Pour into greased muffin tins, mini loaf pans or regular loaf pan. Drizzle the top with honey and bake until golden brown or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Time will vary depending on your tin size but figure about 15-20 minutes for muffins, 20-30 for mini loafs and 35-45 for a large loaf.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: