Substitute Olive Oil for Butter?

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Hello Everyone,

What is the effect of substituting EVOO for butter when making a roux? Or some other oil? Further, for recipes that start with butter (generally sauteeing and building from there and at some point adding flour) will a substitute oil work just as well? For example, two of the recipes I have in mind are Lobster Thermidor (either the Rogov/Child 6 step recipe or Chef Louis DeGuoy's 1941 recipe) and a Baked Seafood Au Gratin (which calls for butter mixed with flour). If so, to what extent would the flavor and consistency be affected? Would I use equal portions of some other oil as butter?

FWIW, there are two reasons I want to do this: 1) I want to eliminate trans fats from my diet and 2) As weird as it seems, I don't really care for the taste of butter unless it's disguised (with sugar, for example).

Thanks for your help.
 

kuan

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I don't know the exact result. The thickening is not due to the fat/flour mixture. It's the amount of flour. If you have the same amount of flour as the recipe calls for you should be OK.

Kuan
 
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Au Gratins and Thermidors will jolt you with fats no matter how you make them.

If the recipe calls for a beurre mania then you need the butter as it is a compound thickener (is that a word?) if you are making a roux then the evoo will work fine "however"I would not use a high end oil for this purpose as it's flavor will be destroyed by high heat cooking. A combination of olive oil and canola oil will work fine also,the key in flavor development is more in the toasting of the flour during cooking more so then the fat used.
 
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Substituting olive oil (or some other liquid vegetable oil) for butter has nothing to do with trans fats; trans fats are only found in (manufactured) hydrogenated fats, which remain solid at room temperature, such as vegetable shortening and margarine. The differences will be found in flavor, water content, and smoke point.

Flavor: if you don't like the flavor of butter, why not? Maybe you've only had salted butter? or butter that was going rancid? Butter has a wonderful flavor; try making and using clarified butter* and I guarantee you will not dislike the flavor.

Water content: butter actually has more water than oil. It can make a difference -- albeit slight -- in cooking.

Smoke point: this matters more if you are using the fat to saute. Butter has a fairly low smoke point, mainly because of the milk solids -- which burn at a low temperature than the straight butterfat will. Various vegetable oils have higher smoke points, ranging from 390º for sunflower, to 410º for sesame, olive, and corn, to 435º for canola, to 445 to 450º for grapeseed, soy, safflower, and peanut.

*Clarified butter is one of the best fats for roux and sauteeing (to my taste, that is). Very easy to make: put a pound or two of unsalted butter in a saucepan. Put on low to medium heat. As it melts, skim off the white stuff that rises to the top. Once it has all melted, let it cook gently until it is golden and the water has boiled out. Very carefully pour off the golden fat, leaving the solids in the pan. This will give you a terrific cooking fat!
 
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I make oil-based roux all the time. Butter has 11 g. of fat per tablespoon while oil has 14 g. - so... use just a little bit less oil.

The previous author is right about butter not having any trans fats. You might be trying to avoid saturated fats - of which butter is loaded.

Although I agree with Cape Chef that evoo will lose some of it's flavor during high heat cooking, I don't believe that a blond roux (lobster thermidor) is "high heat" cooking. Working with a beurre manie involves even lower heat than a roux.

All this being said, are you sure you want the flavor of evoo in these dishes? Although neither of these is a pure bechamel, the idea of an olive flavored cream sauce seems a bit strange to me. Although it's not quite as healthy, you might be better off with a more neutral oil such as safflower or soybean - of which neither has any saturated fat.
 

phatch

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Except butter isn't a trans fat. Naturally saturated isn't the same health risk as artificial hydrodenation to trans fat. Thus margarine, vegetable shortening are trans fat. Butter isn't.

Phil
 
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Not all margarines have trans fat. I'm watching for that in products I buy now.

Incidentally, Fleischman's has an olive oil margarine out now. It has no trans fat, although far down the ingredient list is "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil", it also states that it contributes nutritionally insignificant amounts of trans fat. For a margarine, it tastes pretty good. (I REALLY miss butter!!!)

Watching out for trans fats is the next trend behind watching out for cholesterol, I think.
 
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> Naturally saturated isn't the same health risk as artificial hydrodenation to trans fat.

Yes, it is.

In "Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill: The Complete Guide to Fats, Oils, Cholesterol and Human Health" fat authority Udo Erasmus concludes that from a health perspective, the naturally saturated fat in butter is equally as unhealthy as the artificially saturated (hydrogenated) fat in shortening and margarine. Butter may be a thousand times tastier than margarine but it certainly isn't any healthier.
 

phatch

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I'll concede a maybe. The science isn't conclusive either way from what I've read. One book does not science make. There are just as many studies showing trans-fat as more dangerous.

Interesting to note that historically as the US diet included more and more trans-fat, lifespans increased overall. This is not evidence of a link of course.

Phil
 
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Also keep in mind the the avarage American diet ingest %2-%8 of trans fatty acids while %12-%14 come from natural saturated fats.

If you buy margarines try the softer styles instead of the sticks,there less hydronated,also poly and monounaturated fats should be the first ingredients listed.
 
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Hydrogenated fat pretty much = trans fats. Once the labelling regulations are fully implemented next year, everyone will be amazed at how much trans fats they have been eating all this time. For now, it is still very hard to figure out what proportion of the fat in food is trans fat.

Personally, I see no reason to use margarine unless I'm cooking for someone who keeps kosher. But to eat it myself? :eek: Although yes, the soft and liquid versions are less likely to contain as high a percentage of trans fats as the solid versions. It's the process of making it solidify (hydrogenation) that changes the chemistry.

That's because of the milk solids and water in the butter. If you use clarified butter, it works out the same as oil -- and you get the taste of butter. :lips:

Signed,
Unregenerate Butter Lover
 
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I'll concede a maybe as well. My knowledge on this subject is not as up to date as it could be.

I agree. Although I bake most of my own desserts, it would be nice to be able to occasionally go into a supermarket and get a halfway decent cookie that doesn't contain hydrogenated oil.
 
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it seems like suzanne is in al of the good threads ..... lol.
i am an avid butter lover. i personaly wouldnt substitute oil for clarified butter in a roux especialy for one using lobster in the recipe, you cant get a better flavor than butter and lobster (in my opinion). i tend to keep clarified butter in my refer at all times now and use it instead of oil in some cases. it can get costly but you just cant get the same flavor from other fats. as far as you not liking the taste of butter you are honestly the only person i have ever heard of who didnt like the taste of good butter. i would try to find out where the butter you didnt like came from and try not to get it from that source again. try the clarified butter its realy realy good. either way good luck!:chef:
 
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FYI: I'm one of the moderators of this Cooking board, so I have to stick my nose in everywhere! :D Besides, I used to be known as "Bigmouth Chef" :lol:
 
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I am glad to see your post.  I am on here looking to see what I could sub for butter in a fish pie, I am making to serve to a friend that is lactose intolerant, she cannot have any dairy so I am going to er make it using your experience with doing this, I am assuming I sub the same amt of oil for butter as I am using it to make a flour paste.  Thanks for you comments.
 
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Butter is 15-18% water with the remainder butterfat and a minor amount of milk solids.If you are using less than a tablespoon, you probably will not notice a difference, especially if you normally melt the butter and evaporate the water before adding the flour
 
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