Least awful oil for baking?

cloudy_christineSeptember 16, 2012

I just put an apple cake in the oven, a recipe I haven't made before. It only requires 2/3 of a cup of oil. I used canola oil, as I usually do. I'm wondering if there's one that smells better? I detected traces of fishiness. Do they add stuff to make it heathier? (Yes, I'll go read the label.)

The recipe actually said olive oil, but I rejected that idea.

As you may remember, I'm no fan of oil cakes, and I make carrot cake with butter. But apple cakes of the usual kind are a fall favorite of DH's. So, what do you use?

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Just took an apple cake out of the oven. :)

I always use canola oil. I do not pick up on a fishiness note, but maybe you could try different brands til you hit on the right you for you. A neighborhood cook off with everyone using a different brand of canola oil and a big taste test with coffee? :)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 3:45PM
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Maybe your oil was beginning to turn rancid? I keep all oils in the refrigerator as I don't use them up very quickly.

I am fond of rice bran oil as the one with the most delicate flavor of its own.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 3:50PM
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I use canola for moas things....but for when I need olive oil or walnut oil.
Never had a "fishy" flavor from canola oil....except from that which had been used to fry fish! LOL!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 4:26PM
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I found avocado oil to have the least flavor, and it also has a high smoking point. Second to that, I would use grape seed oil, but I also do not understand why canola oil did not work for you. Did you check its expiration date? I store all oils in a cool dark place - mostly under the sink, but some of them in the fridge, like walnut oil. I store avocado oil in the fridge also.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 5:18PM
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I used to buy new canola oil long before I was out of it, hoping that a newly opened bottle would smell fresh, but I found it didn't make much difference. I guess I should stop staring at the all the bottles of mass-market oils, and go to the health-food aisles for avocado oil or rice-bran oil.
I should keep all the oil in the fridge; I do that with walnut oil.

I'd like to learn how to use coconut oil in things like this.

Anyway, the cake is pretty good. And not too oily.

Here is a link that might be useful: Apple-Yogurt Cake with a cinnamon-sugar streak

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 5:40PM
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I always find that all canola oil smells like fish to me too ! Funny about that. As far as making cakes with oil I substitute at least half of the oil with applesauce. I never ever make those recipes that have a cup of oil in them the way they say. Way too oily. Also almost all recipes now use good olive oil for their cakes. I haven't tried it but lately it is all I see. I will link a blog that has some wonderful recipes on it and she has a lot of olive oil cakes. c

Here is a link that might be useful: Stacey Snacks

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 6:18PM
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It is for olive oil...not sure why you didn't use what she suggested. It is certainly more healthy and way better tasting...at least I think so. I would still sub for 1/2 of the oil. Hope you try some of the others recipes and use the olive oil and report back: :) you can be our test kitchen !! c

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 6:31PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I'm not on the canola oil health wagon and use peanut oil as a general all purpose oil whenever olive oil doesn't work.

I too need to start using coconut oil, learning about subbing it into recipes.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 6:44PM
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Cakes are about the only items I make with an oil other than olive. For them, I use regular Crisco oil.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 6:46PM
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As often happens, I land on the "health nut" side of the subject. I haven't used vegetable oil or shortening in 20+ years. Instead, I use coconut oil, butter, a small amount of olive oil, and when I can find fresh lard that hasn't been hydrogenated, I'll use it in a few family favorites (mostly during the holidays).

The nice thing about coconut oil is that it has a longer shelf-life than other oils and shortening. When you practice home food storage like I do, this is an important factor. Fat is one of the "Seven Survival Foods" (along with grains, legumes, seeds for sprouting, salt, sweetener/s, and powdered milk or milk alternative/s), and I store 3-years worth of these food items. I've never had coconut oil go rancid in all the years I've used it. I even kept a portion of a jar for 6-years after the use-by date and continued to use from it occasionally as a test for longevity, and it never did go rancid before I finally used it up.

You can purchase it without coconut odor or taste, or with it - your choice - I use both. You can often reduce the amount of fat in a recipe by up to 25% when using coconut oil, and get the same results. Vegans have used coconut oil as a bread-spread in place of margarine or butter.

Coconut oil is solid-hard at cool room temperatures, and as it gets warmer it will soften, and around 76-degrees F it will become a liquid. This is how you know it wasn't hydrogenated, which is something you want to avoid.

Coconut oil was used in most commercial baked goods until the late 1960's because it kept the baked goods fresher longer and they were very shelf-stable. Coconut oil was used for popping popcorn at stadiums and movie theaters because they could pop large quantities ahead of time and store it in large bags to use days later and maintain its freshness. It's a good fat to use in homemade bread to help keep it from quickly staling and developing mold. There are also many health benefits associated with coconut oil.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 7:17PM
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cc, I thought it was just me, but I also detect a fishy odor when using canola oil.

I try to not use oil, I've managed to even use melted butter successfully, but it's a hit and miss proposition. Like ruthanna, I usually just buy vegetable oil, I figure it's all pretty bad anyway.

I did have some coconut oil but it tasted like coconut and some things I didn't want the flavor in. I think it's still in my pantry, it's been there since before I divorced, while we still owned the health food store. I should go check it, it might still be good after 7 or 8 years!


    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 7:22PM
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Grainlady, I'm interested in switching to coconut oil for cooking, can you suggest some reading and or brands/types good for different uses such as sauteeing and baking? And we love popcorn, so I'd like to know how to use it for that, too.

I am not a fan of the canola, or most highly processed oils, but am still learning how to cook without them.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 7:35PM
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Ah, I'm not the only one to detect fishiness! Good.
The expiration date on mine is May 2013, so it should be fine.

I have some coconut oil, which is solid in my kitchen, although I'm sure the temperature is right on the edge. If I warm it a little so I am dealing with a liquid as this recipe expects, what happens when it hits an ingredient that is at, say, 68 or 70 derees? It will solidify where it touches that ingredient, right? Rather than try to make sure everything in the cake is above 76 degrees, I went for the canola. I would like to know how people bake cakes with coconut oil. Maybe it would work to cream it like butter, but I think it would liquefy. 76 degrees is a very inconvenient melting point!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 11:16PM
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why was coconut oil not used in commercial baked goods after the 60's? Was it something to do with it's hardened state or hydrogenation? Was it thought to be an artery clogger? Thanks for your valued opinion.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 12:43AM
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For the record, I believe fat should be used in moderation and I prefer it as whole as possible as it's found in nature - flax, eggs, nuts, coconut, avocado, butter, etc. I started researching the subject years ago when I discovered the dangers of trans-fats, which I had more concern about than saturated fats. That's also when I started making all our baked goods using freshly-milled grains/seeds/beans in order to control the trans-fats and other ingredients and chemicals found in commercially prepared foods I didn't really think I needed to consume.

I tend to avoid polyunsaturated oils all together because they are so highly processed and basically body-damaging free-radicals due to oxidation before you ever open the bottle. Rancid fats don't have to smell rancid to BE rancid and are destructive free-radicals. When they get to that point (smelling rancid), they have been rancid for a much longer period of time. They also are chemically treated to deodorize them.

Historically, coconut oil was one of the earliest oils to be used as a food and as a pharmaceutical, so it has a long record of use. You can find out quite a bit from Ayurvedic literature on the subject. They also valued Ghee (clarified butter), which is another fat I use and keep in storage because of it's long shelf-life.

"In North America and Europe popular cookbooks from the late 19th century often included coconut oil in many recipes..." I have one old cookbook that gives this helpful hint: "To keep icing on donuts looking good in humid weather, use copha. Add some copha to your fondant." Copha is a solid fat that is derived from the solidified (hydrogenated) coconut oil, which is a popular fat in Australia.)

I can still remember when my mother first started using SPRY shortening (late 1950's) and I still have the SPRY Aunt Jenny recipe booklet that went with that first purchase of SPRY my mother made. And vegetable oil didn't became popular until the late 60's, so these are modern commercial oils with a really bad track record for so few years of use. I never experienced olive oil until I was in my 40's and the only bottle available at our little grocery store was a tiny bottle of Pompei way up on the top shelf. We used lard and rendered animal fats from our own animals.

According to some resources I've read on the subject, the negative publicity about coconut oil came from the thought that "saturated fats" were involved in heart disease, and coconut oil was considered a "health risk". BTW, the research was done by the new-kids-on-the-block - commercial cooking oil companies.....(follow the money). The science on the subject was done on hydrogenated coconut oil (a trans-fat), and the health benefits of coconut oil are found in Extra Virgin Coconut Oil which hasn't been hydrogenated. Coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) - 92% saturated, 6% monounsaturated, and 2% polyunsaturated.

There IS a learning curve for using coconut oil. To liquify it I'll place it in a Pyrex measuring cup and put it on one of those little electric "hot plates" used for keeping a cup of coffee warm or for use with scented wax or potpourri oils - which gently melts the solid fat.

You quickly learn the necessity of having your ingredients at room temperature since cold ingredients (adding a cold egg for instance) will solidify the melted coconut oil. I don't like it for coating pans or cookie sheets at ALL. I use parchment paper for cookie sheets and Bakers & Chefs Cooking Spray (which resists darkening and doesn't gum-up your pans like other cooking sprays).

Please do your own research so you can make an informed choice for yourself.


Here is a link that might be useful: Coconut Research Center

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 10:40AM
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All oils, whether it be coconut oil or olive oil or lard, consist of chains of carbon atoms (think of pop beads) with hydrogen atoms attached to the carbon atoms. Occasionally you'll have a double bond rather than a single bond between carbon atoms in the chain--that's what an 'unsaturated' oil is, i.e. it's not 'saturated' with hydrogen atoms. The oils that make up olive oil have one double bond and are called monounsaturated; other oils have more than one double bond and are called, logically, polyunsaturated fats. Coconut oil is different from most other cooking oil in that its constituent oils have shorter chains than many other dietary oils. Plus they're mostly saturated and solid at room temp. (And if you store coconut oil in the fridge it gets hard as paraffin.)

It seems that it's the hydrogenation process rather than the saturation that's bad for ya. (The food companies hydrogenate--that is, artificially saturate--the fat so that products made with it will have a longer shelf life.)

Some years ago some Western doctors looked at the diet of Sri Lankans, and found that it was loaded with coconut oil, which was a mostly saturated fat. So, according to their belief that saturated fat is bad, they had a bunch of Sri Lankans change their dietary fats to mostly vegetable oil. The rate of heart disease in those subjects went UP, not down.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 11:13AM
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Canola oil is supposed to be preferable to other commonly-used vegetable oils because it's monounsaturated, like olive oil.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 12:35PM
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I keep walnut or almond oil just for baking desserts that call for oil. Do you think that is an acceptable substitution?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 3:26PM
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I used to use a lot of canola oil, but now I refuse to allow it in the house. OK, I'll admit, my reasons are almost purely political. I don't know if there is any canola grown today anywhere that is not GMO. It is a major agricultural crop in my part of the world, but the "Round-Up Ready" type dominates the market, and I find the concept of drowning any food product in Round-Up to be soooooo unappetizing.

Now I use grapeseed oil. Haven't really done any research on it, but I don't think Monsanto owns it....

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 3:41PM
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I use the LouAna brand of coconut oil which has no discernible flavor or odor, as grainlady has mentioned in other posts. Love it in muffins, cookies, and other baked goods.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 4:59PM
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Cathy, I think almond oil or walnut oil would be fine, but might contribute another taste more strongly than you'd want. Walnut more so than almond. I keep walnut oil for a walnut bread I like. I must try almond oil.

I also have grapeseed oil but haven't tried it in a cake.

Ovenbird, do you find that the coconut oil partly solidifies when it mixes with other ingredients? It's solid at room temperature in my kitchen except during a heat wave, and I can't imagine trying to get every ingredient warmer than room temperature.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 5:35PM
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I am SO surprised no one has mentioned safflower oil. It's as healthy as canola, but has a MUCH better taste and aroma. I only use safflower, olive oil and butter in my cooking and baking.

I think, if you try safflower, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Although, olive oil is an excellant choice for baking--when used in baked goods, it takes on a nice buttery flavor. It doesn't make your food taste like Italian dressing--LOL!

Back to safflower--if you do buy any, it's also a great cosmetic product. It's the main component in many high-priced body lotions. Just use a few drops, smoothed on your skin and you'll get all the benefits without the hefty price. It's also a fantastic hair conditioner. After hair is washed and dried, put just 1-2 drops of safflower oil on your palms and rub in well. Then start rubbing into your hair, starting at the ends and working up to the scalp. Don't use more than a drop or two--it's not needed, and will make your hair look too oily (since you leave the oil in).

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 9:30PM
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Why I wouldn't consider safflower oil a healthy choice.

-The more unsaturated a fat is the less healthy it is according to animal tests. In a test using safflower oil, corn oil, olive oil and lard, the test animals fed safflower oil died quickly. After 30-months only 12% were still alive. Corn oil didn't fare much better - 13% still alive. Olive oil - 37%. Lard - 46% were still living.

What we might not realize about fats...

-No dietary oil/fat is purely saturated or unsaturated. All oils are composed of a mixture of the three classes of fatty acids - saturated, mono, and poly - they just have various percentages of each. So dividing fats into only two choices - saturated or unsaturated - doesn't tell the whole story about any particular fat.

Safflower oil is 10% saturated, 13% mono and 77% poly.

-When milk sours it starts with the polyunsaturated fat content of the milk because they oxidize quickly and the polyunsaturated fats in pure vegetable oil act the same way as the oils in milk. "From the time vegetable oils are stored in warehouses, transported in hot tanker trucks, and sit on the store shelves, they are going rancid because they are exposed to oxygen."

-Monounsaturated fat is more stable than polyunsaturated oils and, therefore, not affected by oxidation and free-radical activity as much. Polyunsaturated fats have three or more double-carbon bonds. A saturated fat, having no double-carbon bonds is the most stable of all.

-Olive oil is best eaten raw, not cooked, because heating quickly oxidizes not only olive oil, but all unsaturated oils, which increases platelet stickiness, which raises the risks associated with heart disease.

-It appears there are two oil "exceptions" - omega-3 fatty acids (i.e. flaxseed oil, fish oil) and medium-chain fatty acids (i.e. tropical oils). "So, when you eat corn, safflower, soybean, cottonseed, canola and peanut oils you are increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke. Eating omega-3 and medium-chain fatty acids reduce that risk."

-Don't forget to check those fatty acids and how each of these has different effects on the body. This took even more in-depth study on the subject above and beyond saturated and unsaturated fats. "Milk, for example, contains palmitic, myristic, stearic, lauric, butyric, caproic, caprylic, and capric acids.

Rapeseed oil contains as much as 55% erucic acid - a very toxic fatty acid, which is why rapeseed oil was originally used as a machine oil. Genetic engineering reduced this fatty acid to less than 1%. To distinguish the genetically altered oil from the original, it was given the name canola.

-Don't forget to study short-chain fatty acids, medium-chain fatty acids and long-chain fatty acids before you finish your study on the subject. "Coconut oil is composed predominately of medium- and short-chain fatty acids and, therefore, have a totally different effect on the body than the typical long-chain fatty acids (both saturated and unsaturated) found abundantly in meat and vegetable oils."


    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 9:01AM
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Well, darn, I tossed a jar of coconut oil a while back that had been in my pantry much longer than the expiration date. I figured it was bad. It was mostly liquid. I guess my kitchen is warmer than others, because it never was really solid at room temperature. I tried the fridge, but it got too hard. What's a girl to do? Does it matter if it doesn't stay hard? I didn't use it much because of the coconut flavor. I'll look for some that says it's flavorless.

I tend to use olive oil for everything, almost. I use butter for what I don't use olive oil for. I do keep some canola on hand, but I buy some that states it's non-gmo.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 9:46AM
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I tried roasted walnut oil in a quick bread once. The walnut flavor was far too pronounced. I save it for salad dressings.

I cook with very little oil. It honestly sometimes takes me years to go through a bottle of anything. I keep everything in the refrigerator. I recently purchased a bottle of organic coconut oil. It's unopened and still sitting in my pantry cupboard. It's interesting to watch it partly solidify with temperature shifts. I'll use it in my next quick bread recipe that asks for oil. I generally use butter for baking but I have a few recipes that are old reliables that use oil.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 10:09AM
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I use coconut oil too, also LuAnn brand. Several years ago my dd did an internship studying the benefits of coconuts. After a few months, she was convinced that coconut oil is the healthiest oil to use and talked me into giving up all other oils too.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 11:30AM
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I wonder when coconut oil will come down to a more affordable price, rather than being a specialty item? The jar I saw in my local grocery store was $16.99!

I use butter almost exclusively for baking with the exception of pie pastry...then I use a combination of butter and lard. I never use solid vegetable shortening. When a recipe calls for oil, I'll use canola...I've never had issues with the smell.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 11:49AM
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cloudy_christine: Coconut oil is solid in my kitchen too. But when melted, I haven't noticed it solidifying when mixed in with the rest of the recipe ingredients. I usually nuke it on medium until 1/2 to 3/4 melted then swirl the remaining solid oil until it too is melted. So I guess it is a bit warmer than room temp when used.

Donna.in.Sask: LouAna brand at our WalMart costs $6 for a 1 pint container.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 12:50PM
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Here is a very good list of uses for the coconut oil on the same sight as the recipe above. I am learning a LOT here on this subject. Glad I dropped in . c

ehow also has a bunch of tips on using it for baking. And since it tolerates high heat I can use it for more things. Since we eat a lot of stir fry we have only been able to use peanut oil as there are no other appropriate oils for stir fry and it is the only one that you can heat hot enough.

Here is a link that might be useful: coconut oil for baking The Kitchn

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 1:15PM
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Just got back from the grocery store. Checked out the info on the coconut oil jar it was LuAnn brand on special for 6.99 . I don't know where the ehow sight got their info but the oil states right on it NOT to use on high heat so there goes my hope to use it for stir fry. We often use the charcoal grill so that we get the wok almost red hot as the Chinese do in China. Peanut oil is the only one that smokes but doesn't burn. Oh well I will still get some of the coconut to use for baking etc but just not for anything high heat. c

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 3:07PM
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Rice bran oil is great for high heat cooking.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 3:27PM
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Grainlady, what's your opinion of Grapeseed Oil? I've tried to research it, but it seems half of the info out there says it's great, and the other half says to avoid it.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 5:46PM
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barnmom : THANK YOU !! Wow...just read about it. Never heard of using it for high heat...don't know how I have never read about it in any of the "authentic" books that I have or seen it in the groceries we frequent in China town. Will sure look for it now. I really appreciate this. c

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 6:37PM
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beachlily z9a

Cows aren't supposed to eat oil. Why would one think that that would kill them? Not in their diet.

All of this talk. What is good? What is safe? Used in moderation, it's safe. My doctor (a gp, but holistic) would be appalled at coconut oil. He would have a fit. I have to make my own decisions, but coconut isn't it.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 6:44PM
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This isn't 'baking' with an oil per se, but last fall I made a batch of duck confit. The confit process basically poaches the meat at a very low temp in oil. The type of oil used will, naturally, convey some of its characteristics to the meat. Traditionally, lard or goose fat or duck fat was used. (Although Michael Ruhlman recommends olive oil--see the link--that's certainly more available than duck fat or good lard) I didn't get enough duck fat rendered to properly confit the duck meat, so I topped it off with LouAna Coconut oil.

The duck was heavenly. Yeah, in consuming that I probably shortened my life by a few days, but it was magnificent. Next time I try it I'm gonna pick up some organic coconut oil at the DeKalb farmers market in Atlanta. (I bought a few quarts of that a few years back. They came in plastic tubs, but the mice in my kitchen found the scent irresistable and gnawed through the plastic tubs to get to it. At least the kitchen was cool enough at the time to where the oil was solid at room temp, and it wasn't a huge mess.)

As long as fat is the subject: a friend of mine raised some pigs as naturally as he could manage, and gave me a quart of lard rendered from them. Homemade lard is so much better than that hydrogenated c**p they have at the grocery store. Incredibly rich and tasty. Haven't baked with it yet, but I have baked with grocery store lard and it's unbeatable for texture; don't know if I want to use some of this precious stuff for biscuits, though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ruhlman's duck confit

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 8:28PM
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Wow, I'd never have thought of that -- coconut oil for duck confit. Good idea if the oil doesn't taste like coconut.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 8:44PM
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I keep 6 kinds of oil in my kitchen:

light sesame
dark sesame
mustard seed

I use peanut oil for most things, canola oil will not be replaced when it's used up until I've made a big enough dent in the 5 gallons of peanut oil I got from Costco for 1/4th the price per gallon of buying it a quart at a time.

I use olive oil only in a few Italian dishes and for pizza crust. I would never saute anything in olive oil and I don't understand the current fad for doing so - it's a lousy cooking oil (low smoking point, and often that much heat changes the flavor for the worse long before it actually gets to the smoking point). I use it for bread-dipping sauces and in a few bread doughs. I would never put it in a cake, bleah!

The rest are flavored oils that I use for specific types of cooking. The light sesame (gingelly) and mustard oil are used for some Indian dishes, the dark sesame is for Chinese and some other Asian recipes.

But for general cooking, I'm using the peanut oil these days. It's as neutral as any other oil I've ever used, and a lot better for deep frying.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 9:05PM
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I use peanut oil and coconut oil for cooking and baking. I use LouAna brand of both. I also use virgin coconut oil(various brands)for adding to hot cereal and for certain uncooked things and I sometimes mix it with butter(which I keep at room temp in a lidded bowl)for spreading on toast/bread. I know most people get too much omega 6 which is inflammatory(as in peanut oil and I won't give up peanut butter either), but I take fish oil supplements and use flaxmeal regularly anyway, so I hope it balances out somewhat.
The extra virgin coconut oil is what is expensive. The refined, not so much.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 9:49PM
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I don't like the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 (too much 6 - 70%, which we get way too much of) and it is another oil that oxidizes when heated, making it a free-radical.

Elana Amsterdam uses it in many of her recipes in her book, "the Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook" as a substitute for butter because of it's rich flavor and texture in her recipes. I use coconut oil where she suggests grapeseed oil in a recipe.

As a rule of thumb, if the predominant classification of an oil or fat is polyunsaturated (grapeseed oil, rice bran oil, etc.), then I never cook with it regardless of its smoke point. "Lipid (per)oxidation and free-radical production quickly takes place when these types of fatty acids are exposed to any degree of heat even very low heat. This is a big red flag for producing inflammation and irritation within our bodies."

Most nut oils, flaxseed oil, wheatgerm oil, pine nut oil, pumpkin oil, etc., are already compromised from exposure to light and oxygen. They are very unstable oils.

When it comes to deep frying or high-heat stir-frying try palm oil (available from Tropical Traditions). Coconut oil is fine for pan frying.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 5:23AM
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This is a great thread, I am learning a lot. Thanks everyone for your contributions! I'm heading to the big city (Portland, ME) today and I'll look for coconut and palm oils there, along with some more delicious olive oil for non cooking use.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 7:38AM
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Is there completely tasteless olive oil? (I never thought I'd ask that.) I know some olive oil is marketed for people who don't like olive oil but have heard it's good for them. But is it tasteless enough to use in a cake? For those of us who hate the thought?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 8:24AM
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CC, was there any "off" taste in your finished apple cake? Did your DH like it? The answers to those questions could help determine your course of action.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 8:58AM
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Ruthanna, it tasted okay. A very slightly off taste was there, but very muted, nothing like what I smell in the oil itself. For some reason I noticed it more at some moments than others. Temperature, maybe? I keep it in the fridge and warm it up very slightly for myself; DH likes it cold. I think it tasted best just after losing the oven heat.
DH has a less sensitive palate than I do, so any apple cake will be fine with him. He did say no olive oil, though.
I like the lower amount of oil in this cake, and lots of yogurt, but probably it isn't as good as some other recipes. I need to experiment. Maybe with melted butter. But if there's an oil that would make me feel I am using a wholesome ingredient, I'd like that.
I saw that you use Crisco oil. Is that canola blended with something else?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 9:31AM
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No, it's soybean oil - highly processed, tasteless and inexpensive. It works fine in my apple cake but I'll leave it to others to tell you why it's not a good choice.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 9:51AM
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:-) Ruthanna.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 10:24AM
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Cloudy, you may just have a "nose" sensitivity to canola oil. I don't know how else to describe it. It may be a smell only you can really pick up, but it's there and disturbing to you.

I have that "smell" thing when it comes to quinoa. After many tries, I've come to the conclusion that I simply cannot cook it at home in my kitchen. It gives out a smell that makes me gag. Both my daughter and daughter-in-law cook it regularly and don't understand what I'm talking about. Just today I picked up a quinoa salad from a local deli and ate it with relish. So I can eat it and enjoy it as long as it isn't prepared in my kitchen and I don't have to smell it cooking.

I smell the fishy aroma when I fry with peanut oil or even old-fashioned Crisco type vegetable oil. Regarding olive oil, it's in my blood. My mom only used olive oil or butter until the 1960s when she heard that margarine and corn oil or soybean oil were so much better for health. But, when it came to preparing the Greek food that my father demanded, she always stuck with olive oil. She bought big cans of imported olive oil at a specialty Mediterranean market. It was just regular olive oil, not extra virgin. My grandmother would fry loukmades (honey-dipped doughnut puffs) in olive oil. That's what she used in Greece, so that's what she used here too. So, as far as I'm concerned, olive oil "...is just alright with me!"

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 6:13PM
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LOL, ruthanna, I'd hate to get so healthy that I gave up all flavor in the process! I want to enjoy what I eat, or what's the purpose? I remember when shrimp and avocado were bad for me, now they're good for me. Butter was bad, margarine was good. Oops, we were wrong. Eggs will kill you, no they won't. Coffee's bad for you. No, it's good for you. Agave nectar was better than anything, now it's not. Oh heck, we just don't know. Ugh. Moderation is the key, I think.

shambo, I still buy cans of olive oil at the Mediterranean market, and it's regular stuff, not extra virgin. I can't tell the difference if I cook with it, only when using in salad dressing or for dipping bread, etc., although I almost never deep fry anything, in olive oil or otherwise.

My old doc told me 80/20. If I were good 80% of the time, the other 20% would take care of itself. I think he was a very smart man. I grow grass fed beef because I like it and because I want to know how my animals are treated, same with my home grown chemical free chicken. I grow an organic garden because I like to garden and I like to know what my kids, grandkids, husband, etc. are eating. Chickens for eggs because the eggs are so much better for me and they're fun to watch. Heck, if I were any healthier I'd live forever!

Now, does anyone want a 15 year old jar of coconut oil? No, I thought not, LOL. Just as well, it went bye-bye with today's garbage pickup. I never did learn to like the stuff.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 6:28PM
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Annie - I would like to know why you would keep a jar of coconut oil for 15 years if you "never did learn to like the stuff."

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 9:50PM
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I'm back...I made the plain yogurt cake on The Kitchn blog...made it exactly as she said and only added the grated rind of a lemon. Baked it 50 min. Used EEVO as that is all I had...not just plain OO. It was WONDERFUL. LIght and tasty and no oily taste at all. We had it last night and again this AM with sliced strawberries. I will be making it often.

I will link to a piece on Livestrong about palm oil . And here is part of an article about coconut oil :

"According to Dr. Barry Sears, who is an expert in lipids (fats), holds a doctorate in biochemistry and does extensive research in the field, coconut oil does have some advantages over other types of saturated fat in that it is rich in tocotrienols (vitamin E, an antioxidant), and because of the high amounts of saturated fat, it is stable for cooking. (Note that the tocotrienols degrade during cooking so this benefit is lost if you use coconut oil for cooking.)

All in all, coconut oil may not be as unhealthy as many animal-derived saturated fats (butter, meat), but until more research is done, especially looking at the impact on heart disease risk, it is better to limit your intake to less than 10% of total calories per day and make sure that it replaces less healthy foods such as refined carbohydrates, sugar and high fat animal proteins instead of adding to them.

And I agree with Sears that for controlling inflammation and obtaining optimal health, extra virgin olive oil is unquestionably your best choice."

Certainly a lot of info. The bottom line is , if you take in too many calories vs how many you burn you will gain weight and potentially be unhealthy. Moderation in ALL things is best. You can't leave out any food group without suffering consequences. If you leave out meat you have to make up the difference with the proper amino acids in complementary proteins. It is not easy being a human with good nutrition these days :) c

Here is a link that might be useful: Palm fruit/palm seed oil...the difference

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 10:01PM
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Teresa, it just kept migrating to the back of my very deep pantry. My ex had brought it home from the store while we were still married, I used it a couple of times but it made everything taste of coconut.

When I was cleaning the pantry, I found it in the back corner. Since Elery and I were having something of a "competition" as to the oldest item found in our pantry/basement, I kept it as evidence. He still beat me, he had a jar of home canned pickled jalapenos from 1986 stuck on the back corner of a basement shelf!

The moral of the story is, I guess, if you don't like it, get rid of it. You can keep it forever thinking you are going to use it someday, but you probably won't.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 12:23AM
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I'm another one who finds canola oil fishy & have gone back to peanut oil for anything that requires high heat/deep frying. Otherwise, I stick with EVOO or butter.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 12:54AM
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