Secrets of Baking Light

Sour cream isn’t the first ingredient folks think of when they’re eating light. But it can be a real boon to bakers. Although sour cream isn’t a substitute for shortening, butter or oil in recipes, it can improve the quality of low-fat baked goods by performing some of the fat’s functions. Fat gives baked goods tenderness, moistness and flavor. Because there’s less fat in light recipes, sometimes baked goods turn out tough, rubbery or dry. Sour cream adds moistness, helps tenderize and produces a fine, dense texture. Plus, the protein and natural sugar in sour cream help achieve a golden-brown hue. It allows you to use sour cream with oil instead of more saturated fats like butter and shortening.

Full-Fat Recipes Many baked goods call for sour cream. To lighten up these treats, simply substitute reduced-fat or fat-free sour cream for the full-fat variety. Reduced-fat sour cream contains 30% less fat and 40% fewer calories and regular. That’s a savings of 10 g fat and 100 calories per cup of sour cream. Fat-free sour cream saves 36 g fat and 250 calories per cup. Fat-free sour cream does not tenderize as well as regular or reduced-fat. However, if a recipe calls for at least 1/4 cup oil, butter or shortening for every 2 cups flour, you can use fat-free sour cream in place of regular.