Oat Oil Gives Bread a Soft Touch
By Ben Hardin
September 29, 2000
Read the label on bread made in
the United States and youll likely find vegetable shortening and other
additives among the ingredients that increase loaf size, improve texture and
lengthen shelf life. A smidgen of oat oil could do the same thing and may make
bread more heart-healthy.
Oat oil is rich in phospholipids and glycolipids, also called polar lipids,
says Douglas C. Doehlert, a cereal chemist with the
Agricultural Research Service at Fargo,
N.D. This type of oil combines with water to lubricate bread dough to help it
rise evenly and bake into a loaf that is uniformly soft and springy, even after
several days of storage.
For people who would rather avoid eating vegetable shortenings, which
contain trans fatty acids that have been associated with heart disease, bread
made with oat oil or its components could be an alternative dietary staple.
In one experiment at North Dakota State
University, Fargo, Fulbright scholar Sofia V. Erazo and Doehlert compared
bread formulations made with either 3 percent crude oat oil or the same amount
of vegetable shortening. In each case, loaf volume, appearance and resistance
to staleness proved the same.
But the researchers also found they could achieve the same result by
replacing the vegetable shortening with just 0.5 percent polar lipids taken
from the oat oil. Polar lipids worked better in bread made from hard red winter
wheat flour--the flour from which most bread is made--than in bread from more
costly hard red spring wheat flour. Doughs made from hard red winter wheat
flour need less shortening to increase loaf volume, because of their high
Presently, the most highly valued major component of oats is the bran. Oat
oil comprises about 6 percent of most dehulled oats but is now rarely sold as a
commercial product. This research could potentially lead to a new market for
ARS is the chief research agency of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.
Scientific contact: Douglas C. Doehlert,
ARS Red River Valley Agricultural
Research Center, Fargo, N.D., phone (701) 239-1413, fax (701) 239-1377,