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I recently read this question: Why can applesauce be used in place of oil?

And the accepted answer says: "In baking, the role of oil is to coat the flour, preventing it from combining with the water (or other wet ingredients) and developing gluten."

However, all of my gluten free bread recipes call for some amount of oil. If there's no gluten in the recipe, what is the point of oil? Does it inhibit the gum I'm using instead?

Relatedly, can I substitute applesauce for oil in gluten free recipes without unexpected side effects?

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Most gluten-free recipes tend toward the dry and crumbly, because the binding and elasticity of gluten is missing. Oil contributes a certain amount of binding and moisture of a sort to the finished product. As far as I'm concerned, using all oil as a compensation is unwise, as it can greatly increase the fat content of the recipe. Xanthan gum or locust bean gum (my preference) can supply some of the missing elasticity and binding without increasing the fat content, so you may benefit by experimenting with proportions of gums and oils to get the texture you want.

I would not advise using apple sauce as a substitute for oil, as the moisture will mostly evaporate during baking, so the apple sauce will not provide moisture or binding.

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    Though most shop bought apple sauce will have a binding agent such as xanthan gum thrown in :) – Doug Mar 2 '16 at 14:38
  • For baking purposes, the amount of xanthan or guar gum in applesauce is negligible, because applesauce does not require much in the way of binding. – Shalryn Mar 3 '16 at 17:38

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