Thursday, January 16, 2020

fathead dough: another stab at keto bread

Wednesday night (well, technically, Thursday morning), I attempted to make hamburger buns using Joe Duff's "fathead dough" recipe. A fathead dough gets its name from the slew of fatty ingredients that are used to make it: mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, yogurt, and in my case, a bit of extra butter. Eggs are 11% fat, and this dough contains a single egg as well—not the cluster of eggs that I used in my previous attempt at keto bread.

So you can see, above, how the bread turned out. As before, this probably doesn't count as true bread by the standards of a purist, but it's a damn sight better than the last loaf I made. With only a single egg in this recipe, there is no egginess issue to speak of. The crumb of this bread even looks slightly closer to that of actual bread than did the last loaf.

But how is the bread? How does it smell and taste and feel? Here are some scattered reactions. First, this bread isn't going to fool anyone into thinking he or she is eating normal bread. With my previous loaf, the "crust" was essentially overcooked eggs, not so different from what happens in a frying pan when you leave your scrambled eggs unstirred for too long. This loaf's crust is also something of a sham because the crust is probably the result of all that cheese undergoing an extended Maillard reaction thanks to the long baking time (which I cut short for fear of burning the buns). You can see, in the above photo, how thick the crust is; it's also quite hard, which is how you'd expect cheese in a frying pan to behave if you cooked it for long enough. Taste-wise, the bread is... edible. It's not bad, but it's also nothing to write home about. I get a hint of a bitter aftertaste after more than one bite; at a guess, this is from the baking powder in the recipe. There's surprisingly little almond taste, despite all the almond flour (a combination of bleached almond flour and almond meal), and the bread's interior is generally bland. In terms of texture, the bread was moist and bouncy when it came out of the oven, but I think it got a bit drier as it cooled. When I cut some experimental slices off each bun, I discovered the bread tasted pretty good with butter, and also with a homemade fromage aux fines herbes that I whipped up with my leftover cream cheese. The previous loaf needed a few days to age into something tolerably tasty; this bread proved palatable from the get-go, but as I wrote above, no one will ever be fooled into thinking this is normal bread. The buns are also quite heavy, which is a bit disconcerting. Maybe next time, instead of making four large buns out of my dough, I'll make eight smaller, thinner buns, adjusting the baking time and temperature accordingly.

All in all, I'd make this bread again. The dough, after mixing, is moist but very firm, so it can be molded into different shapes: loaves, buns, etc. I only wish I could slather on some jam along with the butter. There has to be some sort of sugar-free jam out there, yes?


Ross LeCompte said...

Still trucking with the Keto? Me too. Lost about 3 kilos so far. I am far more lazy than you though. Lots of chicken and veggies for dinner every night, and eggs for breakfast. I usually eat a fat piece of guda cheese for lunch. Boring.

John Mac said...

Bread was probably the easiest thing for me to give up when I was doing the low-carb diet. Sweet stuff, especially ice cream, was what I missed the most. It seems like a lot of work to me to bake faux bread, but it does look good at least. Made me think of those meatless meats the vegans are always going on about though.

Just curious, have you replaced your soft drinks with sugar-free versions? I've been a Coke Zero guy for years, but I've read your body will transform artificial sweeteners in a way similar to sugar.

Good luck and keep after it!

Kevin Kim said...


That dietary regimen doesn't sound lazy at all! Keep up the good work.


Yeah, it's "dirty keto" here: diet soda (which I know I need to quit) and stuff like bacon, spam, and hot dogs. Ideally, I'm supposed to skew toward paleo-style unprocessed foods.

Kevin Kim said...


For what it's worth, fathead dough isn't all that labor-intensive. And since there's no yeast, you don't have to wait for it to rise.