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Old 03-04-2005, 12:42 PM   #1
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Fat vs. Fat

I just wanted to see what other bakers thought about the different types of fats used in baking. I love to bake, but would be no means consider myself a hard-core baker. So when I recipe calls for the fat,I usually use what I have on hand.

i.e. butter, margarine, crisco, or sometimes subsitute olive oil (I have a little substitution chart at home) I don't always use the fat the recipe calls for. A lot of times I try to stay away from margarine and use butter.

Do you ever subsitute? Is there anything that people like me should know when trying to subsittute fats?

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Old 03-04-2005, 01:12 PM   #2
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Here is some info.

http://outreach.missouri.edu/nwregio..._or_bottle.htm
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Old 03-04-2005, 01:17 PM   #3
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Shortening

1 cup butter or margarine can be substituted for 1 cup shortening. When using shortening in place of butter or margarine, 1 tablespoon milk or water for each 1/2 cup shortening used may need to be added. DO NOT substitute vegetable oil for shortening when recipe calls for melting the shortening.
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Old 03-04-2005, 11:29 PM   #4
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Unsalted butter is the Rolse Royce of fats; in most cases, butter is superior to all other fats. That being said, there are times when another fat may be preferable. For example, shortening melts at a higher temperature than butter, so it can be used to keep cookies from flattening in the oven, or to stabilize a buttercream so it will not melt as quickly.

Also, for certain specific purposes, like pie crusts, lard and/or shortening is actually more important to the recipe than butter. Indeed, while it is possible to make a good pie crust without butter, I don't think it is possible to do so without lard or shortening. Margarine is superior to butter in Danish dough, because its higher melting point makes it more suitable to a softer dough, or so I've heard. Generally, the one advantage I have found with oils is that they allow you to make non-dairy breads which are highly useful when dealing with Kosher people.

Baking is a science though. You should never substitute anything unless the recipe tells you to. Perfection is achieved through fastidious devotion to the recipe (assuming it is a quality recipe) and not through improvisation, which is the enemy of good baking. Maybe master chefs can play around, but for home bakers like most of the people on this board (myself included) I think it's just foolish to go playing around with recipes developed by far more qualified individuals.
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Old 03-05-2005, 04:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonr
I think it's just foolish to go playing around with recipes developed by far more qualified individuals.
awwww, jason....you don't want me to have any fun fiddling with stuff.
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Old 03-05-2005, 07:36 PM   #6
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Well, I have to disagree. How do we know where most recipes come from, to determine if they are more quailfied than you? Tweaking a recipe is fun and makes it your own. Tastes are different and regional for the most part. Folks tweak a recipe based on those influences and wham, you've got a great dish. Not every recipe can or needs to be tweaked, but for so many you can experiment and have fun. We tweak recipes all the time, and convert them from cooking in a oven to cooking outdoors. There are many great cooks out there with no professional training. They are no less a great cook than the professional.

And you know the one thing they professionals aren't taught?

Barbeque,...they will telll you they know nothing about how to cook it, but they sure like to eat it!

Food is fun, play with it! If it's bad, throw it away, if it's good, you get to eat it!
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Old 03-06-2005, 02:27 AM   #7
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I mainly substitute for 2 reasons: 1. I don't have exactly what they are asking for (i.e. butter vs margarine) or 2. health purposes. I try not to feel AS guilty for baking so much, so try to make it as guilt free as possible. This is the main reason I look to subsitution, though certain things (i.e. pie crust) I would never try to use something like olive oil for. (Though that would be a fun experiment to see what it looks like.)

I read an article in my local paper that has a substitution chart for using olive oil, instead of butter/margarine. Interestingly, it's not a 1 to 1 exchange.
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Old 03-06-2005, 12:26 PM   #8
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Ok ok, I admit, I'm a baking Nazi. But it's not my fault, it's my upbringing. My mom would be like "bah, there's already sugar in strawberries, so there's no need to add any sugar to this strawberry compote, to hell with the recipe!" I learned from those tragic consequences, and made the following rule: no substitutions, ever, and when given the choice, always use the least healthy alternative possible.

Since my baking is primarily for others, I'm not the one who generally absorbs the consequences anyway. And I still get the compliments for the best tasting desserts. MWAHAHAH!
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Old 03-06-2005, 06:16 PM   #9
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Just MHO here, but I think 'tweaking' lends itself far better to coking in general - ie, sauces, soups, roasts - and yes, BBQ, Rainee - than it does to baking.


We've all seen the disastorous results that happen when we think we can sub out an ingredient or quantity in a baking recipe. As Jason said, baking is more of a science; cooking more of an art.
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Old 03-06-2005, 07:07 PM   #10
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Bacon grease and lard rule!:grin:
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Old 03-06-2005, 07:31 PM   #11
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Smile

htc, I only use butter for solid shortening and EVOO or vegetable oil if liquid shortening is in the recipe. I have bookmarked Rainee's substitution site and hopefully it can help with future questions. I posted here a request to substitute some of my mother's 60+ year old recipes she has handwritten in her book. They all called for crisco, spry or lard and I do not use either one. So this will help in addition to the comments posted on the thread. Thanks all.
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Old 03-07-2005, 11:40 PM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bangbang
Bacon grease and lard rule!:grin:
Those are my top two fats....

In baking, I will use other fats when needed though...
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Old 03-08-2005, 05:44 PM   #13
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I used to adhere to the "baking is a science and needs to follow exact recipes" line of thinking. Then I made my pancake batter by tinkering. Pancakes work by the same principles as do cakes, breads, and most other things using starchy ingrediants and a leavening agent. If I do say so, my pancakes are legendary. Many here on this site will support that. And I'm not an extraordinary individual, just an ordinary guy who loves to improve on existing things, and who isn't afraid to experiment.

In the same vein, I learned how to make bread by following a basic recipe, and then adjusting the oil, water, flour ratio to get the right feel in the dough. I never use a recipe for bread any more as I trust the feel of the dough more than a recipe. Recipes have failed me. When the dough feels right, the bread comes out great. I also modified my pancake recipe by using butter as the fat, and cutting it into the flour until it resembled a pebble-grained raw pie crust. Omit the eggs and add the liquid to make a sticky dough. The result was the lightest buiscuits I ever made. Theywere so popular in my family, that I ended up making them, by request, every night for two weeks. I finally said enough is enough to my family.

The point is, once you learn the basic feel of something, and understand the chemical and physical dynamics of a recipe, you can start to play with it.

Here's a great and easy change for you. Add a mere extra two tbs. of cooking oil to your next boxed cake mix. Keeping everything else the same, you will find that you have created a more moist and tender cake, that will have everyone who eats it asking, "Where did you get this incredible recipe!"

Indeed, I urge you to learn how to bake something to the point that you understand everything about that one dish, be it a particular pie, a favorite cake, a quickbread, or bread recipe. Learn it so well that you no longer need the recipe. Learn its feel, its smell, its gloss, or lack of gloss. Once you understand the recipe, make it better. Add or reduce the sweetener, or substitute some blended cottage cheese, with its sharper flavor, for some of the cream cheese. You will be truly surprized at your own talent and abilities.

Oh how I'd love to teach a cooking class. I could show you things... Great cooking is delveloped through a solid understanding of the basics, then by adding your own intuition, artistic notions, and individual creativity. Then you are the engineer, not just a technician. You become an artist. The science teaches you the basics through hands-on experience. You take it from there.:)

Seeeeeya; the maniacle, the curious, the passionate about life, Goodweed of the North
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Old 03-09-2005, 10:10 AM   #14
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Goodweed, I wish you could teach a cooking class, too. I'd be your first registered student!
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