Do you know which ingredient is the Queen of Baking Fats? Now you must be like: of course, butter, who doesn’t know about it. That’s true that butter is the one ingredient everyone loves and is preferred the most while baking. But one thing we recently realized that not just butter but other important fats used in baking should also be brought into the limelight. What are those fats? Why are they used in baking? We have everything for you. So let’s jump in!
Why are Fats used in Baking?
- When fats are added to the batter, they make your product tender by coating and weakening the gluten bonds within the structure.
- Well, they come with little or no moisture but they still give the illusion of wetness. Fats are something that doesn’t get absorbed or evaporate with heat.
- They help your baked goods to achieve proper browning.
- Fats allow the heat to move through the product, preserving the baking process.
Types of Fats
Above, we gave you an idea of what fats do. Now let’s talk about different kinds of fats used in baking.
We’ll be starting with the most familiar ingredient, which is used while baking. Butter is one of those ingredients which are used exceptional flavor over other fats. If you have a sense of indentifying the ingredients, it won’t be hard for you to tell which is the homemade cookies baked with butter and which one is brought from the grocery made with shortening?
You know why your butter easily melts in your mouth? Because it has a melting point just below your body temperature. The ingredient is best used when kept at the room temperature, so don’t forget to leave it on the counter for at least 30 minutes and it will go right.
You can use butter in your baked goods in these commonest ways. You can either cut it into your dry ingredient while baking biscuits and pie crusts or you can cream it with sugar while baking cakes and cookies or you can simply melt it and combine with other ingredients.
One fun fact about butter is that it remains the same whether weighed or measured by volume. One liquid oz. of butter is same as one oz. of butter.
Well, it is quite complex to understand the difference between butter substitutes and margarine. This is similar to shortening and made up of hydrogenated refined plants oil and water instead of dairy milk.
While choosing margarine for baking, look that it should contain at least 80% of vegetable oil because lower-fat ones won’t work in the same manner during baking. Use it in equal quantities to butter while making cookies, pie crusts or cakes.
You cannot expect proteins, solid, air or water in the oils because it is completely fat. Don’t try to use it while creaming as the oils don’t have the capability to trap air bubbles. Oils don’t even produce steam because of ‘No Water’ and help with leavening. Chill!
That doesn’t mean that oils come with all the negativities. Since they are naturally liquid at room temperature they produce very moist baked goods. You must be amazed to know that people when short of butter, use vegetable oil to bake their favorite and of course, moist cakes.
Vegetable oils can include cottonseed, peanut, corn, soybean canola etc. And not to forget that each oil comes with some distinctive properties but generally, basic canola or canola blended oil can be used while baking.
Back in the 1900s when shortening was first brought in the baking world, it was considered to be very useful as it remained plastic at a much wider temperature and came with emulsifiers that helped the batter to come together faster.
Like oils, it is also completely fat. The reason why it became so popular: 1. shortening doesn’t need to be refrigerated. 2. It is less expensive than butter.
Slowly and gradually, its popularity began to decline because hydrogenated fats were considered worse for you juxtaposed to other natural fats. In fact, the ingredient doesn’t even have a pleasant taste because of its higher melting point.
You don’t want to feel that coating in the back of your throat after having a piece of store-bought frosted cake, right?