Can I use shortening when baking

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5 Comments

anne July 9, 2014
Shortening (hydrogenated vegetable shortening) is often preferred in cakes. It is a good creamer so more air pockets are created which creates lighter cakes. It will also help to produce a moister cake that stays moist longer because it is 100% fat. It's beats butter in it's "shortening" ability as well, so a more tender cake is the result.
 
rasheedat July 9, 2014
Sorry guys I meant cake.
 

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boulangere July 7, 2014
This, from a food reference site may help you:

"Shortening is any type of solid fat used to prevent the formation of a gluten matrix in baked goods. Lard, hydrogenated (solidified) oils, and even butter can be used as shortening, although in the mainstream market shortening often refers solely to hydrogenated oils.

Vegetable shortenings, or hydrogenated vegetable oils, are extremely shelf stable and require no refrigeration. They have a higher smoke point than butter and are less expensive than both butter and lard. For these reasons, vegetable shortening gained popularity quickly after its invention in the early 20th century."

So, while lard and butter "can be used AS shortening," and are solid at room temperature, they are do not fall into the category of highly hydrogenated vegetable oils which are solid at room temperature and have come to be known as Shortening. As well, shortening, Crisco, for example, is 100% fat, whereas butter is 80% fat, 18% water, and 2% milk solids.

The term "shortening" refers to the process of any fat being used to interrupt gluten molecules. Protein strands are long and complex. Think of their power to hold up a loaf of bread. In cakes, cooked, muffins, etc., that strength is reduced by using lower-protein flours and introducing one type of fat or another to literally shorten the gluten strands. Fats cause protein strands to slip apart and do not permit them to re-form.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that yes, you likely can use shortening rather than butter when baking. Be aware, though, that while Crisco is 100% fat where butter contains 18% water and will introduce an additional amount of liquid (which promotes formation of gluten), butter results in a significantly better taste than Crisco.
 
ChefJune July 7, 2014
Baking what?
 
Susan W. July 7, 2014
What are you baking? By shortening, do you mean Crisco? By definition, shortening is any fat that is solid at room temperature, so that would include butter, margarine, pork lard, coconut oil etc.
 
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