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Baking with Shortening?
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climbeyalex



Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:44 am    Post subject: Baking with Shortening? Reply with quote

Ever since I've moved to Thailand, I've realised that baking with butter Must Stop. Half a pound of decent butter costs me at least 100baht and that's about 1/5 of my weekly grocery bill. By contrast, two pounds of shortening here is about 50 baht and that stuff never goes bad stored in the cupboard (which I will readily admit is a little scary) and also, lard. Lard, I have no problems with since it makes the best pie crusts and I render it at home myself but shortening, I'm at a complete loss with. Does anyone have good recipes for baking with lard and shortening, cakes, especially white and layer cakes, cookies, breads, pies, etc? It'll be greatly appreciated.
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Last edited by climbeyalex on Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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msue



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Climbeyalex, I don't have an answer for your post, but I stopped in my tracks, jaw-dropped, to read that your matter-of-fact comment that render your own lard. Is this something everyone does? I never even considered it.

A quick Google search turned up this step-by-step description:

http://www.obsessionwithfood.com/2006_01_01_blog-archive.html#113709378997673043


p.s. I don't mean to hijack your thread - just curious about the lard comment.
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climbeyalex



Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi msue, I'm not sure if everyone does it, my mom and my grandma never did it but I've always been the freak of the family and a giant fan of pig. Very Happy I don't do it often, only on the odd time when I want to make my grandmother's taro paste dessert or when my wok starts to look a little worse for the wear. But I think it'll become a more common occurrence here.
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

climbeyalex, you need to get hold of the recipes the British used during rationing in the 40s and early 50s, or a recipe book from the Australian CWA (Country Women's Association) - those inventive women would have come up with ways to bake without using butter.

You could also just keep baking Clotilde's fabulous Gateau au Yaourt in as many variations as you can think of. It uses vegetable oil instead of butter. Can you buy plain yoghurt easily in Thailand?

Barbara has an Amazon Cake recipe that uses no eggs or butter - might be worth a try. It's about a third of the way down the page.
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climbeyalex



Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Judy, thanks so much for the recommendations. I cannot believe I didn't think of the rationing recipes even thought I read too much Agatha Christie. =) I've made the yogurt cake once, it works beautifully and the yogurt we get here is delicious, slightly sweet and tart and not chalky at all. I've done variations of the amazon cake before with vegetable oil and its now my fat of choice with chocolate cakes.
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dory



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 236
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One possibility is to use oil instead of lard or shortening. Most recipes that call for melted butter can be made with canola oil or other types of light, mild flavored vegetable oil. They may be a little bland, so you should make up for it with a little extra flavoring-- perhaps extra vanilla or some grated citrus zest (from organic if possible, as regulations on citrus sprays don't take into account that the rind might be eaten. Take my word. My grandparents grew citrus. I posted my personal corn bread recipe on the bread thread, although it must be made with care as it has not been tested by anybody but me and I am a "little bit of this, little bit of that" type cook.

I make muffins with the following template-- adding something else each time to give them flavor, as they would be very bland as is:

2 c. white flour
1/2 c. sugar
1T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 egg
1/2 c. canola oil
~1 cup vanilla soy milk

It makes a sort of runny batter but puffs up nice, forming a soft crumb. This would make a cake as well-- perhaps with a bit more sugar. I sometimes add rum soaked raisins, substituting the leftover rum for part of the milk, and adding 1/2 t. allspice. I also sometimes put in cinnamon, ginger and cardamom, or extra vanilla (I make my own) and chocolate chips-- preferably mini, or chocolate chopped up fine in the food processor.

Dory
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dory



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 236
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:44 am    Post subject: butter flavored crisco Reply with quote

I have also thought of something. There is now a butter flavored Crisco. OF course Crisco is almost 100% trans fats, so I would be afraid to use it often. However, I think I grew up on Crisco in items like my brother's coconut birthday cake, and although I would not use it daily, I am not sure it is terrible as a specisal treat a few times a year. If I find the white cake with Crisco recipe I will print it here.


Dory
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climbeyalex



Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dory, I cook a lot like the way you do. Little bit of this, little bit of that, drives people crazy when they want recipes.

I've been experimenting with shortening all week and its failed to live up to any expectations. The cakes turned out strange tasting and a little flabby.

The scary thing is, I used the shortening to make a frosting and well, its extremely stable. It sat for a day on the kitchen windowsill where temperatures reach 35degree celsius and it didn't even melt or budge an inch. I shudder to think of what it could do to our arteries. Shocked
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I made the Amazon Cake during the week to take to visit some friends, one of whom is a vegan. It was a great success, very moist and tasted good. Everyone enjoyed it, even the non-vegans.
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brighidsdaughter



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 233
Location: Canton, TX USA

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're trying to convert American cake recipes from butter to solid shortening, it's best to use a bit less shortening -- maybe 2 tablespoons less shortening for each cup (8 oz) of butter required in the recipe. American butter has a higher proportion of milk solids & some residual water that solid shortening doesn't have. European butter is more dense, with a higher fat content than American-style butter, falling somewhere in between that and solid shortening. Cake baking can be pretty exacting, and I think it would require quite a bit of experimentation.

You're right about the difference in taste, so flavorings for the cake need a boost from good vanilla, lemon rind, dried fruits, etc to offset the lack of butter flavor.

The solid vegetable shortening icing is pretty indestructible. Shortening, confectioner's sugar, & flavoring. A spoonful of cornstarch & 1 lightly beaten egg white will add even more stability & improve the texture.
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dory



Joined: 11 Nov 2007
Posts: 236
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:27 pm    Post subject: oil and shortening recipes Reply with quote

I just remembered that I have a vegan chocolate cake recipe from, of all things the Peg Bracken I Hate to Cook book published in the 1960s for women who wanted to switch to convenience foods. However, I suspect that Bracken herself secretly liked to cook and a few of her recipes-- ones that are not glopped up with canned soup, processed cheese and other artificial ingredients are tasty.

I have a vintage copy of her book from my mother's house-- mostly for the chocolate cake and the historical interest. My friends have always really liked this cake which is moist and chocolatey, and nobody has guessed it is supposed to be a 60s "convenience" recipe. I have a vegan sister and a brother on a heart diet so extreme he is almost vegan, but others like the cake too! The recipes are all US measurments, though!

Cockeyed Cake

1 1/2 C. flour
3 T. cocoa powder. Both Dutch process and regular work
1 t. baking soda
1 C. sugar (I often cut back a little)
1/2 t. salt
5 T. vegetable oil
1T. vinegar (if you can get raspberry it is an excellent combination. I usually use rice wine for the mild flavor, although I am sure Peg Bracken used regular white.)
1 tsp vanilla
1 C. cold water

Mix the dry ingredients together and add the wet ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees (moderate oven, whatever that is in C.) for 1/2 hour. This cooks in a small square sheet pan. Doubled it makes a large sheet or 2 layers. Despite the strange ingredients (you will feel like you are making a cross between mud pies and salad dressing) it would make a traditional tasting moist and soft birthday cake. We used to make it on every year on July 4th, even though we were tempted by shortcake because of the berries.

As for frosting, I think shortening is the way most grocery store bakeries make frosting-- shortening and confectioners sugar. That would give your cake a traditional feel.

Can you get cream? It may be expensive too. YOu can make a nice ganache even without butter if you melt chocolate in enough heavy cream. I wonder how it would come out with coconut milk? Chocolate and coconut make a good flavor combination.


Dory
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georgia



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 456
Location: california

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it helps, I believe that Crisco has been reformulated to be free of transfats. I recently made an old-fashioned, American-style, shortening pie crust with it and found that the results were almost (not exactly) the same as in the past. The texture was a little bit less flakey, but I doubt that most people would even notice.

While there are a lot of cakes that can be made with oil or shortening that taste very good, I draw the line at raw shortening "frosting". All that greasy mouthfeel! Yuck. I'd advise a simple cake that can be dusted with confectioners' sugar or cocoa or topped with fruit. Infinitely better. Some ingredients should not be substituted. Find a healthier, tastier alternative and you'll be happier with the results in general.

You say you like Clotilde's yogurt cake...think of the many, many ways that simple cake can be varied! You may run out of occasions to serve it before you run out of ways to dress it up!
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dory, your Cockeyed Cake is the exact recipe I used for the Amazon Cake! I used apple cider vinegar 'cos that's what my recipe told me to use. I cooked mine for about 10 minutes longer and it was still very moist. It makes a very nice cake, doesn't it?
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How interesting Dory's Cockeyed Cake is the same recipe as the Amazon cake. In my blog post I attributed the recipe to a book called Cafe Beaujolais by Margaret Fox and John S. Bear as stated in the original New York Times article. I'd be interested to know if anyone has Cafe Beaujolais wether the authors refer to the original recipe.
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vickyc



Joined: 13 Aug 2008
Posts: 19
Location: SF Bay Area

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:58 pm    Post subject: Crisco Reply with quote

I have tried the Crisco shortening with the non-hydorogenated oil. While I appreciate a healthier version, to me shortening is shortening, and falls into the "deal breaker" category. I tried baking a chocolate cake with canoloa oil, and I just don't like that oily taste. The cake is quite moist, and bakes well, but...I guess I just prefer the taste of butter. Razz
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