Fats

Copyright © 2000 Sarah Phillips Sarah Phillips, Inc. All rights reserved.
There are two types of fat used in baking, SOLID FAT, such as stick butter or margarine or shortening, or LIQUID, such as vegetable or olive oil. These types are extracted from either plants or animals, or manufactured. See also HOW TO FRY - SAUTE, SHALLOW FRY, AND DEEP FRY

Solid fat, as in butter or shortening, is technically referred to as "plastic" fat because when beaten with sugar, such as in a buttercake recipe, they can hold air bubbles in their creamy, malleable mass. These types can also be used as a spacer, such as a pie crust or for leavening, such as in puff pastry.

Liquid fats, such as oil have different characteristics than solid ones and cannot hold air, and can be used in small amounts for healthy recipes.

FATS USED FOR BAKING

 TYPE

FAT CONTENT -  remaining percent is water, milk solids, etc.

FLAVOR - Butter has the most

Cakes - tender or not

Cookies - spread or not 

Pies - flaky or not

SOLID "PLASTIC" FAT

 

 

 

 

 

Stick Butter

81%

 Yes

 Medium

 Some

 Medium

Lard

100%

 No

 Most

 Least

Most

Stick Margarine

80%

Some

Least

Most

Least

Shortening

100%

No

Most

Least

Most

"LIQUID" FATS

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetable Oil

100%

None

Dense

Cakelike

None

Olive Oil

100%

Some

Dense

Cakelike

None

Clarified Butter100%SomeDenseCakelikeNone


SARAH SAYS:
I have done a lot of testing recipes with different types fats because of my developing hundreds of low-fat and fat-reduced recipes. Here, I share my first-hand knowledge and experiences with you, which may contradict other websites. But, my findings here have been seen with my own eyes!! Happy Baking, Sarah
 
PLEASE NOTE that when substituting a solid fat, such as butter with a liquid one (vegetable oil) or vice versa, adversely affects the taste or the texture of your recipe.

Melted butter cannot be substituted with a liquid fat because butter contains milk solids which set after the recipe has baked and cooled; oil doesn't. The rule of thumb is to substitute one solid fat for another (ie: butter for shortening), and oil with another oil (vegetable oil for canola oil). That's because when a fat is solid, it acts differently in a baking recipe than a fat that's liquid.

If a recipe calls for butter, plastic (solid) fats such as butter, margarine or shortening with at least a 80% fat content work the best. Fats containing less than 80% in fat will adversely affect your recipe, such as lower calorie "spreads". Avoid their use.