Fats and Oils


Lesson 4:Other Essential Ingredients Used In Baking

Fats and Oils

Fats and oils or collectively called as shortenings lubricate the structure of baked foods. They are important in most types of bakery products to shorten or make flour proteins tender. Fats and oils in the mixture hold large number of air cells incorporated during creaming and make the products smooth and creamy.Generally fats that are liquid at room temperature are oils and those that are solids are fats. Solid fats such as butter, margarine, lard and liquid fats i.e., oils are tenderizing agents. The fats most useful in baking are butter, vanaspati (hydrogenated fat), margarine and cooking oils. Bakery fats and oils are derived from animal (butter, lard and tallow) or plant sources (peanut, coconut, sesame, rice bran, soy, safflower, cotton seed, sunflower, etc). Fat used in cake making should be smooth as it can incorporate and hold air cells. Granular fats do not fulfill this function and therefore such fat should be avoided.
Fats and oils should be stored at a temperature of 70-80°F. At low temperature they become hard and brittle and difficult to work and at high temperature they become excessively soft and show impaired creaming quality. Shortening should not be stored near odourous material because fats are more prone to absorb many foreign odors which are undesirable. Emulsifiers are widely used along with fats to bring about most acceptable texture.

Properties of fats and oils used in bakery
They should be
  • Bland in flavour
  • White in appearance
  • Possess good plasticity to handle
  • Stable to flavour and oxidative changes
Function of fats and oils in bakery products
  • Fats act as enriching agents, add calorie value to baked foods
  • Develop flakiness in product
  • Lubricate the gluten for development of dough raised by yeasts
  • Fats act as shortening agents prevent the development of toughness of gluten, according to the method and the amount and hence, are shortening agents
  • Fats enhance flavor and sensory properties
  • Provide aeration
  • Promote a desirable grain and texture
  • Act as emulsifiers for holding of liquids
  • Fats act as air retainers hold air incorporated in the creaming process along with eggs

Animal fats: Butter is different from other fats obtained from animal tissues such as pork, beef and mutton dripping. Pork dripping is softer than beef, mutton dripping is hard. The fats differ in physical properties because of variation in their chemical composition.

Butter: It is considered to be the best of all baking shortenings. Butter has low melting pointglycerides components and has unique flavor and hence, is considered to be one of the best fats for preparing cakes and pastry. Butter is made by churning ripened milk fat. Ripening develops lactic acid which breaks the emulsion. The distinct flavor of butter is due to butyric acid. Fresh butter that has delicate and pleasing aroma, which is free from off odors, oiliness, rancidity gives good sensory appeal in the products. A strong odor indi­cates the beginning of rancidity. It shouldbe firm and plastic in texture. Creaming should be easy and hold maximum egg without curdling. Butter should be stored in a cool, dark place to prevent the onset of rancidity. . Cake made with butter is generally lower in volume and has coarser grain.

Lard: It is the fat rendered from fresh, clean, sound, fatty tissues from pigs in good health at the time of slaughter. Lard has distinctive natural flavour and odour, which is considered desirable in certain baked products primarily bread, crackers and pie crusts. The best quality lard is white, granular, with an agreeable flavour, low melting point and is firm. It is most widely used shortenings for bread, pies, soda crackers and find extensive use in pan greasing and in cookie dough.

Beef tallow or oleo:This is obtained from oxen and is more familiar as suet. In its natural form its only use in the bakery is for mincemeat and some puddings. The best suet comes from the region of the kidneys.

Mutton tallow:It ishard solid fat obtained from sheep. In its raw condition it is suet and can be used by the baker for mince­meat and some puddings. It has a higher melting-point than beef suet and is less pleasant in flavour.

Whaleoil: Apart from lard oil, the only animal oil that can be used in bakery shortening is whale oil, which is a marine oil obtained from the blubber of whales. It is deodorized, and changed from oil to a fat by hydrogenation. It can be used in the manufacture of margarine and shortening.

Vegetable fats and oils: They are processedfrom palm, coconut, corn, peanut, sesame, rice bran, soy, safflower, cotton seed, sunflower, etc. These types of fats always stay liquid and never set into a solid form.Lubrication is a function of oil. The liquid oils coat the flour and sugar particles allowing for smooth dough for easy mixing at short time. The coating although retards gluten development it is not as effective as solid, plastic fats. Oil does not aerate when creamed with sugar so it does not have air holding properties.The vegetable oils are hydrogenated and converted to solid fats of suitable firmness and pliability.

Margarine: Margarine is an intimate mixture of a blend of hardened and liquid oils that may be either of animal or vegetable origin. The oils are mixed with ripened milk and other additives and processed to form the very stable water in oil emulsion known as margarine. Margarine is made from vegetable oils, chiefly groundnut, cottonseed, soy and palm oils. Various types of margarine are in use such as the pastry margarine which is toughmargarine enabled to withstand the manipulation followed in the manufacture of puff pastry.

Shortenings:It is substitutes for lard. It is used for many purposes. It must possess good creaming properties, soft, resistant to rancidity over a fairly long period and be free from any tendency to foam when used for frying. Shortening acts as a lubricant in the dough, making the dough more pliable and prevents stickiness. When shortening is used, the dough expands more easily and smoothly. It makes the crust more tender, improves keeping quality and produces a crumb that is soft and chewy.

Last modified: Tuesday, 6 December 2011, 5:05 AM