I'm sorry if i'm being a little thick but could someone please tell me what shortening is. I've tried Crisco in a cake and OMG it was awful. I'm in the UK and finding it really hard to find shortening.
I've noticed in a lot of recipes ask for shortening.
Hi, LadyPamela. Welcome to GR! I believe shortening is solidified vegetable oil - something like that. Crisco is shortening - probably the most famous shortening brand. In baking, you can substitute butter. Any real bakers here can correct me if I am wrong but I think that's the answer. For greasing pans, you can substitute cooking spray or parchment paper when baking, such as cookies. If a frying recipe calls for shortening, you can substitute vegetable oil.
I'm not much of a cook but I agree with FriankieAnne about substitutions. As she said, Crisco is shortening and the most famous brand in the States. In a cake, I'd use butter instead. Was it plain Crisco, or the butter flavor--just wondering?
Thank you both for your answers. The Crisco flavouring I didn't realise you could get a butter flavour. Its the blue tub I bought. i've just gone and purchased the butter flavour one so fingers crossed.
Shortening is any fat that is solid at room temperature. Its function is to shorten up gluten strands that form in flour when mixed with liquid. The longer the gluten strands the more resillient , read tougher here, the flour product. The shorter the gluten strands the more softer, flaky, and crumbly the flour product. Different grades of flour have different percentages of gluten. The shortening in the recipe should be matched to the flour for the desired result. Crisco, aforementioned, is a vegetable fat shortening and should add no flavor to the recipe. Lard is an animal fat shortening. It makes the best flakiest crumbs and crusts. Butter is an animal fat shortening. It adds the most flavor. A combination of butter with Lard or Crisco should get you the best of both worlds.
Just be aware that different types of shortening have different melting temperatures, so they can't be used interchangeably in ALL recipes. For example, butter will yield softer cookies, whereas shortening would be crispier.
The King Arthur Flour website has some excellent information about the different types of fats used in baking: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe/fats.html