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Thread: What's Shortening Exactly???

  1. #1

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    Default What's Shortening Exactly???

    I don't get it.
    The more I read, the more it confuses me.

    For all those out there who have a clear idea of the difference
    between butter and shortening and for all those unlucky ones
    who don't have something called "shortening" ready to buy
    in our shops,

    can someone please help me understand how
    I can get shortening in a recipe that asks for it
    when I only have either margarine or soy butter?????

    thanks!!

  2. #2
    Knolishing Pob's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's Shortening Exactly???

    Shortening is solid fat. It used to be hydrogenated vegetable oil, but now it's made from palm oil usually. It's usually sold in waxed paper like lard.

    You could probably substitute refined coconut oil (which doesn't smell/taste of coconut and should be fairly cheap).

    In some recipes, vegan spread or vegetable oil might work.
    "Danger" could be my middle name but it's "John"

  3. #3
    pavotrouge
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    Default Re: What's Shortening Exactly???

    hum, solid refined coconut oil is one of the most expensive oils to buy in continental Europe in my experience. Never seen it non-organic, too.
    In Germany they sell "shortening" that's made specifially for fondue which is the same thing, maybe that helps in Italy/the Italian part of Switzerland.

  4. #4
    Knolishing Pob's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's Shortening Exactly???

    The refined stuff should be fairly cheap.
    KTC is the only brand I have seen.
    http://www.natco-online.com/acatalog...conut_oil.html
    It's also available in a bigger tub which is handier as you can scrape it out without having to melt it.

    The organic stuff is virgin oil and smells/tastes of coconut, and costs a bomb. The refined stuff is made from oil that initially isn't fit for human consumption and refined to remove all the crap.
    "Danger" could be my middle name but it's "John"

  5. #5

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    Default Re: What's Shortening Exactly???

    Amazing all these little differences between countries... I've never seen shortening here either. What do you need it for, VC? *curious*

  6. #6
    Mahk
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    Default Re: What's Shortening Exactly???

    Fat when it is a liquid at room temperature is called "oil".
    Fat when it is a rigid solid at room temperature is called "wax".
    Fat when it is a semi sold at room temperature is called shortening and is usually white.
    Shortening which is flavored and salted to taste similar to butter is only yellow because they have added coloring and is called "margarine".

    That's my take.

    Soy/vegan margarine can usually be used if shortening isn't available if the salt, color, and buttery taste wont clash with the general taste of the food being prepared.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What's Shortening Exactly???

    Margarine and shortening are completely different. The fat content of shortening is much higher because there is a higher water content in margarine. Shortening would work a lot better in pastry and often in vegan buttercream than margarine because it is more solid, especially in 'creamcheese' icing because that's far to soft when made with margarine unless you put shedloads of icing sugar in it - and then it doesn't have the creamcheese flavour. However, I think you could get by without ever using shortening - perhaps use a little less liquid if the recipe requires it. Generally, if you want something to be crumbly use shortening, but for cakes or chewy cookies use margarine or oil.

  8. #8

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    Default Re: What's Shortening Exactly???

    Thank you all for those replies.
    I need it in a recipe for buttermilk.
    SO I guess I'll just use soy butter instead and reduce the amount of water/milk.

    Thanks!

  9. #9
    my army bradders's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's Shortening Exactly???

    true marge is 80-90% or higher and no longer widely sold in the UK and shortening is 90-100% fat. Things like pure are not classed as margarine as they do not contain nearly enough fat. Pure Sunflower is 67% fat and so is merely a dairy free spread (and much better for it!)
    If I sink to the bottom I can run to the shore.

  10. #10
    pavotrouge
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    Default Re: What's Shortening Exactly???

    Quote vegetarian_cat View Post
    Thank you all for those replies.
    I need it in a recipe for buttermilk.
    SO I guess I'll just use soy butter instead and reduce the amount of water/milk.

    Thanks!
    when a recipe calls for vegan buttermilk I simply dissolve a teaspoon of vinegar in a cup of soymilk... buttermilk doesn't taste like butter.

  11. #11
    my army bradders's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's Shortening Exactly???

    yeh a little vinegar in soyamilk with a little (very little) Sunflower Pure and that should hit it right on the nose.
    If I sink to the bottom I can run to the shore.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: What's Shortening Exactly???

    What if you don't want to use shortening in recipes, is there a substitute to keep pastry flakey and the buttercream creamy?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: What's Shortening Exactly???

    Quote clementine View Post
    What if you don't want to use shortening in recipes, is there a substitute to keep pastry flakey and the buttercream creamy?
    I've never tried making buttermilk, but for pastry sticking margarine in the freezer for a bit and having really cold hands helps a lot.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: What's Shortening Exactly???

    Thanks a lot, veganchef!
    How long have you been a chef for? Do you specialize in any type of ethnic cuisine? The reason I ask is because I have a future chef in thsi family; my brother is working at an Italian restaurant in hope to accumulate enough hours to take his Red Seal

  15. #15
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    Default Re: What's Shortening Exactly???

    ^^
    I'm actually an aspiring chef, but I specialise in desserts mostly, although I go on a savoury kick from time to time. I'm pretty much obsessed with cakes and ice-creams, though.

  16. #16
    pat sommer's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's Shortening Exactly???

    Food is a nice obsession that we can share.

    Do you do professional style recipe formulations, Veganchef?

    I ask because I frequently try to adapt 'cup tsp pinch' recipes for local restaurants.

    Today am showing a veggie place how to do a veganized Bienenstich (bee-sting cake).

    Would love to have their cream torte replaced with a nice vegan roulade
    the only animal ingredient in my food is cat hair

  17. #17
    Quirky Vegan Kate1978's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's Shortening Exactly???

    Shortening is solid fat, lard is an example. There are vegan alternatives widely available, two brands I can think of sold in the UK are Trex and White Flora.

    But I am lazy and usually buy ready made pastry, we are lucky here as the Jus-Rol stuff is vegan.
    ~ Don't think twice, it's all right ~

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