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biscuit and fat


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Trans fat free shortening is either made from palm oil, or is fully hydrogenated vegetable oil (which "normal" shortening is not, from what I know they stop a little short of fully hydrogenating everything so that the final product is not too hard--this is what leaves the trans fats) mixed with liquid vegetable oil so that it is soft enough to work with.

On the original poster's question about which is healthiest: Honestly, there's not that much difference: all three, as solid-at-room-temperature fats, are high in saturated fat, so none of them gain any points there. But that's the point--they wouldn't have the culinary properties they do if they weren't saturated fat. Otherwise, shortening may or may not contain trans fats, and I believe butter contains traces of trans fats, while lard does not. But at least butter has a few trace nutrients from milk, right? I mean there has to be something worthwhile in there, even if its only 2% of your daily calcium or whatever :rolleyes: For my money, I'd go with whichever produces the best results with your baking, and just don't eat biscuits every day.

Kate

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An oil is a fat. However, it is common practice to use the term “fat” for those substances that are in a solid state while at room temperature. Those that are liquid at room temperature are called oils. Fats from animals are solid and, generally, fats from plants are liquid at room temp. The notable exceptions are vegetable oils from the coconut and palm nut. Even though their saturation profiles differ, both animal and vegetable fats are composed of a glycerol molecule with three fatty acids.

Shortening is classified as a fat because it is a solid at room temp. Shortening can be made with animal or vegetable fats—or a combination of both.

Fat is the vehicle that transports fat-soluble vitamins through the body. Without a fresh supply of fat as anenergy source, and if your body has used up its stored fats and carbs, it is forced to resort to its supply of protein. (Fat is also essential for cell development.) It is imperative to understand that both over- and under-consumption of fat is harmful to good health.

Biscuits are most commonly made with either butter or vegetable shortening. Butter imparts its special flavor to the baked goods, as well as flakiness; whereas, shortening (a lower-cost alternative) does produce a tender biscuit—albeit one that has a noticeably greasy coating in the eater’s mouth.

Wonderfully soft biscuits are made using heavy cream, which has the advantage of not requiring the baker to cut in a solid fat with a rapid technique to achieve a particular non-heated texture. Search the recipe archive at the Cook’s Illustrated Web site for a first-class version of cream biscuits.

Recipes for flaky biscuits often call for using butter & shortening together. See, for example, Cook’s Illustrated | January 2006; Beverly Cox, Biscuits, Pancakes, and Quick Breads (Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, 2004; Robert Cornfield & Kathy Gunst, Lundy’s: Reminiscences and Recipes from Brooklyn’s Legendary Restaurant (Morrow, 1998).

A recipe for a scrumptious bannock (shortening & buttermilk) is printed in The Macphail Homestead Heritage Cookbook.

Vegetable oil alone is the fat stipulated for Orange-Glazed Sticky Biscuits in James Villas’s Biscuit Bliss (Harvard Common Press, 2004).

A mouthwatering shortening-&-buttermilk skillet biscuit recipe is supplied to the article “Biscuit Tales” by Julia Lee (Saveur | April 2000).

Oil & buttermilk are added to biscuits recommended as an accompaniment to “sausage gravy or fried chicken (Saveur | April/May 2003).

Haystack Mountain Biscuits used a blended mixture of peanut butter & shortening! (Herb Walker, Oklahoma Cookin’ (Baxter Lane Co., 1976).

There are also numerous variations for yeast-raised buttermilk biscuits.

Recipes for rich-tasting British-style scones are included in books such as Shelley & Bruce Richardson’s Year of Teas at the Elmwood Inn (Butler Books, 2001); Anton Edelmann’ Taking Tea at the Savoy (Trafalgar Sq. Pub., 1999); and Beth Hensperger, The Art of Quick Breads (Chronicle, 1994).

Finally, we can prepare sheets of delicate sour cream biscuits. See, eg., the Sour Cream, Orange, and Lavender Biscuits in Jesse Z. Cool, Breakfast in Bed: 90 Recipes for Creative Indulgence (Morrow, 1997).

Hardtack (aka “teethdullers”) were fatless biscuits, comprising only flour, salt, and water. They must've soaked them in bourbon to render them palatable.

Edited by Redsugar (log)

"Dinner is theater. Ah, but dessert is the fireworks!" ~ Paul Bocuse

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Biscuits are most commonly made with either butter or vegetable shortening. Butter imparts its special flavor to the baked goods, as well as flakiness; whereas, shortening (a lower-cost alternative) does produce a tender biscuit—albeit one that has a noticeably greasy coating in the eater’s mouth.

Wonderful and very informative post however I would add that any poorly made biscuit will leave a greasy coating, be sodden and heavy regardless of the fat used to make it. A great biscuit made from shortening is in the hand of the baker.

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