Difference between shortening and butter
Shortening vs butter:
Shortening and butter are two popular substances that are used both as an essential ingredient in making cakes, pastries, various desserts and etc. Shortening and butter do resemble each other in some aspects whereas they cannot be so compared with regards to certain facts. This article thus seeks to emphasize upon the many differences, advantages and disadvantages that these two substances have over one another.
What is shortening?
Originally, the term shortening was synonymous with lard and yet since the early 20th century, shortening became synonymous with hydrogenated vegetable oil. Shortening can be named as sort of a fat that is used to make crumbly pastry as it prevents cross-linkage between gluten molecules which gives the dough elasticity. However, the Trans fat contained in shortening has raised many concerns regarding the adverse health effects that it may have upon the consumers.
What is butter?
Butter is a dairy product which contains butterfat, milk proteins and water and is used widely as a spread or as an ingredient for cooking. It is produced by churning fresh or fermented cream or milk. Butter is known to be solid when refrigerated and yet, it turns liquid at room temperature which is at about 32–35 °C. Butter is typically pale yellow and yet, this color varies from white to darker yellow shades. Butter exists in many forms such as whipped, clarified, unsalted, salted butter and etc. It is rich in vitamins A,D,E and K and as a result of the milk fat used in butter, there is a significant amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in butter that are considered to be unhealthy and a major cause for heart problems when taken in large amounts.
What is the difference between butter and shortening?
Butter and shortening are two ingredients that are indispensable when it comes to baking and cooking. However, both these substances are given the generic term “fat” when it comes to the art of baking. Both shortening and butter are used in cakes to give them the moisture that they need while letting it extract rich flavors from other ingredients as well as aiding the cake to rise and obtain the appropriate texture. However, butter and shortening are two different ingredients of which the differences must be recognized separately in order to incorporate them in to cooking effectively.
Butter is a dairy product with a high content of fat whereas shortening is hydrogenated vegetable oil which of course is 100% fat. However, the way in which these two products melt in heat is absolutely crucial when incorporating them to food. Butter tends to melt faster in heat whereas shortening tends to remain solid and yet become flexible under heat. This is due to the fact that butter contains milk solids as well as water which gives way under heat whereas the 100% fat content of shortening is not so easy to melt.
It is best to concentrate on the impact that these two substances have on the flavor as well. Butter must be given a priority when taking the flavor in to consideration as it gives the food product a rich, buttery flavor whereas shortening does not add any additional flavors to the product. On the other hand, shortening makes the food much softer and gives more rise to cakes and pastries as the air bubbles trapped within the shortening provides an excellent media for the dough to fluff up. Shortening is also an excellent alternative for preparing food for people with dairy allergies as shortening does not have any amount of dairy in it.
Recipes that require shortening can be substituted with butter whereas recipes that call for butter cannot be replaced with shortening. Also, unlike shortening, butter is used for a wider range of products such as cookies, cakes, pastries, desserts and etc whereas shortening is deemed as being ideal for pastries and breads.