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is shortening (crisco) necessary given the health concerns

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
i have heard lately that although technically crisco doesnt have trans fat, the partially hydrogenated veggie oil is just about as bad.

according to my nutritionist friend you are better off using butter, lard or even suet in pastries, crusts, cookies, empanadas, patties, pastelles, pastelitos, puff pastry, pasties, pies, tarts, you get the idea.

the key is moderation.. and a diet that is other wise rich in good fats like nut oils, avocado, coconut, olive, fish, etc!

is this so?

is shortening irreplaceable?

i always liked butter lard or suet more anyway. but i wouldn't even know where to get suet in the states! online suppliers are of variety fit for avian consumption only!
post #2 of 26
Shortening serves a purpose and in some cases is unable to be replaced well by anything. Like most things if you eat it by the tub it's bad but if you use it in moderation then it shouldn't pose any harm. It is what it is.
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
thanks

when is it irreplaceable?
post #4 of 26
As I've learned from living 23 of the last 26 years south of the Mason Dixon line..............Biscuits, frying chicken and Pie crust. Although I do like to use a 50/50 mix of butter and shortening in my pie crust and a mixture of clarified butter, pork lard and rendered cured ham fat for my chickens. :cool:
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
hmmm

i am in florida and people frequently use mixtures of pork and chicken fat and butter for biscuits and gravies...


didnt know shortening was part of this food culture. your mixture for chicken sounds good.



so how bad for you is crisco anyway?
post #6 of 26
Good timing on this topic, I was just checking out a can of Crisco at the store today to see what the latest ingredients were!

I'm no pastry expert, but in general, I don't think that shortening is irreplaceable. All the other fats have been around much longer anyhow. It was just a great invention because it greatly extended the shelf-life on foods, therefore saving lots of money, increasing convenience, etc. And also, "partially hydrogenated oil" isnt just as bad as transfats, it actually IS transfats. Last I checked, the FDA allows products to state "transfat free" on their labeling as long as one serving has less than one gram of transfat in it. The key is to read the ingredients list. "Hardened fat" is the same. (I would recommend picking up any book on the topic, they are really good and informative, changed my whole approach to grocery shopping.)

I used to make a pie dough with half butter (for flavor) and half shortening (for flakiness) but then was taught by a pastry chef that I could use whole butter and that the key was just not to overwork the dough, thereby ensuring flakiness.

As far as substitutions, someone else will give a better answer I'm sure...
post #7 of 26
Well???????

My Grandmother used it for just about everything and she lived to be 90. My Grandfather (her Husband)??? Also 90.

If you had to pin me to an answer.....I'd say 6 of one half dozen of another when it come to it's effects. But just like water, if you get too much it can kill you. Yeah the Crisco will get you sooner and probably with a lot less but ........ Hehehe

By the way.....for all practical purposes when you get South of Gainsville..... Florida, when compared to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas Oklahoma and Parts of Kansas, is a Northern state or a part of another country when you get south enough. And I mean no disrespect to Floridians everywhere!!!:D

There are several shortening available and which I use that are 100% non hydrogenated products. Spectrum makes a very good product that I have on the shelf as we speak.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
i agree about pie dough, i think a full butter crust can be fantastic.. lard is a good mix in too.


i tihnk suet can replace shiortening in many savory pastery doughs too

im i9nterested in the chicken frying and the biscuits though

i wonder if coconut oil could be used as it is the hardest room temperature fat i know of next to crisco???
post #9 of 26
Maybe, but probably not. But it doesn't work nearly as well for a number of things.

Most of the "nutritionists" I've heard are wildly wrong on a number of judgments -- for a number of reasons. Most nutritionists aren't the brightest bulb in the bushel when it comes to acquiring and evaluating scientific knowledge. That's why so few of them double as physicists -- or for that matter as biochemists, biologists, or anything else which would enable them to develop a sophisticated set of tools enabling analysis of new information. Worse, many (not all, by any means) work from a mix which includes plenty of misinformation, unfounded opinion and general superstition.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not offering myself as an expert.

Can't argue with that; I only wish I followed your advice as well as I believe in it.


If by shortening you mean hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, no.

Hard to even find a butcher who knows what suet is -- not that it matters anyway since very few butchers get sides of beef anymore. You're certainly not going to get the fat from around the kidneys. The best you can do is develop a relationship with a butcher for fat trimmed from the rib and loin.

Lots o' luck,
BDL
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post #10 of 26
Ain't that the truth!:lol:
post #11 of 26
Like so many of us growing up in the 50s, crisco was a fact of life, and many recipes i relied on contained it. I didn;t question it much in my 20s, but when i came here around age 25, there was no crisco. When i asked people if it existed they asked why use it instead of oil or butter, and i said, because it has no taste. They answered, so why would you use it? Which got me thinking. Yeah, why DO we use it?

I began to use butter for all baking and oil for all frying and cooking, and in fact, stuff tastes much better.
For the flakiness of pastry, i recently tried lard, and well, there is NO CONTEST - way better than any crisco pastry i ever had.
For buttercreams, of course, butter is way tastier, and i guess some would argue that it's not completely white,. And i say, so, is white any more appetizing than ivory or cream colored?

I distrust industrial products, and especially industrial products that are advertized as healthier than natural ones. Don';t get me wrong, there are plenty of natural poisons, just because it's natural it doesn;t mean it;s good for you, but at least highly processed ingredients contain substances that are so new we don;t really know much about them and esp their long-term effects.

And just try this if you want to find out if crisco is better than butter - just taste it!
Pure, tasteless grease. bla.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
im with you with everything except for the fried chicken

im wondering if that crisco isn eeded to really give it a super sharp crisp/crunch?

thats what i imagine the crisco is valued for in fried foods.

lard is great

suet is great

and a mixture of lard and butter is a great pie crust!

my mom lieks to make an oil pie crust.

it actually turns out very tender with less saturated fat than butter and lard.
post #13 of 26
Shortening and High Ratio Shortening make high ratio cakes and baked goods possible.
On the small scale, yes, butter is going to work out well.
When you are mass producing, the HR shortening make it possible to create pastry with high amounts of liquid and sugar that keep them moist.

When working with all butter, keep it cool:cool:
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
that makes sense

what about coconut oil or palm oil?

these are also solid at room temperature but not processed like hte shortening.

is it too expensive/inefficient?

or is the shortening simply better taste wise? (never baked with coconut or palm oil, but i bet it could be done)
post #15 of 26
Good lard is better for fried food than vegetable shortening; especially the reformulated, "Zero Transfat!" shortenings. Inexpensive, mixed animal-vegetable shortenings can give lard a run for the money when it comes to texture, but they tend to bring some taste. Really good lard is as neutral as it gets. Suet brings too much taste.

Lard does flaky better than butter. If you want your pie crust to taste buttery, butter naturally works best. In my own tart and pie baking, if I want butter I usually put it in the filling rather than the crust.

Oil makes a crumbly, rather than flaky pastry.

The loose way you're using the term "saturated" here is the same reason I went off on a rant about "nutritionists." The subject of dietary fats is complicated. Whether saturated, unsaturated, mono-saturates, mono-unsaturated, poly-unsaturated, etc., fats are "better" for you, usually depends less on their type or degree of saturation than on other factors. It seemed you implicitly acknowledged that with your lists of healthful fats (like avocado) which included saturates.

Really, the idea that a pie crust made with "less saturated fat" will, on that basis alone, be more healthful than another made with a full saturate (like lard) has been discredited for a few years -- although the way "nutrition" dogma changes, maybe "discredited" is the wrong word. Call it passe.

On a different subject, one of the primary reasons vegetable shortening is used over other products, especially butter, in commercial baking is the added stability and shelf life. Pastries, fillings and frostings made with vegetable shortening do not get rancid, and are more resistant to wilting, melting and running. My choice is to stay away from bakeries which choose ingredients for any other reasons than wholesomeness and taste.

BDL
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post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Interesting BD. Thanks. Always good to hear from you.

How has oil been discredited as a more healthful alternative in pie crusts? I would like to read.

peace
post #17 of 26
That's not what I said. I referred to equating "unsaturated" with more healthful -- without further analysis.


Very well. Here are a few:

Hays, et al, Effect of a High Saturated Fat and No-Starch Diet on Serum Lipid Subfraction sin Patients with Documented Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease

Dreon DM, A very-low-fat diet is not associated with improved lipoprotein profiles in men with a predominance of large, low-density lipoproteins Am J Clin Nutr, Mar 1999; 69 (3): 411-418

Dreon, DM et al, Change in dietary saturated fat intake is correlated with change in mass of large low-density-lipoprotein particles in men Am J Clin Nutr 1998, 67(5): 828-36

Krauss RM and Dreon DM Low-density-lipoprotein subclasses and response to a low-fat diet in healthy men Am J Clin Nutr 1995, 62(2): 478S-487S


Enjoy,
BDL
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post #18 of 26
Yes, I use pure butter for my pastry- particulalry french butter as it is higher in cream fat some butters have more water in them. Don't over work the dough and leave some chunky bit of butter not all rubbed through, this will make the pastry more flakier and light.
I do use crisco for white frosting, or 1/2 butter 1/2 crisco for butter frostings. I think if you want a white frosting for wedding cakes in a buttercream, then this may be an instance where crisco is irreplacable.
post #19 of 26
I bought organic African red palm oil online as a dietary supplement, and saw some interesting recipes and health information. The site says:
"Red Palm Oil - 100% natural, certified organic, traditionally processed, virgin, non-GMO red palm oil is our Guarantee. Our red palm oil is not refined, bleached, or deoderized (RBD). No pesticides or fertilizers used. Organic Red Palm Oil Certification under strict European and USDA standards. Our certified organic red palm oil is produced in West Africa from organically certified red palm oil trees."
"Red palm oil is free of cholesterol and trans-fatty acids. Rich source of phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, vitamin E tocotrienols and lycopene, for nutrition and health.These carotenoids are responsible for the striking red colour of the oil."
I paid $19.95 for a quart. Got it at RainforestRedPalmOil.com. They also carry extra virgin coconut oil at the same price.
post #20 of 26
I bought organic African red palm oil ojnline as a dietary supplement and saw some recipes and health information. The site says:
"Red Palm Oil - 100% natural, certified organic, traditionally processed, virgin, non-GMO red palm oil is our Guarantee. Our red palm oil is not refined, bleached, or deoderized (RBD). No pesticides or fertilizers used. Organic Red Palm Oil Certification under strict European and USDA standards. Our certified organic red palm oil is produced in West Africa from organically certified red palm oil trees."
"Red palm oil is free of cholesterol and trans-fatty acids. Rich source of phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, vitamin E tocotrienols and lycopene, for nutrition and health.These carotenoids are responsible for the striking red colour of the oil."
I paid $19.95 for a quart. Got it at rainforestredpalmoil.com. They also have extra virgin coconut oil for same price.
post #21 of 26
This doesn;t make sense to me. Crisco was invented when? in the 1950s? 1940s? How old is southern cuisine? 1700s? earlier? What did they use before crisco was invented? I believe it must have been lard, (or ?butter? possibly, or lard and butter? I imagine just lard)
Crisco, whatever its use, is always a substitute for something that existed before the industrial production of synthetic ingredients. Healthy or not healthy, (and you can believe they'll probably change their minds another three or four times in our lifetimes as to what is healtny and what is not) it's a synthetic substitute for some real food substance.
Have you ever tried a piecrust with lard? Or lard and butter? Can you ever use crisco again after that?

PS, BDL and others, you might enjoy reading some of Ben Goldacre's "Bad Science" articles from the Guardian. He has a website too. One of his favorite targets is "nutritionists" and the food supplement industry.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #22 of 26
Thanks Siduri. I'll take a look.

BDL
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post #23 of 26
seems to defeat the whole purpose of pastries worrying about this...
post #24 of 26
Hard to even find a butcher who knows what suet is -- not that it matters anyway since very few butchers get sides of beef anymore. You're certainly not going to get the fat from around the kidneys. The best you can do is develop a relationship with a butcher for fat trimmed from the rib and loin.

Lots o' luck,
BDL

Your so right. Kidneys and other by prods. although all from same animal contaion different amount of fats, and different kinds. You are like me from old school and new . L:ast year I made Stuffed Derma(Kishka) I use BEEF SUET and I believe the Brits still use it in Mince Pies:chef:
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post #25 of 26
My first reaction to seeing coconut oil on any list of "healthier" oils was disbelief. I just did a little bit of research and found that there's been a lot of study on its health effects and it's not the demon people thought it was 20 years ago. Just sharing this for any of you who might have had the same reaction as I did.

UC Berkeley does a lot of studies on nutrition, and I went to them as a reference. I found this: Wellness Letter: How Bad are Tropical Oils?

It could be that I'm the only one who wasn't aware :crazy:
post #26 of 26
Not at all. I still remembered reading "somewhere" that coconut oil and palm oil were bad guys.
I still say, though, that they will say they are bad, then they will say they are good, then they will be bad again, then good, and it's a little like a roulette wheel, what year you happen to be in will determine what is healthy and what is not.
I try t go with what tastes good, and with what is not an industrial product. (I think we must have instincts for the foods that are good for us (or our species would have died out many millennia ago) but we can be fooled by chemical fakers, and so i tend to avoid the fake, ersatz, faux products. They don't actually taste that good anyway.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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