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Crisco alternative

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I don't like crisco with all the crappy oils they use. I will be doing a ton of baking this fall and winter and need an alternative brand of shortening. Or am I better off going with lard(will it even work in baking) or butter? I just know I will not use crisco because of the soybean and palm oil. Is there a company that makes a healthier product? Fire away as I need some help so I don't have to use this junk in my food. 

post #2 of 19

The "companies" are Cows and Pigs - they make butter and lard!  much healthier i suspect than what the other companies make!

"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 #3 of 19

Love the way you phrased that, Siduri. The companies are......thumb.gif

 

The question also shows how far we've taken that "healthy" issue that somebody has to ask if lard will even work with baked goods.

 

Esquared, the answer to that is; most definately! In fact, once you've made a pie crust or biscuits using lard you will never go back to whatever you're using now.

 

BTW, shortening wasn't developed as a healthy option. It was invented to provide an alternative to people who had dietary restrictions against the use of pork and pork products. It bears about the same relationship to lard as oleo does to butter.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 19

Thanks KY, sometimes it just comes to me! 

 

Esquared, generally when you want flakiness, lard is wonderful and magical, giving a very tender flakiness to, say, piecrusts.  But i prefer the taste of butter in sweet things, and also lard is not always in my kitchen since it's not easy to find here, so i use about 3/4 butter and 1/4 lard, or 2/3 to 1/3 or something like that.  No reason you can't make it all lard though. 

 

I never tried lard in cakes, so i can't say, but actually i wonder what it would do, in a small proportion. 

Have you ever done that Ky, or anyone else?  I actually never thought of it.  I use all butter. 

 

 

 

 

"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 #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

Last time I baked anything was about 6 years ago when I made a beef pie for Christmas and the crust was so nasty I threw it out. I bought another can of crisco a month later and tried again but the result was the same, terrible taste. I will resume my baking to go along with all my other cooking. Off to get some lard and butter!

post #6 of 19

They reformulated Crisco to deal with the transfat issue.  It does not perform the way the "old" Crisco did. 

post #7 of 19

New 0 Transfat Crisco isn't very good, not to make too fine a point.  There was nothing wrong with the old stuff though.  Maybe it didn't have quite the potential for flakiness and didn't have the same "take your breath away" clean taste, but it was plenty good enough and stored better.  As to old beacoup transfat Crisco, it's hard to criticize what was the standard shortning of Southern baking for generations.

 

If you're trying to save a buck or like fooling around with stuff on the bottom shelf, some of the generic "shortenings" at the supermarket -- those with mixed animal and vegetable fats -- can work very well. 

 

Siduri is right about the advantages of lard, in terms of creating a flaky crust; but recognize that flakiness (as opposed to crumbliness) mostly lies in technique and not material.  Lard has higher absolute flakiness potential than vegetable shortening, but the potential doesn't mean much if you don't know how to use it.  Flakiness is great but it isn't the be all end all of baking.  Sometimes you just want a crumbly, French style crust, which is best made with all butter. 

 

Tenderness is a different property, and has more to do with not over mixing, over hydrating, and over handling than the type of fat.  You can make very tender doughs with oil, if you handle them right.

 

"Touch" is a huge part of pie and biscuit baking, and it only comes with experience.  You can't expect great results the first few times out.  To my own chagrin, you shouldn't expect great results if you haven't done it for a while either. 

 

As to puff pastry, the frozen sheets you can buy from almost any super are absolutely great; and some bakeries will sell you stuff that's even a bit better than that.  It's fun and worthwhile to learn how to make your own, but it's a learning project.  From a results perspective, it just isn't worth the effort except for the most dedicated and advanced home bakers.

 

Getting back to shortening, there are a lot of options.  Your best choices depend on what you want to bake.  I use lard and/or butter for just about all of my projects, but I'm not the most complete pastry chef on the planet... or even on my block. 

 

So, what happened to your beef pie?  And what are you trying to bake now?

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 10/22/11 at 12:33pm
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post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

I have a bunch of pies I want to do over the winter, especially apple jalapeno pie. I will be making the beef pie again with gravy and mushrooms baked inside. Pecan pies, apple pies and so on. I haven't baked for years because of time and crisco and I decided there had to be something else and now I have a plan. I am also going to make quiche quite a few times this winter and many varieties of it. 

post #9 of 19

If you're making savoury pies, what about suet? A good butcher should have it, and it makes a very good crust.  The Brits use something called 'vegetable suet' which is hydrogenated oils and (I believe) flour or starch added for the texture. Perhaps a good city supermarket would carry it? Where I live, it's in  the  baking aisle.       

post #10 of 19

The problem with using butter in pastry is that it tends to make the pastry hard, that's what I hear anyway and is true for the tart shells that I've made with pure butter.  The problem with crisco is that it TASTES LIKE CRISCO!  Which is awful in my opinion.  I have recently forayed into lard and can attest that it is odorless and tasteless so don't be put off by the word lard.  I am a newcomer to pastry so I have a long ways to go but I too have made beef pie with crisco and ate around the crust.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

So I went looking to buy lard today and all the brands are hydrogenated which pisses me off. I remember switching from the crap butter type spreads back to butter and when I need lard they have screwed with it too. I don't know what issues there are with hydrogenated lard but if necessary I will make my own damn lard. Nice to live next to my neighbors that remember the old days when you had to make your own so if I am not convinced that hydrogenated lard is fine health wise I will go on the hunt for some pork fat. Oh well no pie this evening, I will just make a pumpkin cheese cake instead.

post #12 of 19

Hydrogenation and partial hydrogenation give lard some shelf stability.  You can get high quality, fresh, non-hydrogenated lard from most carnecerias.  If it's in the cold case or gondola, it wasn't hydrogenated. 

 

If you're in the west, you can probably get Farmer John lard.  FJ is not hydrogenated, it's very clean (not bleached), pure tasting and all-round wonderful stuff.  For the little it's worth, I use FJ. 

 

BDL

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post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

The problem with using butter in pastry is that it tends to make the pastry hard, that's what I hear anyway and is true for the tart shells that I've made with pure butter.  The problem with crisco is that it TASTES LIKE CRISCO!  Which is awful in my opinion.  I have recently forayed into lard and can attest that it is odorless and tasteless so don't be put off by the word lard.  I am a newcomer to pastry so I have a long ways to go but I too have made beef pie with crisco and ate around the crust.



I can smell a slightly piggy smell in the lard i've bought - so faint you hardly notice. 

 

Has anyone used lard for a cake and what is its effect?  Cakes can't be flaky, maybe more tender? 

"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 #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post



I can smell a slightly piggy smell in the lard i've bought - so faint you hardly notice. 

 

Has anyone used lard for a cake and what is its effect?  Cakes can't be flaky, maybe more tender? 



Piggy taste haha!  I've used lard for apple pie shells and didn't detect a piggy flavor, it may depend on the brand of lard I guess.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #15 of 19

Esquared: See if you can find somebody who butchers their own hogs. Most of the time they discard the fat due to the noise made by the health-nazis the past several years. They'll be happy to have you haul it away.

 

You can get an incredible amount of lard from a pig---even the modern low-fat varieties. What I do is put it up in pint containers and freeze it. It keeps two days longer than forever that way.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post



Piggy taste haha!  I've used lard for apple pie shells and didn't detect a piggy flavor, it may depend on the brand of lard I guess.



Yeah,. in the finished and baked pie, i can't taste the pig, but in the raw dough (there is no dough or batter that I won't taste, and enjoy, raw) i do detect a slight pork taste - milder than the sheep taste in sheep cheese, but still subtly there. 

"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.'"
Reply
"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 #17 of 19

Raw dough now there's a yummy lol!

 

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #18 of 19

I was searching for an alternative to Crisco, and had just asked my husband - "do you think that folks used to use lard before crisco?" and lo and behold my suspected answer was confirmed by this thread - thanks so much - I have joined your site now, as I often have questions as we try to feel our way thru making more of our own healthier food at home.  

post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

...As to puff pastry, the frozen sheets you can buy from almost any super are absolutely great; and some bakeries will sell you stuff that's even a bit better than that.  It's fun and worthwhile to learn how to make your own, but it's a learning project.  From a results perspective, it just isn't worth the effort except for the most dedicated and advanced home bakers....

 

I've made puff pastry only once using the original recipe from Escoffier's noted book - for a Beef Wellington and it came out perfect.  Escoffier's recipe is what I'd recommend.  And for the dough I used pastry flour and butter...talk about flaky and rich.


Edited by kokopuffs - 6/27/12 at 6:45pm

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