As you have seen or not i don’t know, but i have seen many places in biscuits mainly in hard dough varieties shortening is being used as an ingredient.
What is Shortening ?
An edible fat that is solid in nature at room temperature. The name for the fat, “shortening,” is deemed appropriate because of the act of shortening gluten strands in wheat by fat addition.
Since shortening is 100% fat, as opposed to the 80% fat content of butter, shortening aids in producing a very tender baked good.
Functions of Shortening in Biscuits and Bakery Products
It is created by hydrogenation of oil. Hydrogenation is the process of addition of some extra hydrogen atoms at vegetable fats, and turning them in solids from liquid state.
Shortening provides three texture functions in baked goods:
1) The short,
2) moist texture, and
3) the crunchy or crispy auditory sounds.
When using shortening within the product, or as the medium to be cooked in, these two textural characteristics are heightened. Because shortening provides the breakage in or ‘shortens’ the gluten-starch network, it reduces starch retro-gradation in baked goods.
Other than above mentioned functions shortening also does four other basic functions as following:
- The first function is to shorten baked goods like pastries, pie crusts, and breads to create the aforementioned tender and flaky final product. Accomplished by preventing the cohesion of wheat gluten strands during mixing, this action physically shortens the strands of gluten resulting in a less elastic and sticky protein.
- The second function is frying. Since shortening is hydrogenated to a lower iodine value and has a low percentage of unsaturated fatty acids, shortening shows higher resistance to oxidation and rancidification than alternative typical vegetable oils that may be used to fry.
- And third, shortening serves to add flavor as well as richness to typical breads concurrent with extending the shelf life when compared to products excluding a shortening component.
- The fourth and final function is the power to cream. For example, creaming occurs when making icings or fillings when blending sugar and shortening together incorporating large volumes of air bubbles and thus creating the desired fine, delicate structure in the end product. In baking, shortening is sometimes referred to as a tenderizer. In cake making, shortening is used to tenderize the product by incorporating air in the finished cake batter as well as lubricating the other ingredients allowing the cake to rise more freely and increase the shelf life of the product.
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