Have you tried baking or cooking at home and you can’t easily find a Palm Shortening to make your pastries light and flaky?
Or perhaps you were made aware of the effects of too much usage of Palm (like how it caused loss of home to some animals and its other bad effects on nature) so you wanted to be an environment advocate so you opt to use Palm Shortening Substitute?
I too was on that dilemma so I compiled the top 3 Palm Shortening Substitute that you can best use for your recipes.
What is Palm Shortening?
Palm shortening is a semi solid fat that comes from palm oil which is sourced from palm trees. It is a popular ingredient worldwide used to bake pastries like bread, cakes and cookies.
Basically, it improves the texture of all your baked goodies making it the most popular choice for shortening. But along with the palm shortening’s fame also came its demise which is mainly due to the detrimental environmental effects it causes from massive farming.
Gladly, there are substitutes for palm shortening that are easy to find and easier on the environment. Here are the top palm shortening substitutes:
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Top 3 Palm Shortening Substitutes
#1: COCONUT OIL: The “Healthy” Palm Shortening Substitute
Coconut oil is derived from coconut fruits. Aside from being a good source of high natural saturated fats it is also rich in healthy cholesterol (HDL Cholesterol).
Not only that, coconut oil also changes bad cholesterol (LDL Cholesterol) to healthy cholesterol and it is also rich in minerals and vitamins. So for us who are conscious about our body intakes, this is a highly viable option for shortening.
If you are avoiding processed spreads or is lactose intolerant (your body can’t process milk properly) this is highly recommended for you because it is all pure and natural. Don’t worry about having too much stock cocount oil because this oil has many other wonderful uses.
See video for other uses of coconut oil.
When it comes to taste, Coconut oil can make your recipe flavorsome because it tastes like coconut. But if you do not want your food that way, this is not an option because you would not be able to hide its flavor.
In lieu of 1 cup of Palm shortening, using three-fourths cup of Coconut oil does the trick for my recipes.
#2: BUTTER: The “Dairy” Palm Shortening Substitute
For you who like to go all dairy in your goodies, using butter as palm shortening substitute will be best for you. Butter is a dairy product which means it is produced from milk of animals such as cows, goat and sheep.
Highly available on grocery shelves, butter makes your goodies more flavorful compared to using other shortening.
It works perfectly with various baking ingredients like refined sugar, flour and eggs to create texture and body to all baked treats. Remember though to put into consideration that butter should be properly fluffed up with air when mixed with other ingredients.
You ought to take note that if you choose to use this substitute, the final product will be softer because of the lesser fat content in butter. Compared to palm shortening which is fully just fat ingredients, butter is composed only of 85% fat and the remaining 15% is water.
When wanting to bake soft cakes and bread, using butter will not have a very noticeable difference on its texture as when using palm shortening.
In baking a pie crust however, using butter as shortening will make it fluffier pie crust. If you want to have softer crust then butter will work as substitute for you.
Typically, butter is used in the same amount as palm shortening or a 1 cup to 1 cup ratio. Alternatively, you may also use it with coconut oil. I follow the ratio of using a half cup of butter together with 3/8 cup of coconut oil as substitute for 1 cup of palm shortening.
#3: MARGARINE: The “Non Dairy” Palm Shortening Substitute
Margarine taste and looks like butter because it is mainly invented as a substitute for butter. The main difference is that margarine is non-dairy (its ingredients are refined vegetable oil and water).
I recommend margarine as palm shortening substitute for those who want their recipes to still taste like as though it was made with butter.
You can also use margarine as substitute if you want to bake lactose-intolerant goodies so people sensitive to milk can enjoy those treats. Margarine is also the cheaper choice and arguably the healthier choice because it has lesser cholesterol level.
Remember that margarine has about one-third portion fat which should be an important consideration when using margarine as a palm shortening substitute.
Since fat is what mainly gives baked goodies its texture, lesser fat can cause pastries to be too thin or to burn faster than they ought to.
Margarine also has lots of flavors so make sure to check the labels and choose what type of margarine best suits your cooking or baking needs.
Though there are health advocates that say margarine is not a good choice because of its health implications stating that it uses low grade oil that makes it cheaper than butter, it is still an ongoing argument.
So I suggest you take caution if you are going to use margarine often as a palm shortening substitute.
Other Palm Shortening Substitutes
The 3 items I stated above are not the only Palm shortening substitute there is. There are also other various options when finding a substitute for palm shortening. Here is a short list of other items that you can find easily on the grocery.
Other Vegetable Shortening
There are actually other vegetable shortening that can also be used as palm shortening substitute because they share the same composition which is they are all made up of plant fat that is stored in room temperature.
Here are a few examples of vegetable shortening ingredients that you can use:
- Corn oil
- Canola oil
- Olive oil
Pork fats can be rendered into Lard. Here is a video on how to render lard from pork fats. You can conveniently buy it in the grocery or meat shop.
More often than not, commercialized lard is hydrogenated which means it contains a lot of trans fat. Remember that trans fat are high in cholesterol which is unhealthy for you, this is why I suggest making your own lard at home.
Have you found your own favorite palm shortening alternative among the list that I gave? Palm shortening may have its own strengths but it also has its own pitfalls.
If like me, you are into making little concrete steps to lessen our detrimental impacts on earth, then finding a palm shortening substitute should be for you too. And based on the matters on health attributes, environmental impacts and taste, my top choice for palm shortening substitute is the coconut oil.
Don’t forget to try out the other palm shortening alternatives and if they don’t work out, try mixing them together. Be adventurous and have fun doing what you love to do!
Cook your heart out and share your updated recipes in the comments section below.