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Difference Between Shortening and Lard

fatShortening vs Lard

When you go through different cookbooks, you are sure to come across the terms ‘shortening’ and ‘lard’. Because of the fact that shortening and lard look very much the same in terms in its consistency, many people would often consider these to be one and the same. After all, both shortening and lard are known for its extremely high fat contents. But actually, there are a lot of differences between the two than just the name.

For starters, lard is made out of animal fat, usually the fat of the pig. There are also a number of different lards that are made out of the fat from other animals such as duck fat and goose fat. On the other hand, shortening is made from a variety of different oils. Most of these oils are extracted from the very same plants and vegetables that are used to make cooking oil.

Shortening is often used in baking. The high fat content allows bakers to create flaky crusts for pies and breads which are not achievable through the use of butter or margarine. While lard is also used for baking, it is also used in a variety of different ways. Lard is often used in cooking a number of different cuisines because of its ability to provide a distinct flavor. In some cases, lard is also used as a replacement for butter as a spread used on bread. The animal fat contained in lard has also made lard a vital component in the manufacturing of different beauty products such as soaps and other cosmetics. It is also now being also used to create biofuel to serve as an alternative to petroleum products to help save the environment. Lard is also used as a preservative agent to create a variety of food products such as the famous Iberico ham from Spain.

Another difference between shortening and lard is that shortening is often used when baking gluten-free products which are consumed by men and women who are allergic to gluten. This is because compared to lard, shortening has the ability to inhibit the formation of gluten, which are long protein strands during the baking process of products that are high in wheat content.

1. Lard is made out of animal fat. Shortening is made out of a variety of different oils which are derived from plants and vegetables in the same manner as it is derived when making oil.
2. Shortening is commonly used only for cooking and baking. On the other hand, lard is used for a variety of ways such as the manufacturing of soap, cosmetic products and even biofuel to power motor vehicles.
3. Between the two, shortening is the one used in the baking of gluten-free products instead of lard. This is due to the fact that compared to lard, shortening has the ability to inhibit the development of gluten in wheat products, which are long protein strands which is considered to be an allergen by many men and women.

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  1. Thank you for the information.

    I find the article informative, however, it does need to be proofread.

    ‘But actually, there are a lot of differences between the two[, other ] than just the name.

    (This is just one example, I spotted others.)

    Thanks, again.

  2. The article makes it seem like shortening and lard have very different intended uses, which really is farthest from the truth. Shortening (and by that I mean today’s vegetable shortening) was invented as a drop-in replacement for lard. In most recipes it is almost indistinguishable.

    There is far more vegetable fat made into biofuel than there ever was animal, so I don’t know where that part of the article comes from.

  3. Wow, this is some serious misinformation.

    Shortening is any fat used in baking, to break down the long proteins (gluten) in flour, when the desired texture is more flaky than, well, glutinous.
    A) Canned “vegetable shortening” is shortening.
    B) Butter is shortening.
    C) Lard IS shortening.

    I quote:
    “This is because compared to lard, shortening has the ability to inhibit the formation of gluten, which are long protein strands during the baking process of products that are high in wheat content.”

    Gluten is not formed in the baking process. It’s formed by nature in the growing process. Butter, lard, and a number of other kinds of shortening work well for this. I personally prefer the flakier crusts I get with butter, but lard-based crusts freeze better. I haven’t used vegetable shortening in years, since I don’t like the way it tastes, but I think it is similar to lard in the freezability factor.

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