Oils, Greases, Butters - Cooking and Baking


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Chemistry.

This is a big thing in the kitchen, as everything that is used in a kitchen to create foods of all kinds is nothing more than an elaborate chemistry experiment.

And just like in chemistry class, you have your "bases" with which you work. The same goes for the kitchen, there are baking "bases" from with which we work. Depending on what we add to these bases, will depend on what concoction comes out, how it comes out, and what it will look and taste like.

Baking Bases:

Starch (flours, grains, seeds, vegetable fibers, etc.)
Fat (butters, oils, dairy, lards, etc.)

These are the two main bases of baking. Even mixed together they become one baking group alone, which can even be mixed with other ingredients to make endless alternatives.

Just like the liquids we use in baking/cooking can make a huge difference in how something turns out and tastes, the oils, butters, and greases we use do the same.

Some oils, greases, and butters are specifically made for preparing OR cooking certain types of mixtures and batters, and some can be used for both. It is up to the one preparing the food to determine what will and will not work, to get the food being prepared to come out to the preparers specifications.

Some oils, greases, and butters can be laden with artificial ingredients as well as fillers and substitutes, which can cause adverse reactions to the foods being prepared, which includes taste, texture, color, and smell.

If you have ever paid attention to oils, butters, and greases, you will see that most of them come in shades of yellow. Depending on the shade of yellow, will let you know how "heavy" or "light" this oil is, as well as what KIND of oil, butter, or grease it is.

Some oils, butters, and greases are strictly meant for actually cooking the food itself, such as frying. Even though some of these products CAN be used as ingredients, it is better to use oils, butters, and greases that are more suited for ingredients, rather than just cooking the food.

I will post some more information below this main topic. Right now, I just want to get across the most important basic points.

Be wary and always read the labels on ALL oil products, as not all oils are PURE oils as the labels will have you believe. Most mass produced oils are a MIXTURE of different kinds of oils, with the "named" oil type being the most predominate.

Back to the shades of yellow.

Corn oil and Peanut oil, of course, are some of the most heavy and yellow oils on the market. Corn or Peanut oil is good for cooking as well as an ingredient in making heavy breads. This is not good for cakes, cookies, buns, rolls, or biscuits...unless you like them thick and possibly rubbery. Corn and Peanut oil, as well as the other darker yellow oils can hinder rising, change the odor, texture, and flavor of the food in question.

Olive oils and vegetable oils are some of the lightest oils, and usually have almost no color to them. These are usually the best types for using as ingredients, not actually to use for cooking the food item. They blend easier with other ingredients and don't cause a drastic change in consistency, color, and/or flavor.

Greases, lards, and butters are usually made either from rendered animal fats (milk or body fat), a mixture of animal by-products (milks and milk solids), or a mixture of animal by-products/fats and "vegetable" oils.

Butters are usually also mixed with water, waxes, whey's, and chemical additives to give them taste, firmness, color, and to preserve them from going bad too quickly.

Butters are tasty and good for using as ingredient (usually) as the qualifying agents that make up the butter are the same ones that all the other ingredients will have, which causes less of an issue when baking and cooking. Of course we all know butter burns very easily and is really not the best to use for actual cooking. Butter is more of an ingredient than a cooking agent.

Oils, butters, and greases also have temperature factors to consider. Heavier ones can take longer to break down, whereas lighter ones break down a lot faster. When used as ingredients, this can mean the difference between baking or cooking using longer or shorter cooking methods. Heavier ones can take longer to bake or cook, which can cause the other ingredients to over react and cause the food to become hard, tough, rubbery, thick, or heavy. Using lighter ones work the opposite way......lighter, fluffy, airy, and less cooking/baking time.

There is SO much information on using oils, butters, and greases, I could be on here all day listing them.

To be as short as possible........."light" is better to use as an ingredient, while "heavy" is better for the actual cooking of the food item.

I know some people have listed issues with some items they have made, which I saw to be a result from the wrong type of oil, butter, or grease used. You just have to learn what goes with what, and what reactions will occur during the process.

Hope this helps a little bit.

;):D
 
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From Livestrong.com

Comparing corn oil to canola oil and soybean oil will give you an idea of how vegetable oil is different than corn oil. Although vegetable oil can mean any oil that comes from a plant, it usually refers to soybean oil, canola oil or a mix of oils. This type of oil can also include corn oil or oil from sunflower seeds. Read the ingredients label to determine exactly what type or types of oil are in your favorite brand of vegetable oil.

Fat Composition
Choose canola-based vegetable oils to get the most health benefits because they contain the most cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fat, with 62 percent, and the least artery-clogging saturated fat, with 7 percent. Both corn oil and soybean oil contain the same 25 percent monounsaturated fat, but soybean oil has more saturated fat, with 15 percent compared to the 13 percent in corn oil, making corn oil the second best choice.

Vitamin Content
Although all vegetable oils are similar in fat and calorie content, their vitamin content differs. Soybean oil provides the most vitamins, with 6 percent of the daily value for vitamin E and 32 percent of the DV for vitamin K in each tablespoon. Canola oil is next highest in vitamins, with each tablespoon providing 12 percent of the DV for vitamins E and K. The same amount of corn oil has 10 percent of the DV for vitamin E but no vitamin K. You need vitamin K for blood clotting, and vitamin E acts as an antioxidant to limit damage to your cells from compounds called free radicals.

Other Considerations
People in the United States often have very high omega-6 to omega-3 fat ratios, which may increase your risk for inflammation and heart disease. Both soybean and corn oils are high in omega-6 fats, making canola oil a potentially healthier choice. If you're trying to avoid foods containing genetically modified ingredients, you're better off with olive oil because vegetable oil, canola oil, corn oil and soybean oil are usually made with genetically modified ingredients in the United States.

Smoke Point and Use
Cooking oils at too high of a temperature causes harmful fumes and the production of free radicals, which can damage your cells. You need oils with a high smoke point if you're cooking at high temperatures. Oils sold as vegetable oil tend to be more highly refined, and as such have a higher smoke point than less refined oils, making them suitable for baking, frying, sauteing and marinating. Canola oil has a medium-high smoke point, so you can use it in similar ways to vegetable oil, but don't turn the heat past medium. Corn and soybean oil have medium smoke points, and are better for sauces, low-heat baking and light sauteing due to their lower smoke points.
 
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SMOKE POINT INDEX


Type of Fat Smoke Point Neutral?*
Safflower Oil 510°F/265°C Yes
Rice Bran Oil 490°F/260°C Yes
Light/Refined Olive Oil 465°F/240°C Yes
Soybean Oil 450°F/230°C Yes
Peanut Oil 450°F/230°C Yes
Clarified Butter 450°F/230°C No
Corn Oil 450°F/230°C Yes
Sunflower Oil 440°F/225°C Yes
Vegetable Oil 400-450°F/205-230°C Yes
Beef Tallow 400°F/250°C No
Canola Oil 400°F/205°C Yes
Grapeseed Oil 390°F/195°C Yes
Lard 370°F/185°C No
Avocado Oil (Virgin) 375-400°F/190-205°C No
Chicken Fat (Schmaltz) 375°F/190°C No
Duck Fat 375°F/190°C No
Vegetable Shortening 360°F/180°C Yes
Sesame Oil 350-410°F/175-210°C No
Butter 350°F/175°C No
Coconut Oil 350°F/175°C No
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil 325-375°F/165-190°C No

*All neutral oils listed on this chart are refined; though unrefined versions of them do exist, these are the varieties most common to a home cook's repertoire. Meanwhile, the majority of flavorful oils are expeller-pressed and, though available refined, are often quite costly and uncommon.
 
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Great information! I especially love the infographic with all the details about oils - I love that it suggests ways to use certain oils, whether it be for frying, cooking or even making dressings with. I usually stick to my "tried and true" oils but I think this information gives me the knowledge to be able to branch out from those.
 
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And of course, just like using different oils for frying....you know the different oils give different foods different flavors.

It's the same way with breads and other baked goodies. Different oils will give the batters or dough different consistencies, different textures, and result in different colors when baked, as well as different flavors.
 

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