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The major functions of FATS in baked items are:-

To add moistness and richness To increase the keeping quality / shelf life To add flavour To give flakiness to puff pastry, pie dough and other similar products To assist in leavening when used as a creaming agent.

What is leavening and how fats can assist in leavening baking products???
A leavening agent is substances used in baking to provide foaming action which lightens and softens the finished product.

The leavening agent incorporates gas bubbles into the dough carbon dioxide, resulting the baked goods to rise and has a lighter and softer finishing effect.


Some fats remains SOLID at room temperature while some fats remains LIQUID LIQUID FATS = OILS. How to determines if the fats are SOLID or LIQUID??? It is determines by the FATTY ACIDS that make up the fat molecules.

What is LIPIDS in fats??? LIPIDS are organic compounds that are not soluble in water, which includes cholesterol and emulsifiers such as lecithin.

Technically, fats are triglycerides, which are molecules made up of 3 fatty acid chains attached to 3 carbon atoms of glycerin molecule. The physical characteristic of each fat are determined by the types of fatty acid chains which make up the compound.

Saturated fat is fat that consists of triglycerides containing only saturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids have no double bonds between the individual carbon atoms of the fatty acid chain. That is, the chain of carbon atoms is fully "saturated" with hydrogen atoms.

SATURATED FATS remains SOLID at room temperature. Example of saturated fats are:-

Butter Cream Cream Cheese Ghee Shortening Lard

If the fatty acid chain has empty spaces and able to hold more hydrogen, it is known as unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat remains liquid at room temperature.

Unsaturated fats are plant fats. They are unsaturated because their carbons do not have the full amount of hydrogen attached and they have double bonds. Therefore, these fats are healthier than saturated fats which are fats found in animal products.

Examples of unsaturated fats: Olive oil Canola oil sunflower oil Safflower oil Flax seed oil there are may more.. Unsaturated fats can be monounsaturated or poly unsaturated

Natural fats consist of a mixture of many fat compounds. The more saturated fats are in the mixture; the more solid the fat is, the more Unsaturated Fats contained in the mixture, hence resulting the softer effect of baked products.

To produce solid, pliable fats for bakeshop, fats manufacturers submit oils to a treatment called hydrogenation. This process bonds hydrogen atoms to empty spaces in fatty acid chains changing them from unsaturated to saturated.

The consequences of creating hydrogenated fats or commonly known as trans fat are: 1. The melting point of the oil is raised, turning many previously liquid oils into solids hence it s increases the fat stability. 2. Shelf-life is increased, hence reducing the ability of fat to spoil or become rancid. 3. All nutritional value in the original oil is lost. 4. The texture of the resultant solid can be made to resemble that of natural, animal fats.

5.The previously perfectly natural oil becomes a totally unnatural, dangerous, relatively indigestible "plastic".

6.Tissues made with the artificial " fat cannot function properly, as thousands of enzymes can't bind to them, which will be harmful for health.


A uniform mixture of two unmixable substances, e.g. Fat and water is known as emulsions , e.g. Mayonnaise Emulsion of Oil and Vinegar e.g. Creaming Method: Emulsion of Air and Fat ( The process of beating fat and sugar together to incorporate air. It is important technique in ensuring the baked goods are leavened / raised with this method)


Shortenings may be made from vegetable oils, animal fats, or both. Shortening consist of 100% SOLID FAT. Any fat acts as a shortening in baking because it shortens gluten strands And tenderizes the baked products.

Shortenings are used for many purpose in baking: hence, manufacturer have formulated 3 different types of shortenings with different fat components: 1. Regular shortenings: Known as all purpose shortenings / plastic shortenings. Tough , waxy texture with small particles of fat which enables to hold the shape of dough or batter. To enhance the flakiness of certain pastries products.

2.High Ratio Shortenings (Emulsified Shortenings): These are soft shortenings that spread easily throughout a batter and quickly coat particles of sugar and flour. There are known as high ratio because of they contain added emulsifying agent that enable to hold a larger quantity of liquid and sugar compare to regular shortenings. Commonly used in icings because it can hold more sugar and liquid without curdling.

3.High Ratio Liquid Shortenings: Also known as liquid cake shortenings very similar to emulsified shortenings. Less hydrogenated compared to plastics shortenings. They are liquid and pourable with thicker and cloudier / opaque appearance. The emulsifiers give the cakes / pastries products a finer texture and stay moist for a longer period of time.


Butter consist of 80% fat, 15% water and 5% milk solids Butter is available in Salted and Unsalted. Unsalted butter is more perishable , but it has a fresher, sweeter taste therefore Is commonly used in baking.
Salted butter tend to masks off flavors that might be absorbed during storage period, Hence foreign flavors might detected in baked goods.

Salted butter tend to masks off flavors that might be absorbed during storage period, Hence foreign flavors might be detected in baked goods.

If salted butter is used, reduce / remove the amount of salt stated in the recipes.

TWO MAJOR ADVANTAGES OF BUTTER: 1. Butter has a highly desirable flavour compare to shortening which is tasteless. 2. Butter has better melting qualities, hence it melts in the mouth while shortenings has unpleasant waxy effect after-taste.

It is manufactured from various hydrogenated animals and vegetable fats with other flavouring ingredients, colouring agents and other components. It consist of 80 85% fat, 10 15 % moisture and 5% salt and minimal % of milk solids and other component.

2 MAJOR CATEGORIES OF MARGARINE: 1. Bakers Margarine / Cake Margarine: Commonly used in baking as they are soft and have good creaming ability. 2. Pastry Margarine: Also known as roll in compounds Has a tougher, waxy characteristics and commonly used in puff / Danish dough /pastry laminations.

Oils are liquid fats. Not so commonly used in baking, Because it spread to a batter or dough too thoroughly and shorten too much. But for certain breads or quick breads recipes needs oil to act shortenings. Often used to deep frying, greasing pans and etc.

All fats become rancid if exposed to the air. Proper storage should be practiced as fat absorb odor and flavors from other food. Highly perishable fats should be stored, well wrapped in the fridge. Other fats / oils should be kept in air-tight containers and stored in a cool, dry and dark place.