You can replace butter with coconut oil in baked products, but this will affect the taste by imparting a coconut flavour. You can also replace butter with light olive oil, but this will change the texture, as oil is a liquid at room temperature. This is fine if you are baking a cake that will benefit from a nice, moist crumb, but it does not work if you want a crispy biscuit.
Lard is pig fat, that has been rendered (melted and strained) to remove the non-fat elements like bits of connective tissue. It is solid at room temperature, which means that it can’t be stirred into a cake batter like oil. Instead, lard needs to be cut into pieces, then rubbed into flour until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. The rubbing action coats the flour particles with a layer of fat, which stops them from binding together. This results in a weaker structure, creating a crumbly texture that falls apart and flakes. In pastry this texture is described as ‘short’, to reflect the fact that only short proteins are formed. This makes lard the best fat for baking biscuits.
However, you cannot replace butter directly with the same amount of lard. Butter and lard have different physical properties, which need to be taken into account:
|Weight:||butter is only 80% fat – it is an actually an emulsion of butterfat and water, stabilised by milk proteins. Lard is 100% fat||this means that less lard is needed|
|Saltiness:||the 20% water content in butter can cause it to spoil, so salt is added as a preservative.||this means that salt needs to be added|
|Flavour:||lard is flavourless, and does not have a rich flavour like butter||this means that additional sweet or savoury ingredients are needed for flavour|
The magic formula: