Welcome to Two-Minute Tuesday, where I share quick tips, tidbits, and ideas.
This is also the 4th installment in my on-going series on Cooking 101.
Today, I want to talk to you a little about baking with butter versus margarine.
Many people are intimidated by baking, complaining that it doesn't turn out well, even when they follow the recipe. Even seemingly simple things like cookies give people difficulty.
For a long time, I didn't understand this, because I've been baking since I was a kid.
Finally it dawned on me that most of these difficulties likely stem from a misunderstanding of butter, margarine, and vegetable oil spread, which is what I want to briefly explain to you today.
I am one of those bakers who only believes in using butter. It doesn't have all the fake ingredients that margarine does, it tastes better, and it typically bakes better.
Butter melts at a higher temperature than margarine, which means that cookies baked with butter won't spread as much as cookies baked with margarine. It also assists in making things like crumbly streusel toppings. If you make a streusel topping with margarine, you'll end up with a doughy mess that won't crumble, and if you blob it on your recipe anyway, it will never get crisp in the oven, because the margarine melts too quickly. (Ask me how I know! Lol. This was one of those things that led me to being a butter-only baker.)
Margarine and Vegetable Oil Spread
Although I personally only use butter in baking, most recipes say you can use butter or margarine. If you want to use margarine, make sure you are using margarine that is at least 80% vegetable oil.
Usually the kind of margarine you will need for baking comes in sticks like butter, not in a tub. In fact, although we usually call it margarine when we're spreading it on dinner rolls, in the baking world, this stuff is not considered margarine at all:
The stuff that comes in tubs is typically vegetable oil spread, and the percentage of vegetable oil is in the 40-50% range. If you're using this in your baking and it's not turning out well, this is your problem! 50-60% of the "margarine" you've been using is actually water, so it's no wonder your baked goods are spreading or burning! Save this stuff for making grilled cheese, but absolutely do not use it in your baking.
That's today's little tidbit; stay tuned for upcoming posts in my Cooking 101 series, in which I'll give more tips on cooking with butter.
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