The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lard in Bread recipe

moea's picture

Lard in Bread recipe

There is a very popular Italian bakery around my area. They make some very excellent crusty, chewy Italian bread, rolls and the like.It has been suggested to me the secret to their recipe is they use "LARD" in the recipe.

I can not imagine the recipe. I know some recipes include a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Does anyone suppose, this could be substituted with the Lard?

Thank you.

Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)


Many of us make Italian crusts like you want and we never use lard.
I can imagine some recipes using lard but never ever in my house. ;-)

The secret to that crust would be related to the mixture and rising then baking in high heat with the proper moisture.
You will also enjoy the effect you get from baking on stones, or in high heat pots like that video above.
The methods in that video isn't why I posted it, but the crust and how easy it is.

campcook's picture

I am amused by the quick rejection of lard as a component of good baking.  I grew up on a farm in the midwest where lard was almost a staple. I am here to witness that as some of the best cooking in the world.  It was used in pie crust and, of course, in good bread. Some even used it in place of butter.  But, it was rendered when we butchered and kept fresh.  It is not to be mixed up with the hydrogenated trash sold commercially.  If you want good lard, visit your local butcher but do not buy it in a store.

There is NOTHING unhealthy about "real" lard.  In fact, beyond about 10% of the makeup which is saturated, the balance is chemically almost identical to olive oil.


stlguy_57's picture

In the midwest, my grandparents always used lard and both of them lived to be almost 90.  I believe if you really want to shorten your life, use substitutes like Crisco which is not a natural shortening but a treated type of liquid oil made to be a solid at room temperature.  

Lard does make the BEST pie crusts and I would imagine the same with bread that calls for shortening.  It's about as natural as you could get.



saintdennis's picture

The lard is best you can use for everythng include pie crust.I'm talk about fresh you are make at home,not process one. My number one is lard and then butter.I do not use (Crisco or any plastic staff).


Yerffej's picture

Lard can add fantastic flavor to bread.  I refer to real off the farm lard and not to any processed on the grocery store shelf item.

I use lard, butter, olive oil, ghee, and coconut oil. Absolutely no crisco type products and all of the mentioned oils I use are organic.


Floydm's picture

I've been trying for 10 years to make decent Polish food.  My barszcz has been alright but my cabbage was terrible.  It was only about 6 months ago that I realized that cooking the cabbage in bacon drippings for a good long time was the secret: suddenly my cabbage is amazingly good and tastes much closer to authentic Polish food.  So while lard isn't a staple in my kitchen yet, I certainly believe that changing the fat in a recipe could have a profound effect on the flavor.  And, yeah, real fats have something that shortening or margarine don't come close to.

nbicomputers's picture

fat adds

texture and taste to baked foods BUT we should remember that fat is fat no matter what form it is in

Bread and sweet doughs are very forgiving

if you can adjust for the water contant of the fat any fat can be exchanged with any other form of fat in breads ( pastry and cakes are another story )

shortening can be used instead of buter and lard can be used instead of shortening

in fact any hard or liqued oil can be changed out ounce for ounce

the only factors are fat contant and water percent

say shortening is 100 percent fat and butter is 85 percent fat

fi a formula has 100 ounces of shortening you would use 1bout 120 ounces of butter and remove 5 ounces or water or milk from the formula

this is known as balencing the formula.  lard is 100 percent fat so no adjustment is required if oil is used than a small amount of extra floure would be added to adjust for the fact that oil does not get hard at room temp.

the two changes are 1 as floyd stated is flavor and the other it texture,  but the right adjustments exclent results can be obtained with any fat

loretta's picture

Yes, there are many breads made with lard in italy: it is (let's say it was) used in Emilia Romagna region. Tradicionally it is used where there are many pig farms.

It is the area in which Prosciutto Di Parma is done. When I was a child (50 years ago) my father used to kill the pig in Gennuary and make Prosciutto, Salami, Pancetta and Lard. I can  still remember the terrible smell to boil lard!!! But after that this white stuff was used to make  Crescente - that is focaccia -,  Bread, Biscotti and to fry potatoes.

Let say these things were buonissime.

Now we don't use lard anymore - for medical reason and because we cannot find the true lard. The industrial thing is very different from the real.

Sometime I make bread with lard. I use to make little kind of bread. When I'll do it I'll take some pictures.


ericb's picture

This is a stretch and a bit off topic as far as bread goes, but as long as we're talking about slaughtering and rendering pigs, some of you might find this site interesting: Moldavian Pig Slaughter (beware: this is not for the faint of heart).

The site,, is a favorite of mine. The author, Francois-Xavier, is a Swiss financial professional who has a passion for "slow food." Since the bread we bake might be considered the ultimate "slow food," perhaps this isn't too far off-topic after all.

In the link above, FX documents with dignity and respect the traditional slaughter and processing of pig. It's fairly gruesome, but he makes the point that it's a much more humane way to kill animals than our modern slaughter houses. Even though I'm practically a vegetarian, I do carry a leather wallet and wear leather shoes, so I'm not entirely innocent.

I find the pig-slaughter page among the most fascinating on the FX site. I think it reiterates how, in the U.S. at least, we have commercialized, industrialized, and "sanitized" the traditional farming and food industry. In the process, "slow" food has been stigmatized as unhealthy and unsafe. 

Anyway, enough of my soapbox. Perhaps if I can find some freshly-rendered lard, I might try one of the recipes above!


Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

...To each his/her own but I am 100% against Lard in breads.
Please try Peanut oil. ;-)
  All the best,

semolina_man's picture

Yesterday I made two loaves of white bread, using King Arthur's White Bread 101 recipe from their Baker's Companion book.   It is a great recipe and I have made it several times.  Because I was out of butter, I used a variety of fats, as an experiment. 


The recipe called for 4T butter per loaf.  Since I was making two loaves, I needed 8T of fat.  I used: 

  2T butter

  2T canola oil

  2T Crisco (sorry)

  2T lard (store bought, sorry)


The color, texture, aroma and flavor of the bread were amazing.  Much crunchier crust than when made with butter alone.  It made a very soft crumb, and toasted beautifully.  The bulk fermentation, and second rise were as good as any with the butter-only batches.


I encourage experimenting with fats in breads (and all baked items).  It is interesting to learn the behaviors and characteristics that each ingredient brings to the recipe.