The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to substitute butter?

BakerNewbie's picture

How to substitute butter?

I'm working on a bread recipe that calls for butter. I want to use shortening instead. What is the substitution ratio of butter to shortening? Is it just 1:1? If the recipe calls for 100 grams of butter, do I just put 100 grams of shortening? My recipe says to add the butter at the end; would I do the same with shortening? Or is shortening added differently to a dough?

And how do I get back that butter flavor that I would lose? I plan to use butter extract, but not sure how much to use. What's a general guideline for this?

clazar123's picture

Shortening is cheaper but actually most shortenings are worse for your health than butter. There is a new Transfat-free (less than .5g/serving) Crisco but it is probably more costly than the regular Crisco. Lard has saturated fats but it digests better than transfats, makes a very nice dough and is less costly. Oil can provide great enrichment in bread without having the issues of butter,margerine or lard.

Are you avoiding butter because of the cost? I can identify with that but on the other hand, unless it is a very rich dough, bread recipes don't have that much butter in them.

As far as getting the buttery taste, substitute buttermilk for some/all of the liquid or even milk. If you want to add a flavorant, please avoid the artificial butter flavors as they taste awful. I recently saw McCormick spices (I'm in the USA) has a natural butter flavor out. I have never tasted it but the ingredients look acceptable to me.

Lastly, butter/fats can be left out of bread and yield a good loaf. If you require more moisture, add some mashed potato (white/yellow/orange,etc) and use some of the potato cooking water. A cheap and very delicious bread results from this.

Bake some deliciousness with love!

Colin2's picture

Can we ask what kind of recipe?  It's one thing if this is brioche, another if it's, say, a pullman loaf that uses only a little butter.

greyoldchief's picture

I purchase regular crisco and the list of ingredients indicate that it has no transfats and 3.5 grams of saturated fat per serving (1 tablespoon (12 grams)).  The label has a substitution for butter at 1 cup of crisco plus 2 tablespoons of water equals 1 cup of butter.

Hope this helps

BakerNewbie's picture

The 2 tablespoon water makes sense. Thanks.

How is shortening used in place of butter? Does the shortening need to be melted first? Do I just add it at end of my kneading process, like with the butter?

semolina_man's picture

Butter is often salted, therefore it includes salt.  If your recipe does not specifically name unsalted butter, salt needs to be added if substituting vegetable shortening for butter.  Flavor will not be the same if the salt is not added.  


If unsalted butter is listed in the recipe, ignore the above.