Portuguese white bread and LARD
A while ago I posted (somewhere in the forums; I can't find it now) about a recipe for Portuguese white bread that called for shortening. I was wondering about substituting oil or butter.
The cookbook author and I (the copyeditor) ended up using the recipe with shortening, but suggesting in the recipe header that you could substitute oil or softened butter. We also gave a scaled down recipe that made 2 loaves rather than 8, and used a stand mixer and dough hook.
I finally got to meet the author; we'd been working on the cookbook by email. I said something to her about how the bread would have been made pre-1900, before Crisco was invented. She suggested that the bread would have been made with lard, not oil, not butter.
Wow! Yes, that was probably it!
I started doing research on the web, re the history of shortening and the use of lard. I discovered that Crisco had done their corporate best to blacken the name of lard and suggest that Crisco was a better, more hygienic substitute. Whereas, recent research has shown that fresh lard (not the hydrogenated stuff they sell in supermarkets) is actually full of good fats and is marginally better for you than butter. Apparently, lard is now making a culinary comeback. I found lots of articles touting the virtues of lard. The Wikipedia article on lard had some good links. Apparently leaf lard is hands down the best fat for pie crust and pastry.
I'm now interested in baking with lard. Unfortunately, I know of no way to get the right kind of lard. I'd want it to be from free range pigs, not poor tortured feedlot pigs, and fresh. If I lived in rural Hawai'i, I'd probably know people who kept pigs, but I'm a city girl and don't know any pig farmers. If I lived in NYC, I could buy organic leaf lard. But I live in Honolulu, not NYC.
Have any of you ever baked with lard?