A common and key ingredient in baking, lard has been a kitchen essential for centuries. It is that secret element which makes the pies and certain types of cookies flakier and outranks many other cooking or baking fats. Understanding the kind of lards, you need goes a long way
For ages, lard has been a staple in kitchens worldwide. There is a good likelihood that everybody who has ever baked with passion has heard the term "lard." Many people must be aware of its capacity to produce the most incredible flaky pie crust. Furthermore, it's a critical part of preparing delicious tamales and biscochitos. What, though, is lard exactly? How is it created? How should it be used properly? These are the most frequently asked queries.
Lard has been used as a cooking and baking fat for countless generations. This versatile substance works like any other culinary fat, such as butter or oil. One can use it for frying, roasting, sautéing, and baking. You may use it as is or blend it with butter, shortening, or cooking oil. Lard is a well-liked element of baked foods like pie crust and biscuits. It produces a flakier product than butter and provides cookies, bread, doughnuts, and cakes with an incredibly tender crumb and light. Additionally, it's frequently used to finish off a pot of rice, refried beans, or bean stew, as well as in the masa for tamales and the dough for empanadas.
Baked berries pie, Image Source: Pexels
Melted pork fat is used to make lard. It has a white hue and a smooth, semi-soft, solid texture at room temperature. It naturally melts to a liquid at a temperature between 95°F and 115°F. Lard comes in a few distinct varieties. It can be flavourless and odourless or have a mildly savoury, porky taste and smell, depending on the type and how it is rendered. Lard might have a subtle pork flavour and scent or be flavourless and unscented. Meanwhile, lard flavour can be affected by several factors. A few of them include the breed of pig, where the fat comes from on the body, and how the fat is produced.
Variants of lard
Pig fat that has only been melted and filtered without any additional processing is known as rendered lard. Its aroma and taste are neutral to mildly flavoured pork. It is white in colour and creamy in texture. However, many people believe that leaf lard is the best. This kind is created using the leaf-shaped part of pig kidney fat. Since leaf lard has a soft, creamy texture and is almost flavourless and odourless, it is a suitable option for baked items. Processed lard is shelf-stable lard sold in supermarkets. This lard is made from melted and filtered pork fat that has been hydrogenated to make it shelf-stable. It is the fat that has undergone the most processing. The texture of processed lard is firmer than that of rendered and leaf lard.
Rendered lard, Image Source: vecteezy
Lard should be kept in the freezer or refrigerator in a well-sealed container. To be on the safe side, this is a requirement for rendered lard and a good suggestion for processed lard. The latter can theoretically be stored in the kitchen cabinet because it is shelf-stable. However, as a general rule, processed lard should be kept in an area where the temperature is below 75°F to prevent rancidity. If the kitchen tends to get warmer, store it in the refrigerator.