Created in 19th Century France, the incarnation of margarine that modernity has familiarised itself with is composed of vegetable oil and water, occasionally with milk. Flavour notwithstanding, its only other notable difference in comparison with butter is its main fat component – vegetable versus animal. And while there are those who most certainly argue for butter, margarine has had its place in the history of baking for over a century now.
With health clocking in among other chief reasons, the substitution of baking fats with margarine is no new-fangled fad. While butter is much-beloved by all for its flavour, this humble writer included, the use of margarine and other similarly-fashioned baking fats has its benefits. As a product of animal fat, butter is known to contain cholesterol and saturated fat.
In contrast, margarine, which is plant-sourced, contains no cholesterol and less saturated fat, which counts towards overall better decision-making insofar as baking ingredients go. All it takes is a slight bit of adjustment, and the necessary kitchen know-how.
The role of fats in baking, essentially, is to provide the product with a tender and moist texture. While oil on its own provides a significantly different texture; a stiffer product, lacking fluffiness, baked goods containing butter or margarine are imbued with a favourable texture in most pastries. Substituting one for the other is merely a matter of experimentation, and knowing exactly how much fat is needed in your recipe. Given that butter traditionally contains more fat than margarine, it makes sense that one adjusts the quantity as necessary, so as to ensure the right amount of fat goes into one’s baking. Ideally, one uses just a little bit extra margarine, than one would butter, and vice-versa.
And while some recipes are, ideally, best when made with butter, something must be said for the health benefits of substituting it for margarine in more forgiving recipes. For one, choosing the right substitute means imbuing your baking with goodness and nutrients necessary for our bodies to thrive.
Carotino’s margarine provides natural Carotenes in the form of pro-Vitamin A, tocopherols and tocotrienols in the form of Vitamin E. All this, without affecting the texture and mouthfeel of your end product. Essentially, it allows for you and yours to have your cake, and eat it too. Quite literally, without dire consequence.
So the next time you want to bake, give margarine a try. It could surprise you – and your health will thank you for it afterwards.
Recipes: Lemon Meringue Tart & Marble Cake
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