AI have been using half hi-ratio and half butter since my generic shortening in the store went to transfat free. I recently ran out of the hi ratio and with the Christmas shopping insane zombies out everywhere, driving like jack wagons, I didn't want to go get more, so I sent DH to get some regulars shortening, thinking it would do for a couple days.
First I had him try the generic, because I remember it worked okay when I switched, I just wanted it better. It looked slightly oily in the tub, but after I mixed it all together, it de-homogenized and became all gritty and separated, and I had to chew through it. Plus it had a weird smell, like plastic. Threw it all away, 6 lbs of it.
So then I tried the Crisco brand that looked creamy and white and had no smell, and it did the exact same thing, but grittier and chunkier. The more I mixed it, the worse it got. It was yucky.
So then I tried all butter, since that's what so many people who look down their noses at shortening use, and it was okay, but nothing special and I couldn't smooth it! The paper towel just stuck to it, and pulled it off. I used the water method the smooth it, and got it okay looking, but all the decorations just melted in my hand, instantly. I put a mitten on and it slowed it down, but it still got runny and separated. Then I noticed that the corners and points of icing dried all crumbly and hard and gritty, and the lines from the water smoothing changed to different colors, light and dark and mottled, and kept getting worse.
Meringue buttercreams don't really go over well for my price point, and I don't want to raise my prices again in this Obama economy.
Conclusion, even if I have to drive through a blizzard to get it, I am not making another cake without my hi-ratio shortening, and I have been using Alpine. (Never tried sweetex, and I hate vremay. ) It gets so smooth and creamy and consistent results. It stays light in color, no color variations, no grit, doesn't get crispy, smooths wonderfully, and cuts the butter taste, and really flavors nicely. It doesn't leave an icky mouth feel. Everyone loves my icing.
Thanks, that is so good to hear it is worth the effort to get the hi-ratio shortening. I order mine from KitchenKraft. It has their label on it, and I assume they repackage it from another source. Does anyone know what brand it is, or what brand it is similar to? I'd like to check other sources, but hate to take a chance on something new. I heard Sweetex is good. What brands do folks recommend? Thanks!
AYortma, what are the ingredients? For my alpine, it's just partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (soybean and palm oils), with mono-and diglycerides, and polysorbate 60. Chemicals, improving baked goods :-)
AThis is a bit disconcerting but I'm sure it meets the FDA requirements or they would not be allowed to sell it: According to the "Journal of National Cancer Institute," the "Journal of Nutrition" and the FAO Nutrition Meetings Report Series, polysorbate 60 can cause detrimental reproductive effects, organ toxicity and cancer in high doses. However, the FDA designated the chemical as safe for limited use in food. According to the Environmental Canada Domestic Substance List, polysorbate 60 is not suspected as an environmental toxin.
I never use "high doses" of buttercream :-) but I will look to the other types of hi-ratio to see if there is an alternative.
But these wikis are often written by militant food safety type people, so who knows?
AKitchenKraft sells repackaged Sweetex. Alpine and Sweetex are made by the same company and have similar ingredients -- Alpine is specifically for icing and results in a creamier, higher-volume end product, while Sweetex can be used for both cake and icing and is made for better spreadability.
AAccording to the FDA, Polysorbate 60 may be used in shortenings up to a maximum of 1% of the shortening by weight. When you consider how much shortening is in the icing and how much icing a single person eats daily I don't think it would be humanly possible to consume a high dose of Polysorbate 60 from icing alone.
AYup I love my high ratio shortening....feel bad for those who haven't tried it yet
ADo you have to order it or can you find it at a store. I live in the middle of the state of MI
The ingredients in mine are exactly the same. Thanks Jason as well, now I know it is Sweetex. Thanks for the help!
I buy mine at the cake store but if you don't have one close than you can order online
Ahttp://www.******************/hirash3lbs.html I've never bought from either of these sites but this one has a special going on buy 3 tubs for $30 plus shipping that's a good deal
AWww.fondantsorce.com maybe it will go thru that way than search for high ratio shortening on the website.....if it goes thru
AWww.******************. try to get it right than in the search bar type in high ratio shortening ...than when you click on it it has the 3 for $30 or just buy one.....make sure you are buying high ratio shortening and not already made buttercream
AI don't think you want to start with 50 pounds of it ....just order it 3 pound tubs to make sure you like it...but I have to say I love the stuff!!
I have used Sweetex and Crisco both. I like Crisco better. I know that is weird. But hi ratio for me makes my icing heavy. That probably does not make sense. Do not know how to explain it. I like a softer icing. If you mix with some butter it is good.