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I am baking bread, and the recipe (from the Bread Bakers Apprentice) calls for shortening. I don't have any in the house and would like to substitute butter. The recipe does not indicate that the shortening needs to be liquid. Should I melt the butter that I will be using in place of the shortening?

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No, shortening is a solid fat. This means you have to substitute another solid fat, else the recipe won't work. So, use the butter as it is.

You probably will have to bring the butter to room temperature to be workable (shortening hardens less in the fridge). Don't use the microwave, it will produce melted spots. Leave it out overnight or longer, or, in the worst case, shave it into small sheets and leave these out for an hour or so.

Your texture will differ somewhat from the original. Lard might be the better substitute for shortening.

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    The usual trade off with butter vs. shortening is flavour for texture. Butter leads to a denser, but tastier loaf. Aug 18, 2014 at 10:21
  • @ElendilTheTall the recipe is from BBA. If it is made with shortening, I assume there is a good reason for it, and I would try to find a textural substitute.
    – rumtscho
    Aug 18, 2014 at 10:55
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    The only bread I am aware of in BBA that uses shortening is the standard white sandwich loaf, and if memory serves there is a side note alongside that very recipe that says you can substitute butter for shortening and vice-versa, with the caveat I mentioned above. Aug 18, 2014 at 11:38
  • @ElendilTheTall I was making the marbled rye from BBA, which calls for shortening. In the end I melted the butter -- the recipe called for the shortening to be added with other wet ingredients.
    – Jason
    Aug 20, 2014 at 16:21
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    I agree with rumtscho - 'wet' doesn't necessarily mean 'liquid'. It didn't call for the shortening to be melted, so why melt the butter? Aug 21, 2014 at 7:55

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