Fats and Oils

Learning Objectives

  • Identify and describe fats and oils used in the food service industry
  • Describe the refining and production of fats and oils
  • Describe the function of fats and oils in baking

Fats and oils are important in the baking process and to our diet. This section reviews the common terms used with fats and oils and provides basic information on their relevance in baking and food production.

Fats and oils are fundamentally and chemically similar, but oil is liquid, while fat is solid, at room temperature. However, any oil, when sufficiently chilled, will solidify. Conversely, any edible fat will liquefy when sufficiently heated.

The various needs of food manufacturers and dietary changes by consumers have determined the evolution of fat manufacturing. To a large extent, vegetable oils have displaced animal fats in food production.

Note that the fats and oils discussed here are different from essential oils. The oils we discuss in this section are fixed oils. Stain a piece of paper towel with a fixed oil, such as canola or melted lard, and the stain will remain. Stain a piece of paper with an essential oil, such as the oil from a lemon, and it will disappear.


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Understanding Ingredients for the Canadian Baker Copyright © 2015 by The BC Cook Articulation Committee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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