It’s made from hydrogenated vegetable oils, which makes it acceptable to specialized diets such as Jewish or Muslim ones. It’s better than margarine produced for the home market, as it has far less water in it. Some produce such an excellent mouth feel in baked goods that it’s hard to reproduce the results at home even using “natural” products such as butter.
The fat is specially engineered to:
- form a film around gluten protein, to stop it from developing and toughening the dough, and at the same time, to trap gas to improve rising and flakiness;
- have maximum “plasticity” to perform well in items such as croissants where the dough and fat are repeatedly folded into layers and rolled;
- be not so hard as that it will tear through dough, but not so soft that it will simply soak into dough layers.
There are any commercial brands. Different products offer different melting points: some higher, some lower. Some makes have a neutral flavour; some have a butter flavour.
It is sold in large quantities such as 25kg (55 pound) boxes of 5 pieces each weighing 5 kg (11 pounds.) Some brands are also sold in a liquid form.
Puff Pastry Fat is not necessarily healthier than other fats. Some are based on Palm Oil, which some people would argue is too high in saturated fats, and too high in hydrogenated fats (resulting in trans fats) which in general are being banned in many areas now. Consequently, some manufacturers are reformulating their product to be able to make them without using hydrogenation.
Can be stored refrigerated for up to 6 months.