Dripping is a very versatile, if old-fashioned and not nutritionally-PC, ingredient in the kitchen, but as with so many things, simple is best. Some of you will remember the simple joy of bread and dripping, especially if you scored the crunchy bits on the bottom of the bowl. The best dripping of course does not have crunchy bits at the bottom, it is pure, clean fat. And for that, one needs to know how to clarify it. And for instructions on that, one needs to go to a book of Hard-Time Cookery. Luckily for us, a book with just that title was published in Britain in 1940 by the Association of Teachers of Domestic Subjects.
Put the dripping into a saucepan with enough cold water to cover it, Bring gradually up to the boil, removing any scum as it arises. Strain into a bowl and put aside to get cold. The fat will set on the top of the water. Take it off, scrape the bottom. Put the fat into a saucepan and heat it gently until all the water in it has evaporated. If water is left in the fat it will not keep. Dripping beaten up to a soft creamy consistency is excellent for making cakes, pastry, etc.
Cut the fat into small pieces. Put into a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Skim well. Boil until nearly all the water has evaporated. Reduce the heat and stir occasionally to prevent the fat from sticking. When the pieces look dried up and sink to the bottom of the melted fat, remove the pan from the fire. Cool slightly and strain through a fine strainer.
Nostalgic for crunchy-bit 50's nbread and dripping just the other day. Thanks for this post.
I'll have to try one of these methods. I've tried rendering beef fat before and wound up with fat exploding all over my freshly cleaned kitchen walls floor.
And those strained out bits, make a wonderful topping on bread.
I grew up on a farm where we raised pigs, and we did make our own drippings and fat, and used them in cooking and I'm sure in baking as well.
Just wanted to let you know I love your blog, it makes for entertaining and educational reading.
I mentioned the "Little House on the Prairie" cookbook back when you were discussing salt-rising bread. It also includes instructions for clarifying drippings. It really is a useful book to start to learn about American pioneers and how they ate, though the history isn't that accurate. The discussion of pease porridge made me laugh.
Toast with lightly-salted, crunchy dripping, preferably.
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