Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Clarified Butter: The Truth of Ghee Matter

I know I've blogged about ghee before in Thank Ghee for Reading, but I just finished making another batch this very minute, and I thought I'd post again to encourage some ghee making out there.

Ghee is a cooking fat made from heating unsalted butter reeeeeeeeeeeeally slowly and NOT TOUCHING IT.  While the butter is melting, the butterfat (the clear stuff) separates from the milk solids (the stuff that looks like tiny cheese curds).  If you stop the process after the milk solids separate from the fat, the leftover yellow oil is clarified butter.  It's the stuff that you seafood lovers love to dunk your lobster and crab into.

If you keep the process going, however, the water in the butter will begin to evaporate off (you will hear and see it simmering off, sputtering and popping away), and the milk solids will begin to brown and settle to the bottom of the pot, leaving a clear brownish oil that is ghee.  This cooking fat is  highly heat tolerant as well as rich in flavor, but it also wonderfully rid of the things that make some of our bellies not feel so great (the milk stuff such as casein and lactose).

To strain the ghee from the solids, simply pour the liquid in the pot through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl, then let the oil cool. Voila! You've got your ghee!


The quantity of ghee you get will depend on the quality of the butter you use.  European butters with a higher butterfat content will yield more ghee than the cheaper butters that contain a bit more water. They are more expensive, but they are worth it—not just for the amount of ghee produced but also for the flavor.  This is an area where cheap ass me doesn't skimp.

Once your ghee has cooled, you can store it in a jar on the counter or in the fridge.  It will become harder in the fridge, but it will last longer (about 12 months vs. 6 months on the counter).  If you are like me, it doesn't last 6 weeks much less 6 months, but you do what works for you.

For more info about ghee, check out What's Cooking, America's page all about it.

And give a shout if you make a batch! I'd love to hear your thoughts and how you are using it!

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