What's Better Than Butter?
What’s better than butter?
Here's a question I was asked at a recent dinner party I catered. When it comes to cooking, I will always have 2 answers, "Clarified Butter and Ghee."
Commonly used in South Asia and Middle Eastern cuisines, Ghee is a class of clarified butter - they are not the same thing. Ghee is Clarified Butter that has been cooked longer to remove all of its moisture. Any traces of milk solids are browned or caramelized and the fat is strained out, resulting in a rich, nutty tasting buttery liquid.
I love cooking with Ghee every chance I get. It’s my go to in the kitchen. It adds a dimensional component and a depth of flavour to your dish over other oils and fats. If you agree butter is a must when baking, then you have to try using Clarified Butter or Ghee next time you cook. I’m sure you’ll agree there's no comparison to its rich buttery taste and higher smoke point.
How it's made
Preparing clarified butter is not that difficult. It’s made by separating the milk solids, and fat in unsalted butter (see recipe below).
Once butter has been transformed into clarified butter, it’s then simmered once more into a nutty-tasting and aromatic product called Ghee (see second recipe below). This final simmer insures all impurities, water, and milk solids have been separated and removed.
Ghee is an ideal fat to use with cooking with high heat because of its high smoke point around 450F compared to most vegetable oils around 390F.
How to Make Clarified Butter
2 lb unsalted butter
2 medium sized pots
1 fine strainer
Glass jar or container with tight fitting lid
Instructions to make Clarified Butter:
1. Heat unsalted butter in a pot at least twice its size over medium heat.
“If your butter melts too fast or begins to boil, turn down your heat. You don’t want the milk solids to mix around too much and make your liquid cloudy. The milk solids should settle gently to the bottom of the pot. Heating the butter slowly causes the milk solids to sink to the bottom while the impurities of the butter rise to the surface.
2. Skim any impurities that rise to the surface using a ladle and discard.
“Take your time here. You only want to remove the sentiment floating with the bubbles on the surface. Be careful not to remove too much of the buttery liquid along with it.”