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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

You’ll need;

2 lb unsalted butter

2 medium sized pots

1 fine strainer

1 ladle

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.”

3. Separate the clear buttery liquid suspended above the milk solids by carefully pouring it off into your 2nd pot (left pot). Discard the remaining milk solids (right pot) that settled at the bottom of your 1st pot.

“There will be a few ounces of usable clarified butter that will have to be sacrificed when pouring off the liquid as you separate. You do not want ANY white solids to escape the transfer. The clear liquid you’ve poured off into a separate pot is known as clarified butter.”

Instructions to make Ghee:

You can now further transform your Clarified Butter into Ghee in a few simple steps.

You’ll need;

Clarified butter (see recipe above)

2 medium sized pots

1 fine strainer

1 ladle

Cheese cloth

Glass jar or container with tight fitting lid

1. In your 1st clean pot, add your Clarified Butter and gently heat again over medium low heat to bring to a simmer.

“Over the next 10-15 minutes, any milk solids that may have not been separated while clarifying the butter will sink to the bottom once again. As the liquid simmers, the tiny milk solids will begin to stick to the bottom and slowly change colour from a creamy white to a golden amber as they cook. You’ll notice at this stage, your butter solution will emit a wonderful nutty smell. “

2. Skim the surface again to remove any impurities that rise tot the surface

“Take your time here again and be sure not to let the milk solids stick to the bottom and burn.”

3. Strain liquid through fine strainer with cheese cloth

“Carefully pour your golden mixture through you fine strainer lined with cheese cloth into a glass jar to cool. Once your ghee had cooled to room temerpature, tightly seal with a lid. Ghee can remain outside of your fridge for up to a year, though you’ll probably have used it all well before then.”

“The colour, texture and taste of your ghee will depend on the quality of butter you’ve used. The higher quality of butter you begin with, the higher quality of ghee you will have afterwards.”

If you would like to learn more Tips, Tricks & Techniques in your kitchen, you can download my

It's free and my way of helping you enjoy the food you make at home.

Yours in food,

Chef Bob

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