If you've ever strolled through the international foods section of your grocery store, you may have seen a jar of ghee among the Indian foods. This ingredient commonly used in Indian cuisine consists of pure butterfat and sometimes added spices. Removing the milk sugars and proteins from the butter and leaving only the fat behind is done through a clarification process. Thus, the terms ghee and clarified butter are often used interchangeably. So what's special about it?
Clarified butter has the whey, lactose, minerals, and other components removed as much as possible, so that only the fat is kept. This has popularized it with Keto and Paleo diets, which focus on keeping insulin levels low and fat consumption high. Go to a health conscious or natural foods grocery store and you'll often see ghee alongside cooking oils. In recent years, some smaller name grocery chains have begun to add it to their inventory.
There are several benefits of adding clarified butter to your pantry. It doesn't need refrigeration, it's stable for high heat cooking, and it has a wonderful rich flavor. The downside is that it tends to be quite expensive. Fear not though, as you can easily make clarified butter at home at the price of any other store-bought butter. There are several techniques to do this, and we'll take a look at one of them.
What You Will Need
- 2 or 4 sticks of unsalted butter. Our recommendation is Kerrygold brand because it has proven time after time to remain soft after the fat has solidified.
- A metal pot.
- A metal spoon or whisk for stirring.
- One or more glass jars to contain the final product.
- A kitchen funnel for pouring the fat into the jars.
- Very fine cheesecloth or strong paper towel for straining the fat through the funnel and separating out the milk solids.
- Judging from your glass jar size, select the appropriate amount of butter. For small jars, 2 sticks should be enough. Large jars may be able to handle 4 sticks.
- Put the metal pan on the stove top and turn on the heat on to just over medium. Place the butter into the metal pan.
- As the butter is melting, gently stir with a metal spoon or whisk. Get the butter to fully melt and begin boiling.
- Continue stirring every 30 seconds or so as the butterfat is boiling. Over time, the boiling bubbles will get smaller until a foam forms on the surface and you will begin to see browned milk solids appear within the liquid. Turn the stove top off.
- Put the funnel in the glass jar and the cheesecloth inside the funnel. Make sure all parts are secure before continuing. The liquid will be very hot and you do not want to spill it.
- Gently pour the liquid into the funnel so it is strained through the cheesecloth and into the glass jar until all of the liquid has been transferred. Do not secure the lid on the jar yet.
- Allow several hours for the liquid fat to cool and solidify. You may tighten the jar's lid now.
There you go! Clarified butter ready to use for all sorts of cooking. Take a second to enjoy the pleasant aroma and golden color before storing in your cupboard.