Making clarified butter is a relatively simple process. But, if you haven’t ever worked with clarified butter, you might be wondering what it is…and why bother going through any trouble at all, when you have been content with working with standard butter?
Both good questions…
What is Clarified Butter?
Clarified butter is butter that has been through a process to remove the water and milk solids in butter. It’s also known as Ghee. The process involves a slow heating step to melt the butter, which leads to layers. Those layers are:
- Top layer- white foamy whey;
- Middle layer – pure butterfat (the goal to save);
- Bottom layer – milk solids.
This process makes it easy to separate what you want to keep from what needs to be disposed of in getting clarified butter. After the dairy is removed, the butter is left with a nuttier flavor, a much higher smoke point, and a longer shelf life.
The Benefits of Clarified Butter
As mentioned above, clarified butter has a higher smoke point, making it better than standard butter for high-heat cooking, such as frying. By removing the dairy products and water from the original state, the butter becomes purer and will not burn like it would with milk solids in it.
Also, with the water removed, there should be less spattering when it reaches its boiling point.
And lastly, you could extend its shelf life by purifying it. I will get into that further down in the article when I discuss storage options.
The Supplies Needed
There aren’t too many supplies needed to achieve clarified butter, and most are probably already in your home.
- Plastic storage bag (I used a Ziploc gallon-sized bag);
- Container for storage.
There isn’t a specific amount of butter for this process, because it all depends on how much you want to make. And, it could be salted or unsalted. However, just keep in mind that if you are going to use it for baking, you need to factor in the amount of salt if you use salt.
Just a quick word about using a plastic baggie, for those who might be concerned about boiling foods in plastic. This process never reaches the boiling point. It’s a very low and slow melt, and I held the bag the entire time (about 15 minutes) so it wouldn’t touch the sides or bottom.
Related: My First Batch Of Canned Cheese
How to Make It
Making clarified butter is far less intimidating than it sounds. It’s fairly easy if you follow the instructions below:
#1. Put the butter into the plastic bag, then seal.#2. Place the bag into a pot of simmering water (try to avoid the bag from touching the bottom of the hot pot).
#3. As it melts, you will notice it starting to separate.#4. After the butter is melted, place the bag in a bowl, then put it in the refrigerator. Position the bag so that one corner is at the bottom of the bowl. You can do this by placing ice and/or paper towels around the bottom so it doesn’t move.#5. Once it’s solidified, hold the bag over a bowl, then cut the tip of that corner you carefully placed earlier, so that the water and milk products can easily drain out.#6. Lightly rinse the solidified block of clarified butter with cool water for a few seconds. Pat it dry.You now have clarified butter that you can cut into whatever size pieces you prefer.
How to Store It
Place the clarified butter into an air-tight container. Like that your Ghee can be stored for up to one whole year and even beyond if there is no change in taste and appearance. Keep in mind that while it doesn’t need to be refrigerated it does need to be placed in a dark and slightly cooler place than your kitchen. A root cellar or basement pantry will do just fine. Once the container is open it will keep good for about 3 months at room temperature.
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