Tuesday, April 13, 2010

making ghee

I was making ghee and happened to post about it to my Facebook Fan Page.  I like ghee because it has a wonderful sweet flavor and it's easy to use.  It lasts for a very long time at room temperature (a good thing here in Texas where butter left on the counter would turn liquid and then rancid in very short order).  Ghee is especially good for those with lactose intolerance as all of the milk-fat solids have been separated out.  At prices ranging from $7.00 to $13.00 per pound for ghee it is worth it to make your own.

Reading the Fan Page, Claire wrote in wondering what the difference was between ghee and clarified butter and if you scrape off the foam while you make it.  So here's a quick how-to:

Ghee is clarified butter. I use organic, unsalted butter, the better the quality of your butter the better flavor your ghee will have. 16 ounces of butter will yield approximately 12 ounces of ghee.  The most important thing to remember is that you need to watch it the entire time because it goes from done to burned in a snap.  

1. Put your unsalted butter into a thick bottom pan and cook on medium heat until it starts to boil.  
2. It will start to foam and crackle as the milk solids condense and the water boils off. If you want you can turn it down just a smidge at this point.  
3. I scrape off the milk solids foam because I save it as a treat for my dogs but most folks just leave them because they will eventually settle to the bottom of the pot.  
4. After approximately 15-20 minutes you will see that the ghee is a clear golden color and the dark brown milk solids are on the bottom of the pot.  This is where you need to be careful. You want to make sure all the ghee is clarified and you can see all the way to the bottom of the pot.  
5. Remove the ghee from the heat and strain. I use a fine mesh strainer lined with two paper coffee filters into a measuring cup.  
6. Let the ghee sit for about 10 minutes and then pour it into a clean glass jar to finish cooling. 

There is another method to make ghee using your oven. Although you can make more ghee at one time using this method it does take about two hours.

photo courtesy of Rainer Z | Wikimedia Commons

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