Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Butter without the bad... AKA Ghee

So I have mentioned ghee a couple of times as of late and thought I would share the method of making it.

Just to recap from earlier posts, ghee is butter that has been clarified, separating both the proteins and the lactose from the milk fat. 
This is not a vegan option, but it is a great way to eat tasty butter for those who are casein or lactose sensitive. 

There is a bit of a debate about ghee because it is almost 100% fat, and a saturated one at that. I am of firm belief however, that when you keep moderation in mind, a natural fat source is a much better option than man made or refined fats. 

I have switched entirely to cooking with ghee and coconut oil. Coconut oil for it's many health properties and ghee because of it's buttery flavour. I have also successfully substituted both into my baking, allowing for real butter flavour in my cookies and a healthy alternative to the canola oil found in a lot of recipes. 

Making ghee is really quite easy if you know what you're looking for. In this post I have included many pictures so that you will be confident in the process. 

You can purchase ghee in stores as well as on line, however it is quite costly. I find that if I buy butter when it's on sale and make a large amount of ghee at once that it is much more cost efficient. Ghee will keep for quite a long time; at least a month in the pantry and several in the fridge. In making it yourself you also have the option to use organic, grass fed and free from antibiotic butter. 

How to:

First start off with slightly cold butter, about two or three pounds. 
Unwrap, no need to cut it up, and pop it into a large pot with enough room that it won't bubble over the edges. 
Cook on low-med heat for 1-2 hours depending on the amount you are making. There is no real time line for this. When its done, it's done. 
The first stage will be quite foamy looking. Let it do its thing. Don't stir or play with it. It should look like this
At this point, you may find it is bubbling and spitting a bit, just leave it alone and watch out, It will settle eventually and look something like this
This is the stage when you need to pay a bit of attention. At this point the water has cooked out and you are beginning to cook the milk solids to the bottom of the pot. You want to make sure it is all separated, but if you have it turned up too high or you forget about it, you will end up burning the milk solids and the whole thing will be trash. I usually tip the pot a bit to see if the white on the bottom moves. if it does, let it continue, if not, this stage is complete. It will look pretty much like this once you are there. Remove from heat.
Let it cool undisturbed for about 15-20 mins, and then skim the thin top layer of solids off as well as you can.
Carefully pour clear ghee into container. You can pour through a few layers of cheese cloth if you like, I find that I make it enough though, that I don't need it. If any of the solids are pourable at the bottom of the pot, be careful and stop pouring once you can go no further without including them. This is what will be left in  the pot. All of the casein and lactose removed.

What you are left with is buttery, golden milk fat. This has a higher smoke point than coconut oil as well as a delicious flavor, so I do a lot of my searing and high heat cooking with this. It is also great when used for garlic butter as well as in cookies and other baked goods.

Put a lid on the container and pop it into the fridge for about an hour to re-solidify. Then take it out and keep at room temp for ease of use. It will remain solid but soft.

I looove ghee for its ease of substitution and its diversity. Not to mention it tastes better and is not chemical laden like those "buttery products". It's butter, lactose and casein free butter, who could ask for more?

Keep an eye out for upcoming recipes that utilize the wonderful flavor.

1 comment:

  1. I have never tried ghee. Thanks for the clear instructions.