A few years ago, a chef friend came to cook a special dinner for Tim and I in our home. I remember her clarifying the butter before she used it in the Veal Osso Buco and buttered potatoes. Amazing meal. I had no idea you could remove the milk solids from butter and be left with this beautiful pure butterfat. I made a mental note to come back to this so I could understand why I would bother.
Simply put: clarified butter doesn’t burn as easily (higher smoke point) and can withstand much higher cooking temperatures than regular butter, olive oil and many other fats. It made the list for my first Whole30 and now I’ve been keeping a stash in my fridge ever since.
I am in like with this small but simple change in my cooking. The milk solids and impurities are removed but there is still a lot of great butter flavor. There are health reasons for not cooking oils past their smoke point because it releases free radicals and a chemical called acrolein, I just quite honestly hadn’t done the research until now to understand. (Sometimes I am at learning capacity!) Having now used clarified butter for the last couple of months in my everyday cooking, I can say I don’t burn things as much either when pan frying or sautéing. It’s super easy, and every week I just check in the fridge: do I need to make more yet?
Use 2 to 4 sticks of organic butter, set into a sauce pan over medium heat so it gently starts to melt. I cut the butter into cubes the first time I did this and noticed that when I left the sticks whole, the milk solids stuck a bit closer together in the end for easier removal. It could have been a fluke but I’ve been leaving them whole since that’s one less step and it worked!
If it starts to bubble up and make noises, turn it down just a bit if needed. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
When butter is completely melted, set it aside and let it cool undisturbed for 10 minutes more.
Clarified butter separates into 3 layers, the milk solids at top, clarified butter in the middle and a thin layer of milk solids at the bottom. Using a spoon you can gently pull off most of the milk solids sitting on top, being careful not to disturb the foam too much.
Lastly set up a dish to pour the melted butter through a strainer slowly and see if you catch any more solids.
When you get to the end stop pouring the last little bit, and leave the bottom layer of milk solids in the pan. What you are left with can be stored in the fridge for at least a month.
1 lb of unsalted organic butter (this makes about 1 1/2 cups)
Set sticks of butter in a medium saucepan, heat on medium until melted and starts to bubble a bit. Turn it to low to simmer for 10 minutes undisturbed. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes more, undisturbed. Gently spoon off the milk solids on the surface of the separated butter. Using a strainer and/or cheese cloth, pour the clear butter into a storage container leaving the last layer of milk solids in the pan. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to a month or so.
Next I’ll be posting my go-to whole breakfast and I’ll be using clarified butter, so go make some up and you’ll be set. ; )
Ghee: Is clarified butter that has been left to cook longer so that the milk solids seperated on the bottom of the pan brown and give the clarified butterfat a nutty flavor before straining them off.