Ghee is a wonderful food. It is basically butter that has been melted, the moisture evaporated, and the milk solids browned in the fat and strained out. This leaves pure butter fat or oil. It is the pure “good stuff” in butter. All of those great properties in butter are found in the butter oil. It has a unique buttery flavor, and is used extensively in Indian cooking. It has a much higher burning point than butter does, so it works better at high heats than regular butter. You can use it in Indian cooking or add a bit to soup for a big amount of flavor. I use it with olive oil to saute veggies, and scramble eggs. I also spread it on my toast. It is very rich, so a small amount is incredibly flavorful.
I have been extremely happy with making my own ghee. I was afraid that I would react to it, like I do to all dairy products. But I have been able to tolerate it just fine now for a couple of weeks. I use it with everything.
I was following the basic instructions found in James Peterson’s book Splendid Soups. I found them slightly confusing the first time I made it by how he worded things, so I will be explaining the process in my own words. But I am indebted to his recipe. I did notice, by the way, that many of the recipes online say that it takes up to 45 minutes to make. The way I make it (based on James Peterson’s instructions) only takes about 15 minutes. I don’t know if there is a taste difference between the two, but they seem to have the same goal, removing the browned milk solids. If I can do it in 15 minutes instead of 45, I’ll do it!
The advantages of making your own? First you can choose the quality of butter you make it with. Second, like most homemade food, it will taste better. And thirdly, it is MUCH cheaper (and so I will be adding this post to Frugal Friday).
Put 1/2 to 1 pound of butter in a medium sized pot, with a heavy bottom.
Melt on medium heat until all is melted. Continue to heat until is starts to foam. You may want to turn down heat to medium-low to low at this point. Watch to make sure that the foam doesn’t flow over the sides of your pot.
When the foam has died off significantly the mild solids will start forming near the bottom of the pan. When this starts to happen you may start to get a little more foam again. To get to this point it usually takes about ten minutes.
Watch carefully at this point. The milk solids will start to brown in the butter fat. When they are golden brown (I would move some of the foam at the top to check), take off the heat immediately. It is very easy to burn at this point. The mixture should look golden brown. (On a side note, if it does get overdone, don’t despair. I overdid my first batch, but after I strained it, it was actually quite good. The reason was because it was the milk solids that burnt, not the oil.)
I lay a fine sieve with cheesecloth (you can also use a coffee filter), and pour through the butter mixture. This catches all of the milk solids,
Update: I just made a batch using Kerrygold butter, you can see the amazing color that produced here. I did notice that it foamed way more than Organic Valley’s pasture butter, so keep that in mind. I also did a whole pound, instead of just a half, and did note that it took a little longer than 15 minutes to do. So I think that the amount of time it takes will depend on how much butter you are working with.