Ghee is tasty. Ghee is useful. Ghee is simple to make at home. Ghee holds up to high temperatures like no other oil — 485 F actually! — which is more than enough to safely fry or bake pretty much anything.
Have you seen the price of ghee to buy it in the store?? It’s crazy. I think from what I’ve seen, it’s usually about twice as expensive as the same amount of butter. But ghee is actually just browned butter that has been strained. So why not just make it yourself! I do it usually about every week, sometimes more and sometimes less often. But it takes me all of about 15 minutes, and it’s mostly hands off.
Clarified butter is basically the same, except that it hasn’t been cooked to the point of browning the milk solids. It’s also more finicky to make as the water hasn’t been evaporated and needs to be separated from the oil.
But I like easy. And I like tasty. So I make ghee. I love the browned butter flavor that it has. You can make a jar of ghee and have browned butter noodles in an instant! Just add salt, and you’re golden. … Pun intended.
Ghee is also great for people with a dairy sensitivity, either to lactose or to the proteins, as both are strained out in the end.
Get yourself a reusable cheesecloth. I always hated buying cheesecloth and then throwing it away. It makes absolutely no sense to me. I finally went to a kitchen store and bought a reusable one. It’s quite large and good for all-purpose use where cheesecloth would be used. And it’s sturdy. I just put a little dish soap on the corner I use for straining the ghee, and I wash it out briefly at the kitchen sink with some hot water. Then I hang it to dry, and done.
The last thing is that if you do this the hands off method like me — put butter in pan, turn heat to medium, walk away for ten minutes — the milk solids are going to settle on the bottom and brown there and create a nice layer on the bottom of the pan. But I always put some hot water in it after I’m done and just leave it in the sink. It comes off really easily, so don’t panic.
Alternatively, things won’t get stuck on the bottom if you stand over the stove and swirl your pan fairly constantly once the butter is melted. Or you could stir it with a silicone spatula. But who wants more work. Unless you’re trying to save every last bit of browned milk solids for some other purpose, why bother.
I just didn’t want you to be surprised.
In addition to cooking with it, you can use it to bake too. For applications where you want a higher fat content, like in a pie crust for example, it works amazingly! You’ll get a little bit of the nuttiness from the ghee as well. If you don’t want that, then you’ll have to use regular clarified butter instead. Be careful if trying to replace butter in a frosting, for example. I’ve heard that it can be successfully done, but the frosting probably won’t be as stable in warm temperatures as a regular buttercream.
Ghee acts like butter in that it is solid in the fridge and soft when out. It is actually not quite as stable out of the fridge as butter because it’s structure and composition has changed. So at room temperatures it will go from soft to liquid more readily than butter.
Ironically, it takes much longer to melt in a microwave than butter.
You can store it in the fridge or out. It just depends on your preference and what you plan to use it for. But if you want to use it chilled for baking, I’d put it in the fridge after it’s mostly cooled down but still slightly warm. If left to solidify at room temperature, it will get grainy. But if it goes directly into the cold when still warm, it will solidify with a smooth texture. That’s the way I like it.
But the most important thing to remember is. You don’t have to buy ghee from a store.
There are approximately a million other great posts on ghee all over the internet, if you want a different take or more details. For example, this great post here. Happy cooking!
Ghee is simply strained browned butter. Mmm...
- Unsalted butter, in any quantity
- Put butter in a saucepan relative to the amount of butter you're using. Leave a little headspace because it will foam a small amount. You can use any kind of pan you want, really.
- Turn heat to medium and let it melt and bubble. You can leave it alone at this point. It might take ten minutes. But that will also depend on the amount of butter you're melting as well as the size of your saucepan.
- If you haven't already, prepare your cheesecloth and jar. I like to use a rubber band to secure the cheesecloth. Leave a little slack in it. A taught cheesecloth will end up with the oil running right over the top and onto your counter instead of going into the jar.
- Once the butter starts turning golden, stay by the pan until it's done. Otherwise, it will eventually start to foam like crazy, and then you'll get hot oil everywhere. So just let it keep bubbling until the milk solids at the bottom of the pan have turned a nice, deep golden-brown and the oil is golden. It might start to foam with little tiny bubbles that just seem to keep building even after you turn off the heat. That's okay; don't panic; it'll be alright.
- Very slowly drizzle your hot, melted butter through your cheesecloth and into your jar.
- Take the browned milk solids and salt them (if using unsalted butter) and spread them on toast ... or not. Your choice.
- Allow ghee to cool until only slightly warm; then cover and transfer to the fridge to solidify if desired.
Salted butter is okay, too. I've used it to make ghee before. You might actually prefer it if you're used to using salted butter normally.
The yield will be approximately 15-20% less than what you started with. That's because of the water content being boiled away.
Ghee gets really hot. It's oil, so it'll heat up beyond the boiling point of water. So just be careful, please.