TIP: Clarified Butter (Ghee)

I like to use butter when I sauté or fry in some recipes.  Nothing tastes better than mushrooms sautéed in butter, and when making Chicken Picatta, the chicken must be cooked in butter – thats part of the wonderful flavor.  But unless you are careful, the butter can burn.   It is the milk solids in butter that burn – and it happens fast.   The burn temperature of butter is 250F, and the smoke point is 400F.  So, if you are sauteing something, almost always, your temperature will be someplace in-between those two temps, causing the butter to burn.

One easy solution is to lower the temperature.  However, that does not always produce the desired results.  There are two solutions I usually use, and both are pretty simple to do:

1.  Add a teaspoon of oil for every 2 tablespoons of butter.  This immediately raises the burn and smoke points to an acceptable non-burning temp.  The most common high burn temp (Over 400F) oils are:  canola, olive, corn, cottonseed, grapeseed, rapeseed, peanut, sunflower, sesame.

2.  Make Clarified Butter or what is also known as Ghee.  Two different methods below:

Method One:

In a sauce pan, melt butter slowly.  without stirring at all.  Allow to cool and separate.   The milk solid foam will stay at the top, and milk solids will form at the bottom.  What is in the middle is the clarified butter.   Once the butter has cooled enough (it will begin to thicken), skim this foam off the top. Pour off the butter, leaving the milk solids in the pan.  Discard the milk solids, and store the clarified butter in a cool place.

Method Two (Alton Brown’s method) is just as simple:

Place butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring butter to boil. This takes approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium. The butter will form a foam which will disappear. Ghee is done when a second foam forms on top of butter, and the butter turns golden. Approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Brown milk solids will be in bottom of pan. Gently pour into heatproof container through fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Store in airtight container being sure to keep free from moisture. Ghee does not need refrigeration and will keep in airtight container for up to 1 month.

**Although using clarified butter does raise the burn point, butter will eventually burn if too high of a temp is used

About Michelle

I write two blogs - This Food Thing, (www.thisfoodthing.com) and This Life I Lead (www.thislifeilead.com). You can find me on Google+ : https://plus.google.com/u/0/107541341956938355529/posts
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