G(h)ee wiz!

Last fall, I learned how to make healthy butter.  Ghee has many beneficial properties, which you can read about here.  It is also delicious. Marzilla likes it in her oatmeal.  I like using large quantities of it to make scrambled eggs, and fried eggs, and anything in a pan on the stove, because it doesn’t burn like regular butter.  And it’s delicious.

Here is how to make ghee.  Take a package of unsalted butter – I like to use four sticks, because that’s how much my ghee jar holds – and put it in a saucepan.  I learned that pyrex is the best, if you can find a pyrex saucepan (which I can’t), or stainless steel with a heavy bottom.  I think it’s mostly just important not to use anything coated with a non-stick substance, like teflon.  So I use a metal (sticky! *gasp*) saucepan, because that’s what we have around here:

Unsalted butterNext, you want to melt the butter without burning it. Because all of the knobs on my stove are upside down, this means I turn the dial to off.  Which theoretically equals medium heat.  I keep a close eye on the melting butter, and turn it down a bit if it seems to be getting too hot.

Melting butterOnce all the butter is melted, turn the heat down to medium-low (between 7-8 on my special stove, or 2-3 on your normal stove).  It should be making little bubbles, and big burps once in a while, but not burning!

Simmering butterIt should cook like this for about 40 minutes.  Now, I have not entirely mastered this part yet.  According to other ghee makers on the internet, the ghee should get foamy, then the foam should dissipate, then come back again much thicker and heavier.  I have yet to see this happen in such a straightforward manner.  I think that’s ok.  My ghee is still delicious.  The goal is to cook away all the water, and have the milk solids settled on the bottom and also floating on the top.  The ghee should be nice and clear, and bright yellow.  The foam on top may be sort of golden and crusty looking:

Crusty foamNext, you want to pour the ghee through some sort of straining device (I use a coffee filter or cheesecloth nestled in a colander, or conical tea strainer) and into a clean jar.  I take the precaution of warming the jar up first, because I learned that pouring hot liquids in cold glass jars makes them explode!  Which is exciting, but then you lose your hot liquid.  Before pouring the ghee through the strainer, some people scoop the crusty foam off the top – taking care not to mix it back in.  I’ve done it both ways, and scooping the foam seems to just make the straining go faster as it doesn’t get clogged as quickly.

Straining the gheeSet your jar of ghee in a safe place to cool overnight, without the lid on.

Cooling ghee

Depending on the temperature of your house (and some other factors I have yet to figure out) your ghee may or may not become a nice yellowish solid.  Sometimes my ghee is sort of grainy and liquidy, sometimes it’s completely liquid (when my apartment is in its burning inferno mode), and sometimes it’s solid, like I feel it should be.  Part of the wonder of ghee is that it does not need to be refridgerated – no concrete butter effect!  Use it on toast, in oatmeal, for sauteing, or any sort of cooking that you would normally use butter.  Yum.

Published in: on April 29, 2009 at 6:57 pm  Comments (2)