One of the perks of keeping dairy animals is that I get to stock up on all kinds of wondrous dairy products as often as I’m willing to put in the time and effort, and depending on my skill level. The amount of milk and cream I have on hand ebbs and flows with the seasons and the schedules of my cows and goats. Right now I’m experiencing one of those peak moments where I have more milk flowing into my kitchen than space in the fridge to store it in its liquid form. Enter Ghee.
Ghee- it takes my home made butter to an entirely different level. Golden and creamy, with a nutty full bodied flavor. If you’ve never made this at home, you are truly missing out. You can make it from any butter, I’m just fortunate right now to be able to make it from my own fresh butter, made almost daily.
Why ghee? For me it started as an issue of practicality. I already had an excess of butter in my freezers. Fully working your butter to remove all of the buttermilk is a chore that I don’t enjoy. It takes lots of time and if you don’t get it all out, the butter will taste rancid if you don’t eat it quick enough. Ghee is shelf stable, which means you don’t have to store it in the freezer, using up valuable space for meat. And I’ve found that when making ghee, it doesn’t seem to matter if you haven’t removed all of the buttermilk. The process of making ghee actually cooks off the milk solids. Win!
In the kitchen, ghee can be used in place of any other cooking oil. It has a higher smoke point which makes it great for stir frying. I used it to cook up my corn tortillas for enchiladas and it was wonderful. There is a difference between “clarified butter” and ghee. When making ghee, you cook it longer past the point of clarified butter. You need to wait for the milk solids to turn a medium brown and sink to the bottom of the pot.
Here’s a quick step by step to making your own ghee at home.
First, using a heavy bottomed pot, melt at least a pound of butter on low heat.
Keep the heat on low, be patient. Pretty soon the butter will begin to foam. This is what you want. Keep your eye on it, but let it foam away.
Eventually, the foam will begin to clear and you will see bits of milk solids floating on the surface. You can use your spoon to move the foam around and see if the solids are beginning to sink. Just let it continue cook, keeping the heat on low.
Finally there will be little to no foam on the top of the butter. Almost all of the milk solids will have sunk to the bottom. At this point you can turn off the heat. While all of this was happening, I ran several canning jars through the high temp setting on my dishwasher. I won’t actually can the ghee, but I do want very clean jars for storage.
I filtered mine through a very fine mesh strainer into my jars. You have to be careful that you don’t contaminate the ghee with water or any kind of kitchen debris during daily use. Doing so will make the ghee turn bad. Put a lid on it and date it.
I just recently learned of a clever trick from one of my favorite forums to keep the ghee from getting a grainy texture. After you have filtered it, put it in your fridge to cool. Letting it cool at room temp is what prevents a creamy texture. I wish I had known that before I made my last batch. Truly it doesn’t matter if the texture is grainy if you are just using it for cooking. But if you are using it as a spread on toast you will want it less grainy.
I like to keep a smaller jar of ghee for general use next to my stove. My other jars go in the back of my pantry, out of light and kept cool. Ghee should last kept this way for a year- unless you eat it first.