Tuesday, September 22, 2009

If you can melt butter, you can make ghee

Ghee is the best of both worlds -- rich, buttery taste without the dairy. Ghee cooks well because it doesn't burn, and its nutty, slightly carmelized flavor is delish. Buy it at the supermarket, however, and you will curse your acupuncturist for recommending it to you. (What, does she think I'm made of money??)

Broke, dairy-sensitive, butter-lovers rejoice! (Or those just wanting to nurture their inner homemaker.) It will only cost you as much as the cheapest pound of butter you can find.

What you'll need:

1lb. unsalted butter (salted will burn)
Rubber bands
Stainless steel pan (will not work with non-stick pans)
Empty jars with lids

Put the stove on med-low heat, unwrap all the butter and plop it in the pan like so...

Once the butter has melted, turn the heat down to low and listen for the "cooking" noise. It's not a boil; if it's boiling, turn down the heat. It's more like the low gurgling noise your tummy makes if it's unhappy or digesting. (In the biz we call it "borborygmus.")

Let the butter cook for 30 minutes. Once you get the hang of it, it's easy to make ghee while you are cooking dinner or cleaning up the kitchen... or baking gluten-free zucchini muffins (recipe to come)!

While the butter is cooking, prepare your jars. For each jar, cut a large square of cheesecloth -- enough to fold over once and still have enough to cover the mouth of the jar and form a small well in the center to catch the dairy solids. (Cheesecloth usually comes already folded two layers thick. Fold it one more time before straining the liquid, so that it is four layers thick.) Place the cheesecloth over the jar and secure it with a rubber band.

Now, after 30 minutes has passed, start looking for dairy solids collecting on the bottom of the pan. The ghee is ready when the dairy solids are slightly browned. Gently tip the pan towards you, so that you don't get splattered by bubbling butter, and take a look.

If it looks like this, it's not ready yet.

If it looks like this, you're good to go!

Remove the pan from the burner and let it cool. (Pouring the hot liquid in the jars can make them crack.) Don't let it cool so much that it turns solid, just enough so it's warm and still liquid. (If you let it cool too long, just warm it up again.)

When it's the right temperature, pour it into your jars. (I like to use mason jars with wide mouths, or old jelly jars.)


Once you are done, screw the lids on and leave on the counter overnight. When they are room temperature, I like to keep one jar in the fridge for later, and one on the counter so that it remains soft and spreadable for everyday use.


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