How to Clarify Butter

How to Clarify Butter

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Firstly to help us understand what clarified butter is, let us begin with what butter itself is. Butter is made up of three main components; around 80% fat and around 20% milk solids and water. When butter is heated, it melts. If it is heated for any length of time these components split apart from one another and settle into different layers. At the bottom of the heating vessel you will have a white cloudy substance; this is the milk solids and water. On top you will have the golden liquid known as clarified butter or what is know in Indian cuisine as ghee.

Since the milk solids are what cause butter to burn, clarified butter can be heated to much higher temperatures than normal butter. It is also very useful in emulsified sauces such as hollandaise.

  1. Place the butter in the pot or the microwave dish.
  2. Place the pot on the stove over low-medium heat and allow to cook for approx 20 minutes, be careful not to burn it.
  3. Or place the dish in the microwave and heat on medium for about 10 minutes.
  4. As you are heating it, every few minutes skim the surface with a ladle and remove any impurities.
  5. Once youíve finished heating it remove the pot or dish from the heat and allow the butter parts to separate and form individual levels, (see photo).
  6. Skim off any more impurities and then carefully pour off the top golden layer and discard the white bottom layer.
  7. The clarified butter can be used immediately or stored in the fridge, (will require re-melting upon next use).

Paul Hegeman

Paul is a personal Chef to exclusive Sydney clients and is also our most frequently contributing writer. Paul was born in The Netherlands and moved to Canada at a very young age.

Experience with traditional European meals at home and the diverse multicultural influence of foods in Canada gave Paul a great appreciation for different culinary styles. Over the years Paul traveled extensively and worked at every level of professional kitchens, from the deep fryer in the local burger joint, to the Head Chef in Five Star Hotels.

He now resides full time in Sydney, Australia with his wife and their children. You will find his recipes emphasize natural, uncomplicated flavours and fresh ingredients such as those found in Mediterranean and South East Asian cuisines.

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