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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Quick And Easy Homemade, Grass-Fed Ghee

Ghee is so delicious, don’t you think?
What is Ghee, you ask?
Ghee is basically butter with the milk protein and lactose taken out, leaving pure butter fat. Ghee is not only very flavorful, but it also has a higher burning point, meaning you can cook at much higher temperatures than butter without it burning.
This means that you can have the rich flavor of butter, without worrying about it smoking or burning at a low temperature, quite unlike butter!
While I am very sensitive to dairy, I find that I can consume ghee without any issues. Many dairy sensitive people find that they do well with ghee since it is casein and lactose free, when  prepared correctly! However, ghee can also be quite expensive, especially the grass-fed kind, which holds the most benefits.
So, I’ve been making my own ghee from the Kerry Gold Butter we get at Costco. Initially I thought this was out, as they only carry the salted kind at our Costco, but I soon found out, that the salt seems to attach itself to the protein, which is what we’re filtering out. So, the resulting Ghee is actually unsalted - and as far as I’m concerned - utterly heavenly!
I’m not only entranced by the flavor, but even more so by the smell this homemade goody produces. I have been known to just take the lid off my homemade ghee, so I can take a little sniff at the utter deliciousness! It makes me happy! And I put it on everything. On warm bread, on waffles, on my vegetables ...
My children even prefer it to butter of late!

Anyway, if you think producing Ghee is a long and laborious process that is very prone to failure - I’m here to tell you it isn’t so!
It’s actually quite easy and relatively quick. It generally takes me just 20 minutes to turn 3 blocks of Kerry Gold Butter into Ghee.

You will need:
Grass-Fed Butter
Unbleached organic cotton fabric/cloth
Fine mesh metal strainer
Large Saucepan
Jar( s) with lid

Turn the stove to medium and melt the butter in the saucepan. The temperature will stay at medium the entire time.
It really doesn’t matter how much butter you use at the time, as the process will be the same. If you’re using only one stick of butter the whole thing will of course happen faster than if you are using five.
Just make sure your saucepan is large enough to accommodate the rising foam later!

Once the butter is melted, it will fairly soon start to bubble like this. That’s the water cooking out. The bubbles will be relatively large and well defined, popping away and there will be steam. Stand away from the stove a little, just in case!

There will be some foam, but the most prominent thing will be the increasingly big bubbles.

After a few minutes, the volume will be somewhat less in the saucepan. You will be able to see this on the pot, where the melted butter formed a ring.

After a while you will see the larger bubbles disappearing and tiny little, foamy bubbles will start to appear instead.

Usually that’s when the laborious process of ghee making starts. You’re supposed to skim off all the foam. And it just keeps on coming, so you keep on skimming. I don’t.
That’s why we chose a large saucepan! We let the foam do it’s thing.
And it will! It will rise and rise. And there will be lots of foam.
If you have chosen a big enough saucepan, there’s no problem!

This is not a process you can walk away from. It’s not laborious, but you need to be standing there so you can gauge when it’s time to take it off the heat. When that moment arrives, you have to be ready and be quick!
However, up until this point, the butter is just doing it’s thing and you don’t really need to do much.
So, get your bowl, strainer and cloth ready.
A word on the cloth. Cheese cloth, even several layers of it, doesn’t do a good enough job in my opinion. Some of the casein always escapes and that is what we’re trying to filter out.
If you don’t have a cloth, you can use a dedicated white dish towel, or even unbleached coffee filters. The coffee filters take longer, but they do an excellent job!

Back to the butter. The foam will really be rising now. Tiny little bubbles all over the place, rising up!

And then there will be that point of change. It will be subtle, but unmistakable.
First of all, the smell will change. It will go from a melted butter smell to an unmistakably nutty smell.
The foam will no longer want to rise up, but rather go down now and certain areas in the foam will turn from yellow to a light golden brown.

And then little golden brown flecks start floating on the foam.

That is the point when you spring into action. You pull the pan off the stove straight away and you slowly pour it into your set up bowl with the strainer and cloth/coffee filter.

There will be quite a bit of browned casein visible at the bottom and the sides of your saucepan, once all the butter and foam is out.

Just soak that in a bit of hot water and washing up liquid and it will wash right off!

The cloth/coffee filter will be doing it’s thing.

When you get to the end, give the cloth a quick twist and press with a spoon to get all the remaining butter fat out.

What will be left in the cloth is this:

Now, to enhance the nutty flavor, you can let the ghee go a little longer, which will make for darker residue and a darker ghee. I have done both, both is very flavorful, but personally, I prefer it right about at this stage.
If you’re doing it for the first time, go by these visuals and see how it works for you. After you are a more seasoned ghee maker you will develop your own preferences!

Once you are done with filtering, you will have perfectly wonderful ghee. It’s still hot though, so be careful while handling it!

If you didn’t filter straight into a jar, decant the ghee and close the lid.

Let it cool down a little bit at room temperature, then place in the fridge.
I find that it has a creamier texture when it’s fully cooled in the fridge.
I generally keep my ghee in the refrigerator when not in use. Strictly speaking this is not necessary, as ghee is shelf stable at room temperature, but I prefer it from the refrigerator. Since it’s quite warm around here, it gets soft at room temperature fairly quickly, so using it while too hard is rarely an issue!
Once it cools and hardens a bit, it has this lovely deep yellow color and beautiful aroma and flavor! Yes,  I totally love the stuff!

So, there you have it! Lovely ghee!
And if you would rather not make your own, this is the ghee I use and recommend when I don’t make my own!
Purity farms ghee is organic and certified cassein and lactose free!
Vitacost seems to have far the best price on it and has fast shipping, be it the flat rate shipping or the free shipping for purchases over $49!  If you haven’t signed up for Vitacost yet, do it now through my link and receive $10 off your first purchase of $30 or more!

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  1. thanks for this! I just might try this! Your instructions and photos are perfect.

  2. Birgit, how long does the ghee last on the shelf?

  3. Birgit, how long does the ghee last on the shelf and would refrigerating it (even though you say not necessary) increase the shelf life?

  4. The opinions vary on how long Ghee is good for, mostly because the methods of making it and therefore the purity varies. Since writing this blog post I've had several jars sitting in my kitchen, unrefrigerated, as it is easier for the kids to spread it when soft. (Our kitchen is kind of warm this time of year!)
    We just finished the last jar and it was 6 weeks old. It was just the same as the fresh jar!
    Really good Ghee has a shelf life at room temperature of up to 2 years. I can't say I ever tested that theory with the home made Ghee, as it just doesn't last that long around here, but I know that I once had a jar of commercial ghee in the back of my cupboard for at least 18 months and it was still fine!

    I don't think refrigeration improves the shelf life all that much. That would only apply to ghee that may still have some milk protein in it. If you filter everything out properly, it is shelf-stable at room temperature for a good long time!

  5. Wonderfully demonstrated and articulated.

  6. Beautifuly articulated and demonstrated


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Birgit Kerr