Author Topic: Home Rendering: Ghee  (Read 1008 times)

Offline Phil Howe

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Home Rendering: Ghee
« on: October 26, 2009, 08:31:53 PM »
So after reading a few websites and recipes, I decided to make a hesitant foray into making my own cooking fat, the first step being Ghee, the clarified butter used in many facets of Indian cuisine.  Surprisingly not a difficult process, though I found that it requires a good amount of attention!

Equipment:
Saucepan
Kitchen Spoon
Cheesecloth or super fine strainer
Airtight glass container
Unsalted Butter!

General Process:
Cut butter into pieces, pile into saucepan and begin melting the butter over medium heat.
Let it melt completely, stirring things up occasionally, do not let the butter burn at anytime!
(Use your nose to differentiate between steam and smoke, my panic was raised multiple times, but I think this was just first time jitters)
Once it has become liquid, wait for the butter to boil, this is the water boiling off.
At this time lower the heat to medium-low and keep a close watch on the action.
During the cook-off of the milk proteins and water, I like to skim the white curd-like bits off the top to keep an eye on the liquid's state.
Once the butter stops bubbling and boiling, and the liquid has taken the form of clear golden liquid, it is done.  Do not use the liquid if it is brown, or has a nutty smell, as it has been burned. :(
Skim as much leftover material off from the top, and let it cool slightly.
Place dry cheesecloth over the top of the glass container, make sure there is no water or moisture in the cloth or container.
Strain the buttery liquid through the cheesecloth into the glass to rid any remaining solids from what is now delicious, delicious ghee.
Once allowed to cool it will solidify into a yellowish fat with the consistency a little less thick than lard/shortening, and smells like super-butter.

Storage:
Ghee is shelf stable, and keeps for a long period of time out of the refrigerator.
Keep two things away from ghee- moisture and air.  So this means dry utensils to scoop or handle the product from its container, and keep that container sealed tight!

Usage:
Ghee has a very high smoke point so it can be used as a cooking fat at high temperatures.
Melt it over bread (I used my first batch of ghee to home bake and season naan bread and also drizzled over basmati rice)
Further Info on Ghee nutrition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghee

Recipes*:
http://www.food-india.com/ingredients/i001_i025/i007.htm
http://www.ayurveda.com/online_resource/ghee_recipe.htm
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/ghee-recipe/index.html

I was mostly pleased with the result of my first experiment, the flavor is different, and I think I might need to play with the heat levels next time, but it made excellent naan bread.

Next I'd love to try making tallow or lard next, but I will need a good source for the fat, Ghee is convenient for the fact that any unsalted butter will work as long as it is 100% butter, this is no time for oils or margarines.  My only warning would be the basic fact that you creating a cooking fat, so don't burn yourself or your kitchen, keep your heat controlled, and your eye on the pot!

Overall, this was not a difficult project for even a rank amateur such as myself, all you need is patience and a love of butter.

*(I list multiple ones because I looked at many and then took the basic ideas that they shared and went at it with a come-what-may attitude)