Butter, Clarified

Clarified butter (also known as drawn butter or as ghee in Indian cooking), is used both as a dipping sauce and for frying at high temperatures without burning. The clarifying process of slowly melting and straining butter removes thin, milky non-fat substances that burn easily. After melting, these non-fat substances will eventually separate from the pure, vibrant yellow butterfat. It’s preferable to clarify butter before using it as a dipping sauce, because the milk solids detract from the esthetic clarity or eye appeal of melted butter when serving. Conveniently, since these milky proteins are what make whole butter more susceptible to spoilage, removing them enables clarified butter to be kept successfully for many months in the refrigerator. Despite the fact that clarified butter is very handy for certain cooking tasks, its flavor is not as rich as full butter and therefore is not recommended as a substitute when baking.

To clarify butter: Melt 1 or more sticks of butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan (preferably with a spout) over low heat until totally liquid. Remove from heat and let butter settle for 15 minutes. Using a fine-mesh skimmer or a small spoon, remove the white foamy substance that sits on top of the butterfat. When no milky solids remain on top, pour the pure, vibrant yellow butterfat through the fine-mesh skimmer or a fine-mesh sieve into a container, leaving any milky non-fat residue behind. Store in a well-sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

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