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Substituting ghee for butter in BAKING

sequins Aug 9, 2007 08:50 PM

In equal proportions or not? And is such substitution ever a bad idea? I'd be interested in its effects on, say, chocolate cake, cornbread, pie crust.

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  1. b
    bellywizard RE: sequins Aug 9, 2007 09:24 PM

    i'm just guessing - but since ghee has most of the solids removed, i doubt it would make a good pie crust. notice that ghee is much runnier at room temperature than butter is. because of that, i predict the crust would not hold together.

    cakes though, i couldn't say!

    2 Replies
    1. re: bellywizard
      alkapal RE: bellywizard Nov 14, 2011 05:29 AM

      ghee is runnier than butter at room temp? maybe mine is from a frigid cow. ;-D.

      1. re: alkapal
        Caroline1 RE: alkapal Jun 3, 2013 08:02 AM

        Me too! In fact, I'd say my ghee is "more together" at room temperature than butter. Butter gets very runny!

    2. Ruth Lafler RE: sequins Aug 10, 2007 07:26 AM

      I agree with bellywizard that it's going to change the texture of your baked goods. Might not make much difference in cake or cornbread, but I wouldn't try it in pie crust or cookies.

      If for some reason I had to use ghee instead of butter, I'd try to start with a recipe that uses oil rather than butter. Not sure about cornbread, but there are good cake recipes that use oil. Has anyone made "crazy cake" recently? My mom made it when I was a kid, and I remember it being really good. I just googled it and there were quite a few slight variations on the same recipe -- I never realized it, but it's vegan, so there's one answer to the popular "vegan dessert" question.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ruth Lafler
        mark RE: Ruth Lafler Aug 10, 2007 10:21 AM

        the only problem i can see with using ghee in place of oil is the higher melting point of ghee. if the ingredients are cold, the ghee might beat into tiny butter balls instead of liquifying and distributing evenly throughout.

      2. m
        mark RE: sequins Aug 10, 2007 08:21 AM

        it might take a little experimenting, but i don't think it would make much of a difference. ghee has simply been rendered of its h2o and solids. butter is approximately 80% milk fat, about 18% or so h2o, and the rest are milk solids (mainly protein in the form of casein and carbohydrate in the form of lactose). those proportions do, of course, vary a bit from butter to butter. ghee is, in my experience made from unsalted butter.

        you'll need to add additional water. if the recipe calls for 8oz butter, you'll need about 6oz ghee, and roughly 2oz h2o (normally, h2o would not be weighed, but since you would have weighed it out if it were already incorporated into the butter, it's valid in this case). i would err to the side of less h2o, as you can generally add more if needed. depending upon the recipe, you might need to add the h2o with the other liquids rather than with the ghee, as liquid h2o might affect tasks like creaming differently than it does when bound up with the milk fat.

        in the case of a baked good that has other protein in it (ie eggs), i don't think the minimal amount lost in the clarification process will matter much. for something without other protein, you might need to add a tiny bit of egg yolk.

        likewise, most baked goods will already have sugar, so the little lactose missing from the butter shouldn't matter. if it does, a pinch of sugar whould suffice.

        of course, if the recipe calls for salted butter and you're using ghee from unsalted butter, you'll need to add salt (i don't recall the ratio right now, but it's easy to find online).

        as to the texture, the only issue i can see would be in an application where the butter should remain distinct, like a streusel topping. ghee might melt differently.

        while i think it would work, i don't know why you would do it since you will have to add the component parts back to achieve the effect of the original ingredient. but, if that's all you had on hand, and were in a hurry or couldn't get to the store, it should work.

        6 Replies
        1. re: mark
          Ruth Lafler RE: mark Aug 14, 2007 10:22 AM

          I disagree. The main difference is the melting point -- sure, everything is liquid when it's cooking, but butter solidifies again when your baked good returns to room temperature, and ghee doesn't. So the texture of your baked good is definitely going to change -- it's going to be slightly oilier and less cohesive. As I said, fine for something like cake or cornbread, but a bit more problematic for things like cookies and especially pie crust.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler
            mark RE: Ruth Lafler Aug 14, 2007 11:19 AM

            i asked my wife about this (she's the baker, i'm the cook), and she said essentially the same; probably have an oilier texture. she said it would matter most in things like pie crust where the h2o trapped in the butter turns to steam, thereby causing that wonderful flakiness. a pie crust made with ghee would be oily and denser. i imagine cookies would be chewier.

            i still contend that it's do-able, with the caveats stated in all responses above, if one adds back what is missing from the ghee and adjusts proportions. but like i said in my original response, i don't know why one would other than to use up the ghee. no, it won't be identical, but for most things it would suffice.

            1. re: mark
              Ruth Lafler RE: mark Aug 14, 2007 01:22 PM

              The other issue with pie crust is that what makes it flakey is that the butter isn't completely incorporated, so when it melts, it creates the spaces within the dough. Liquid fats won't do that.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                paulj RE: Ruth Lafler Nov 8, 2007 02:35 PM

                I read someplace that olive oil can be used in a pie crust if it is chilled first, so it semisolid. The same could apply to ghee.


                1. re: paulj
                  greglor RE: paulj Nov 15, 2007 12:37 PM

                  My mom does this. Someone told her it's more healthy (and she's a health nut). The crusts made with olive oil are horrendous.

                  1. re: greglor
                    DebInOH RE: greglor Jun 2, 2013 08:32 AM

                    I've done my homework too greglor, and your mom is absolutely correct....ghee is much better for your health than that GMO crap!!

        2. m
          MakingSense RE: sequins Aug 14, 2007 01:11 PM

          I use clarified butter (ghee) stictly as a cooking fat. Removing the milk solids from it allows me to use it without fear of burning.
          When I bake, I often weigh my ingredients. An equal weight of butter and clarified butter are different in volume. The clarified butter is denser and that will change a recipe's outcome.
          Clarified butter will also not "cream" in the same way that butter will, so it will alter the texture of any baked goods that depend on that as an initial step. Try creaming clarified butter to see the difference.
          As someone has already said, any recipe that relies on the release of steam from butter will not work with clarified butter.
          Bakng often relies on science. Sometimes substitutions just don't work. Remove water and milk solids and it isn't butter any longer.

          3 Replies
          1. re: MakingSense
            Dr Andre RE: MakingSense Nov 5, 2007 11:31 AM

            I'm interested in using ghee instead of Crisco (trans fat = bad). I figure crisco and ghee are alike in that both have no water. I thought that crisco is used in order to get the flaky character. I don't get flakiness when using butter alone, and the best flake I have seen came from using lard in a savory meat pie crust. It doesn't appear anyone really knows the answer: can ghee be substituted in place of a trans fat like crisco and still get the benefits of crisco? I'm going to find out. Tell you what I learn later....

            1. re: Dr Andre
              bellywizard RE: Dr Andre Nov 5, 2007 12:31 PM

              Andre, fresh lard does not have trans fat, and is usually used in making pie crusts. As long as the lard is obtained from a fresh source (ie - butcher, etc.) and is not industrially produced (ie - made stable by adding emulsifiers etc), it will not have trans fats. If TF is your main concern, ghee is irrelevant - just go with fresh lard.

              That being said, more brands are now producing transfat-free shortening. Including Crisco.

              1. re: Dr Andre
                chocolateman RE: Dr Andre Nov 18, 2007 07:56 PM

                To get a flaky crust using butter you have to follow directions in mixing. If you over mix, or if the dough gets too warm and the butter becomes fully incorporated you won't get a flaky crust. I haven't seen a flaky crust made with crisco yet, so good luck.

            2. msfood RE: sequins Nov 8, 2007 01:27 PM

              First of all, ghee is used in Indian cooking in order to make crusts for things like samosas and other treats that require a flaky crust....so I'm pretty sure that it is good for making a pie crust.

              1. greglor RE: sequins Nov 8, 2007 01:30 PM

                I'm curious. Why do you want to use ghee instead?

                17 Replies
                1. re: greglor
                  oceannomads RE: greglor May 17, 2008 02:35 PM

                  hi, i'm also interested in whether ghee would work. we live on a sailboat in the tropics and have no fridge so cannot store butter, but we can buy ghee easily as there are plenty of indian people living in fiji, so we can stock up on ghee before we leave the main island. if we can use ghee for cooking it would be great! i love to make cakes and cookies, not such a pie baker, but if we could use for cakes and cookies would be excellent. i will experiment, thanks for some of the answers here

                  1. re: oceannomads
                    CorporalMaxSterling RE: oceannomads Apr 11, 2010 04:56 PM

                    this comment made my day! how do you have internets then!??

                    1. re: oceannomads
                      Caroline1 RE: oceannomads Jun 3, 2013 08:05 AM

                      Oceannomads, what a fun way to live! Stock up on all of the ghee you can store because my experience has taught me it's good for EVERYTHING! Including toast for breakfast! '-)

                    2. re: greglor
                      DebInOH RE: greglor May 30, 2013 02:21 PM

                      I want to use something without being GMO like cannola and some other oils.

                      1. re: DebInOH
                        mollyholde RE: DebInOH Jun 2, 2013 07:34 AM

                        So, I posted a while ago with a question regarding success with ghee in baking.
                        Since then, I have had a lot of success with using ghee in place of butter! Thrilled, if I might add.

                        Initially I subbed 80% of the butter with ghee (ie if recipe called for 5oz, subbed 4oz) and 20% in water. I found it too be too 'greasy' so reduced to 60% and 40% with water - and it works like a charm. I freeze the ghee in a plate lined with a saran-wrap; then when ready to 'cut in' the ghee, pull it out of the freezer and cut it with a knife into small pieces before adding it to the flour to cut it in.. for the remaining 40% water, use ice cold water. Work quickly. Remember, the water is not 'held in an emulsion' as in butter so the results won't be identical, but pretty DARN GOOD!
                        Thus far I've tried Scones (subbed with GF flour (based on white rice, brown rice, sweet rice & tapioca starch homemade blend), subbed cows milk with coconut cream and butter with ghee).. scone turned out better than the original!! Didn't expect that!
                        Have made molten chocolate cake; pancakes; chocolate cupcakes.. once you have it, you have it! Much more flavorful, much more healthy.. I have found butter was much easier to substitute than eggs have been!
                        I've tried pie crust.. the gf blend breaks a lot unlike wheat flour as it misses the gluten - but once pressed into the pie pan, the taste is outstanding! Again, better than the original!!
                        Have tried cookies.. all with ghee!

                        So why do i use ghee:
                        to go dairy free. Have a son who gets asthma with dairy protein. I make my own ghee from grassfed cow's butter (kerrygold from tj's). But also had to walk away from GMO and refined oils..

                        Ghee is a healthier fat: any food consumed with ghee is absorbed/assimilated by the body more efficiently.

                        Besides the diary substitution we had to go wheat free, egg free in order to combat allergies. And we have emerged on the other side, with great success!

                        1. re: mollyholde
                          hotoynoodle RE: mollyholde Jun 2, 2013 10:35 AM

                          without jumping through arithmetic hoops, you can sub ghee in any baking recipe that uses oil and not butter.

                          tallow, lard and coconut oil are also options for you.

                          i found i have no issues with grass-fed dairy vs the cafo stuff. does your son react to both?

                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                            mollyholde RE: hotoynoodle Jun 2, 2013 05:07 PM

                            But you see, baking is arithmetic!! Once you have it, you have it! And since I enjoyed baking before the advent of 'allergies', say scones (granted I'm a Computer Engineer with a master's degree, sahm!) or cookies, I really like to challenge myself with the new way.

                            I have found out for myself that you could substitute ghee for butter! Isn't that amazing to know? I wish someone here had said it with a resounding 'yes!' when I was looking for the answer. Particularly because I spend so much money on the grassfed stuff, and stand and make my own ghee, the last thing I want to do is 'waste it' in yet another recipe! No more!

                            I don't know about you, but I have never found a scone recipe that uses oil instead of butter!

                            My son btw reacts to milk proteins period. That is, casein as well as whey protein. The grass-fed stuff is just a million times healthier because of the way 'bad stuff' is stored in the fat molecules of any mammal.. and ghee is nothing but pure butterfat. Moreover, grassfed milk/butter are high in omega-3's and other stuff. But basically because I believe cows should be grazing on grass and not eating reconstituted bonemeal; that's why I do grassfed..

                            1. re: mollyholde
                              goodhealthgourmet RE: mollyholde Jun 2, 2013 06:35 PM

                              I don't know about you, but I have never found a scone recipe that uses oil instead of butter!
                              Actually, traditional Irish soda scones use neither - just buttermilk. Of course I know that's not an option for your son, but there are tons of vegan scone recipes that call for dairy-free shortening, coconut oil, coconut milk, or even olive oil...no butter.

                              You might want to try experimenting with coconut oil in some of your baking & cooking - it's a wonderful butter substitute and offers great health benefits. Plus, even though I'm firmly in the grass-fed camp, it's important to note that dairy products from grass-fed cows can still contain high concentrations of dioxins (and they accumulate in the fat, so butter/ghee is where those toxins end up). In fact, there's some evidence that grass-fed cows are more prone to dioxin exposure because the grass on which they graze tends to be more contaminated than the feed used for grain-fed cows.

                              I'm just saying that variety is a very good thing when it comes to good health & balanced nutrition, so if you do a lot of baking don't rely solely on ghee as the fat for it.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                mollyholde RE: goodhealthgourmet Jun 3, 2013 06:40 AM

                                Thanks so much for all your suggestions! I really appreciat it! I'm Indian, particularly south Indian where we use plenty of coconut oil and fresh ground coconut in our cooking!

                                But -- this is a huge but -- my other child is allergic to nuts! All nuts including coconut. Not anaphylactic but bad enough.

                                I need to readup on the dioxin concentration of grassfed cows.. thanks for pointing that out. But talking about 'health' most all grains are GMO-ed. Cows guts are not meant to process grains in the first place. Thus if you are (and we are!) allergic to soy for instance, or corn, we are automatically allergic to every meat (ie chicken, beef, any mass produced meat) as well!

                                I am realizing that practically everying made to feed humans is 'adulterated' one way or the other. We just have to pick what's best for us based on the cumulative effect on our collective bodies.

                                Coconut oil is good, but ghee is healthier (much higher smoking point, lesser free radicals, better nutrition assimilation, better shelf-life, not "refined" like other oils, which means the basic composition is intact, short fatty acid chains) ie., just a better fat.
                                Believe it or not, I have tried the 'vegan butter tubs' by earth balance, and we all passed it "straight through our guts" as diahrea!! So I don't do anything that comes in a tub, anything that "smells, feels or looks like butter", anything that is "better for you than butter", or "smart(er) balance" shortenings. (please read about "smart balance shortenings' if you haven't already) Actually I prefer to stay away from anything manufactured to 'resemble' a known product. For instance, in India, Vanaspathy/dalda (a shortening) smells and looks and feels just like ghee! But the advent of that saw the beginning of blocked arteries there!

                                BTW, I have the following oils in my pantry at all times: ghee, unrefined non-gmo canola oil, unrefined sunflower oil, unrefined sesame oil, olive oil, unrefined coconut oil and peanut oil. The last 2 had to be put away when I cook for the family.
                                Did you know coconut oil is excellent for skin irritations?! Ok digressing here..

                                1. re: mollyholde
                                  DishDelish RE: mollyholde Dec 14, 2013 02:30 AM

                                  I totally understand. My daughter is allergic to coconut as well. I'm curious, have you ever experimented with non GMO and non hydrogenated palm shortening? I'm ordering a bunch and hear it's great for baking and frying. Of course I love good old lard too, but don't always have it on hand.

                              2. re: mollyholde
                                hotoynoodle RE: mollyholde Jun 2, 2013 09:13 PM

                                "Thus far I've tried Scones (subbed with GF flour (based on white rice, brown rice, sweet rice & tapioca starch homemade blend), subbed cows milk with coconut cream and butter with ghee).. "

                                ~~~i am an excellent cook and enjoy baking. have also been gluten-free for nearly 4 years. but this is not the type of thing i enjoy spending time on. am glad you found a good outlet.

                                like ghg, i suggest you branch out to coconut oil, tallow and lard. you can get good-quality of the latter 2 from us wellness.

                                "I've tried pie crust.. the gf blend breaks a lot unlike wheat flour as it misses the gluten -"


                                try ground nut crusts, or crusts with nuts and coconut flakes instead.

                                1. re: hotoynoodle
                                  mollyholde RE: hotoynoodle Jun 3, 2013 06:17 AM

                                  Nut allergies as well!! I know I know.. no fun, no, no, more challenge!

                                  1. re: mollyholde
                                    hotoynoodle RE: mollyholde Jun 3, 2013 06:23 AM

                                    coconuts are drupes, like olives. allergic to that too?

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                      mollyholde RE: hotoynoodle Jun 3, 2013 06:42 AM

                                      Sadly yes! Once you remove all allergens out of a system, then putting one of the allergens back into that gut shows clearly the havoc it wreaks! It is rather painful! And coconut by-products was the MOST painful for me to take out of my cooking!

                                      1. re: mollyholde
                                        hotoynoodle RE: mollyholde Jun 3, 2013 07:38 AM

                                        gak. your poor kids.

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                                          mollyholde RE: hotoynoodle Jun 3, 2013 11:54 AM

                                          Poor mommy?! But I'm glad I'm dealing with it now and avoiding so many health issues the growing kids are having these days! Somehow I feel catching those allergies now will help them outgrow it.
                                          Moreove, since I love to experiment, if you asked my kids they will say they are having a fun ride! We experiment with new grains, new veggies and things we would never have done before!

                        2. re: greglor
                          maionemum RE: greglor May 3, 2014 07:44 AM

                          because i use ghee for making cannabutter and use in my brownies

                        3. s
                          seaelizabeth RE: sequins Nov 22, 2008 07:14 AM

                          My mother only uses ghee in her baking. Everyone asks what her secret ingredient is. It's ghee. This is especially true with cookies and pie crust.
                          Her pie crust does not use a food processor, or chilling of the crust. Instead, you just add ingredients, with the ghee being warm-melted. I prefer warm. And then mix and roll out.
                          Your success will depend on the correct temp of the ghee.
                          If it was correct, I find it much easier than the butter method.

                          1. junglekitte RE: sequins Apr 19, 2010 01:12 PM

                            Any updates on this topic? Has anyone actually tried substituting ghee for butter in baking since this post originated and not just speculated how it would come out? I'm interested in making some cookies or cakes but would prefer not to ruin them if I can help it. :) I've read various sites that say to use half the amount you would butter, some equal parts, someone here said 80% and add 20% water....... hmmmmm...:)

                            1. s
                              shaun theewe RE: sequins Dec 15, 2010 07:32 AM

                              Ghee is great for baking. It is butter oil and can be used in the many recipes and techniques found online for oil cookies, oil cakes, oil pie crust, etc. It is a solid at a much higher temperature than most cooking oils, and this is an advantage when creaming with sugar for cakes or when making flaky pie crusts. It may be used for chocolate cake or the various spice cakes, but I find the taste of the ghee is masked, so other oils do just as well. Ghee is really good for genoese sponge cake. Shortcrust pastry turns out light and flavourful. Amazing aroma while baking. It is best, and easily, assembled by hand, as mixing in a food processor tends to produce a sludge. (Experience.) For flaky pastry measure, mix and refrigerate the dry ingredients right in the food processor bowl, so everything starts out cold. Cool the ghee flat on a cling film lined plate or tray. When the ghee solidifies nice and hard the film can be peeled off and the ghee easily cracked into small pieces. These cold ingredients may then be mixed in the food processor as usual, using ice water to bind. It handles very well when rolling out to make a pie crust. 1/2 cup of ghee to every 2 cups of flour.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: shaun theewe
                                rainchild RE: shaun theewe Mar 8, 2011 09:47 AM

                                Ghee is not so much SOLIDS being removed as LIQUID being removed. I know because we make ghee at home and have been for generations. The water in butter is slowly evaporated leaving a longer lasting (ghee apparently can last centuries), less scorchable cooking fat (with concentrated butter flavor mmmm). ghee is then strained to remove the scum that forms on top from coagulated milk solids. A pound of butter (the store bought unsalted/salted stick kind, say tillamook/ full circle) yeilds about a teaspoon of "solids" ie not much. For baking, ghee yeilds a crisper (not softer or oilier) product because of the reduced liquid content vs butter. So i would say where a soft texture is of prime importance (ex sponge cakes, soft white breads) better not to sub. ghee for butter, where a crisp texture is required ex pie crust/pastry) ghee is a better fat to use. I find ghee is outstanding in puff pastry recipes, croissants, cookies, biscuits, and chewy breads like banana breads, moist chocolate cake and incredible in fudge recipes. Ghee should NOT be liquid when butter is solid. If it is, there is something wrong with the ghee (additives??) Butter melts faster than ghee (but they're not very far apart since the fats are the same, ghee is just butter with the water evaporated out). Ghee is just more homogenous so the whole thing softens slowly (unlike butter which gets mushy outside and stays hard inside as it melts) and the reverse as they harden from a melt. Ghee is also a superior "brush on" than butter, it is homogenous, has a better shine and flavor, but remember less moisture; so in cooking meats add a spash of lemon juice/yoghurt/broth/milk/water to get moist results. Cheers!

                                1. re: rainchild
                                  mollyholde RE: rainchild Jun 2, 2013 07:44 AM

                                  I just want to correct one statement in your write up: Ghee is semi solid compared to butter. On warmer days, it is more liquid-y. Now, I keep my butter in the fridge because it CAN go bad if left out too long, because it has milk solids. Ghee, I never refrigerate.
                                  I make my own ghee, the ayurvedic way where ALL the solids are removed (not the method that involves just 30 minutes.. the ancient way involves stirring constantly and skimming off constantly for upto 2 hours or more sometimes).
                                  Maybe that has something to do with my ghee consistency; or simply the fact that my ghee sits on my countertop (vs ghee in the fridge).. For baking that calls for 'cutting' of the butter, I freeze the required portion, cut it into small pieces with a knife before "cutting it in" into the flour (for scones, pie crusts and such).

                                  And you are right in your statement, that it is the water 'held in an emulsion along with the fat' that makes the different between butter and ghee.. more so than the milk solids.. frome experimental substitutions, I have found that the milk solids didn't make a different in the texture of the final product,. (if interested, pls read my other post in this thread about how I sub ghee for butter)

                              2. s
                                sidra RE: sequins Mar 26, 2011 07:42 AM

                                My friend just convinced me to substitute ghee for butter to make chocolate chip cookies since he doesn't have any butter in his house. I had already mixed all the ingredients when I read this thread...as I read the responses, I was freaking out and saying, "ahh we wasted so much money!! people are writing here that my cookies will be liquid!!" etc etc. So I took my tray of cookie dough balls and stuck them in the freezer for two mins to delay their liquification once in the oven. Then we just stuck them in at 350 F. Normally my cookies are done at 12 mins but these cookies were still gooey. I was sadd. My friend said, "well just leave them in". I took them out at 15 minutes and they were still a bit high so I flattened them a bit with a fork and stuck them back in for 2 mins. Anyway, when I took them out I was really apprehensive. But when I tried them, they were good! The outside had a chips ahoy texture and the insides were soft. It sort of reminded me of the flaky yummy texture of foods made with lard or crisco. There was a hint of toasted nutty flavor. My normal butter cookies have are soft and chewy with a slightly crisp exterior, while these ones were tasted were not as chewy or soft. They were not hard either...kind of melt in your mouth ish. So I would not substitute ghee expecting the same results, but if you want to experiment and are ok with getting an entirely different flavor or texture, I think ghee is ok.

                                1. n
                                  nonsequiteuse RE: sequins Apr 24, 2011 07:07 AM

                                  I'm making the chocolate genoise recipe in Joy of Cooking right now, and the recipe calls for clarified butter. I believe clarified butter & ghee to be just about the same thing - I think ghee is nuttier, perhaps from allowing it to brown? At any rate, FWIW, I've made this genoise many times before, as it works really well for rolled cakes, like a buche de noel. I wouldn't say that it tastes oily, or has an oily texture. I'd like to buy commercially-prepared ghee to see how that might change the cake, and when I do, I'll report back.

                                  1. sequins RE: sequins Nov 13, 2011 03:44 PM

                                    Just wanted to thank everyone who's followed up on this thread. I've yet to experiment but look forward to doing so, with reasonable expectations....

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: sequins
                                      alkapal RE: sequins Nov 14, 2011 05:36 AM

                                      ROFL, sequins!

                                      four years later, and you still haven't tried it?

                                      1. re: sequins
                                        DishDelish RE: sequins Dec 4, 2011 03:06 AM

                                        I recently purchased ghee for the gaps diet my family is going on in the new year and read many Amazon reviews prior to my purchase that said it made a superior pie crust.

                                      2. m
                                        mollyholde RE: sequins Sep 7, 2012 01:24 PM

                                        Ok the reason I stopped by this post is because my baked good with ghee turned out awful.. but I really wanted to find out how to bake with clarified butter = ghee. Little background: I am indian grew up in india and all that good stuff, so always have ghee on hand. t is a very very healthy fat (short chain fatty acids) better assimilated by the body. Very very popular to feed this healthy fat to young children. I also bake and make darn good cupcakes and scones.. I Now to the current: my son was diagnosed with allergies to milk so I wanted to bake an eggless/milkless/butterless (how sad!!) banana cake.. found an eggless recipe and subbed the butter with ghee (and the milk with coconut milk = double whammy) and it turned out like little cup-rocks!! (side note: my son LOVES it!!!).. I like the technical description down below (about adding some water or yogurt to add back the lost water content) and that was my first intuitive thinking.. but knowing the science behind how to get those soft scones, I know the temp of the butter and the steam it releases during the baking process yielding the softer scones, makes me wonder if ghee will ever 'behave' the same for baked goods where softness is needed.. I will agree with the reviews that pie crust could turn out fabulous as it is in fact used to make flaky samosa skins!! I will experiment with baking with added liquid and with lesser 'weight' of ghee and see if that makes a difference.. until then, enjoy the ghee just brushed on top of tj's naans and chapathis!!

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: mollyholde
                                          Jwarural2012 RE: mollyholde Dec 2, 2012 02:21 AM

                                          I've been using ghee/clarified butter (to avoid the milk protein) for a number of years as a substitute in my cookie and brownie recipes and have had good success. I have NOT added any water to recipes with the substitution - - but in some of my recipes I use a combination of ghee, and oil (higher oil ratio will provide more chewiness, whereas butter/ghee will provide more cakeiness/lighter texture in baking. I also substitute Soy Dream Classic soy milk instead of dairy milk in baking. Maybe try a vanilla soy milk or regular soy milk instead of coconut milk?

                                          By the way.......you said your son was diagnosed with allergies to milk. That does NOT automatically mean he cannot eat eggs. Was he tested sensitive to eggs also? If so, then you need to verify if he was tested separately for egg yolks and egg whites. The majority of people sensitive to eggs are actually sensitive to the egg WHITES, NOT the yolks. That's why it's NOT a good idea to buy the many commercial baked desserts at the grocery store, because they are LOADED with egg whites. I am one of the many people sensitive to egg whites and NOT to yolks. I find that I can tolerate whole eggs in baking, and of course the yolks (yolks alone can be used for some baking recipes for emulsifying and moisture). For having fried eggs and toast, for example, I fry the eggs like normal, and after they're done, the white peels easily off the cooked yolk and is yummy on the toast. If your son has been tested and cannot tolerate the yolks either, then I'd suggest some of the recipes that use bananas instead of eggs (I saw a banana muffin recipe just today on TV about that), or I saw a brownie recipe on TV that uses soft (japanese Mori-Nu type) Tofu and some margarine instead of eggs and butter.

                                          1. re: Jwarural2012
                                            mollyholde RE: Jwarural2012 Dec 2, 2012 07:10 AM

                                            Thanks so much for your response. I was infact reading yesterday about the egg white vs egg yolk allergies.. Yes my son is allergic to eggs, all milk protein, soy, peanuts and pretty much all meats (exception beef, mutton, and lately rabbit). He's been doing fantastic after taking all of that out.. I have resorted to extensive Indian cooking with legumes to keep everyone healthy and it is working miracles on everyone in the family, including him! We are using a lot more ghee now and my son LOVES baked goods.. reading your note gives me true encouragement! A big thanks to you! For milk substitution, we use coconut and almond milk and it was one of those that I used for my baking that turned out cuprocks. It was banana cupcakes. During my research, I also discovered that people that have milk allergy, may be allergic to the casein protein but not the whey protein!! And apparently whey contributes a lot to "conditioning the flour!".. I am wondering if there is a way I get get your cookie and brownie recipes (if I could somehow pm you my email address). Thank you so much again! I realize, when we go back, I need to have my son tested for the components of egg and milk. Although, I plan on trying out raw milk for him (to try to make up for all the lost enzymes/bacteria during the ultra-pastuerization process)

                                            1. re: mollyholde
                                              Jwarural2012 RE: mollyholde Dec 2, 2012 08:04 PM

                                              You are oh so welcome! I'd be happy to have an exchange of ideas with you. Since this wouldn't quite be the place, and I have no idea how to do it here anyway, if you'd like, let's try at the following
                                              Just request to join the discussion group. I just created it.

                                        2. r
                                          rasputina RE: sequins Sep 7, 2012 01:50 PM

                                          I could see subbing it for oil, but not butter. Certainly not in pie crust or pastries.

                                          1. p
                                            Puffin3 RE: sequins Dec 2, 2012 07:29 AM

                                            I'm thinking the milk solids in butter have something to do with how other ingredients work together to make say a pie crust.

                                            1. h
                                              HillJ RE: sequins Dec 2, 2012 09:05 AM

                                              I've only used ghee for Indian sweets.

                                              1. s
                                                sandylc RE: sequins Dec 2, 2012 08:11 PM

                                                I always thought that the water in the butter turns to steam and that's what makes the piecrust flaky.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: sandylc
                                                  mollyholde RE: sandylc Dec 3, 2012 05:59 AM

                                                  You see as I am 'studying' the science of ghee-making I realize, at least the 4 major components that make up butter - water, butterfat (about 85% higher in european butters), lactose (the sugar) and 2 major proteins: whey or serum protein and casein protein. Who knows which one of these, or a combination of these gives butter its character in baked goods?! When ghee is made, whey/serum protein floats up to the top as 'scum' which is required to be removed; casein sinks to the bottom and caramelizes towards the end imparting ghee's nutty flavor; and water escapes as steam. The lactose is reduced as a sugar at the higher temperatures and settles (and reacts) with the casein proteins that settle in the bottom.. So, my next search is to find out if whey can easily substituted for some of the liquid when baked along with ghee? Can a baked good be good without the casein protein? and the lactose sugars? I read somewhere that the whey (serum protein) "conditions the flour'.. people who have a milk allergy, apparently, are allergic to casein and not much to whey protein.. the approx protein ratio is casein to whey is 80:20..
                                                  I have seen pie crust recipes that use cold-ish ghee and a sprinkling of ice water. I haven't tried it yet but if that does work then this provides the steam (that comes from cold cut-in butter).. but jwarural2012's comment gives me more hope because he/she has been using it for a while..

                                                  1. re: mollyholde
                                                    sandylc RE: mollyholde Dec 3, 2012 11:46 AM

                                                    I do know that when I sub in browned butter into cookies the dough becomes crumbly.

                                                    1. re: mollyholde
                                                      paulj RE: mollyholde Dec 3, 2012 12:02 PM

                                                      Pie crust can be made without butter. Lard is a classic, along with its modern imitation, Crisco. Oil can be used, though it gives a mealy crust. And suet (beef fat) is used in British savory pies. Most pie crust recipes call for adding a small amount of water, though vodka (half water, half alcohol) is supposed to be better.

                                                      I recall a CI segment, on a French sugar cookie, where they took into account the amount of water in butter. In that case, having the right amount of water (counting that in the butter) was required to have the right balance between dissolved and crystalline sugar.

                                                  2. Caroline1 RE: sequins Dec 14, 2013 06:37 AM

                                                    Currently, I use three fats in the kitchen: ghee, olive oil, and peanut oil. But most of the time it's ghee. I don't do as much baking as I used to -- self protection! If I bake it, I eat it! -- but when I do bake, it's with ghee. I'm not one of those measure exactly bakers. Texture of dough or batter is my guide, simply because ambient humidity, temperature, things like that cause variations that precise measure doesn't address well. So if the texture isn't right, a little more this, a bit more that is what works best for me. So far -- I made the change to ghee a year or two ago -- there have been no problems.

                                                    My ghee stays on the countertop with the rest of my "mis en place" ingredients. I use it for toast, frying, flavoring, whatever. I find that with toast, for example, I get a lot more butter flavor with a lot less product than I could ever get with a stick of butter! And about 1/8 tsp in a mug of hot tomato soup with a little dash of dill is perfection!

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