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Clarified butter

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  • cb1 Oct 23, 2010 01:32 PM
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Do you use it all the time? I really have only used it when eating shellfish. But making some last night, I ended up with quite a bit leftover. I know the whole higher smoke point, etc...but was just wondering do any of you use it all the time. (of course not in baking)

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  1. Ghee is a form of clarified butter - use your leftovers in Indian recipes.

    1. I use it for pan sauces ...

      1. Yes, for sautéing just about everything, unless I want the flavor of another oil or fat in the dish. When cooking eggs, however, I prefer using whole butter.

        1. Not a bad thing to have too much clarified butter.
          Cook it a little longer and use itt to make brown butter cookies or add sage to browned CB and garlic parm cheese and red pepper flakes & make a pasta sauce, drizzle over fresh steamed green beans or bake a super huge potato until it crackles (fork open it up) squeeze to see the white steamy potato and spoon your CB over it, a little sea salt and cracked pepper...done.

          4 Replies
          1. re: iL Divo

            Since clarified butter no longer has milk solids, would it brown?

            1. re: paulj

              I brown the butter with the milk solids first, then strain. The butterfat takes on the nutty flavor and color of the browned solids. The actually butterfat will not brown without the milk solids.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                Absolutely...love that character that the browning lends.
                I usually make a batch with onion too.

                Sauces, cooking eggs, and even making grilled cheese sandwiches...LOTS of great uses for clarified butter/ghee.

              2. re: paulj

                I have never been able to get 'all' the milk solids out completely.
                so for me, my answer in my case is yes..........

            2. I don't use it all the time, only some time. I use ghee for Indian dishes. I also use it for saute/pan frying.

              1. Ghee and clarified butter are EXACTLY the same thing, assuming you start out with unsalted butter when you make "drawn" butter. It has all of the water and milk solids removed, and requires no refrigeration for storage, assuming it hasn't been contaminated. It can be used for frying, sauteing, or just about anything you would use oil for. Well, I don't know how good it would be in a vinaigrette, but I haven't tried it so how would I know? Yes, it will burn in oil lamps, and has been used for that purpose in India for a looooooooooooong time. In india, ghee is also used in home made cosmetics by adding safe color substances to it. Well, let me modify this a little bit. True, classic Indian ghee is/was made with grass fed organic butter. And so was very old fashioned original drawn butter. It's MUCH better for you and far more "heart healthy" than milk (or meat) products from critters that have had corn and such fed to them by agribusiness. <sigh>

                26 Replies
                1. re: Caroline1

                  Not quite - ghee mandates cooking off all the water, but that's not universally the case with clarified. Also, ghee does not require the skimming of the foam, which eventually sinks:
                  http://www.dreddyclinic.com/diet/ayur...

                  1. re: greygarious

                    That website is run by a group that has a point to prove. With either ghee OR clarified butter, if you cook it long enough the "scum" that floats to the top will drop to the bottom. It is simply more milk solids but unlike the solids that have settled already, they still have some water in them, which is why they float. Pure (unsalted) butter has three components to it: fat, solids and water. How much water varies greatly according to who and how the butter is made. It is true that some hurry the process for ming "drawn" butter without getting all of the impurities out of it and skimming off the top with the solids that are still retaining water (thereby floating) and just taking the clear oil from the center that is above the settled milk solids. But the old fashioned traditional way to make drawn butter that I was taught waaaaaay back in the 1950s is made the same way as ghee is made. I was also taught to make ghee waaaaaaay back in the early 1950s by my best friend in my freshman year of college. She was an exchange student from New Delhi, and an exceptional cook, and I was soooo jealous that she had traveled to this country with ONE large suitcase that held everything she needed, including nearly 100 saris! Anyway, TRUE drawn butter and TRUE ghee are the same.

                    You can also buy flavored and unflavored organic grass fed ghee here:
                    http://www.pureindianfoods.com/order....

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      Does the dairy add water to the butter or does it come out of the cow like that? [/duh]

                      1. re: GraydonCarter

                        The Rating of butter is done by "score" the higher the score the less water 96 score an up is considered grade AA

                      2. re: Caroline1

                        I guess I don't understand what drawn butter is then. Unless you cook the butter until it turns brown and the milk solids go crispy, it's not ghee. But it has always been my understanding that drawn butter stops short of this step, and therefore retains its original color and does not have the smoky kind of toasted flavor of ghee.

                        Can you explain a little more about how you are making drawn butter?

                      3. re: greygarious

                        Okay, please allow me to back off here because the term I SHOULD have used is "clarified butter" and not "drawn butter." While clarified and drawn butter are pretty much synonymous in the U.S. in the UK there is a traditional butter sauce called "drawn butter" that uses roux. Sorry about that. One additional problem today is that the internet makes things very diffuclut because there is so much misinformation that is accepted as gospel and next thing you know, POOF! Nothing is what it used to be. <sigh>

                        As for the question of water content in butter, it comes from both the cow and man. Some breeds of cows give milk with higher fat content and there are some variables in how much water will remain in it after you churn butter. Making TRUE clarified butter or ghee will take ALL of the water out. But then some dairies, especially "agri-dairies" in the U.S. add water to butter to increase profits. And then you can also buy "lower fat" butter that is basically regular butter that is whipped with added water. Your toast will get a bit soggy when you use that but your hips won't get quite as wide as they will with low water content butter. Food, like life, is a lot of smoke and mirrors and what you see may or may not be what you get.

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          Thanks, Caroline1, for the straight talk about clarified butter. I like your metaphor, "a lot of smoke and mirrors," so true. So true.

                          As a general rule of thumb, when should you use clarified butter as opposed to just plain butter? I often invent dishes, so it would be good to know.

                          1. re: natewrites

                            Clarified butter has the milk solids removed, which can (and will) burn at higher temperatures. The smoking point of whole (containing milk solids) butter is 350°, and 375° to 485° for clarified butter or ghee, depending on it's purity. Ghee is more pure than clarified butter. I use clarified butter for high heat sautéing and whole butter to finish sauces, cook eggs gently, coat and flavor vegetables, things like that.

                            Clarified butter is used in restaurants for high heat sautéing. Caroline1 mentions "drawn" butter; in American restaurant terms, that just normally means melted butter, with the milk solids skimmed off and water left behind; it's usually used for dipping boiled or steamed seafood, lobster, crab, etc. Clarified butter is used frequently for that purpose, as many restaurants have it constantly available for line cooking.

                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                              I know I'm going to come across cranky on this one, but gee, I wish people would READ what I write before they answer for me! There *IS* a sauce -- very old, very traditional -- called "Drawn Butter Sauce." You can find a version of it here;
                              http://www.seafoodfish.com/html/drawn...
                              from the 1896 Boston Cooking School Cook Book, but the recipe predates the Boston Cooking School. I just don't want to make a career out of researching things I already know so other people will believe me. '-)

                              Now, to answer natewrites' question about when to use clarified butter/ghee... Basically, you can classify true clarified butter/ghee as a cooking oil. It has a long shelf life, will withstand relatively high heat, and does not require refrigeration, so using this criteria, you can categorize it as a cooking oil. BUT... It is NOT a neutral flavored cooking oil and whether you make it yourself or buy ready made ghee, it's on the pricey side, and it Does pick up flavors so if you French fry with it and want to use it again, it's going to taste like whatever you cooked in it last AND butter. Sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes not..

                              I use it for all sorts of applications. Most often I use it for Greek/Turkish classics like baklava, spanakopita, tiropita, sigara burek, and other dishes that use phyllo pastry, including strudel. If you want really good flaky crispy baklava or spanako/tiropita, you CANNOT conserve on the clarified butter when you're painting the phyllo during assembly. If you do, the syrup or honey it is traditionally soaked in will soak through and make it soggy. I hate it when that happens, so I never buy the stuff ready made or order it in a restaurant. Well, maybe once in a restaurant, but if it's soggy, never again!

                              For other things, I use it for making Hollandaise, the French classic mother sauce of Bearnaise, which are basically mayonnaise made with butter instead of oil. If I'm doing a brunch for a bunch, I use clarified butter to paint on toasted English muffins, because unlike regular butter, it is pure oil and will not "wilt" the muffins when they sit for a while. The water content of regular butter will do that. I like it for sauteing asparagus tips. There are a few things when regular butter with the milk solids and water in it are good for cooking, but very often better results can be gained by using clarified butter. For example, it will harden if refrigerated, and I have used it to make traditional pie crust which was a whole lot "shorter" than when full out butter is used, but it also requires just a tad more ice water in the crust than when you use full butter. I don't think there are many times when you will have bad results from using clarified butter instead of full butter, but in cooking things over heat, there are many times when full butter will not work as well as clarified butter. It's one of those things where experience is a much better teacher than a book.

                              Now, once again for clarity's sake:

                              Drawn butter and clarified butter are OFTEN used interchangeably in the U.S, but in true gastronomic terms, they are not the same thing. Classic clarified butter is just that: CLARIFIED! And true clarified butter and classic Indian ghee are the same.

                              1. re: Caroline1

                                Um, I read your post through a few times. I wasn't commenting on the drawn butter "sauce," I was certainly not disputing it's existence or your research. Your link recipe is essentially for a sauce that is rarely, if ever, made these days; it appears to be a poor cousin of a French butter sauce, no judgement intended.

                                All I wrote was that you mentioned drawn butter, which you did. I don't know what you're referring to me not reading. I think you misunderstood my post.

                                I also didn't think there was any particular protocol for who responds to who on chow. Everyone has something of value to add to the mix.

                                I simply expounded on the use of clarified vs whole butter, and the explanation and usage of "drawn butter' in seafood restaurants in the US, according to my experiences with it, which you mentioned in your statement, "While clarified and drawn butter are pretty much synonymous in the U.S...' That's what I was referring to.

                                And yes, I agree, drawn and clarified butter are not the same thing, gastronomically speaking; clarified butter was once drawn butter, however.

                                Btw, clarified butter and ghee do not have quite the same flavor profile; although made by the same technique, good quality ghee is clarified further and has as bit of a nuttiness to it.

                                Further reading on the clarified butter/ghee subject:

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6579...

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2838...

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6129...

                                1. re: bushwickgirl

                                  What I was reacting to was this paragraph in your post:
                                  ........................................................................
                                  Clarified butter has the milk solids removed, which can (and will) burn at higher temperatures. The smoking point of whole (containing milk solids) butter is 350°, and 375° to 485° for clarified butter or ghee, depending on it's purity. Ghee is more pure than clarified butter. I use clarified butter for high heat sautéing and whole butter to finish sauces, cook eggs gently, coat and flavor vegetables, things like that.
                                  ...........................................................................
                                  In MY opinion, this is only contributing to the confusion. *IF* "clarified" butter *IS* CLARIFIED, then there are no more water or solids in it and it is "pure." If water or solids are still in it, you have what is commonly referred to as "drawn" butter, which is a shaky term that can mean a lot more things than the term "clarified." Truly clarified butter and ghee ARE the same thing. They are butter with ALL of the water and solids removed.

                                  Both ghee AND clarified butter can have a "nutty" flavor if they are heated too rapidly in the beginning and some of the milk solids begin to scorch. It's exactly the same thing that western chefs go for with a "brown butter" sauce. But if you heat EITHER clarified butter or ghee (which are the same thing) slowly and allow the milk solids to settle and the water to evaporate, it is possible to accomplish the process without the nutty flavor.

                                  I don't currently have any friends or neighbors from India, but have had in the past, and they all made their own ghee and did not buy it from stores. Whether that was because they were living in the U.S. at a time when ghee was not on the shelves of their local markets and the internet and web shopping were still things of the future, I don't know. With one friend in particular, some of her ghee was "nuttier" than others. I assumed it related to how much time she had to devote to the process. I will also add that I have never had store-bought ghee simply because I just figured it was the Chef Boyardee of ghee.

                                  You can vary the flavor of both ghee and clarified butter by the breed of cow you get the milk from to gather the cream to make the butter. Unfortunately, in today's world, not a lot of Americans (and probably residents of many other countries as well) have had the opportunity to savor the differences between milk, cream and butter from different breeds of cows. The cow's diet will also impact on the flavor of the milk and thereby the flavor of the butter. I once turned a poor cow's milk into cream of tomato soup by feeding it a flat of tomatoes, and boy, was the cow's owner pissed! When I was a kid in the 1930s, 1940's my family knew a lot of people who had cows and "grew" their own milk. Some had Guernsey cows, some had Jersey cows, some had other breeds. My best friend's parents owned the largest dairy in our area of southern California at that time. You get subtle flavor differences between breeds of cows, raw milk and pasteurized milk, and then if you want to go for "over the top" flavor profiles, you can make butter from goat or sheep (or any other lactating animal's) milk, then clarify that. Variances in "flavor profiles" between ghee and true clarified butter is like the flavor profiles for Sparklets bottled water versus Ozarka bottled water versus New York City tap water. It's all water. '-)

                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                    <never had store-bought ghee simply because I just figured it was the Chef Boyardee of ghee>

                                    The only ingredients on the label of my storebought ghee are butter and milk. So I see no reason to go to the trouble of making my own and possibly ruining it if I am not careful enough.

                                    1. re: greygarious

                                      And there was a time in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts when you would not have had a choice because ready-made ghee was not available, and that time wasn't so very long ago. So I'm curious; do you buy everything "ready made" because you don't want to go to the trouble of making your own and possibly ruining it if you aren't careful enough? If that's the case, enjoy your Chef Boyardee spaghetti sauce and your store bought ghee and pre-popped pocorn and all of the other things you may be afraid of ruining if you make them yourself!

                                      That was a silly remark. '-)

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        Storebought ghee has no preservatives, additives, or shortcut substitute ingredients. If I could make it better and cheaper than I can buy it, I would do the latter. You say ghee and clarified butter are identical. I say ghee and ghee are identical.

                                    2. re: Caroline1

                                      You were objecting to my use of the term "pure" as in "ghee is more pure than clarified butter?"

                                      The definition of clarified butter, and the technique employed by most restaurants is to melt the butter completely and skim off the butterfat, leaving the milk solids and water behind; now that's considered clarified butter, but not particularly "pure," as is noted when the butter is used up and there's a small amount of water remaining in the bottom of the container, a common occurrence. My point is that there are degrees of clarification, depending on how much effort the chef puts into the clarifying process. Is it clarified? Sure, just not completely. I find chilling the butterfat after simmering, and removing the solid mass, leaving any liquid behind, works best.

                                      Ghee is taken a step further, and is normally cooked for longer periods than clarified butter, by virture of time honored cultural technique, until all the water evaporates and the milk solids caramelize slightly, imparting a slightly nutty flavor, or not, if the nuttiness is not desired. The longer cooking imparts a certain richness to the ghee that regular clarified butter doesn't really have much of. I think we're just spliting hairs over the definition of clarified butter and ghee now. I worked in restaurants were we routinely gently simmered the butter (60+ lbs) overnight, to allow the water to completely evaporate, without browning the milk solids. Was that ghee or clarified butter? In that case, I would say there is no difference, if you consider the purity level, but we called it clarified butter.

                                      It is not my desire to confuse the issue at hand, God knows we have enough of that here at Chow, but there are slight differences in the purity between clarified butter and ghee, by definition and execution. I stand by my statement. Btw, ghee has a higher smoke point than regular clarified butter, due to it's purity.

                                      Sure, you can create brown butter with either whole butter, for seafood dishes, or while clarifying the butter by caramelizing the solids, then removing the butterfat; it will have a wonderful nutty essence and is great in baked goods calling for melted butter.

                                      The rest of your post is very interesting and informative, and adds value to this thread.

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        Thanks for all lthe useful information!

                                        One thing, I've seen some chefs used a combo of olive oil WITH butter, but I do not know 1. why? and 2. if it was olive oil AND clarified butter or olive oil and just plain butter.

                                        My guess is that the butter was to flavor while the olive oil was to cheat a little and raise the combined oils temperature. Ideas why one would cook with both?

                                        If this part of my question has already been answered and I missed it, I apolgize.

                                        1. re: natewrites

                                          Hmm, but clarified butter (ghee) has a pretty smoke point, whereas those extra virgin olive oils have low smoke points.

                                          1. re: natewrites

                                            Combining olive oil and clarified butter extends the butter, sort of restaurant cheating, but not necessarily in a bad way; butter is expensive and extending it with olive oil or even other oils cuts the food cost some. I don't think it's generally a common practice. Combining oils is also done for the proper flavor outcome of the dish; the chef may want the flavor of both butter and olive oil in the finished product. Usually pure or virgin olive oil is used, as those have a higher smoke point than extra virgin at 320°.

                                            I sometimes sauté in pure olive oil and throw in a little whole butter at the end, for adding enrichment to the dish. I save my extra virgin for other uses, and don't generally cook with it.

                                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                                              Do you mean extending lifetime/shelf-life? or do you mean extending like increasing the volume by diluting the clarified butter.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                Increasing the volume, but sometimes the chef just wants that flavor. The shelf life of clarified butter is long.

                                            2. re: natewrites

                                              In sauteing, if a chef (or anyone else, for that matter) wants the flavor of butter without too much risk of burning, it's standard to put some oil in the pan first (usually not olive oil because olive oil has a flavor of its own) and then add the butter. The oil first, then butter cuts way back on the butter scorching and foods are usually added fairly quickly before the milk solids can brown or burn. Are you SURE you've seen chefs use olive oil and butter? But I suppose it could be "light" olive oil, which is filtered to greatly reduce the fruity olive flavor (which comes from tiny particles of olive flesh still in the oil, and that's what burns) but does *not* cut back on fat content. As Chemicalkintetics points out, extra virgin olive oil has a pretty low smoke point and isn''t often used in cooking unless the flavor is specifically desired, then steps aare taken not to scorch it because it will take on a bitter taste. Not all restaurants nor all chefs have clarified butter on hand all the time. The oil/butter trick is an old one. It's also a way of browning the butter with more control than just slapping some butter in a hot pan and hoping for the best. A neutral flavored oil, such as peanut oil with a high smoke point, will slow down how fast it browns while still allowing the butter flavor to come through.

                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                Thanks Caroline. It was only Racheal Ray whom I saw do it, and I can't recall the dish or why she did. Maybe it was a very light olive oil, or some other kind of oil.

                                              2. re: natewrites

                                                I buy YoGhee from BC. It's very pure and natural.
                                                My mom used to see a naturopath who recommended a spread made from olive oil and ghee blended together with a bit of probiotic. it may sound strange, but it was sooooo delicious!
                                                Caroline1, I see you're passionate about this, but you're way off the mark about greygarious, who is a very adventurous cook and who contributes a lot to these boards.

                                            3. re: Caroline1

                                              can you recommend an authentic brand of ghee ? or recommend the best butter or milk to make it from?
                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/872991

                                              1. re: dahlias

                                                I've never even considered buying ghee at the store...it's so ridiculously easy to make; and it only takes around 20 minutes. Use ANY butter you can get on sale (I always use unsalted, though it really doesn't matter). 1 lb of butter will yield roughly a pint of ghee.
                                                I _always_ have a jar of it on the counter and use it in much of my cooking.

                                                1. re: dahlias

                                                  I'm lazier than The Professor. I buy my ghee from amazon.com, and you'll find some here: http://tinyurl.com/9ftkle9
                                                  Their stock and prices fluctuate from day to day. I hold out for organic ghee (because of allergies), and free shipping. When I find that combination, I stock up! It has an incredibly long shelf life, so there is never any problem with it going stale or rancid.

                                2. Who knew that clarified butter would be so interesting? But then, anything as delicious is certainly worthy of so much attention.

                                  I recently browned over a pound of butter, pouring the oil off the milk solids, Unfortunately, I neglected to weigh the butter and the resulting butter oil and browned milk solids. Can anyone give me an idea of how much brown butter one gets from a pound of butter? ( I have a recipe for madeleines that calls for 800 grams of butter, (which must be melted, browned, then passed through a chinois) and I've been wondering what the actual weight of the strained beurre noisette would be.

                                  I also have over 1/4 cup of browned butter solids that smell too good to throw away. For what can I use them? What would happen if I mixed them with some regular butter and made cake or cookies?

                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: pilinut

                                    Yup, an interesting thread it were.

                                    Federal standards for butter in the US is a minimum of 80% fat and 20% milk solids and water. The weight of the butterfat alone would be 80% of whatever weight of whole butter you started with, yielding 14 oz fat from a pound of butter. Very good quality butter can be found in the US now, with a fat content of 86% or higher, surpassing French butter in fat content and flavor, so it depends on the brand of butter you used. You must be making a few madeleines with 800 grams of butter.

                                    The browned solids can be used in custards, like panna cotta, added to the milk while heating, and in baked goods and ice cream. Here's a link for a sweet corn "cupcake" which sounds great, although I think I'd skip icing them:

                                    http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                                      Thanks, bushwick girl! I'm dreaming of chocolate chip cookies as I type. . . And as for the madeleines, I scaled down the recipe--I tried 160 g browned butter (which was probably a little too much, but I'll take up the issue in the "Madeleines" thread): 160 g flour and got 28 cookies. I think I may need another madeleine pan. . .

                                      Do you think a pound cake made with regular butter and brown butter milk solids would taste as good as a normal poundcake? How much of the browned solids should I use with a pound of butter?

                                      1. re: pilinut

                                        "pound cake made with regular butter and brown butter milk solids" I think that's a great idea. I would use all the milk solids left after browning the specified amount of butter in the recipe. You'll have a nice toasty nuttiness from the fat and the solids will just add more oomph of flavor.

                                        Here's an epicurious simple brown butter pound cake recipe that includes the butterfat and milk solids (the recipe does not instruct the baker to separate the fat and solids, I'd just throw it all in):

                                        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                        1. re: pilinut

                                          Any baked good calling for beurre noisette / brown butter would only be improved by additional brown butter solids. Have you ever made the German cookie Heidesand? Somewhere between a sablé and a shortbread, made w brown butter. Very nice.

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            Yay, and maybe we should do a browned butter thread...the stuff is so good for baking and also for savory stuff, seafood, chicken, vegetables.

                                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                                              Would be a goodie.

                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                Go for it. You could start with the Heidesand cookies. Maybe after Thanksgiving, for the Christmas holiday baking frenzy.

                                                1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                  Good idea. Now to get the German cookbooks out.

                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                    Please do! I was just thinking about adding those brown butter solids to the Spritz cookie recipe in the Betty Crocker 1956 cookbook from which my mom taught me to bake. Those Heidesand cookies sound mouthwatering.

                                                    1. re: pilinut

                                                      I shall. They'd be great in the spitz cookies.

                                      2. re: pilinut

                                        ooooh, warm it and pour over asparagus or steamed green beans

                                      3. I always keep a tub of clarified butter in the fridge.

                                        The only shame is it takes 1 lb of butter to get 3/4 lb of clarified butter.

                                        I use it whenever I want to saute but would like the flavor of butter. I use it for eggs all the time.

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                                          can you do anything with the solids? how about adding it to browned butter cookies?

                                          I've seen these in the past and remembered the name, just one example below:

                                          http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com/200...

                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                            That might be an interesting use.

                                            I know my ex used to eat them like a snack. Kind of made me cringe, but to each their own.

                                            1. re: ZenSojourner

                                              I love browned butter, it has a nutty flavor to it that is neat on veggies I think.
                                              but sorry I got off topic here as this is supposed to be about clarified buduh :\

                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                Ghee is a type of clarified butter, even if it is different from what we commonly think of as clarified butter, so I don't feel you were off topic at all. Plus you weren't the first to bring it up. No worries!

                                                1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                  I don't use a whole ton of either but have always thought that clarified butter and ghee were from the same monkey or were the same monkey.
                                                  going into Indian markets to look for and buy ingredients there, I always see ghee on the counter in many sized containers, so tempting but not usually going home right away so how to store it until I am home. clarified butter I make myself if I need it in anything.

                                                  is it mentioned here how long either lasts in the frig.........?

                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                    Virtually forever. It has routinely been kept in a jar with a lid at room temps (which can be quite high) in India for extended periods without going rancid.

                                                    My ex would never let me buy the Ghee sold commercially because it's often adulterated (there is sporadic enforcement of accuracy in labeling in India) and secondarily because it isn't "cooked enough" according to him. It's typically more like what we think of as clarified butter than it is like what Indians (or at least SOUTH Indians) call ghee. I was taught that if ghee does not take on a honey golden color and the milk solids do not turn brown and crispy, you haven't cooked the ghee enough. In the north they prefer something more like what we think of as clarified butter, cooking enough to separate the milk fats and solids but not to brown, but in the South they prefer it to be cooked to that darker toasted flavor.

                                                    Apparently the commercial ghee isn't actually cooked, its separated by centrifuging. So it doesn't come close to the flavor my Andrha ex preferred for ghee.

                                                    I think if you learned about ghee from someone from the North of India, you're more likely to see something closer to just clarified. In the South, it's toasty golden brown.

                                            2. re: iL Divo

                                              If you clarify salted butter, the milk solids can be kind of "over the top!" Been there, done that, won't be going there again! '-)

                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                yea, but I love salt...............hiding behind a couch while admitting that ;)

                                          2. I liked that recipe for browned butter cookies. Question:
                                            So many recipes call for cold butter, if you substituted all or some of the cold butter for melted, clarified, or browned butter, what affect would that have on the result, the leavening, etc.

                                            One thing I can think of, is if you have removed water from the butter, it contains more oil / fat per gram than cold butter, which may throw off the combination of ingredients.

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: GraydonCarter

                                              I believe when a baking recipe asks for cold butter, it is for two reasons. First, to increase the time for the butter to melt and therefore the dough spread less. Second, cold butter chunks provide inhomogenous incorporation of butter.

                                              Another thing which cold butter is very important for is: pastry dough.

                                              http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-mak...

                                              I don't see how you can make puff pastry with melted butter, for example.

                                              1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                If the butter is creamed with the sugar, then you cannot use melted butter. There are, of course, baking recipes that do use melted butter or oil.

                                                ATK had a show making French butter cookies. They wanted a specific sandy texture, in which some of the sugar remained in crystal form. To get that, they needed just the right amount of liquid (relative to the amount of sugar). The 20% water in regular American butter was the main source of liquid. They adjusted the total amount of butter to get that right. And they used a hardcooked egg yolk, to keep that from adding to the water. So, yes, in some recipes that amount of water in the butter must be taken into account.

                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  For cookies? I use melted butter instead of creaming it with the sugar all the time. Gives me a soft cookie instead of a crisp cookie.

                                                  Not for pie dough, I guess, or frosting or icing, but at least for cookies, you can use melted butter.

                                                  1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                    I think you''ve got that backward, ZS. Having read it somewhere (can't recall the source), I started using melted butter in my drop cookies so that they will be thin and crisp, and in my brownies and other bar cookies because I want them dense, not cakey. Creaming aerates the fat, which increases the rise.

                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                      Nope, I have found that melting the butter, then dissolving the sugar in the melted butter, gives me a softer cookie. I am also refrigerating the dough for at least 24 hours. This gives the fat time to thoroughly incorporate with everything else.

                                                      Alton Brown agrees with me:

                                                      http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/the...

                                                      I hadn't seen that before (not a fan of TV cooking shows in the main). Came across it way down in a google search for why melting the butter makes cookies softer.

                                                      I don't use bread flour and get the same result. Actually if I have a recipe that comes out thin and crispy and I want it to come out soft, the only thing I change is melting the butter and refrigerating the dough.

                                                      Refrigerating the dough by itself doesn't seem to help much; I've never tried just melting the butter and not refrigerating the dough to see what that does. If you don't refrigerate the dough, maybe it wouldn't work as well, I don't know. AB doesn't, but he also makes other changes to the recipes (the bread flour, egg yolks, etc).

                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                        Yes, melted butter makes my cookies thin and crisp.

                                                        1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                          Same here.

                                                2. Wow...... I never thought my original question would grow into such a discussion. Thank you all, it has been quite interesting reading.

                                                  1. I use ghee (aka clarified butter) regularly in the same ways I would use regular butter. As I just mentioned in another thread, I buy grass fed organic ghee from amazon.com, with free shipping, and it works out to be cheaper than buying grass fed organic butter and drawing it myself. I keep it on the island near my cooktop with the rest of my "mise en place" ingredients such as white vermouth, sake, zhaoxing wine, evoo, light olive oil, my salt box... stuff like that. I have a small forest of goodies that hover within easy reach. Ghee is the newest member. No refrigeration required! LOVE it!!!

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