Monday, 2 January 2012

Clarified Butter

I often use Clarified butter or Ghee when I am cooking as it imparts a rich flavour into a dish. A good quality Clarified butter can add to the aroma, flavor and taste to the food. However, the texture, color and taste of ghee depends on the source of the milk from which the butter was made and the extent of boiling during the making of it.

More specifically, by melting butter, a cook can see that it separates into clear golden liquid and a thick liquid which settles to the bottom. The thick liquid is composed of milk solids, a protein rich solution that burns easily over high heat. So, once the milk solids are separated and removed, the remaining butter can be cooked on a very high heat without burning.

Smoking Point

Butter has a smoking point of between 121–149°C while Clarified butter or Ghee has a smoke point of 252°C. As you can see there is qiite a bit of difference between the two. (Source A chart that details various smoking points is available at this link.

You will see when you compare the different smoking points of various oils  Clarified butter is up there with Rice Bran Oil.

Making Clarifying Butter

Clarifying butter is very easy to make. Slice a 500g block of butter into small pieces. Heat the butter slices in a heavy saucepan over low heat until it crackles and bubbles. Remove the pan from the heat and use a spoon to carefully skim off the fat foam that has risen to the top. Pour or spoon the clear liquid into a container, leaving the thicker milky stuff at the bottom. Discard the white residue. Tightly cover the liquid and refrigerate or freeze. It can be easily be stored either way for months.

Clarified butter also tastes much richer than regular butter; you’ll notice that dishes made with ghee are often more flavorful and less greasy than those made with traditional vegetable oil or even butter. Chefs often used clarified butter instead of regular oil or butter because it does not burn during frying, and also intensifies the flavor of the dish.  Since it does not contain any hydrogenated oils and fats, Clarified may be a much healthier choice for those who don’t want to eliminate fat from their diet entirely.

Some benefits

Clarified butter is commonly preferred over processed margarine and butter because of its many health benefits.  Some of the key benefits of Clarified butter include:
·         Good for people who are lactose intolerant
·         Can help relieve ulcers
·         Can improve conditions of constipation
·         Helps promote healthy eyes and skin
·         Can be used as a topical treatment for blisters, burns and cuts
·         Reduces inflammation, internally and externally
·         Helps improve the texture of the hair
·         May help to inhibit cancerous tumors because of its anti-viral properties

Ultimately, Clarified butter is a highly concentrated form of fat that contains many important fatty acid chains.  These have several benefits for healing and tissue repair, and these fatty acids may also help with the absorption of other vitamins and minerals found in everyday foods. 

It’s important to remember that clarified butter still contains a significant amount of saturated fat.  Moderation is essential when consuming Clarified butter and other types of fats, especially if your family has a history of heart disease.

Posted by Jimmy Boswell - New Zealand Gluten Free Chef

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