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Homemade Ghee


I thought ghee was going to be hard. I was afraid making ghee would be too wasteful (I mean butter is fabulous why would I want to throw any of it out). I was concerned that I couldn't make it  taste as good as what I have previously purchased. I am happy to say that these things are just not the case. All I needed was a really good reason to jump into making it, going through the Whole 30 program was my good reason!  Whole 30 eliminates dairy with the exception of ghee because all of the milk solids are removed when making ghee, so without butter on the menu my ghee consumption went up, and the jar  of ghee I had ordered online was quickly demolished forcing me to either fork over a small fortune for a jar of ghee that I can only get by ordering online (I called every store in my town to verify this) or take the plunge and just make it. I am glad I made it. I decided to try taking instructional pictures to make this into an actual tutorial (a first for me, I am usually happy if I get a chance to take a picture of the finished product before the hoards of hungry, fork wielding, hands start tearing into whatever I have made) mostly because I would have liked to have seen pictures of the process before I dove into it (I am sure they are out there, but sometimes searching the web is far too time consuming and I needed to just get started). I read a basic definition of ghee and used that as my guide.

I started with 4lbs of good quality butter (grass-fed if possible). Pretty ambitious for a first time effort, but I wanted the (then unknown to me) time it took to be worthwhile, plus it is what I had on hand. I placed the butter in a stainless steel pot deep enough that nothing would boil over and turned on the heat to medium-high.

Once everything started melting down I used a wooden spoon to stir the chunks of butter so it would melt faster and possibly more evenly. The whole melting process took about 10 minutes.

Once everything was melted in took another 7-8 minutes for the butter to start swirling about, then it began rapidly and madly churning, then finally it settled into a simmer and I turned the heat down to low and allowed it to continue slowly simmering.

Once the top had a thick coat of white foam type stuff (40 minutes later). I grabbed my skimmer and went to work removing the foamy stuff.

I would remove and wait, remove and wait, each time I removed some it gave room for a little more to come up, until everything looked pretty transparent  and there was no longer any steam rising up (roughly 10 minutes).

Then came the part I was most nervous about, letting the bits that fall to the bottom brown but not burn. I peered through the golden liquid as best I could to make sure everything was browning and nothing was burning. I may have pulled it off the heat earlier than necessary, but I was firmly in the rather-be-safe-than-sorry camp.  

Once I pulled it off the heat I poured it through a strainer lined with cheesecloth straight into the glass storage containers. I was surprised that 4lbs of butter yielded 7 cups of ghee (4lbs of butter is equal to 8 cups) so I only lost about 1 cup of milk solids.

Here is what the bottom of my pan looked like when empty so you can see how brown I let it get. The browning of the butter is what gives ghee the slightly-nutty-with-a-hint-of-sweet kind of taste. I let the jars cool for about 20 minutes and then put lids on them.

After 24 hours my jars of ghee were completely cooled and solid. One of the great things about ghee is that it doesn't require refrigeration if it is properly stored.

Homemade Ghee

4lbs high quality butter (unsalted and grass-fed prefered)

Equipment: Large stock pot, skimmer, strainer, cheesecloth, 2 quart size mason jars (or other combo for storage)

Place butter in stock pot and melt over medium-high heat (stirring if desired to speed it along), bring to a simmer and reduce heat. Allow to simmer until foaming and water has cooked out (about 60 minutes). Skim foam off of the top of the ghee. Allow milk solids that have seperated and fallen on the bottom to brown. Pour ghee though a cheesecloth lined strainer and store. Will solidify in about 24 hours (or less if your house is cool).


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