After you’ve been off dairy products for a while, and want to introduce them again, you need to start with homemade ghee. Ghee is butter that has the milk solids and water removed, leaving pure butter oil or clarified butter. It is often used in Indian cooking as it is a highly stable cooking oil, with excellent flavour, that aids the digestion. It is often used in gourmet cooking as well. It is considered a lactose free food, and can be used instead of butter in most recipes, and for most uses.
Store in a glass jar with a lid, but don’t put the lid on till it’s cooled. You can keep ghee in the fridge, but it doesn’t need refrigeration if you keep moisture out of it; for example, don’t dip a wet spoon into the ghee jar, always use a clean utensil. It will keep in the cupboard for weeks. But with it’s delicious caramelly flavour, it might not last that long!
Stove top method (Time: less then 30 minutes)
- 500gm / 1 lb. sweet butter (preferably unsalted and organic)
1. Melt the butter in a medium sized, heavy bottomed saucepan over a medium heat, and bring to the boil. Do not leave ghee unattended during this process and watch to make sure that the butter doesn’t scorch while melting.
2. Lower heat to medium-low. The butter will bubble and make a slightly popping sound and a layer of foam will form. After about fifteen to twenty minutes, it will be a clear golden colour and quiet, and the milk solids at the bottom of the pan will have turned a light golden brown. It is important to take it of the heat as soon as it goes quiet, or it will burn.
3. Pour through a sieve or cheese cloth to strain out the milk solids.
Crock-pot method (Time: 8 hours)
- One or more pounds of unsalted butter
1. Cut the butter into 1/4 pound portions and place into the crock-pot on low temperature setting.
2. Leave it on all night.
3. In the morning you will notice that there is a brown crust on the top and a white sediment on the bottom. Skim the crust off the top and pour the golden liquid into stainless steel or glass containers. When the white sediment begins to mix with oil while pouring strain the sediment from the ghee by pouring it through a cotton cloth placed over a stainless steel strainer.
Oven method (Time: Depends on quantity. 1 pound could take as little as 1 hour)
- A heavy-bottomed, thick-walled ovenproof pan
- As much unsalted butter as will comfortably fit into your pan
1. Preheat the oven to 150 C / 300 F.
2. Cut the butter into 1/4 pound portions and place into the pan.
3. Allow the butter to melt and slowly clarify, uncovered and undisturbed, until there is a layer of solid foam on the surface, clear amber-gold ghee in the middle and lumps of pale gold solids on the bottom. Remove from oven.
4. Skim off the crusty foam on the surface with a fine mesh skimmer or a large metal spoon.
5. Ladle the clear ghee into a glass jar using a strainer lined with several layers of cheese cloth. When you have removed as much as you can without disturbing the solids, skim off the last 1 inch with a large spoon.