My monthly newsletter almost always has a recipe with “ghee” as an ingredient. I recently got an email that said “Great recipe, but WTF is ghee?” This made me laugh but it also made me realize that, even though my health nut friends speak the same language, I still sound like a Martian to lots of people. So, let’s talk ghee…
What is Ghee?
To put it simply, ghee is pure butterfat – butter that is cooked to evaporate all water and separate the milk solids. It is like clarified butter (lobster butter), but taken a step further. After the milk solids are separated, they brown and fall to the bottom. Then, they are strained out, leaving you with delicious buttery goodness.
Ghee is referred to as “Liquid Gold” in India, and for good reason. My favorite thing about ghee is that it is free of lactose and dairy proteins. So most people who are allergic to dairy, like my son (or who are PALEO or avoiding dairy, like me), can tolerate it just fine. It also has a high smoke point, so it’s great for high temperature cooking. Additionally, it is really good for you. It’s one of those “good fats” that has lots of vitamins, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants. And it is delicious! You should totally start using it!
You can buy ghee online or in a health food store (and sometimes I do), but it is super easy and way less expensive to just make your own. Most people cook it on the stove top. But, since I’m not good at doing things that I have to pay attention to (I’m a mom), I prefer to make it in the oven. So, grab a few sticks of butter and give it a try!
Making Ghee in the Oven
It is important to use good grass-fed butter. Why make awesome ghee that comes from gross GMO butter? I usually use Kerrygold unsalted butter, which lots of supermarkets now carry. Typically, I cook a pound, or two packs of butter. You can use more or less, just note that it might vary your cooking time slightly.
Put the butter into an oven safe pan or dish. You should use one that isn’t too shallow. The butter will bubble as the water content boils, and you don’t want it to go over the top of the container and all over your oven. Set the oven to 225 degrees and put the butter in the oven – preheating is not necessary.
The ghee will take about 2 hours to make. It is probably okay in about an hour and a half, but I like to make sure that I get all the milk solids separated. It is fine to keep it in longer, as long as you don’t burn it. About half way through you will notice the milk solids rising to the top.
The water will start to boil. The milk solids will brown and start to settle to the bottom of the pan.
Turn the oven off after about 2 hours. Remove the pan and allow to cool a little bit. Next, you’ll need to strain it. You can use a strainer (this one has super-fine mesh, so it shouldn’t allow anything in), a few layers of cheesecloth, or a wider-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. Pour the cooked butter through the strainer into a mason jar or other container.
That’s It – Really
You can use ghee for anything you would use butter for. It is perfect for cooking and baking, and spreading and melting on stuff. You can refrigerate it or not – your choice. Ghee has a really long shelf life too – like months and months. But it won’t last that long. Enjoy your liquid gold!