I absolutely love the flavor of butter. It is what I reach for most often for cooking, baking and slathering over a warm piece of bread. The problem with butter in cooking is that it actually has a low smoke point, meaning that it doesn't take too much heat before it starts sputtering, smoking and eventually will burn.
To combat this when, you want butter for searing a steak or sautéing vegetables I'll cut the butter with a bit of olive oil for I will reach for a bit of clarified butter.
Clarified butter is essentially butter that has had the milk solids and the moisture removed. This process allows you to use butter at a much higher temperature.
Clarified butter is similar to ghee which is used abundantly in Indian cooking. Ghee is cooked down a bit more and often with different spices.
We have recently been on a dairy-free diet in our home which, to my great sadness, includes no butter. But the beauty of clarified butter is that for those who can't have dairy they can still get all the great butter flavor in clarified butter but because the milk solids are removed their bodies are able to digest it.
Making clarified butter is quite simple and you can make as much or as little as you want. I suggest making quite a bit as it keeps in the fridge for 3 to 6 months
- Unsalted butter, roughly cut
Add the butter to a pan then set over low heat. Heat to a gentle simmer. The butter will start to foam and spurt as the milk solids rise and the moisture cooks out. Take great care as the butter can sputter out of the pot.
Once the sputtering has ceased and it looks as if no more foam is rising to the top, remove the butter from the heat.
Carefully skim the surface to remove much of the foam.
Line a mesh strainer with two layers of cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Carefully pour the butter though the cloth to let the remaining milk solids catch.
Pour the butter into a sealable container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Use it just as you would butter or oil.
If you've ever browned butter you know that the process is quite similar to clarifying butter. You simply continue to cook the butter until the milk solids brown and smell nutter. Browned butter makes a delicious sauce over steamed or roasted vegetables!