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Pure butterfat, used as the primary cooking fat for many techniques and preparations in classic French cuisine. Also known as "ghee" in Indian cuisine.
Clarified butter is a flavorful all-purpose cooking fat for sauté, roasting, soups and braises. While not as rich-tasting as whole butter, clarified butter has a high smoking point that withstands most cooking techniques. It is also the standard fat for classic emulsion sauces such as Hollandaise and mayonnaise. Clarified butter is a saturated fat and health awareness has certainly led to a reduction in its once widespread use.
A simple way to make clarified butter is to melt a stick of butter in a small saucepan over low heat. The butter will melt, then break (meaning the pure fat will separate from the water and milk solids that are present in whole butter). The water and milk solids will drop to the bottom of the pan, the butter fat will rise to the top. Soon, a light foam will also rise to the top. Once it does, skim the foam from the surface with a small ladle or spoon and discard. Then, turn off the heat. At this point you can either carefully pour off the butterfat into a storage container, taking care to leave the water and milk solids behind, or pour it all into a container and place it in the refrigerator. The clarified butter will again rise to the top and harden as it gets cold. Then you can simply lift the clarified butter away from the water underneath. One pound of butter will yield about 13 oz. of clarified butter (approximately 80% yield). Once clarified, the butter can be kept in the refrigerator for several months. It will turn slightly grainy, and this normal. Once heated, it melts to a smooth consistency.
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