Saturday, April 28, 2012

Clarified Butter

About a month ago, I decided to add butter into my diet. I just can't find a good reason why I wouldn't eat it. The only acceptable form for me would be organic, grassfed, clarified butter, though. If you want to read into it, the Whole 9 discusses all the points in easy to understand terms in their Butter Manifesto. You can clarify butter at home on your stove easily.

There are two basic advantages to clarified butter over regular butter - health advantages and cooking advantages. For health reasons, buying grassfed/organic will eliminate toxins transferred from the animal to you through their crappy diet and living conditions. Clarifying the butter removes all the milk solids (aka milk proteins) which contribute to conditions like cardiovascular disease, cancer and autoimmune diseases, and produce other inflammation-related symptoms.

The cooking benefit of clarified butter is that it is very stable, and can be kept for long periods of time without going rancid. Clarified butter is also great for sauteing because it doesn't burn as easily as ordinary butter, so you can use it for cooking at hotter temperatures.

Here is the method for clarifying your butter:

  1. Ensure your butter is UNSALTED.
  2. Toss a bunch of sticks in a stock pot on low heat. As the butter melts and begins heating, the milk solids will rise to the top (see that white foam) and the water will cook off.
  3. As the milk solids collect along the surface of the butter, skim them off with a ladle. Do so until the butter becomes clear, almost like olive or grapeseed oil.
  4. Transfer melted butter to a glass (or otherwise sturdy and airtight) container by pouring it through a few layers of cheese cloth to catch any last little milk solids you may have missed. (That part with the cheesecloth is optional, but I recommend doing it.)
  5. Let the liquid cool, seal it up tight with a lid and put it in the fridge where it will harden up. Discard all the yucky milk solids.
I picked up this box of organic butter at Trader Joe's.

4 sticks of butter melting on low heat.. see how cloudy it is to start

milk solids are rising to the top

skim off milk solids with a ladle and put in a bowl off to the side
(discard these afterwards)

the butter is nice and clear now with the milk solids removed

as an extra measure, strain the butter through a few layers of cheesecloth

let cool before storing in the fridge in an airtight glass container

mmmm... butter!

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