What is clarified butter?
Churned butter is enjoying a renaissance thanks to the growing popularity of Indian cuisine, from where the name ghee butter originates. Yet it is the same product that was also referred to as clarified butter in the past.
Butter vs. ghee
Classic butter contains around 80 % milk fat, the rest being water (around 15 %), milk protein and lactose. It is the water, protein and lactose content that makes butter not last long out of the fridge and has a smoke point of around 150 °C. This makes it unsuitable for frying, as higher temperatures can lead to over‑frying and the formation of harmful substances.
Ghee is a 100% butter fat which is produced by gradually heating the butter, during which the fat is separated from the other additives. The absence of water in the clarified butter reduces the risk of rancidity and ghee can be stored dry at room temperature for several months. The overheating temperature of ghee is around 250 °C, making it suitable for both hot and cold kitchens.
Use of clarified butter
Ghee is not only used in Indian dishes, its applications are much wider. It can be used, for example, in roasting vegetables, making gravy, coating dumplings or potatoes, or in baking. It is also a suitable fat for frying. It adds a faintly sweet and nutty flavour and aroma to dishes, which can add the right touch to even ordinary dishes.
Ghee is suitable for individuals with lactose intolerance. However, it is always important to remember your own sensitivity - something different may suit everyone. Transfused butter is also naturally gluten‑free and suitable for coeliacs.