Clarified Butter

March 23, 2012Katie


It occurred to me when reading about the Mother Sauces, which by the way, is the challenge I’ve given myself over the next week or so to partake in, that I first should learn and teach you, my readers, how to make clarified butter. Because the true culinary way to cook many of the sauces requires clarified butter. Many folks just go ahead and make the Mother Sauces without clarifying the butter first, but I really wanted to do things properly.

Clarified butter doesn’t burn up so quickly like regular butter does. Actually it lets you heat it about 100º higher than normal butter does due to the fact that you have taken the milk solids out as well as much of the water. This also helps your sauce keep from breaking due to the reduced water content.

So here’s a quick tutorial!

There are three main parts to butter scientifically. I just almost scared myself off. For you see, Science and me don’t dance too well together.

Anyway, the three main parts of butter are milk solids, water and butterfat.

We’re going to skim off the milk solids, and try to eliminate some of the water as well, leaving us with pure butterfat.

Here goes.

Start off with a stick (or more if you want more) of unsalted butter in a small sauce pan. Remember you’re going to lose about 20% of the quantity by clarifying it.

Bring this to a low simmer, over medium low heat until you start to see it barely bubble and a foam develop on top.

At this point watch it closely and just when all of the stick has virtually disappeared, and it is simmering gently and then take a ladle and begin to skim off that solid foamy stuff on top into a separate bowl.

Continue to skim simmering gently.  Did you hear me say gently? Just checking…don’t burn the stuff up!

Your liquid will begin to get more and more clear yellow as you skim.  Don’t worry about it if there’s a bit left, you can strain that out at the end.

This would be a great time to stop and think about what you can use this leftover skimmed milk solid butter for …maybe some popcorn or even stir it into a soup to give it some richness.

Once you’ve got your butter fairly clean, you can pour it through as fine strainer to get out the remaining leftover milk solids.  Pour it into at heat proof bowl.

If you want to be really particular, you can line your strainer with cheese cloth.  But I didn’t have any.

And then you’re left with some lovely clarified butter.

Now you can make Mother Sauces, or have it dip lobster in.

Wasn’t that easy?


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