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Kitchen Notes: Clarified Butter II
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Cooking For Engineers



Joined: 10 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 12:05 am    Post subject: Kitchen Notes: Clarified Butter II Reply with quote


Article Digest:
Ingredients:
one pound butter

Materials and Utensils:
sauce pan 1.5-2 quart as preferred by chef
spoon to stir butter as it melts
a heavy duty freezer food storage bag 1-2 quart size
pencil, nail, large fork, pointy object, preferably NOT a knife
2 feet butcher's twine
small sharp scissor
one 16 ounce, or larger mason jar
one 16 ounce bowl

Method
This method of making clarified butter uses basic utensils found in every kitchen and produces a high yield of very pure clarified butter that can be accomplished even by novice cooks on the first attempt. There is no cheese cloth and no filtering. This method is unorthodox for the kitchen, but is well at home in the organic chemistry laboratory. The key word to remember is "separatory funnel" and the plastic bag will be a disposable sep funnel.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and then allow it to just simmer very lightly for about 5 minutes. Stir while the butter melts to break up the proteinaceous clumps. Simmering lightly will ultra-pasteurize the butter and will thoroughly liquefy the butter and allow the water and white protein components to sink to the bottom, the fluffy protein layer to float to the top and the butter fats to be in the middle.
[IMG]

Next, remove the saucepan from the heat and keep covered to keep out airborne bacteria and allow to cool until it reaches about 120 degrees, or is just a little too hot to comfortably hold. It does not matter if water condenses on the saucepan lid while it is cooling.
[IMG]

When it reaches this temperature, carefully pour it into the plastic heavy duty freezer storage bag and zip it closed.
[IMG]

While holding the bag upright, in a top corner of the bag, about 1.5” from the side and top, punch about a 1/8” hole through the bag with a pointy object like a carving fork, not a knife.
[IMG]

Feed a length of butcher’s twine though the hole and tie the string to the bag. Do not use a thin monofilament string that might tend to tear the plastic bag. Take the other end of the string and tie it to the handle of a cabinet door so the lowest corner of the bag hangs about 6-12 inches over your kitchen counter where you will place your collection vessels. (You could forego the string and tying it part, but you would have to have everything else very close at hand and would have to hold the liquid butter for the rest or the procedure – boring and not very appealing. The heavy duty freezer bag and butcher’s twine will easily support this.) Allow the bag to hang for 10 minutes.
[IMG]

You will see the butter separate into three fairly distinct layers as described above. Once the layers are distinct, have the first bowl positioned beneath the lowest corner of the bag. Then use the scissors (not a knife-you need a clean cut) to cut off the corner 1/8” of the bag and allow the watery component to slowly drain into the bowl. If the flow is too slow, and it is clogging, snip off a tiny bit more. It is ok for the corner tip of the bag to fall in because this is refuse.
[IMG]

Once the watery part is emptied, have your mason jar ready and just slide the bowl over and place the mason jar under the flow and catch your clarified butter.

[IMG]

Watch as the golden fatty component drains out, and, when the foamy white top layer is about to drain, slide the first bowl back under to collect the remainder of the fluid in the bag. That’s it. You have one bowl of refuse and one mason jar of clarified butter. If you want to make it even purer, you can pour the clarified butter back into a clean pan and repeat, but unless you misjudge the flow as you collect it, this should not be necessary.
[IMG]

If anything goes wrong on your first attempt, just collect the butter, re-heat and do it again.


Additional notes
Start by cutting a small drain hole in the corner of the bag. If the flow is too slow, you can always cut the hole slightly larger.

It may be necessary to light tap the side of the bag as the butter is draining to unstick the material from the sides of the bag.

I have used this method for over twenty years.

GaryProtein is an avid contributor to discussions throughout Cooking For Engineers.



by GaryProtein
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Gary
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 1:14 am    Post subject: re: Clarified Butter Reply with quote

This looks like a very simple method. My Indian recipes always call for ghee (or clarified butter), so now I'll have to make up a jar using this method to keep on hand. Thanks!
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Dominic
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 3:04 am    Post subject: Ghee vs. Clarified Butter Reply with quote

If I am not mistaken, ghee is traditionally made from clarified browned butter (beurre noisette), while "clarified butter" usually hasn't been browned. The flavors produced by browning the butter solids (proteins) are quite different (almost nutty with hints of a vanilla aroma) than plain clarified butter.
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Occasus
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 4:46 am    Post subject: Unsalted vs salted butter Reply with quote

Most recipes I see on the internet say to use unsalted butter. Is there any reason to use salted butter?
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yatesmachine



Joined: 18 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 4:11 pm    Post subject: What is the normal method of clarifying butter? Reply with quote

How is clarifying butter normally done? Is it really so very difficult?

Props for posting reader generated articles!
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 6:53 pm    Post subject: How Long Reply with quote

How long will clarified butter last in the fridge?
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GUEST
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 8:49 pm    Post subject: Ghee vs. Clarified Butter Reply with quote

Dominic is right. Ghee and clarified butter are not the same thing. To make ghee, the butter is cooked longer til it is a little brown and smells nutty. It makes a big difference in flavour when you use real ghee instead of just clarified butter.
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you start out with very clean vessels, clarified butter could last months in the refrigerator, but if you tend to use it, you won't have to worry about it being around very long. The length of time it lasts is more dependent on how clean everything starts out than the actual clarified butter spoiling.
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DanW
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 3:59 am    Post subject: RE: Unsalted vs salted butter Reply with quote

Quote:
Most recipes I see on the internet say to use unsalted butter. Is there any reason to use salted butter?


The salt will be almost exclusively in the water/protein layer, so from a chemistry perspective, it will not make any difference with your end product.

In laboratory separations, I often find it helpful to add NaCl to the aqueous layer to increase polarity; it helps reduce an emulsion at the interface between two layers. By this token, using salted butter should hasten the separating process.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 11:02 pm    Post subject: chem lab + kitchen Reply with quote

I am a chemical engineering student, and always thought it would be wonderful to use lab equipment for cooking purposes --> I was very excited to see this article. Thanks!!
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:10 am    Post subject: Re: chem lab + kitchen Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
I am a chemical engineering student, and always thought it would be wonderful to use lab equipment for cooking purposes --> I was very excited to see this article. Thanks!!


I'm glad you liked the technique, but DON'T use a laboratory sep funnel unless you have a large one with a large hole in the stopcock. That was my first attempt over 20 years ago, and it didn't work because my sep funnel had too small a hole for the proteinacious matter to pass through-it just clogged up. I would also add, the sep funnel was VERY difficult and time consuming to clean. Just use the plastic bag. I've been there!
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Angel Elf
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 2:51 pm    Post subject: Unsalted vs Salted Butter Reply with quote

Quote:
On Dec 17, 2006 at 11:46 PM, Occasus said...
Subject: Unsalted vs Salted Butter
Most recipes I see on the internet say to use unsalted butter. Is there any reason to use salted butter?


Occasus;
The reason for using unsalted butter in most recipes is because one doesn't know how much salt the butter contains. By using unsalted butter one can control the amount of salt in the dish. Originally salt was added to butter as a preservative not as a flavoring agent.

Someone once said, "All ghee is a type of clarified butter, but not all clarified butter is ghee."
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 6:47 pm    Post subject: In the refridgerator Reply with quote

Is clarified butter solid or liquid refridgerated?
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:07 pm    Post subject: Re: In the refridgerator Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
Is clarified butter solid or liquid refridgerated?


Clarified butter is solid, even if just allowed to cool to room temperature, and is a little harder than regular butter at the same temperature. This is especially noticeable from the refrigerator.
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Melodious
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 3:57 am    Post subject: Fun stuff Reply with quote

i stumbled upon your site. What fun! Love the ideas
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