Homemade Ghee or Clarified Butter is the most satisfying food that one can eat. It can be made by the simplest ingredient available today i.e. milk. Milk when utilized to it’s whole potential is a rich source of may essential vitamins and minerals.
The process of making ghee or butter from scratch is a healthy and highly sustainable process as the complete process is from scratch and even the by products are not discarded. The traditional ghee or clarified butter making supports our health and eco system equally. You can enjoy buttermilk or homemade butter as a by-product.
Sustainability in food is also equally important. Our grandmothers always worked with sustainable practices in all aspects of managing homes. Butter & ghee were made at home from scratch and each of its by-products were used too. I do the same! I contribute by using every single by-product from the milk to ghee in my own home. Milk-malai-curd-butter-buttermilk-chenna-ghee for the win!
This is not as easy as it sounds, well atleast for me. How many times I promised V in last 5 yrs that I’ll give you home made butter & how many times it didn’t happen. Like all food items, V loves home made butter and I have only managed to start churning it in the last few months. So ladies like me who struggle with it or would like to learn it, here are few pointers.
The How-To is quite simple and difficult at the same time. The most important thing is to let the temperature around you govern the temperature of water. Peak summers like in Delhi, need cold water with ice-cubes also sometimes and chilly winters would need warm to hot water.
But in a moderate climate like Pune, I usually use room temperature water only, with very occasionally using cold or lukewarm water.
Weather or room temperature determines this process – In winters use hot to room temp water for all steps. In summer, you would need chilled water or ice for separating & washing. As the butter needs to stick together to form a blob and in summers due to heat, its very flowy in nature we need chilled water. In winters the room temperature is lower so it forms a firm blob together much easily and doesn’t need cold water.
The process of utilizing the cream of milk to make ghee is a zero waste process. here, we get white butter, buttermilk, which can be used to make kadhi and the residue of ghee used to knead in dough for making parathas or adding milk and sugar to make sweets.
There is no bigger pleasure than liberally smearing your Indian flatbread with home-made ghee. I have come across few clarified butter bakes too and would soon be trying them out.
How To Make Ghee or Clarified Butter
- full cream milk
- 1 tbsp yogurt homemade curd
- 1 litre cold water or ice
- Boil milk. After the milk boils, keep it aside without disturbing it, so that cream can form on the upper layer of milk. Refrigerate this milk.
- After a few hours of refrigeration, the top layer will firm into a thick cream layer.
- Gently remove the cream and store in a separate bowl. Store the cream bowl back in the refrigerator.
- Repeat this process till you have collected enough quantity of cream. (1 litre of boiled milk should give around 250 ml of cream in 7-8 days)
- Warm the collected cream and allow it to cool a little. When it is cooled just enough for setting of curd, add 1 tablespoon of curd into it and mix well. For setting curd, the temperature should be lukewarm – neither too hot nor too cold.
- Allow the cream to set just like curd in a warm place. When the cream is set, refrigerate it. I usually allow it to set for 3-4 hours and then keep it back in refrigerator for 10-12 hours or overnight before churning butter out of it.
- Remove the set cream and allow it to come to room temperature for an hour or two. Then churn using a stick blender. I use a local-made, heavy duty stick blender which is used in many households specifically for churning butter only. Check the image above.
- After a few mins, the cream will start separating and you will see butter. Add cold water if required to separate. The amount and the temperature of water needed depends upon the weather conditions as well as how soon you started churning the butter after removing set cream from refrigerator.
- The butter & milk should be clearly separated where the butter floats above and forms big blobs.
- In a wok, take about half glass of chilled water or ice and remove the butter & put in it.
- Quickly rinse off the butter in this water. Continue rinsing the butter in cold water and removing the discarded water in a separate vessel.
- Repeat it till the water no longer turns milky on rinsing but it remains transparent. This is the indication that milk and butter have separated completely.
- By now the butter comes together in a big big blob. By the end of this step we have one vessel of butter milk (which is discarded water which we rinsed butter with) and homemade butter.
- You can garnish buttermilk with seasoning (ghee, cumin seeds, salt, mint leaves) & serve or plain. Use butter as desired.
- If you do not want to use the butter here, then put the prepared butter in a wok and allow it to slowly melt into ghee or clarified butter over slow flame.
- Slowly, the water content will evaporate leaving behind ghee or clarified butter. Residue will dry and become elastic and chewy chenna.
- Strain the ghee into the desired container. I usually store in a steel or glass container with wide mouth. The ghee can be stored at room temperature and used as per need. Use as desired.
- Remove the chenna from strainer & use it to knead parantha dough. This yields a soft & crumbly parantha with rich taste.
- Alternatively you can create after meal snack from this chenna by simply adding powdered sugar to it. Kids love it & it becomes a wonderful on the go snack.