We use in the German cuisine clarified butter (or “Butterschmalz” in German) a lot, and you can buy it in every supermarket. As I had some problems to find it in a US supermarket I thought it might be a good idea to write down the recipe of how you make clarified or drawn butter, or another name would be “Ghee”. You can find it in special stores but ghee is quite high priced.
Clarified butter is produced by melting butter; the water evaporates, some solids float to the surface and are skimmed off, and the remainder of the milk solids sink to the bottom and are left behind when the butter fat (which would then be on top) is poured off.
Clarified butter has a higher smoke point than regular butter and is, therefore, preferred in some cooking applications, such as sautéing. It also has a much longer shelf life than fresh butter.
Unsalted butter of very good quality, cut into cubes
– In a saucepan heat butter over very low heat, and let it completely melt. Let it simmer until the foam rises to the top of the melted butter; it may splutter a bit, watch out!
– Once the butter stops spluttering, and no more foam seems to be rising to the surface, remove from heat and skim off the foam with a spoon.
– Line a mesh strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth or gauze or cotton muslin, and set the strainer over a heatproof container.
– Carefully pour the warm butter through the strainer, leaving behind any solids from the bottom of the pan.
You can keep the clarified butter up to 3 to 6 months in the fridge.
The French have created a special butter called “Beurre Noisette” which is tasty over steamed vegetable because of its nut-like flavor and smell. Let the butter cook a bit longer before you would pour it through the strainer, and use it as is, with or without foam.