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Efficient clarification of butter

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I like to clarify my own butter using quality organic product.

Most of the solids fall to the bottom of my "melting cylinder" which are easy enough to handle. But I have awful difficulty trying to remove the froth that forms on the surface.

Does this froth need to be removed ? And if so is there an efficient method that doesn't involve turkey basters or my wifes good linen napkins and a very slippery kitchen floor.
post #2 of 11
Removing froth from the top removes impurities that might otherwise burn or discolor (spotting) the food you're cooking. In Sautee'ing, this can also cause some bitterness to delicate foods like fish, or crepes. Of course, in a brown-butter sauce this quality might help.

Don't need to be anal about removing froth. Save the meticulous skimming for the consomme. A little negligible froth wont hurt a bit. For my mise, I simply melt some butter and as much as possible ladle off the froth. That's it! You can pour off the top or chill and separate the water later. I don't, as I'm drawing mostly from the top. Hope this helps.
post #3 of 11
When I clarify butter I do it over a medium low heat and let it go for an hour or so. The butter initially foams but as the butter continues to cook the foam falls back down into the butter and eventually drops to the bottom. You have to be careful when doing it this way as the butter solids will stick to the bottom of your pan and eventually burn if you are not careful. I like doing it this way because it adds a slight nutiness to my clarified butter, making it more like an Indian "ghee".
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #4 of 11
I use a special metal fine mesh skimmer for skimming. I keep a metal bowl near the range to "shake it off" into. Works fine for me. I cook my un-salted butter for about 20-30 minutes. I then pour all of it (minus the froth) into a covered Pyrex measuring cup. This I cool quickly in a water bath, and then dry it off and put it into the refrigerator over night.

The next day, the clarified butter portion is solid and yellow. At the bottom of the Pyrex cup are the milk solids and a bit or moisture. I found that I can remove the entire "butter plug" and easily scrape off the bottom milk solids and mositure, resulting in a very pure chunk of clarified butter. I then weight out portions (usually 250 g) and use a Food Saver to seal them and keep them in the freezer, excepting of course, that which I need to use immediately.

I find it keeps indefinitely, and makes life so much easier when clarified butter is needed. If I don't need all 250 g, I break off a chunk, re-weigh and reseal the rest and back into the freezer.

doc
post #5 of 11
Clarified butter has an enormously long shelf life in the fridge. I keep a squirt btl of it handy, just run through a water bath when needed.

I use a ladle to scoop off the foam...then use that on hash browns or sauting apples.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #6 of 11
Ah shoot, the restaurant reality is you use a small ladle and push the stuff aside to reach the good stuff. :D
post #7 of 11
I use the foam and bottom bits on popcorn. Yum.

Phil
post #8 of 11
I also use a small, fine mesh skimmer. Or a ladle. Or a large cooking spoon. Or a saucing spoon. Or a regular tablespoon. Or nothing, doing it the way Pete does. :D In other words, it's an easy operation. Nothing to get your knickers in a twist about.

In the stewarding department at school, we made c.b. from the partial pounds returned from classes: dumped them in a pot, melted and allowed to boil, skimmed if someone was nearby to do it (not usually, though), ladled off the clear fat and left the milky stuff and bits of wrapper :rolleyes: in the bottom of the pot. And a place where I used to work made huge batches of a blend of butter and olive oil. If someone had the chance to skim, we would. If not, no problem; we just let all the solids sink eventually and then ladled off the clear fat once the boiling stopped. That made more work for the dishwasher :( , since the solids did cook onto the bottom of the pot. But the resulting product worked -- and kept -- just fine.

I am about to make a new batch of c.b. -- just finishing the 2 pounds/1 kilo I made in March of last year and kept in jars in the fridge. Whenever I need some, I just dig in with a CLEAN knife or spoon. The stuff keeps fine, since you have removed the elements that are likely to go bad.

I also save the stuff I skim off, to put on vegetables. However, I don't save the milky part, or the cooked solids.

Finally: I just read somewhere -- might have been Shirley Corriher (?) talking about advice she received from Paul Prudhomme (?) re: clarifying butter. The advice was: do NOT put the whole thing -- clear fat and milky stuff still on the bottom -- in the fridge uncovered. The fat can pick up odors that way. Make the little extra effort to ladle off the fat while it's still liquid.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #9 of 11
According to Alton Brown and "Good Eats":
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the great advice as always, my knickers will no longer be twisted when clarifying butter. :)
post #11 of 11
The Pyrex measuring cup that I put my melted butter in, has a tight fitting plastic cover. Never had any problem with it picking up flavors, and the milky wet solids are so very easily separated by using this method, I can't imagine doing it any other way.

Excepting, of course, if I didn't mise en place ahead of time and needed the clarified butter immediately!

doc
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