Clarifying butter, clarified…

I did something this morning I’ve been going to do for years, and never got around to, because I thought it was difficult – I clarified a pack of butter. And, despite the best efforts of some online advisers, it turned out to be remarkably easy.

I like using butter in cooking, but it burns easily, then makes the whole dish bitter. Clarified, though, you’re left with pure butter, with the liquid and the milk solids removed. I wasn’t hard at all, though the instructions I found online make it look hard, and dangerous, but I found an easier way.

When you heat the butter, gently, the liquid (milk) settles to the bottom, and the milk solids float and can be skimmed off easily.The tricky bit is pouring off every drop of melted butter without getting the milk. The last part, when you have almost equal amounts of butter and milk left, is almost impossible, and there are several often extravagant – and dangerous – ways suggested online for doing it. I just poured it into a tiny stainless-steel pan, about 3″ in diameter, chilled it in the fridge then, later, just lifted off the hard disk of butter, blotted the underside dry on kitchen paper, and threw the milk away. No smoke or dangerously hot fat involved. So, the question is – as this method is so easy, can I really be the first person to use it? It seems so, as I can find no references to it. If you know different, don’t shatter my illusion. 😉


3 thoughts on “Clarifying butter, clarified…

  1. I use that method (refrigeration) when I have time. Or you can just use a sieve with a bit of cloth or a paper towel in it to pour the heated butter through…

    • Apparently, coffee filters work very well, but as I don’t drink coffee, I’ll stick with the chilling method. Interestingly, though, I’ve had another search and I can’t find it mentioned anywhere, yet it’s so simple, not to mention obvious.

      I’ve done that for as long as I can remember, with the fat removed from the top of a stew once it’s gone hard overnight (that’s not a contradiction to what I was saying about my meat-eating, my stews are heavy on veggies and, sometimes, pulses), before reheating. I just take about 90% of the fat off the top (totally fat-free is vile) – with whatever else comes with it, melt it in a tiny pan, strain the fat into a ramekin, put the solids back in the stew and the ramekin in the fridge. A couple of hours later I have a solid disk of fat, on top of a layer of jelly. The jelly goes back into the stew, and the disk of fat (very tasty, from the herbs and stuff in the stew), gets tossed in the fryer.

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