Ghee vs butter

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georgevan

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I noticed in Indian recipes they often call for ghee. I have never used it and wouldn't know where to get it but am wondering if there might be some advantages to using ghee instead of butter. Any ideas when and where to use it?
 
Ghee is clarified butter that has been cooked a little longer than you would normally to make clarified butter so that it has a slightly nutty taste. The milk solids are removed in the clarifying process so you can use it at higher temperatures than regular butter and it won't burn so quickly. So, it can be used for cooking or spreading on breads, muffins, etc. I wouldn't use it for baking in any recipe that doesn't call for ghee specifically, but otherwise it can be used interchangeably.

Our regular grocery carries ghee in the international foods aisle, but we're in a large metropolitan area. Whole Foods probably carries it.
 
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If there are any South Asian groceries near you, they would likely carry ghee. Another advantage of ghee over butter, is that it will keep a lot longer than butter, especially when there is no way to keep butter cool. If you can't find ghee, you could clarify some unsalted butter and use that. It's the milk solids that will make butter burn at lower temperatures than ghee or clarified butter does. You could also make ghee, but that would take a fair bit longer than just clarifying butter.
 
oh dear . . .
butter does not rapidly spoil. millions of people in Europe use 'butter bells' kept at room temperature. now . . . . keep in mind, European "room temperature" is 5-8 degrees lower than American "room temperature'

I have a butter bell, for lack of readily available alternatives, I stock it with KerryGold.
from the bell, it is not hard, it spreads readily / easily - pancakes, waffles, toast, rolls, biscuits . . . .
work for me in mid-Penna except in summer - when 'room temperature' gets so warm that the butter 'sorta' melts and falls out' of the bell.

some people go absolutely bonkers over butter not kept refrigerated . . . their loss.
 
If you want to make your own ghee, it's easy to make, you'll save a lot of money, and it will taste a lot better than the commercial ones.

First, for almost a pound of ghee, have a wide-southed pint mason jar to store it in (best thing to store it in and dig some out - you can even freeze it, due to the tapered shqpe). Then take about a 3 qt stainless saucepan (it foams up some, at first) and melt a lb of unsalted butter in it over med-low heat (you could do it higher, then lower it, but I always figure there's no hurry). There is 20% milk in with 80% butterfat, which is what you end up with. This will cook off, foaming up towards the end of cooking off, and it will slow down - this is when to check the temp. It will start going over 212° faster now, with most of the water boiled off, and the milk solids will start browning, once the temperature gets higher. Once the temp gets to 280° pour the butter into a SS bowl - best thing for it to cool in, I've found. Most of the browning will be stuck to the pan, which is good here, since you will be filtering it from the butter, to make the ghee. Once the butter is around 150-160°, filter the butter and put in the jar, let cool, and refrigerate.

Something I do, when baking all those cookies at this time of year, is brown some butter using this method, but I add milk into the browned butter, to return the weight to what it started at - this way, the butter can be used in any recipe calling for butter, and will have that 20% moisture in it. When I brown the butter, I stir it frequently, to keep the browned bits from sticking - this is a flavor component you want in this butter. But it's good when most of it sticks to the pan, when making ghee, as you will eventually filter it all out of there.

As for the dishes the ghee is best in, I find the ones with high amounts of spices and other seasonings (the ones I make the most!) don't really benefit from the ghee flavor, so I don't use it in those. In the ones with simpler seasoning, the flavor will come through more.
 
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All the Indian recipes I have seen for making ghee say to throw out the browned milk solids. But, I have read that in North African and the Levant, people use it as spread on toast. Sounds less wasteful to me.
 
oh dear . . .
butter does not rapidly spoil. millions of people in Europe use 'butter bells' kept at room temperature. now . . . . keep in mind, European "room temperature" is 5-8 degrees lower than American "room temperature'

I have a butter bell, for lack of readily available alternatives, I stock it with KerryGold.
from the bell, it is not hard, it spreads readily / easily - pancakes, waffles, toast, rolls, biscuits . . . .
work for me in mid-Penna except in summer - when 'room temperature' gets so warm that the butter 'sorta' melts and falls out' of the bell.

some people go absolutely bonkers over butter not kept refrigerated . . . their loss.
Odd, most everyone I know leaves their butter out on the counter. I don't have a butter bell, just a regular butter dish but my butter hasn't spoiled yet (and I've been leaving it out most of my life). Granted we go through about 1/4 lb per week so if we rarely used butter I might refrigerate it.
 
Butter absolutely can spoil at room temperature. It takes a while to do it. We leave ours at room temperature and it has been quite a while since it has gone off, but it has happened. It has smelled funny; it has changed colour; and it has grown mould.
 
Butter absolutely can spoil at room temperature. It takes a while to do it. We leave ours at room temperature and it has been quite a while since it has gone off, but it has happened. It has smelled funny; it has changed colour; and it has grown mould.
I'm sure it can, just has never happened to me. But our house stays cold year round and we go through it fast.
 
... Another advantage of ghee over butter, is that it will keep a lot longer than butter, especially when there is no way to keep butter cool. ...
I mentioned that, because making your butter last longer was one of the reasons that it became popular in hot countries, like India. Making butter into ghee is an ancient technique.
 
I wouldn't say it has the same benefits, but it does have the same things in it, like cholesterol, and has 100% fat, instead of the 80%, that normal butter has.
 
DOES Ghee have the same health benefits as butter?
Yes, it sure does. Ghee will have more fat but doesn't contain lactose for those that are intolerant. Both butter and ghee are loaded with vit A and also has vit E, D, B12 and K2. Both have some special fats called vaccenic and conjugated linoleic acid which are good for gut health and have shown to reduce inflammation. There's been a lot of studies over the last decade that shows dairy fat to benefit heart health.

The whole cholesterol and saturated fat theory's have never been shown to be causative for heart disease and only that it raises LDL, well, now we know, actually it's been known for decades but it's only recently those facts are coming out and that saturated fat when replacing other nutrients in the diet and more specifically carbs, influence the larger particles of LDL where carbs and more specifically refined carbs promote the small dense sdLDL, which are specifically found in the arteries and rarely the larger particles. Also when we replace carbs with natural fat (saturated fat) other health markers are influenced which is the lowering of triglycerides and an increase in HDL cholesterol, 2 markers that are far more predictive of heart disease and butter and other natural saturated fats improve both of these, and also reduces C-reactive protein which is our inflammatory marker.

Heart disease isn't a disease of cholesterol or a fat it's a disease of inflammation like the rest of the non communicable diseases and 88% of Americans are inflicted with at least one type, like, insulin resistance, fatty liver, cancer, respiratory problems, diabetes, heart disease, depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, Alzheimer's. If you want to point a finger at anything that is actually causative of heart disease and pretty much all of the non communicable diseases there's actually thousands of studies to show it's sugar, refined carbohydrates and Ultra Processed foods when consumed in excess. 75% of all deaths world wide are from non communicable disease. Eat your butter and as much whole food as you can tolerate, including animal products, don't leave them out. Lecture over, sorry could resist and let this slide by without comment. :)
 
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Well, if you are lactose sensitive, ghee is much healthier. Better also for cooking with it's higher smoke point.

I've not done this but you can also keep the removed parts, as taxy mentioned. Various names for it being Mawa, Khujdi or Thuppada Gassi. Supposedly delicious from savoury to sweets.
this way you'd have the best of both worlds.

Then butter is less unhealthy. I'll stick with butter.
It is only less unhealthy if you use less.
 
I noticed in Indian recipes they often call for ghee. I have never used it and wouldn't know where to get it but am wondering if there might be some advantages to using ghee instead of butter. Any ideas when and where to use it?

George, you got 20 answers, but not a real answer to your original question.
Since ghee is clarified butter (with the milk solids removed, you can cook at high temperatures without burning the butter.

If you want to do something like a sear on scallops, butter will burn at temperatures high enough to sear, thus leaving the scallop black and charred, instead of deep golden brown. Using ghee lets you sear the scallop over very high heat, to caramelize the surface to a deep golden brown, without any burning. You could use oil, but then you wouldn't get the wonderrful flavor of the butter. So ghee gives you the high-heat capabilities of oils, but with the flavor of butter.

Other than high heat searing, regular butter is simpler, cheaper, more flavorful (due to the milk solids), and easier. So choose depending on the dish. For most purposes, use butter. For high heat searing, used clarified butter or ghee.
 
George, you got 20 answers, but not a real answer to your original question.
Since ghee is clarified butter (with the milk solids removed, you can cook at high temperatures without burning the butter.

If you want to do something like a sear on scallops, butter will burn at temperatures high enough to sear, thus leaving the scallop black and charred, instead of deep golden brown. Using ghee lets you sear the scallop over very high heat, to caramelize the surface to a deep golden brown, without any burning. You could use oil, but then you wouldn't get the wonderrful flavor of the butter. So ghee gives you the high-heat capabilities of oils, but with the flavor of butter.

Other than high heat searing, regular butter is simpler, cheaper, more flavorful (due to the milk solids), and easier. So choose depending on the dish. For most purposes, use butter. For high heat searing, used clarified butter or ghee.

Umm, I gave him several uses, as well as where he might find it.
 

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