Jill Prescott’s Ecole de Cuisine | Ten Speed Press, 2001
Butter is made up of three components: water, milk solids, and fat. The process of clarifying butter removes the water and milk solids, leaving behind pure fat. Clarified butter has a wide range of uses, including sauteing meat and seafood, emulsifying sauces and giving shine to chocolate icing.
Note: You will lose one-fourth to one-third of the butter in the clarifying process, so check how much your recipe calls for, and decide how much whole butter to start with.—Jill Prescott
1. Cut a stick or 2 of unsalted butter into cubes and place into a small heavy saucepan over medium heat.
2. Let the butter simmer briskly, without stirring, until the mixture separates. After the water evaporates, you will see clouds of milk solids begin to fry in the clear golden butterfat. The solids should just begin to turn golden, which ensures a clearer fat.
3. Remove from the heat and pass the butter through a fine-mesh strainer lined with damp cheesecloth into a heatproof container. (Dampening the cheesecloth allows every precious drop of fat to slide through the cloth, rather than being absorbed into it.) Cool before pouring into plastic storage containers, then refrigerate or freeze (I like to keep some in the fridge and some in the freezer). Clarified butter will harden upon storage, so keep it in shallow, wide, covered containers so it’s easy to scoop. Deli containers work well. The containers should in turn be placed in ziplock plastic bags to prevent odor absorption in the refrigerator or freezer. Clarified butter can hold for 2 months in the refrigerator and 8 months in the freezer.
Recipe © 2001 Jill Prescott. Photo © 2009 Chiot’s Run All rights reserved.