As a kid I remember having hated one smell that came from the kitchen. It was the smell of making ghee. I hated it so much that my mother or grandmother would make ghee only when I was out for a few hours, so that the smell would be gone till I'm back! Then I moved to US and brought a can of Ghee with me. It was the easiest way to get ghee but I did not like it as much as the ghee my mother made at home. Having no option, I continued to use it.
After a few months, the ghee was coming to an end, and I was thinking what to buy next. And to my shock, I saw a lot of women posting on Facebook that the ghee they bought from the Indian store had fats separated, some had a weird smell in a few days and some said it was probably adulterated with something. I was so confused about what to do! But, soon my mother came here and said she would make fresh ghee at home. I told her I had heard that unsalted butter yields good ghee here.
A short trip to costco, we picked up Kirkland's Unsalted Sweet Cream Butter which is a 4*1 lb pack and headed home. Straight to the kitchen, and viola; in 20 minutes we had about 3 3/4 lb of ghee. This ghee was made fresh at home, no additives and had just one ingredient, unsalted butter (the belief is that the butter is pure). The experience was amazing, and now I no more need to bother about bringing ghee from India. I can make it fresh at home. It makes a lot of sense as it is fresh, pure and economical compared to the ghee from the Indian store.
Unsalted Butter 1 lb
Let the unsalted butter thaw on the kitchen counter for an hour. This step is not mandatory, but helps make the ghee a little faster. Once the sticks are at room temperature, take a large thick bottom pan and place them in it. Turn the gas to medium flame and let the butter melt completely. Stir it a couple of times. Once the butter has melted, keep the flame to the lowest setting and let it heat.
In a while you will see the butter foam. Keep stirring in intervals to ensure that the butter does not stick to the bottom of the pan. The whole process from start till the foam appearing will take about 8-10 minutes, depending on the pan size and the temperature. Keep stirring till all the foam clears from the top. Once the foam has cleared, you will see some brown particles at the bottom of the pan. When you can see through the transparent ghee, it should most likely be done.
To confirm, sprinkle half a tsp of water on the surface. If it crackles immediately and bubbles on the surface, the ghee is done. If not, heat it for another couple of minutes and repeat the test. Once you have ensured the ghee is cooked, turn down the flame. Remember there is just a few seconds between cooked ghee and burnt ghee. So keep a close eye. Let the pan and the ghee cool a little before transferring it.
I generally prefer glass bottles or mason jars to store the ghee. Clean and completely dry the jars. Then either through a sieve with tiny holes or through a muslin cloth, transfer the ghee to the jars. The total amount of ghee that is prepared is about 3.75 lbs from 4 lbs of butter. Do not close the lids instantly, else the steam will be trapped and will drip into the ghee as water, spoiling it. Close it once it is cool and hardened. Store the bottles in a cool dry place.
For the brown particles that settle at the bottom of the pan, some people including my mother like to add flour, salt and green chili paste and make bhakri out of it. You may want to do that too! I made the ghee and transferred it to three containers, one for immediate consumption, a medium bottle for regular use and the largest jar was refrigerated for future use.