Clarified butter is a staple in professional kitchens. Made by melting butter to break the water and fat emulsion, you first skim away the milk solids and then the pure butterfat—the clarified butter itself.
Unlike vegetable oils, which are 100% fat, butter is a mixture of water, milk solids, and fat. Its high-water content makes it prone to spoilage, and the milk solids are responsible for butter’s low smoke point. Clarified butter removes those two trouble-makers from the equation, leaving you with pure fat that can be used for high-heat cooking with the benefits of butter flavor.
Making clarified butter is best done at least two pounds at a time. You, of course, won’t use this much clarified butter at once, but the process is made simpler with a bigger quantity of butter, and since we’re removing the water, we’re extending the shelf life, meaning you can store clarified butter for a long time.
To make clarified butter:
1. Cut cold unsalted butter into pieces and put the pieces into a heavy saucepan.
2. Melt over medium to low heat until the butter separates into layers; do not stir.
3. Skim the foam layer that forms at the top of the butter and discard.
4. Carefully ladle the clear butter into a clean container leaving the solids and milky liquid at the bottom of the pan.