Ghee, Butter & Buttermilk – and MILK is all you need to make them at home!
Fats have always been slandered over years, or probably, decades. WHY? Because, you & I, have only rummaged around incomplete & poorly researched facts & incidences involving them. Now, what I mean by ‘them’ is a cocktail of fatty acids, cholesterol, lipids, saturated & trans-fats that we’ve concocted in our minds. And, ghee & butter are casualties of this kind, guys!
With this post, you would learn how to make the most rewarding by-products of milk. Ghee, butter & buttermilk (‘Chaas‘ in Hindi). Now, before you move down towards the ‘recipe’, I’d love to blow the air of half-scientific spurns away from my culinary favorites. And let’s all know all cholesterol is a substance we can’t be alive without. It’s established to be an important constituent of our cell membranes through which inter- & intra-cellular communication takes place.
While there’s always been an uproar that blood cholesterol is bad for the heart. But recent researches have only demonstrated that it’s attributed to the ratio of HDL(High-density lipoproteins)/LDL(Low-density lipoproteins). HDL is the good cholesterol & LDL, the bad one. So, if your LDL is high, that’s bad & vice-versa. Ghee is essentially that food which contributes to your HDL, & not LDL. And perhaps, that’s why this innocent substance has earned a ‘notoriety’ for its ‘cholesterol content’.
BUTTER – It’s an amazing substance derived upon churning curdled milk cream(milk fat) & letting it ferment for a while to form a soft, fluffy & smooth solid. While churning the fermented milk, the liquid eventually disintegrates to visibly form the butter & some buttermilk. As per dietetics, the normal butter contains about 80% milk fat. Yet, it’s got some great benefits:
- Helps digestion
- Relieves constipation
- Is good for the bones (being rich in Vitamin K, that’s essential for bone growth & repair)
- Has anti-cancer properties
- Boosts immunity
- Is good for the heart
- Helps stabilize blood sugar
- Is a fat, still doesn’t contain carbs that fatten.
- Is super-delicious!
BUTTERMILK – Buttermilk, like I said above, is another by-product you get as you churn the butter(fat) out of the curled liquid. And NO! You DON’T get buttermilk on mixing butter with milk! 😀
Here’s what this underrated drink actually boasts of:
- Renders a perfectly healthy digestion process. It contains good bacteria that protect your gut.
- Has a remarkably soothing feeling when irked with indigestion, acidity & excessive body heat.
- Is an excellent refreshment for summers (time to ditch your high cal beverages!)
- Has all the essential macro-nutrients out of which proteins are found in abundance; thus ideal for fat loss & weight gain.
- Helps make you feel better after you’ve had a really heavy meal. Say, after a lunch-out where your friends forced you to guzzle literally everything from the menu! 😉
- Relieves mouth ulcers
- Eases constipation
- Is quite used as an ingredient to many varieties of instant dosas (rice crépes).
- Is the best choice after tender coconut water to offer in dehydration scenes.
GHEE – Now, ghee is what you get after heating the butter to a very, very high temperature. To its smoking point (when it starts giving off vapors on heating). During this high-heating process, all the milk solids present in the butter are eliminated & you’re left with a beautifully sparkling golden liquid – GHEE or clarified butter. The aroma that fills your house right from the time you start making it on the flame through the rest of the day is so good, it’ll make you cry happy tears. 🙂
Well, as a growing teen, I never really had an eye for details of my mother’s cooking. So, whenever I knew she would make ghee, I would often frown & ask her to buy it ready-made from a store! “Why do you go about so much hassle, Mom?“, used to be my stinging question to her. And whenever she’d try to assert that it wasn’t even remotely a ‘hassle’ by showing me the procedure, I would snub her midway. Come on! It isn’t strange for a 17-18 year old to know the details of making something when she entered the kitchen only to ask mum for snacks. In fact, it was only after my pregnancy did I start appreciating the goodness of homemade/desi ghee over the store-bought one. Always fresh, unadulterated, tasty, nutritious & non-fattening.
Ghee has benefits very similar to those of butter. Here’s what it has for you:
- Aids digestion & relieves constipation
- Is totally safe & ideal for those who are lactose-intolerant.
- Is ideally safe for lactose-intolerant people. That’s because ghee is devoid of all the milk solids which trigger sensitivities in the intolerant dairy consumers.
- Is great for both weight loss (fat burn) & weight gain (gaining muscle mass), as it boosts metabolism to a great pace that’s a prerequisite for a healthy weight loss/gain regime.
- Is good for your bones (especially the older folks & women above the age of 40, when the bones begin to lose strength with menopause drawing nearer)
- Strengthens your immunity, especially to cold & common respiratory infections.
- Is a great food for your baby & even the older, growing children. You should consider feeding at least 1 teaspoon of ghee to your baby every day.
So, here’s how I make ghee, butter & buttermilk once every month (And so can you, WITHOUT A BLENDER/FOOD PROCESSOR!).
Traditionally, in India, often a streamlined wooden churner (called ‘ravi‘) is widely used in many households. However, I use a big glass bottle of this kind to do the fun thing after I’ve collected enough cream to go ahead with. For some unknown reasons, I’ve always found the bottle method to be easier & convenient for me.
MAKING BUTTER & BUTTERMILK (because you get them together)
- Boil milk in a vessel that causes it to froth with the cream to the brim.
- Let it cool & then skim over the milk to get the cream out. Transfer the cream into an empty glass bottle.
- Repeat Step 2 for at least 15-20 days & collect all the cream to put into the bottle (I do this for a month as the milk that’s available here already contains minimal fat).
- When you’ve got enough cream collected in the bottle, add 3-4 few tablespoons of milk. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to it. If the milk is very creamy (thick), you could also consider adding 2-3 tablespoons of water.
- Cap the bottle firmly & start shaking it slowly but steadily for about 15-20 minutes. Usually that’s how long the butter fat takes to separate from the milk. Nonetheless, the duration may differ based on the type, texture & fat-content of the milk used. High-fat milk is the quickest to yield butter & buttermilk.
- So, when all the creamy solid starts to accumulate & float on the surface of the liquid, open the bottle & just strain the liquid over a fine sieve. Strain as you finally empty the bottle into a vessel/jar.
- Now, what you have in the sieve is your tasty, unsalted & creamy butter. And your other vessel has freshly churned buttermilk.
After making the butter, you can retain some of it to use for cooking/tempering purposes like I do & make ghee out of the remnant.
I usually infuse my ghee with 3-4 Tulsi (Holy Basil leaves) for the aromatic flavor & its medicinal benefits. You could, anyways, skip this if you don’t find these leaves around you.
- (Optional) Wash & clean the Tulsi leaves.
- Grab a thick-bottomed vessel/wok. Add all the butter you want to make ghee from.
- (Optional) Add the Tulsi leaves too.
- Start with a flame on the sim-mode.
- Keep stirring as the solid mass slowly starts melting into a frothy liquid.
- Notice as the color changes from light yellow to deeper hues. From yellow to orange to dark orange.
- At this point, the completely molten butter starts giving off vapors & froths as you stir.
- It’s time to switch the flame off immediately.
- You’ll see some undissolved dark particles at the bottom of the vessel. Those are the milk solids that just got stripped off.
- Wait for it to cool down to room temperature. If you live in a colder place, you could carefully strain the ghee over a sieve & collect it into a stainless steel container (before the ghee solidifies along with the particles in it.) The particles will be trapped by the sieve.
Hurray! You’ve just made your first organic & fresh ghee.
Let me know how you make ghee & butter at your home. And if you’re trying this bottle method, do share how it turned out to be!