What is clarified butter and why would I want to use it?
Clarified butter is butter that has had the milk solids removed. Milk solids burn in high heat.
Removing the milk solids (or clarifying butter) helps it to withstand higher temperature cooking temperatures without burning. Milk solids contain the parts of butter people are usually sensitive to.
When I make my clarified butter, I choose to use Kerrygold brand. It is a high quality pure Irish butter made from milk that comes from grass-fed cows on small family farms. I use one package of salted butter and one package of unsalted butter of the same size (8 ounces each) to make the salt content taste similar to salted butter.
Place unwrapped butter in a small thick-bottomed saucepan. Melt slowly over low heat without stirring. After the butter is completely melted, set aside and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
Your butter will separate into three layers. The top layer will be thin, foamy milk solids, skim this off with a spoon the best you can, discard or give to a friend who is not sensitive to milk solids. The middle layer will be transparent and bright yellow. This is pure butter fat, the part you want to keep. In the bottom there will be some water and more milk solids.
Pour the butter fat through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth into a heat-proof container, stopping just as the milk solids on the bottom start streaming into the sieve, be careful not to pour the milk solids from the bottom of the pan into the butter fat. Again, discard the milk fat or give it to someone who will use/eat it. It makes a great addition to white sauce for those who eat pasta.
Storing Clarified Butter
Clarified butter has the milk solids removed; this is the part that goes rancid quickly, so your new butter will stay good longer. It will pick up odors and flavors from other foods quite easily (especially when warm), so store clarified butter in an airtight container. A glass jar with a tight fitting lid is the best choice. Clarified butter can be stored for at least 3 to 4 months in the refrigerator or freeze for 6 months or more.