Clarified Butter/ Desi Ghee

The most therapeutic work by far in my kitchen each fortnight is the process of churning the cream curds into butter and then watch it melting away separating from its scum to form something so divinely aromatic.
Surprisingly a lot of my friends think it is a mammoth task to do. I know of some who even do not hesitate discarding the milk cream that floats to the top while using the milk. This has to be a ritual and pretty easy to follow provided you use desi ghee often. If you intend to make Indian food often it is well worth it to have a pot of desi ghee with you.
The overall process may take days together of efforts (if you call it an effort).
A few essentials to remember in making this habit 
- Have a clay or porcelian or stainless steel pot dedicated to collecting cream in your refrigerator
- Remember to refrigerate the pot until you plan to prepare the ghee
- Churn in lightly with a spoon once in 5 days
- Add a spoonful of curd/ yogurt to enable healthy fermentation
- Do not delay the ghee making process beyond 40-45 days in normal weather and 20-25 days during hot weather

Now jumping to the detailed process.

Milk Cream (Buffalo milk cream/ Cow's milk Cream) (collected over days or store bought)
1 tspn yogurt/ curd (optional)

1 pot to collect the cream
thick bottom vessel
strainer/ mesh

1) Collect the cream only until you have sufficient quantity. I often collect a litre or 2. Adding a spoonful daily
2) After a few days add a spoonful of curd or yogurt and mix well. This will aide healthy fermentation.
3) When you have sufficient quantity of cream curd you can decide to churn it to extract fresh butter (desi makkhan)
4) To extract the butter, take the cream curd in a large vessel early in the day (preferably before 8:00/9:00 AM)
5) Start churning with hand blender or old fashioned churner.
6) Add ice cubes or ice cold water to help in churning the cream
7) After a while the whey will start separating and butter will start coming together.
8) Using spoon or finger start removing the butter and drop them in another vessel filled with ice cold water. Dont worry if it appears to be dissolving in water. In a while it will start floating back to the top. 
9) When you are satisfied on the amount of butter extracted and the whey appears very thin and feel like you may not get more you can discard the whey or use it for making chapatis
10) Wash the butter using the water until the water appears clean. This will ensure aromatic ghee. You have to keep dipping the butter back in the water using finger to remove the buttermilk smell.
11) Now take the butter in a heavy bottomed vessel.
12) Heat it on low flame. The butter will start melting and will keep boiling till there is a crusty scum formed.
13) To taste the readiness, drop a couple of drops of water(carefully). If they sizzle the ghee is ready
14) Let it cool down completely
15) Strain in a pot.
16) Discard the scum - although I know some people use it (will find possibilities soon and make a post)

1) You can add 1/2 tspn fennel seeds/ cardamom pods for additional pods
2) Buffalo milk's cream will yield white ghee and Cow's milk will yield yellow ghee


Chef Mireille said…
I have to say I agree with your friends. I don't think this is a task I am willing to put in the effort when desi ghee is readily available in the markets.
preeti garg said…
Awesome post...we also prepared homemade ghee sometime through cream or butter
Srivalli said…
That's really interesting to note how you collect the cream Pradnya. When we make ghee, it's mostly from butter that we buy. The milk what we get these days don't give us so much cream. However I remember my mom making this way when I was a nice to remember those days!
Shobha said…
I always make ghee at home when I am in India.
As you rightly said people make use of the left over scum too..a friend of mine used to make masala rotis with it...adding it to the flour.
Priya Suresh said…
Homemade ghee from the scratch, my grandma do the same way too,but i'll make directly with butter, well done.
Kalyani said…
takes me back to the days when grandmom and mom used to collect the butter thus over weeks at a stretch to make that lovely aromatic ghee.. lovely post Pradnya

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Unknown said…
Even i prepare ghee at home but with unsalted butter available....Remembering olden days...
my aunt make ghee in this way only...
homemade is always like a heaven .
Usha said…
I remember my grandma making it and even my other use to make few years ago. She says, these days the milk isn't that cream and has stopped collecting it.
Jayanthi said…
Making ghee with ready made butter is all I can handle. Neither me nor my fridge has the patience to store the milk cream for days. I remember my grandma doing all that...Kudos to you must be tasting so different from store bought butter.
Pavani said…
My mom uses the same method and keeps exporting it over to me that I keep in the fridge for months sometimes.
Very helpful post.
divyagcp said…
Such a detailed post loved it. Am sure it tastes divine.But seems like a huge task. I too make ghee at home but with store bought butter.

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Cool Lassi(e) said…
Great post. Ghee is such a quintessential thing in an Indian kitchen!
Padmajha said…
I preapre ghee at home from regular butter but never tried it from cream.I remember mom collecting the cream and making butter out of it...
Harini R said…
a very nostalgic post. I used to help my mom with this process which was a weekly ritual for us. But now it is reduced to just melting the store bought butter :(

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