The rich tradition of baking with ghee and clarified butter

NNicholas January 28, 2024 7:01 AM

From India's ghee-infused naan bread to the delectable French croissants made with clarified butter, using these rich, aromatic fats in baking is a tradition that spans across cultures. Let's explore the wonderful world of baking with ghee and clarified butter and why these golden liquids are not just a healthier substitute to regular butter but also bring a distinct flavor that can elevate your baked goods to a whole new level.

What are ghee and clarified butter?

Both ghee and clarified butter are derived from regular butter, but they're not the same thing. Ghee is a type of clarified butter that's cooked longer to bring out its nutty flavor. Clarified butter, on the other hand, is simply butter that's been heated to separate the water and milk solids, leaving behind only the pure butterfat.

The benefits of baking with ghee and clarified butter

  1. Higher Smoke Point: Both ghee and clarified butter possess a higher smoke point than regular butter. This means they can withstand higher baking temperatures without burning, making them perfect for a wide range of baked goods.

  2. Long Shelf Life: Thanks to the removal of milk solids, ghee and clarified butter have a longer shelf life and don't require refrigeration, which makes them a practical choice for many households.

  3. Rich in Nutrients: Ghee is packed with vitamins A, E, and K2 and is also a good source of healthy fats.

  4. Lactose and Casein Free: Both ghee and clarified butter are free from lactose and casein, making them a great choice for those with dairy sensitivities.

Incorporating ghee and clarified butter into your baking

Substituting ghee or clarified butter for regular butter in your baking is as simple as matching the quantities in your recipe. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, you can replace it with 1 cup of ghee or clarified butter. However, it's worth noting that ghee and clarified butter bring a unique flavor profile, which can subtly change the taste of your baked goods.

Recipes incorporating ghee and clarified butter

  • Ghee Cookies: These cookies are wonderfully crisp with a rich, buttery flavor. Simply replace the butter in your favorite cookie recipe with ghee.

  • Clarified Butter Brioche: With its high fat content, Brioche is the perfect bread to make with clarified butter. The result is a decadently rich and tender loaf that's just begging to be slathered with more butter and enjoyed with a cup of coffee.

  • Ghee Banana Bread: This banana bread recipe uses ghee instead of regular butter for a moist, dense loaf with a hint of nuttiness.

  • Clarified Butter Pound Cake: This recipe takes the classic pound cake and elevates it with the use of clarified butter, resulting in a cake that's incredibly moist and flavorful.

The tradition of baking with ghee and clarified butter is a testament to their versatility and the depth of flavor they can add to baked goods. Whether you're exploring new baking techniques or simply looking for healthier alternatives, consider giving ghee and clarified butter a try. You might just discover a new favorite ingredient.

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