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When I started GAPS Intro, one of the many things I had to do was learn how to make ghee.
I had never used it before, as I love me some butter. But part of the GAPS Intro process is introducing ghee in Stage Two. And later when I learned that dairy – even butter – was triggering acne, ghee became a staple in my diet.
Even a little bit of milk solids left in the bottom of my ghee could make me break out if I accidentally ate them, so my ghee needed to be clean. Bought from the store, this is guaranteed. But that stuff is expensive! Rule #1 of real food on a budget is to make it myself.
I struggled with this, however. I just couldn’t get it to separate properly, and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong! Soon I learned: there is a difference between clarified butter and ghee.
They are very similar, as both involve heating butter to remove water, casein, and lactose. Ghee, however, cooks for longer and has a more toasted flavor. Not only is the flavor slightly different, but it is also easier to get everything out. It leaves you with pure dairy fat that most people can tolerate, even if sensitive to dairy.
Oh, and it tastes so good.
How to Make Ghee
Choosing your butter: Quality of butter is most important. Ideally, you will want organic butter from grass-fed cows. Cultured butter is also amazing, but not necessary. If you have the choice between salted and unsalted, go with unsalted. I find that most of the salt stays with the milk solids, so it is not a big deal if you plan on throwing those out. But if you feed them to someone, like I do to my husband, unsalted butter makes them better.
You can start your butter from frozen, refrigerated, or softened. Whichever you choose will affect your cooking time. I use refrigerated butter unless I forget to pull some out of the freezer. I find it is easiest to get the wrappers off when refrigerated.
Many methods for making ghee use a cast iron pan and the stove. I have tried this method and failed almost every time. I either do not cook the ghee enough, or I burn it terribly and waste an entire pound of butter. It is a problem. Luckily, there is a fool proof method that will give you perfect ghee every time: the oven!
With this method, simply preheat your oven to 250°F, place your butter into a casserole dish or cast iron pan, and place in the oven for about an hour. No muss, no fuss. You can just forget it until the timer goes off with no chance of it burning! See below for more detailed instructions and what to look for to ensure the ghee is done.
The biggest trick is ensuring that the ghee is obtained without bringing any of the milk solids with. I employ a few different transfer techniques for this, including a fine mesh strainer, a spoon, and decanting. Your sensitivity to dairy will affect how careful you have to be.
Ghee is shelf stable and can be stored in a glass mason jar at room temperature. I always keep mine in the refrigerator just to be safe, but take it out half an hour before meals (if I remember) to let it soften a bit. It is hard as a rock in the fridge!
Garlic Infused Ghee
Before we get to the detailed recipe, I want to share my favorite way to make ghee: garlic-infused ghee! I discovered this when I decided to eliminate FODMAPS for a couple weeks and couldn’t bear the idea of no garlic. Since FODMAPS are water soluble, oils and fats can be infused with the flavor of the garlic without taking on any of the FODMAPS some people with digestive issues need to avoid. Try frying salmon in garlic infused ghee or pouring it over green beans. WOW! Whether you need to avoid FODMAPS or not, that will change your life.
To make garlic infused ghee, chop or crush 6-10 cloves of garlic. 6 is what is generally recommended, but I really like garlic. I use a lot. Put the garlic in the oven-safe dish with the butter and let them bake together the whole hour that you are making your ghee. When the ghee is finished, strain the garlic out with the milk solids. Simple, and amazing.
Both regular and garlic-infused ghee are safe for Stage Two of GAPS Intro.
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