What is clarified butter?

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Clarified butter is plain butter that has been simmered to separate the butterfat from the milk solids and water.  Because the milk solids burn at a lower temperature than butterfat’s smoke point, removing them will allow you to enjoy the flavor of butter even when cooking at higher temperatures that would burn plain butter.  Melted clarified butter also plays an important role in hot emulsion sauces such as hollandaise sauce (see our bearnaise sauce recipe for an example).

Clarified butter is hard to find and often sold for high prices in stores, but it’s relatively easy to make at home as long as care is taken not to burn the milk solids (how to clarify butter).  Though clarified butter will solidify in the fridge, it will melt quickly to become more of an oil consistency when placed in a hot pan.


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