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Store bought ghee

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#1 ojisan

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 09:24 AM

Anyone have recommendations for buying (cow) ghee?

The local Indian markets have different brands. Any suggestions?

Some have more separation than others - that is, more liquid floating over the solids. Is this good, bad or doesn't matter?

How long is the shelf life after opening? I assume it doesn't need refridgeration?

Monterey Bay area


#2 windtrader

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 01:51 PM

Anyone have recommendations for buying (cow) ghee?

The local Indian markets have different brands. Any suggestions?

Some have more separation than others - that is, more liquid floating over the solids. Is this good, bad or doesn't matter?

How long is the shelf life after opening? I assume it doesn't need refridgeration?

View Post

Make your own. I bought it for many years then decided to just make it myself. It is so easy and cheaper plus you know exactly what you have. Go to Costco, buy a block of butter. Throw a 4-6 cubes into a pot, slowly warm up to a low boil, and skim off the scum that floats to the top. Keep doing this until it stops. Let it cool down slightly and then slowly pour in to a clean jar. That's it.

#3 ojisan

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 04:16 PM

(Unable to delete double post)

Edited by ojisan, 10 October 2006 - 04:23 PM.

Monterey Bay area


#4 ojisan

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 04:18 PM

Anyone have recommendations for buying (cow) ghee?

The local Indian markets have different brands. Any suggestions?

Some have more separation than others - that is, more liquid floating over the solids. Is this good, bad or doesn't matter?

How long is the shelf life after opening? I assume it doesn't need refridgeration?

View Post

Make your own. I bought it for many years then decided to just make it myself. It is so easy and cheaper plus you know exactly what you have. Go to Costco, buy a block of butter. Throw a 4-6 cubes into a pot, slowly warm up to a low boil, and skim off the scum that floats to the top. Keep doing this until it stops. Let it cool down slightly and then slowly pour in to a clean jar. That's it.

View Post


Thanks for your response, but it doesn't address my query. I've always made my own, but would like the option to buy it ready-made, and would like some recommendations and opinions....

Monterey Bay area


#5 v. gautam

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 04:19 PM

Melted, dehydrated, sweet cream butter produces butter oil, not ghee. No diacetyls, no complex aroma whatsoever. So in spite of treating yourself to the infrequent luxury of the expense, the calories and the cholesterol, you are simply missing out on one of the real reasons for using ghee.

Cultured butter will produce ghee, but the price is prohibitive in the US.

Superb ghee [equivalent to the best grainy gaowa ghee of Bengal] is produced by melting and extracting the fat from mild Muenster cheese as produced in standard cheese plants in the US, but this pre-supposes your living close enough to such a plant so that you can purchase economically bulk quantities/trimmings.


The Vrindavan brand of ghee is the closest US-produced brand to traditional ghee and you may be sure that the cows have been kept in humane surroundings.

Most others are really butter oil and say so on their label.

If you can find Indian canned ghee [not vegetable ghee, which is hydrogenated oil] of various brands like Amul, best with the NAFED seal/ mark, then these are good for cooking or deep frying.

If you live near NYC, SF or LA, your search will be simpler. Otherwise, IMHO, stay with the Vrindavan brand. That is what I have always used.

Best,
g

Edited by v. gautam, 10 October 2006 - 04:28 PM.


#6 gfron1

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 04:24 PM

In California you're probably looking at Deep brand being you "generic." Its not too bad. I enjoy Swad/Raja Foods which is more on the east coast. I've had some good ghees from Middle Eastern stores as well. In the end it will be a matter of taste of course.

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#7 windtrader

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 05:43 PM

In California you're probably looking at Deep brand being you "generic."  Its not too bad.  I enjoy Swad/Raja Foods which is more on the east coast.  I've had some good ghees from Middle Eastern stores as well.  In the end it will be a matter of taste of course.

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I live in the San Francisco area and the remaining bottle of Ghee on the shelf says "Mohan Pure Ghee" ingredients: clarified butter. Packed by Dev Trading Co. 1430 Crestview Drive San Carols, Ca 94070.

With such a huge East Indian population here, specifically East and South Bay, and the vast variety of specialty markets I am certain you can find a very good quality ghee as deemed by most natives. As with any product, discussions about different quality products amongst discerning folks soon migrate to the fine points as there is no disagreement that the products are quite suitable and of good quality.

@gautam - thanks for the details; I learn more everyday about food - just wish I could consume half as much as I read about. :biggrin: btw - How is Vrindavan packaged? Can or jar? label colors, etc?

Edited by windtrader, 10 October 2006 - 05:46 PM.


#8 gmw

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 07:48 PM

I really like Purity Farms ghee - I buy it at my local co-op. It's definitely on the expensive side in comparison with making your own, but obviously less time-consuming!

Posted Image

I buy it at my local co-op in Ithaca, New York, but according to the label it's a Colorado company, so presumably it can be found around the States. I think it's in the neighborhood of $4 or so.

I tend to use it as a flavoring almost - if I'm making a subji or another dish, I'll often use a plain oil and a small amount of this ghee for the nutty, deep flavor. I use it for tarka if making dals, but don't use a lot at once as it's just too expensive! If used in this manner though, it lasts a good while.

And I can vouch for Purity Farms ghee as quite nice tasting - mine stores well too, I've noticed no degradation of taste whilst on the shelf.

Hope this helps! :smile:

#9 anzu

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 04:13 AM

Some have more separation than others - that is, more liquid floating over the solids. Is this good, bad or doesn't matter?

How long is the shelf life after opening? I assume it doesn't need refridgeration?

View Post


I never noticed a taste difference linked with the amount of separation, so I would guess it doesn't matter.

(If people know otherwise, please say so).


In India we didn't refrigerate bought ghee (Nafed brand), but did refrigerate the home-made stuff because we felt there was a chance that we hadn't got rid of all the water, and therefore it might go bad if left out.

I do refrigerate my ghee now, though. And the reason for this is that I find it less messy with clean-up to gouge a certain amount of solidified ghee out with a knife instead of spooning out liquid ghee. Less wastage also, as you don't have ghee sticking to the knife, and also easier to dish out a very small amount of ghee if that is what you want.

Shelf-life: I don't know. I've never had a problem with it going off, and usually work from pretty large containers. It can sometimes be several months before I've finished the container (since I sometimes move away from ghee for a while and go on a mustard oil kick, then move back to ghee).


On usage. If desired, you can drizzle a tiny bit of ghee into the dish at the end of cooking. You don't need much, but it really brings a nice fresh ghee taste to the food. This is particularly useful if, for health or cost reasons, you would prefer to cook with regular oil but still want the taste of ghee.

Edited by anzu, 11 October 2006 - 04:46 AM.


#10 Milagai

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 09:36 AM

Melted, dehydrated, sweet cream butter produces butter oil, not ghee. No diacetyls, no complex aroma whatsoever. So in spite of treating yourself to the infrequent luxury of the expense, the calories and the cholesterol, you are simply missing out on one of  the real reasons for using ghee.

Cultured butter will produce ghee, but the price is prohibitive in the US.

Superb ghee [equivalent to the best grainy gaowa ghee of Bengal] is produced by melting and extracting the fat from mild Muenster cheese as produced in standard cheese plants in the US, but this pre-supposes your living close enough to such a plant so that you can purchase economically bulk quantities/trimmings.



Best,
g

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Aiyyo! I didn't know this - I've always made ghee at home
by melting just regular butter, simmering for a while until the
foam subsides and the solids fall down, and pouring off the top.

This is not ghee? :shock:

Where do I find this "cultured butter" you speak of, if I want
to keep making ghee at home?

Milagai

#11 Milagai

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 09:36 AM

Melted, dehydrated, sweet cream butter produces butter oil, not ghee. No diacetyls, no complex aroma whatsoever. So in spite of treating yourself to the infrequent luxury of the expense, the calories and the cholesterol, you are simply missing out on one of  the real reasons for using ghee.

Cultured butter will produce ghee, but the price is prohibitive in the US.

Superb ghee [equivalent to the best grainy gaowa ghee of Bengal] is produced by melting and extracting the fat from mild Muenster cheese as produced in standard cheese plants in the US, but this pre-supposes your living close enough to such a plant so that you can purchase economically bulk quantities/trimmings.



Best,
g

View Post


Aiyyo! I didn't know this - I've always made ghee at home
by melting just regular butter, simmering for a while until the
foam subsides and the solids fall down, and pouring off the top.

This is not ghee? :shock:

Where do I find this "cultured butter" you speak of, if I want
to keep making ghee at home?

Milagai

#12 v. gautam

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 09:12 PM

Just going to add my final 2-cents worth; generally i get very pedantic, which is why i choose not to make 'lofty pronouncements' and hide from the forum . However, sometimes, one does get carried away.........

Fo the sake of history, and helping people understand Indian foodways a bit more accurately, at least from the perspective of someone who has grown up with watching all of this as an integral part of one's family/community life.

What i describe is generally true for the north-western quadrant of India, its major dairy quadrant, plus the nothern continental plain in general.

Milk and millets, supplemented with some lentils and pickled fruit/vegetables comprised the mainstay of the farming classes in times past. The semi-arid hot climate and seasonal rains meant that milk could be preserved mainly as its dehydrated fat/oil [for the longest-lasting, most valuable] form, and certain solids that kept for far shorter periods.

Indian milch cattle were bred for high butter fat milk. Two types of butter was commonly known: sweet cream butter, and the one churned from yoghurt that had been set with scalded, cooled, milk innoculated with the regional/local favored cultures of lactobacillus, streptococcus etc. but that always produced a substantial amount of volatile fatty acids, diacetyls etc.ec.

[You realize that sweet cream butter extracted from fresh cream would have fewer of these compounds. ]

The yoghurt was churned with much effort *[so much so that the sweet cream butter is called 'anaayaasa' in classical Sanskrit, meaning 'without effort'] and the resulting butter was stored for however many days the local climate /tradition dictated, and slowly cooked down. This is the pure, ideal DESI GHEE, like country ham, bayonne ham, prosciutto, etc. it implies a certain flavor profile, that continues to develop as it is amenable to storage underground for more than a year.

This is also akin to the middle-eastern smen.

The controlled cooking and controlled oxidation produce liquid crystalline structures that are grainy when cold, and a characteristic flavor profile.

There is a second type of DESI GHEE produced during the cooler months, in certain areas,with another distinct liquid crystal structure and flavor profile. This involves skimming the 'clotted cream' or skin [saraksira] that rises to the after BOILING [note, not scalding, as above] and cooling. After several such collections are made over several days, the mass [which is undergoing microbial activity] is slowly melted down until brown crispy chewy bits are left.

Sometimes, a handful of citrus leaves are added at the last moment to simmer, supposedly adding some preservative quality to the ghee. This ghee retains its carotene far more than the first desi type, but its liquid crystals are quite different.

The chewy milk protein bits become a delicious snack, called khankri in Bangla, mixed in with puffed rice, to which fresh grated coconut and sometimes a bit of palm sugar may be added. Fresh and hot from the cauldron, this is indeed a sublime treat.

Hope i have clarified why clarified butter is not the same as what is expected of PURE DESI GHEE.

As noted before, the complex flavors can be had by melting down a quantity of Utah Muenster cheese and separating the fat: voila, excellent desi ghee!

Otherwise, Vrindavan, [Windtrader, this is for you] comes in glass bottles, 1 lb $8, picture of the child Krishna playing flute, cow in background, is similar, but not same, to desi ghee.


Milagai,

Cabot Cheese brands sells a culturedbutter--very expensive. Otherwise, go to Chowhounds, step-by-step directions. Or make yoghurt out of fresh, non-homogenized Jersey milk, supplemented by high quality fresh cream, churn in blender or automated milk churn while very cold, reserve lo-fat buttermilk and you have cultured butter the Indian way.

* reflected in a churning song from near Punjab:

Gur gur doodh biloye
jathni ke bacce roye
rote hai to rone do
hamko doodh biloyne do

gur gur [sound of the churning]
babies of the village are crying
if they cry, let them cry [unthinkable for indian moms in general!]
let us keep churning the milk [guess who did the churning!!]

Edited by v. gautam, 11 October 2006 - 09:23 PM.


#13 Gabriel Lewis

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 11:55 AM

Extremely interesting comments v. gautam, there is always another level isn't there? I have been making my own ghee at a time and had overtime come to choose the highest quality unsalted cultured butter I could find. I highly doubt it meets your specifications, as I have no idea from what cows it came or to what extent it was cultured, but it made pretty good ghee. Cultured butter never seemd that much more expensive than regular, but maybe it wasn't cultured as you describe it.

I would however, love to go to the extreme that you have described, it sounds convincing to me. If what I have been eating is not ghee, then I will just have to make ghee. Would you be willing to provide some more details?

I have access to some good non-homogenized milk and high quality cream that I think would work well. What level of fat are we talking here for yogurt? Could you give me some rough proportions for the mix of cream and butter? Additionally, how long would one incubate the yogurt for? Are we looking for a tangy yogurt, or a sweet mellower one? You mentioned two cultures of bacteria, is it important that these cultures be used specifically, are the more cultures? And once the yogurt is complete, I would churn it in a blender? On low speed, until a seperation into butter and buttermilk is achieved? Will this butter be like the butter I know at present?

Well, that is my torrent of questions. Any answers are much appreciated.

Oh, I almost forgot, do you know anything about ghee made from buffalo's milk?

#14 v. gautam

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 02:48 PM

Gabriel:

Most or at least a substantial quantity of 'pure desi ghee' in northern India is made from buffalo milk because of its higher fat content, between 7-10%, depending on breed, feeding and the time of milking and other factors.

The maximum butterfat in native Indian cows would generally hover around 5% although 7% has been recorded for elite Red Sindhis evening milk and some Siris; but this is the transient exception.

Consequently, your milk mixture need not exceed 10% fat, although you may simultaneously set up 2 experiments at 15% and 20% fat to see if the microbial populations are adversely affected or not. If not, then you are left with less solids to dispose of, and can carry the experiment further until the point is reached where the microbial activity is suffering owing to the fat content.

Milk & cream mixture scalded [almost to boiling point] to destroy naturally occurring enzymes.

Keep covered, slowly cool to 111-112 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using clean hands and techniques,

Innoculate with live culture full fat yogurt that tastes good to you, 1 teaspoon per liter, brought to room temperature, mixed with a little of the warm milk and then thoroughly mixed in.

Incubate at constant 111-112 F. Should set in 6-8 hours. A thick yellow skin should be visible. For buffalo milk, this yellow color will be lacking, owing to the absence of carotene.

Scoop off the skin, and this will obligatorily carry with it some small amount of the yoghurt. Place in a GLASS container with a cover that can be left in a place that is around 36-40 degrees F [such as a refrigerator]. This will be the culturing step.

Accumulate several days worth of skins.

Here is where you need to be very careful: See if things are turning brutally smelly or BITTER or GREEN; BAD SCENE; things could smell a tiny bit like dirty socks or even sex, [you know, basmati rice and a tiger's strong musk share the same compounds, but its a matter of degree]! Be careful, use your intellect and cooking smarts.

You can make butter out of this (small?) quantity by sqeezing and mauling in a largish basin of cold water [those hands will ache, use rubber gloves, non-bitter]

This butter can be gently baked at 250F for good quality ghee.

OR, just find some very cheap Muenster cheese, melt it, squeeze out the fat, and taste it, to teach your taste buds what ghee might taste like.

An Indian farms would make fairly large quantities of yoghurt, say 5-10 kg worth of milk per night, fermented to a very slight tang in northern India, and churn it for say 750 grams of butter per day. The buttermilk is consumed by a large family, and the butter saved as the 'cash crop' or for later use.

But what would you do with so much buttermilk, unless you have a ready market for genuine buttermilk or are raising high-value pigs or cattle?

Alfa-laval or De-laval used to sell home-sized motorized churns, and Agriculture Canada can help you find sources for home churns if you are interested.

Happy experimenting. Don't be discouraged if an initial attempt or two seems daunting fraught with failure. Don't worry about specific cultures, unless you are lucky enough to have a source from where you can order such; then you should specify 'high diacetyl forming species' like streptococcus diacetylformis.


warm regards,

g

#15 windtrader

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 03:27 PM

Now. I know if I were to try to make this as described and my time has any value, this stuff would cost more than gold! So, I searched around a bit and found Nanak "pure Desi Ghee" (28 oz, $17) in NY; also Amul pure ghee.

The merchant did not think it was buffalo, likely cow ghee but he was not certain.

A little more searching and I find Nanak and discover they are a local phone call away. I'm emailing them to get the specifics of the Desi Ghee they market.

EDIT - I looked closely at the picture of the jar and it shows a cow, not a buffalo.

If pure Desi Ghee is being properly represented, it is from buffalo only?

thx


Gabriel:

Most or at least a substantial quantity of 'pure desi ghee' in northern India is made from buffalo milk because of its higher fat content, between 7-10%, depending on breed, feeding and the time of milking and other factors.

The maximum butterfat in native Indian cows would generally hover around 5% although 7% has been recorded for elite Red Sindhis evening milk and some Siris; but this is the transient exception.

Consequently, your milk mixture need not exceed 10% fat, although you may simultaneously set up 2 experiments at 15% and 20% fat to see if the microbial populations are adversely affected or not. If not, then you are left with less solids to dispose of, and can carry the experiment further until the point is reached where the microbial activity is suffering owing to the fat content.

Milk & cream mixture scalded [almost to boiling point] to destroy naturally occurring enzymes.

Keep covered, slowly cool to 111-112 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using clean hands and techniques,

Innoculate with live culture  full fat yogurt  that tastes good to you, 1 teaspoon per liter, brought to room temperature, mixed with a little of the warm milk and then thoroughly mixed in.

Incubate at constant 111-112 F. Should set in 6-8 hours. A thick yellow skin should be visible.  For buffalo milk, this yellow color will be lacking, owing to the absence of carotene.

Scoop off the skin, and this will obligatorily carry with it some small amount of the yoghurt. Place in a GLASS container with a cover that can be left in a place that is around 36-40 degrees F [such as a refrigerator]. This will be the culturing step.

Accumulate several days worth of skins.

Here is where you need to be very careful: See if things are turning brutally smelly or BITTER or GREEN; BAD SCENE; things could smell a tiny bit like dirty socks or even sex,  [you know, basmati rice and a tiger's strong musk share the same compounds, but its a matter of degree]! Be careful, use your intellect and cooking smarts.

You can make butter out of this (small?) quantity by sqeezing and mauling in a largish basin of cold water [those hands will ache, use rubber gloves, non-bitter]

This butter can be gently baked at 250F for good quality ghee.

OR, just find some very cheap Muenster cheese, melt it, squeeze out the fat, and taste it, to teach your taste buds what ghee might taste like.

An Indian farms would make fairly large quantities of yoghurt, say 5-10 kg worth of milk per night, fermented  to a very slight tang in northern India, and churn it for say 750 grams of butter per day. The buttermilk is consumed by a large family, and the butter saved as the 'cash crop' or for later use. 

But what would you do with so much buttermilk, unless you have a ready market for genuine buttermilk or are raising high-value pigs or cattle?

Alfa-laval or De-laval used to sell home-sized motorized churns, and Agriculture Canada can help you find sources for home churns if you are interested.

Happy experimenting. Don't be discouraged if an initial attempt or two seems daunting fraught with failure.  Don't worry about specific cultures, unless you are lucky enough to have a source from where you can order such; then you should specify 'high diacetyl forming species' like streptococcus diacetylformis.


warm regards,

g

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Edited by windtrader, 16 October 2006 - 03:30 PM.


#16 Gabriel Lewis

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 04:06 PM

Gautam:

Thank you very much for the detailed instructions.

I have a few questions about some of the specifics you provided,

Your description of fat seems to indicate to me that traditionally in India, unadulterated cow and buffalo milk was used (meaning that these milks ranged from 5-7 for cows and 9-10 for buffalo as they came from the animal). But considering the small yield of the final product, I might want to see if I could produce a higher fat yogurt initially in order to end up with a final higher yield. Is my interpretation correct?

You mention cooling the milk slowly. This interests me as others have advocated the specific use of rapid cooling (in an ice bath) for yogurt making. I have a series of experiments I am planning to conduct on yogurt making but I haven't yet tested this variable.

In the culturing step you say "accumulate several days worth of skins", I take this to mean that once the yogurt has set after incubation, I "culture" it in the fridge for several days. Skins will form after a certain period of time, and I should allow the mixture to culture long enough to acquire several skins? And once the yogurt is set, all that there is left to do is let the yogurt culture for a few days in the fridge otherwise undisturbed?

I also wonder about the specifics of "squeezing and mauling"? My loose plan at this point is to get a good working understand of the variables involved before proceeding. I still have a number of yogurt making experiments to conduct, and I think I might finish these before I attempt this ghee, as if I embark on an endeavor of this magnitude I would eventually like to produce a truly wonderful end product.

I am so thrilled to learn more on this topic! I always knew there was more information somewhere, I just never knew where to find it. Once I have attained my desired level of mastery in yogurt making this will be my first full-fledged application.

Incidentally, do you have any idea what kind of yield I am looking at based on an intial milk/cream volume? I still know very little about buttermaking, but does your last post indicate that 5-10kg a milk will produce a single quantity of 750g of butter?

#17 v. gautam

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 05:01 PM

"Your description of fat seems to indicate to me that traditionally in India, unadulterated cow and buffalo milk was used (meaning that these milks ranged from 5-7 for cows and 9-10 for buffalo as they came from the animal). But considering the small yield of the final product, I might want to see if I could produce a higher fat yogurt initially in order to end up with a final higher yield. Is my interpretation correct?''

Very

"You mention cooling the milk slowly. This interests me as others have advocated the specific use of rapid cooling (in an ice bath) for yogurt making. I have a series of experiments I am planning to conduct on yogurt making but I haven't yet tested this variable."

Cooling the milk slowly need not be the best biological method because it allows a fat'skin' to form on the surface, which then needs to be dealt with. However, when you are dealing with large quantities of milk [5 liters +] economics steps in, plus the added inconvenience, not to mention danger, of handling volumes of hot liquids [unless you are from Quebec, where its 9 months of natural refrigeration and 3 months of tough sledding!!]

In the culturing step you say "accumulate several days worth of skins", I take this to mean that once the yogurt has set after incubation, I "culture" it in the fridge for several days. Skins will form after a certain period of time, and I should allow the mixture to culture long enough to acquire several skins? And once the yogurt is set, all that there is left to do is let the yogurt culture for a few days in the fridge otherwise undisturbed?

Once the yoghurt has set, you will see the fat layer or skin simultaneously has appeared on top. Now you can take the yogurt just a tiny bit further to the slightest bit of tanginess, or if you prefer sweet i.e. non-tangy yoghurt, stop right there. Skimming off the fat layer will necessarily bring with it sufficient yoghurt to accomplish the culturing process.

Each batch will provide ONE skin only. So today's yoghurt provides skin 1, tomorrow's skin2, etc. Once the skin or fat layer is skimmed, what remains is low-fat or even non-fat yoghurt. (It will not produce another skin.)

The remaining yoghurt could be sold as a value-added product, to offset part of the cost of the ghee-making process. You have a very good Low-fat yoghurt on hand that can and should be employed in creative marketing ways to recoup some of your costs.

Only the fat layers need be accumulated, along with their residue of yoghurt, in their cool/cold glass menagerie, for the culturing process. This will anyhow last but a few days, say 3-4, as you experiment and find your sweet spot re: your microbial environment.

"I also wonder about the specifics of "squeezing and mauling"? My loose plan at this point is to get a good working understand of the variables involved before proceeding. I still have a number of yogurt making experiments to conduct, and I think I might finish these before I attempt this ghee, as if I embark on an endeavor of this magnitude I would eventually like to produce a truly wonderful end product."

I am a skinflint, being raised in a hardscrabble farm, which experience may be familiar to many Quebecois of an earlier generation.

If the economics are right, the easy and efficient way is to pour a quantity of cold yoghurt, say the upper half containing the fat layer, into a mechanized churn and rapidly extract the butter. Then keep the butter for some days, accumulating more butter, then slowly bake them off into 5-10 kg of ghee. The quantity helps in some peculiar way in the melting and liquid crystal formation; i don't know how. Rate of change?

I don't know on what scale you are planning to operate, so i opted for the parsimonious, home-style end. Here, a pair of butter paddles may be used, or bare hands, as in India, to pummel and squeeze the accumulated fat layers of say 4-6 days, squeezing them between your fingers and palms in cold water that has crushed ice in it, until all the milky white fluid runs out and you are left with pasty globs of butter.

This you agglomerate into a rough mass and put into a deep ceramic or enamelled baking dish and slowly bake it until clear golden, and the residue under it is nut brown and all the foaming and spluttering is ancient history.



Incidentally, do you have any idea what kind of yield I am looking at based on an intial milk/cream volume? I still know very little about buttermaking, but does your last post indicate that 5-10kg a milk will produce a single quantity of 750g of butter?

Yes. The US standard whole milk is 3.5% fat, the normal average for Holstein type cattle. However, do check my maths, which is terrible. BTW, Cabot sells its cultured butter for approximately $13/lb at Greenstar Coop in Ithaca.

However, do try the Muenster thing on a minuscule scale, say 200 grams, if only as a benchmark for aroma volatiles.

Edited by v. gautam, 16 October 2006 - 05:19 PM.


#18 Milagai

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 05:53 AM

Well, I took shortcuts, i.e. buying cultured butter from
Whole Earth. Found two brands - one an expensive
Belgian product (I think the name has "celles" and "belles"
in it; I didn't memorize it and have thrown the wrappers away).
The second a not-that-much-more-than-ordinary-butter
Organic Cultured Butter from Vermont.

Made ghee with the Belgian butter first.
Took longer to make than with ordinary butter, and after made it seems
to have a liquidy layer on top, and a more solid
"daanedaar" layer below.
The taste is indeed more rich and complex than regular ghee.

When that is gone (will take about a month) I'll
make with the Vermont butter and report back....

I may shift over to making ghee with cultured butter
because the Vermont butter is not that much more than
regular butter and I'm not making this that often
for the cost to be prohibitive. There *is* a difference in taste,
though if cost was a factor I would not say that there is
such a day-and-night difference in taste (the way I made it - YMMV)
to be worth a significant extra cost....

Thanks v.gautam!

Milagai

#19 Gabriel Lewis

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 10:43 AM

Thanks v.gautam!

Milagai


Indeed!

Thanks to your clarifications I think I am fairly clear on all the details of the process. I didn't fully understand it at first, but I now realize how much effort this requires for such a small yield. This does not mean that I am deterred, only that I will have to adjust my plans.

Given the level of technicality involved start to finish, I think I will build up to the full project in a number of steps. I will start by doing some research on butter making and cultured butter in general, and by getting some locally available cultured butter and Muenster cheese. With the butter I will make ghee, and with the cheese I will learn what desi ghee is supposed to be like.

From there, once I have gained more yogurt making experience I will attempt the desi ghee from scratch. I am confident that if I can pull off the process correctly the result will be worth it to me, but even then I think this ghee will be ghee for some very special meals indeed.

V. gautam, you assumed correctly, I will definitely be doing this on a small home scale. I don't have the resources for otherwise right now, but I might apply what I learn in the future. I love yogurt and am sure that I can find some creative uses for all the excess. It is starting to get very cold here in Montreal, and I think I will take advantage of my "outdoor fridge" as another thread called it to cool my milk.

I might add you might find the quote html tag useful in the future. Simply write [*quote] insert your quote here [*/quote=whoyouarequotinghere] (minus the stars). Or click here for some tips on tags.

#20 v. gautam

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:44 PM

Milagai,

I have repeated in several of my posts, the local environmental conditions in each Indian locale, the milk (cow/buffalo, moning/evening/mixed), the traditional degree of sourness to which the yoghurt is taken, the microbial flora prevalent in each locale, how long the butter is stored before melting, how long the ghee is stored before marketing, each of these imponderables contribute to the flavor and texture of desi (country) ghee.

It can be approximated, not replicated, with European-style cultured butter. I never claimed to provide A grade desi ghee from off-the shelf cultured butter. Perhaps the conditions there are not right for the right types of microbes to grow (too cold? 41-48 versus 111 F for yoghurt), or the time not long enough for the flavors to develop? I don't know.

On the other hand, my limited experience with the cheese plants in Cache Valley, Utah, suggests that their humdrum Muenster cheese and the duration of culture favor microflora that create flavors very similar to pure desi ghee.

Whether the Muenster from other cheese plants in North America will also exhibit this profile, I cannot tell.

This Muenster ghee is for eating by the drop on steaming rice, or dispensed by the drop on hot mashed potatoes. You get the idea: like exquisite olive oil or balsamic vinegar, it is pure flavor, not a fatty indulgence. So, not for cooking, where the stuff made from melted butter works well enough, I dare say.

Edited by v. gautam, 17 October 2006 - 04:52 PM.


#21 v. gautam

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 05:26 PM

Gabriel,

I don't know if this would be possible in your locality, but here is a thought experiment:

Here, near Ithaca, there is a small dairy named Meadowsweet in Lodi, NY, that makes an exceptional wholemilk yoghurt, where the thick fat layer beautifully comes to the surface.

Then, they take the trouble to stir it all in, and make it into a liquid-style yoghurt for market. I have pleaded with them to do this: skim off the fat layer and make cultured butter as a value-added product, and sell the yoghurt underneath as a low-fat yoghurt. Plus sell another day's yoghurt as the regular, full fat yoghurt. However, this is too much trouble for them, and also there is the matter of shelf space in local groceries, no small problem. It is difficult to add yet another extra item. Their milk quality, and stability of their yoghurt culture, is absolutely stunning.

Here is my suggestion: if you can find a similar small dairy near you that is already producing artisanal yoghurt, persuade them to sell you a part of every day's fat layer. What do they lose? They can always sell that part of their yoghurt as a low-fat product at the same price as a full fat product, may be even higher, plus they make money selling to you!


You win also, saving time, effort, etc. and create a regular supply. Choose someone whose milk, cream and yoghurt taste very delicious to you, and whose cows look happy and clean, whose calves are well cared for. Then you are all set.

[Or, find a "Greek Yoghurt" manufacturer; that is a high fat product, 12%. Problem is that they use homogenized milk! Also, milk from regular dairy farms may be 14 days old before it reaches the plant. Beware of this fact. That is why creamery butter can NEVER equal that from fresh milk.]

Make sure that your milk is hours old from the cow; Indian scriptures use the term YAATAYAAMA, or older than 3 hours to indicate stale milk or food that is unacceptable. Freshness equals flavor in the finished product.

#22 srhcb

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 06:23 PM

After reading this thread, and checking Google, I'm still confused about the difference, or lack of same, between Ghee and Clarified Butter. Most sources use them interchangably, a few claim Ghee has a sour component, etc. :hmmm:

Odells offers both, but the specs appear the same. :huh:

What gives?

SB (confused)

#23 Gabriel Lewis

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 11:35 AM

Both ghee and clarified butter are made from, obviously, butter. Therefore, some of the differences between them such as sourness stem from differences between butter rather than the method when they are prepared. Thanks to v. gautam we know now that true desi (country) ghee is made from butter churned from the fat layer of yogurt in a complex process he has outlined above. The sour component some people refer to probably stems from ghee made from this type of butter - butter that has been cultured and has a sour note as well as other flavors.

I was confused as you were initially, but what I've come to understand as the main difference between ghee and clarified butter (aside from the base butter used) is the moisture content. Clarified butter is usually just melted and heated for a short period of time such that the relatively pure butterfat can be seperated. Ghee on the other hand, is heated very slowly until all the moisture present in the butter has been evaporated out and all the milk solids have been fully seperated. There are a number of tests for this such as soaking the ghee in a piece of paper and lighting the paper on fire, if you hear any crackling then their is moisture left. Another common test is that when the butter solids begin to brown the ghee is ready, indicating that there is no moisture left in the butter fat.

I would say that in a pinch they can be used interchangeably, but that ghee differs substantially from clarified butter. There is no moisture left in it (ideally) and it can be stored at room temperature for months without spoiling, it has a complex, nutty aroma, and is very unique as a cooking fat. Its lack of moisture and impurities allows it to be heated to higher temperatures than even clarified butter, and the long slow cooking changes its properties. I suspect this has to do with the slow maillard reactions taking place as the moisture is slowly cooked out of ghee. In this way ghee shares some of the properties of beure noisette in french cooking, except the effect is achieved must more slowly, producing I think, a more complex final product.

Does this help?

#24 srhcb

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 06:13 PM

Both ghee and clarified butter are made from, obviously, butter. Therefore, some of the differences between them such as sourness stem from differences between butter rather than the method when they are prepared. Thanks to v. gautam we know now that true desi (country) ghee is made from butter churned from the fat layer of yogurt in a complex process he has outlined above. The sour component some people refer to probably stems from ghee made from this type of butter - butter that has been cultured and has a sour note as well as other flavors.

I was confused as you were initially, but what I've come to understand as the main difference between ghee and clarified butter (aside from the base butter used) is the moisture content. Clarified butter is usually just melted and heated for a short period of time such that the relatively pure butterfat can be seperated. Ghee on the other hand, is heated very slowly until all the moisture present in the butter has been evaporated out and all the milk solids have been fully seperated. There are a number of tests for this such as soaking the ghee in a piece of paper and lighting the paper on fire, if you hear any crackling then their is moisture left. Another common test is that when the butter solids begin to brown the ghee is ready, indicating that there is no moisture left in the butter fat.

I would say that in a pinch they can be used interchangeably, but that ghee differs substantially from clarified butter. There is no moisture left in it (ideally) and it can be stored at room temperature for months without spoiling, it has a complex, nutty aroma, and is very unique as a cooking fat. Its lack of moisture and impurities allows it to be heated to higher temperatures than even clarified butter, and the long slow cooking changes its properties. I suspect this has to do with the slow maillard reactions taking place as the moisture is slowly cooked out of ghee. In this way ghee shares some of the properties of beure noisette in french cooking, except the effect is achieved must more slowly, producing I think, a more complex final product.

Does this help?

View Post



Thanks. That makes sense.

Guess the only way I'll know for sure is to buy some ghee and do a few taste tests?

SB (always looking for excuses to use butter) :smile:

#25 v. gautam

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 06:53 PM

Also the complex aroma components caused by

1. unique microbial consortia first during the yoghurt stage, esp. diacetyl forming critters, [this is missing in sweet creamery butter, and only partially present in cultured butter (lower temps)]

2. Then again during further storage of that butter at ambient conditons, say at north Indian winter room temperatures, 75F for argument's sake, for a further period of n days, determined by local tradition--more opportunities for flavor components to develop, including controlled/limited oxidation i.e. 'rancidity'

3. slow melting, as Gabriel explained, to drive out moisture, cook out the solids to desired 'brownness' plus develop the desired liquid crystal structure, the 'daanedaar' Milagai refers to above, the characteristic grainy texture diagnostic of superior quality.


4. Further ageing under controlled conditions of temperature, humidity and oxidation. There is reputed to exist super-prime 10 year old ghees in Rajasthan, in the Marwar districts of Churu, Pali and Sikar, all very dry, where such can be stored under very fine sand in special earthenware vessels. I do not know if this is true.

I do know that in these very same districts, especially Sikar, local watermelons are stored from September to December under this very type of sand with NO refrigeration, out in the open under ambient conditions! Imagine the local ingenuity!

So, yes, all fermented grape juice can technically [and truthfully] be made into wine. But the skill in producing the wine you and I can ferment in our cellar, and that employed by a master vintner on grapes partaking of an enviable terroir? The results?

The difference between a commercial ghee sold in the US whose ingredients are listed as 'clarified butter' and Pure Desi Ghee is the difference between a run-of-the mill gewurztraminer wine from anywhere compared to a top quality Alsatian or Navarro Vineyards cluster select vintage 2005 product.

It all starts with bad, stale milk; as noted above. Break that link and you can achieve wonders. Feed the catlle complex phenylpropanoids, i.e. leaves rich in lignins (not digestible, long story) but also other aromatics (biochemically speaking), pastures full of grasses and aromatic herbs, and no animal proteins whatsoever, and you have a winner.


[And this is the first I've ever heard of 'sour notes'; sour grapes, maybe on Odells part, or a smart marketing strategy?]

Gabriel,

For Quebec, Yak [actually dri, female] x cow hybrids will do far better in the cold, utilize feed efficiently, provide much richer milk. Yak herds in US Nebraska etc. Can provide more details. Agriculture Canada should have yaks in eastern Canada for sheer utility and biological efficiency. Perhaps you could suggest this to them as a research project that will cost just pennies.

Warm regards,

gautam

#26 windtrader

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 09:41 PM

So, yes, all fermented grape juice can technically [and truthfully] be made into wine. But the skill in producing the wine you and I can ferment in our cellar, and that employed by a master vintner on grapes partaking of an enviable terroir? The results?

Interesting you mention this analogy as this thought was racing through my mind several posts ago. The ghee making basics are quite simple but attempting to home make any desi ghee under the presumption that the result would be in any way comparable to a true quality desi ghee is just absurd as the home winemaker who dreams his initial attempts will render a high quality result.

Based on what Gautam states, I'm convinced it is not possible to duplicate any of the quality desi ghees nor even produce a similar quality ghee as an amateur home ghee maker. A very significant committement of time and money, study, and experience would be required before expecting a truely comparable result.

Gautam recommended Vriandan (sp?) as the closest desi ghee generally available in the US but my interest in tasting some of these benchmark ghees is quite high. I'm curious how we could arrange to obtain a small sampling of several of these truely original desi ghees?. Would it be possible to arrange with an Indian merchant to package up and send a few small jars of them?

#27 v. gautam

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 10:40 AM

1. For good quality ghee for ordinary kitchen use like frying etc., NAFED or any of the tinned ghees [careful, not vegetable 'ghee'] from India , or VRINDAVAN from USA are just fine. Indeed, they are quite acceptable for ordinary table use as well. These ghees can also be used to finish off dishes. These 2 types are probably available here.

2. For very good quality ghee meant only for table use, e.g. sprinkling over steaming hot rice, potatoes etc. : I have been away too long but say in Kolkata, several vendors now sell table quality ghee in small [50 gram, 100gram?] plastic pouches. Will try to find out, or members should request true cognoscenti like EPISURE to chime in with their expertise on Kolkata + Bangalore 's best brands. These may already be available in the US or can be easily brought back by returning travelers with no leakage or fuss [AFAIK].

3. For truly excellent desi ghee, my strategy for northern India is limited to Rajasthan, and that too to Sikar district: If you know someone with rural roots, ask him to bring you some. Now that is not practicable, I realize. New Delhi must have reputable merchants selling the pure stuff, as must Mumbai/bombay, Bangalore, Chennai/madras.So please let me defer to the real experts for sound advice on sourcing:

BBHASIN
MONICA BHIDE
SUVIR SARAN
EPISURE [southern India, Bangalore, Kolkata and Mumbai]
PEPPERTRAIL [southern India, esp. Kerala]
NICHIRO [omnipresent, :laugh: just teasing you, N-san!]

Warm regards

gautam

Edited by v. gautam, 23 October 2006 - 10:41 AM.


#28 windtrader

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 01:37 PM

Well - I can not find ghee today as I called around locally and learned this is day tree of Diwali so everyone is out partying. Learn about ghee and now Hindu holidays. This is quite the thread!

Guess I'll wait a couple days until things get back to normal and one can buy a decent tin of ghee. :-)


1. For good quality ghee for ordinary kitchen use like frying etc., NAFED or any of the tinned ghees [careful, not vegetable 'ghee'] from India , or VRINDAVAN from USA are just fine. Indeed, they are quite acceptable for ordinary table use as well. These ghees can also be used to finish off dishes. These 2 types are  probably available here.

2. For very good quality ghee meant only for table use, e.g. sprinkling over steaming hot rice, potatoes etc. : I have been away too long but say in Kolkata, several vendors now sell table quality ghee in small [50 gram, 100gram?]  plastic pouches. Will try to find out, or members should request true cognoscenti like EPISURE to chime in with their expertise on  Kolkata + Bangalore 's  best brands. These may already be available in the US or can be easily brought back by returning travelers with no leakage or fuss [AFAIK].

3. For truly excellent desi ghee, my strategy for northern India is limited to Rajasthan, and that too to Sikar district: If you know someone with rural roots, ask him to bring you some. Now that is not practicable, I realize. New Delhi must have reputable merchants selling the pure stuff, as must Mumbai/bombay, Bangalore, Chennai/madras.So  please let me defer to the real experts  for sound advice on sourcing:

BBHASIN
MONICA BHIDE
SUVIR SARAN
EPISURE [southern India, Bangalore, Kolkata and Mumbai]
PEPPERTRAIL [southern India, esp. Kerala]
NICHIRO [omnipresent, :laugh:  just teasing you, N-san!]

Warm regards

gautam

View Post



#29 Episure

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Posted 24 October 2006 - 03:14 AM

Can't add much to v.gautam's excellent dissertation except admit that I have learnt a lot from this topic.

As he says, terroir plays an important role in defining the organoleptic properties and in that respect I find Ghee from the dairy farms of Coimbatore(Southern India) to be different and aromatic. Ghee from the Belgaum(Maharashtra/Karnataka) area is quite famous but I prefer the former. I'm not sure what process they follow, though.

I have witnessed the cultured cream-ghee method only at an artisanal dairy near Bombay run by a husband-wife team. I had forgotten about it until I read Gautam's reference and was able to connect to the different (and rare! ) procedure.

I usually make food in the normal way but cut back on prescribed oil quantities and instead add a little Ghee before serving. Sometimes I spray a little warmed Ghee using an oil mister.

Edited by Episure, 24 October 2006 - 03:15 AM.

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja
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#30 Peppertrail

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Posted 24 October 2006 - 05:55 AM

As Episure wrote, I also don't have more to add to v.gautam's excellent dissertation. I learned a lot from v.gautam' s posts.

Separation of cream from milk is seldom done in South India. In the tropical heat of South India, milk is a highly perishable commodity. Fresh milk is always boiled before use. Before the days of refrigeration, the only way to use leftover milk was to ferment it daily to make yogurt. Yogurt is churned in the morning to separate butter from buttermilk. Butter is melted and cooked over medium heat to remove all of the moisture and milk solids. In Kerala this the way ghee is made at home. When the milk from grass-fed cow is used to make the yogurt, the ghee has distinct yellowish color and pleasant fragrance.

I have always used home made ghee in India and in the US. Here I make it from good quality unsalted butter (in Texas I use Braum's or Land o'Lake's butter). I cook it over mdium heat until all of the moisture has evaporated and the milk solids have separated. Then strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove the milk solids.
Ammini Ramachandran

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