Clarified butter is known by other names as well, including rendered butter, ghee, or drawn butter. The purpose of rendered butter is twofold: First, to remove any impurities, such as water and milk solids, that may be found in the butter the cook is using, which could result in off-flavors or affect the color of the dish for which the butter is being used. Secondly, rendered butter has a higher smoke point than regular butter, which means that it can be heated to a higher temperature and can be used for additional purposes, such as frying, without burning or creating a lot of smoke when heated.
Heat the saucepan on low heat and add the amount of butter that you want to render. Keep in mind that you will discard as much as 25 percent of the butter you are rendering.
Allow the butter to break down into three distinct layers. The top layer, which will be foamy, is where the whey proteins of the butter go when heated. Use a large spoon to remove this foam from the surface of the butter. Discard the foam.
Heat the butter until all of the milk solids have settled onto the bottom of the saucepan. Cook the butter a little longer if you wish to impart a nutty flavor to the butter.
Remove the butter from the heat. Pour the warmed butter through a fine-mesh strainer into a container with a lid, unless you are using the rendered butter immediately. Stop pouring once you reach the milk solids on the bottom of the pan. Discard the solids.
Seal the container and place in the refrigerator, where the rendered butter will keep for several months.
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