The initial steps to make clarified butter and ghee are exactly the same. To make ghee, you simply take the process a bit further. When butter is heated, it separates into three layers, at which point it can be strained to make clarified butter. If you continue to heat the butter to allow more of the water content to evaporate and the milk solids to brown, you end up with ghee, fat with a slightly nutty flavor, a high smoke point and an extended shelf life.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Place a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth over a heatproof container.
Allow the butter to foam and slowly come to a boil over low heat; it will begin to separate into three layers. After 12 to 15 minutes, the top will be a thin layer of foam, the middle layer will be a transparent golden color, and the butter layer or milk solids will be on the bottom of the pan. The golden layer in the middle is the clarified butter, which has to be separated from the other two layers. Once the three layers have developed, you're ready to make clarified butter (see Step 3). To make ghee, skip ahead to Step 4.
To make clarified butter, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. With a large spoon, remove and discard the thin layer of foam from the top, then pour the butter through the cheesecloth into the heatproof container to remove any remaining foam from the top layer and the milk solids from the bottom layer. The clarified butter can be used warm or cooled and stored for later use (see Step 5).
To make the homemade ghee, after the three layers have developed, cook the butter for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until it gives off a nutty aroma and the milk solids at the bottom of the pan have browned. (Be careful not to burn them!) Then, with a large spoon, remove and discard the thin layer of foam from the top and pour the butter through the cheesecloth into the heatproof container to remove any remaining foam from the top layer and the milk solids from the bottom layer. The homemade ghee can be used warm or cooled and stored for later use.
Store the homemade clarified butter or ghee in an airtight container in the refrigerator; clarified butter will keep for about 3 weeks, ghee for about 4 weeks.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.