Almost everyone is familiar with butter. It’s fat used in baking and cooking. But what’s ghee, exactly? And why is it trending as a healthy superfood? Let’s see what the hype is about.
Ghee is a type of clarified butter that doesn’t contain the milk fats, casein, or lactose in butter. Therefore, it’s considered a healthier alternative to butter. Ghee can be used for most baking purposes. It has a higher smoke point than butter, so it’s better for goods that are baked at high temperatures and usually served warm.
When comparing butter vs. ghee in baking, it simply boils down to what you’re baking. Read on to know how to make the right choice.
Butter Vs. Ghee
Understanding the difference between butter and ghee should help you decide which is the right ingredient for your recipe.
Butter is solid cooking fat that contributes to the flaky, moist texture and rich flavor of baked goods. Ghee is made by separating the milk solids from butter. The consistency of ghee is usually soft or liquidy at room temperature.
Since both ghee and butter are derived from cow’s milk, their nutritional profiles are similar. But because the water and the milk solids are removed from ghee, it doesn’t contain lactose, casein, or milk fats.
Another advantage that ghee has over butter is that it’s better for high heat baking. Butter hits its smoke point at 350 degrees, while ghee has a smoke point of 450 degrees, so it doesn’t burn as quickly.
High heating for a long time can break down the good-for-you content. The lower the smoke point the faster this happens. So, that makes ghee the perfect option for high heat baking of products that are preferably served warm like bread and cookies.
Ghee can be used for a variety of baking applications. It can be used to grease the tin or mixed with the batter. It’s a much better choice when baking savory dishes like lasagna or chicken casseroles. You can simply substitute the quantity of butter in your recipe with ghee at a 1:1 ratio. This makes a much healthier meal with a divine taste.
Ghee can also be used in cake batters with a slight alteration to the quantities of the recipe. Its low melting point allows it to blend much easier with the eggs, sugar, flour, and other ingredients. Since ghee is unsalted, you can use it freely with sweet dishes.
Is Ghee Better For All Baking Applications?
In most cases, yes. Ghee can substitute butter with equal proportions or slight alterations in most recipes. However, the soft consistency of ghee due to its low melting point might have its drawbacks. Some baking techniques might not work with ghee. For example, it’s not preferred when making dough for croissants as you need the fat to hold together.
It’s also not preferred for recipes that have mild flavors. Ghee is richer in flavor than butter. Therefore, it might add a little aroma or flavor that alters the taste of the original recipe. If you don’t want that extra rich flavor, simply use butter.
What Does Ghee Taste Like?
Since ghee is clarified butter, it tastes like butter but with a sweet, nutty twist. It has a roasted nutty aroma that makes for a much richer taste in your recipes. Commercial ghee brands have different flavors according to the type and quality of the milk used to make them.
Unlike butter, ghee doesn’t have that creamy mouthfeel. That’s due to the removal of the milk solids and dairy fats from ghee.[Related Article: What Is A Good Substitute For Butter In Mac And Cheese?]
Best Dessert Menu Ideas for Baking with Ghee
Ghee has been a popular culinary ingredient in India and the Middle East for a long time. Therefore, a lot of the famous baked plates from around the world include ghee as a primary ingredient. If you want to experiment with fresh baking ideas, here are some recipes to dazzle your taste buds.
One of the recipes best made with ghee is the Ghee and Cardamom Cake. This Indian cake recipe will sure take your tea time to a new level. Another traditional Indian dessert recipe is the Ghee Mysore Pak.
The famous Egyptian Feteer Meshaltet, also known as Egyptian Layered Pastry, is another divine dessert that requires ghee as a key ingredient. It’s best served warm with honey.
There’s a variety of other desserts that can be made using ghee like sooji halwa, coconut cookies, othmaliye, and almond pastries. These are just some ideas to get you started. So, you can get creative here!
How to Make Ghee?
Ghee is pretty easy to make at home. You can effortlessly make it from high-quality unsalted butter. Here’s how:
- First, melt the unsalted butter slowly at medium heat.
- Watch carefully as the butter melts and separates into three distinct layers.
- Next, remove the foam and solids that gather at the top layer.
- Continue to cook until the milk solids drop to the bottom.
- This leaves the clarified butter (ghee) in the middle. It should look like a clear fluid.
- Continue to cook on medium heat for a couple more minutes.
- Then, the milk solids at the bottom will start turning brown giving ghee its flavor and color.
- Sieve the liquid into a jar or bottle.
- Now, let it cool and solidify a little.
Yes, it’s that simple! Now store at room temperature in a tightly sealed container. It should have a soft, spreadable texture. You can refrigerate it to have a solid texture if you like.
Ghee has a longer shelf life than butter. So, it can be kept in a cool, dry cabinet for extended periods. Make sure that it’s stored in an airtight container so that it doesn’t spoil or oxidize.
Health Benefits of Ghee
Ghee is a good source of healthy fats. Healthy fats like unsaturated fats lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. It also contains a healthy dose of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
The lack of milk solids and lactose in ghee makes it an ideal choice for people with milk allergies. Homemade ghee might not be completely free of lactose and milk proteins. Therefore, if you have any severe milk allergy, it’s better to avoid homemade ghee.
Fats in ghee can help you maintain a healthy diet. However, it still contains a dense caloric count and should be used in moderation.[Related Article: What Happens If You Put Less Butter When Baking?]
Is Butter Absolutely Bad for You?
Even though butter has been given a bad reputation, it’s not bad for you when consumed in moderation. It contains saturated fats that are essential for a healthy diet. However, high levels of saturated fat can contribute to high blood cholesterol levels. So, their intake should be limited to small quantities.
Ghee is a form of clarified butter made by removing milk solids from butter. Although both have similar nutritional profiles, ghee is the healthier option. Ghee can be used for most baking purposes with fewer health risks. It’s also better if you have a milk allergy.
However, you need both fat sources. Just remember that moderation is key.
Ghee is perfect for baked goods that require high heating temperatures due to its higher smoke point. It also has a richer flavor that makes for a mouth-watering savory baked plate. Plus, it has a slightly roasted aroma that adds a little extra life to sweet dishes. So, you can safely say that ghee is two steps ahead of butter!