This Is Alton Brown's Trick To Clarifying Butter

According to The Kitchn, clarified butter is simply regular butter that has had 5 percent of its water and milk solids removed. This is similar to ghee, which is essentially the same, only it's cooked longer to remove more of the water. Clarified butter tastes slightly sweeter and feels creamier when you eat it straight than does your standard stick of butter — it's really a bit like if you lessened the intense flavor of brown butter. 

Clarified butter also has a longer shelf life than regular butter, and can be stored at room temperature for short periods of time — even in warmer locations. The advantages of cooking and baking with clarified butter over regular butter really lie in its ability to withstand higher heat and longer cook times than butter that has not been clarified and still contains all its standard water and milk solids. Clarified butter is also useful for helping baked goods brown more evenly, and is more stable when used in butter-based sauces like hollandaise.

Use Alton Brown's advice to make clarified butter at home

On his personal website, Alton Brown notes he and his team make sure to always have clarified butter on hand, whipping up a new batch every few weeks or so. The television host loves this form of butter for frying and sauteing, making popcorn, and cooking eggs. 

Over at the Food Network, Brown has provided a recipe for making clarified butter at home, along with a short video explaining the science behind the process. To start, you'll need to place a 2-quart saucepan on the stove and start melting your butter over medium heat. His recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds of butter which has been cut into 1-inch pieces. 

Once the butter has fully melted, you can turn the heat down and bring the liquid to a low boil for about 45 minutes, or until it reaches 260 degrees. Brown states that you can tell when it has reached this temperature when the foam on the top has begun to brown slightly. Once it reaches this stage, you will need to strain the liquid through four layers of cheesecloth and a strainer, set over a heatproof container. You can refrigerate clarified butter for six months, or freeze it for up to one year.