The Gold Standard: Ghee/Clarified Butter vs. Regular Butter
Updated: Feb 9
Have you ever stood in the dairy section of the grocery store and wondered why there are so many different types of butters and why is the cost variance so vast?
Have you ever wondered why some butters aren't even in the dairy section and can sit on a dry section shelf but they seem to be sooo expensive? Well my friends welcome to the edible gold rush.
Butter is one item of food that has evolved for over a century. A lot of the variance in price is due to the percentage of butterfat (what you are really looking for) per unit. Most butters are comprised of butterfat, an emulsifier, and water. The percentage of these items is what changes the price and enhances the cooking experience.
For starters, cooking with butter not only adds flavor to whatever you are cooking but it also adds a density element to the recipe. Take cookies for example. Most cookie recipes often call for butter instead of oil. The reason being is so your cookie can rise and fill as it cooks but then when you take it out of the oven it will gently fall as it cools. Using oil doesn't provide the same fluffy element like butter but if you are in a bind, you can definitely use oil just know that your cookies may turn out to be more flat and crispy.
Butter also has a very high burn point compared to traditional oils. Take fried chicken for example. Some of the best fried chicken recipes have butter added to the frying oil (Cooker's Tip... You're welcome).
Not only does this help give flavor to the fry but it also helps to prevent burning the skin of the chicken while still achieving that crispy crunch on the first bite.
Now, let's say you are in the grocery store and you really want to choose good butter. There are several you are looking at. There is margarines, vegetable spreads, European, creamy, and then the dry aisle.
Margarines and vegetable spreads are pretty similar. These products are made of vegetable oils, not butterfat. These are not going to have as high of a burn point and typically they are going to be the cheapest. These are alternative choices for someone who needs to watch their heart and blood pressure. European butters typically have the highest percentage of butter fat in the cold aisle compared to many American brands. Brands like Kerrygold and Finlandia have butterfat upwards of 80% or higher versus most American brands top out at 70%. Remember when cooking with cannabis and infusing butter, the more fat the better the cannabinoids bind to it. This includes THC. Many of these butters use milk solids, casein, and water as fillers and emulsifiers These additives are also the reasons why these butters must be stored cold.
Then there is the dry aisle, and one particular butter that sits above the rest and that is Ghee (sometimes called Clarified Butter).