The door bell rings around five in the morning. A tall guy with brownish complexion would stand in front of the door holding a glass bottle. It contained freshly extracted milk from his farm. He would do that everyday. He was one of the best milkman I remember from my childhood. No, I didn't have any crush for him but I did have a crush towards the thick creamy milk he brought. Amma used to collect the milk in a stainless steel milk pot and return the bottle to him. After shutting the door, she would head towards the kitchen and boil milk as thought it was a ritual.
My little sister and I grew up drinking raw milk until we stepped out of the home. And I don't remember falling sick because of drinking raw milk. When I came to this country I was bewildered looking at the choice of milk available in the grocery store. With TH's help I settled down on 2% milk and then switched to Organic fat free milk. An year ago, I bumped into a box of unrefrigerated milk carton in the office pantry. The fact that milk can stay outside the refrigerator in a specially packed carton scared me. It didn't sound right. Immediately I googled to know more about UHT (Ultra High Pasteurized) milk. The articles I read made me throw up literally. For a month I was hunting to find a store that sells raw milk and finally I found a coop that delivers milk weekly right in front of the door. Since then we have been drinking raw milk every day. Before using, I boil the milk and let it cool. Then I store it in the refrigerator. As it cools the cream starts floating on the top. Fret not, it is the nature's way of skimming fat from milk. The layer of cream/malai gives me goosebumps and makes me extremely happy. And the joy of collecting fresh cream to make butter and ghee is unexplainable.
This is what I get from 4-5 gallons of raw milk 1 kg fresh cream which inturn yields 1. 750 gm of butter 2. 31 oz / 1 quart butter milk 3. 11 oz Ghee 4. And we get to eat home made yogurt/curd. Doesn't it justify the extra $$ I spend to buy raw milk, huh?
How to collect Cream?
- Boil raw milk on a medium flame. Keep stirring milk with a spatula which helps to retain its nutrition value. When milk starts rolling and raises, simmer and boil for another 3 minutes. Allow milk to cool completely and then stash it in the refrigerator. You will already see a thin layer of cream aka malai floating on the top. Let it be. When you wake up next day, open your refrigerator and pull out milk. Viola, you will see a thick layer of cream floating on top.
Using a perforated spatula slowly scoop out the cream and store it in another container. If you find it hard to scoop it without milk use a strainer. This way you can ensure that you are collecting only the cream.
Since I make yogurt/curd at home, I even collect cream that is formed on top of curd/yogurt. Amma says that the cream obtained from yogurt is much better for making ghee. So I always make it a point to collect cream from curd. So how do you do it? It is very simple. After boiling milk allow it to cool until it is lukewarm. Add yogurt starter, stir and allow it to ferment for 4-6 hrs during summer and around 8 hours during winter. When the curd is set, you will see a thick yellow cream layer on top. Skim it gently and store it in the same container as in the previous step.
- You can use fresh cream as is in your curries, soups and even make fresh homemade icecream . Whisk it for smoother texture.
How to make Butter?
- In a blender/mixie add cream, 1 1/2 cup of water (for each batch) and churn. Don't run blender for more than 30 seconds this will heat up the cream.
- In a minute or two you will see a blob of butter being separated from buttermilk. Collect buttermilk in a new container (you can use a strainer if required)
- Take a small blob of butter. Quickly run it under water (for 2 seconds) to get rid of any milk solids that is still sticking to it. Repeat until you have washed all butter
- Put them in the blender once again. Add 1 cup of water and churn for a minute. At this point you will not see lot of buttermilk being collected. When you take a blob of butter it wil feel velvety and smooth and buttermilk will no longer drip
Yes, you already have around 750 gms of butter to relish. Yay!!!!
Collect buttermilk and store it in the refrigerator. See notes for uses
How to make Ghee at home?
- In a thick bottom vessel add butter and let it cook on a low medium heat. Please see the step wise pictures below on various stages of making ghee
- You will see white milk solids floating on top and the liquid will seem to be cloudy in the beginning
- As the milk solids cook, you will see a soupy and foamy liquid
- As it cooks the milk solids will slowly settle down in the bottom and the liquid will become thinner and clearer.
- Foam disappears, but it still looks cloudy
- It gets thinner and clearer as it cooks
- It looks cloudy again
- It starts getting clearer as the milk solids settle down and you can spot scums floating. Add a pinch of salt
- Scum starts disappearing and the liquid looks more clear now. And you can see the milk solids settled in the bottom of the pan.
- Let it simmer for few more minutes until the scum disappears. You need to be cautious from now onwards. Otherwise ghee will quickly burn. Add a sprig of curry leaves or drumstick leaves or even a bay leaf
- As the milk solids turns golden brown and you spot clear bubbles turn off the stove. And see if the curry leaves are crisp. That is a sign that fresh homemade ghee is ready
- Allow it to cool. Using a strainer pour it in a clean and dry container.
- Cream (Around 1 kg, collected from 4-5 gallons of Organic Raw milk for couple of weeks)
- 4- 5 cups Water
- Pinch of Salt
- A sprig of curry leaves or Drumstick leaves
- Before you get started let us make sure you have the following
- - a thick bottom stainless steel kadai/saucepan or a cast iron pan
- - clean glass or a stainless steel jar to store ghee and few containers to collect cream and buttermilk
- - tea strainer
- - perforated spatula
- - and some patience
- How to make Ghee?
- 1. In a thick bottom vessel add butter and let it cook on a low medium heat. Please see the step wise pictures below on various stages of making ghee
- 2. You will see white milk solids floating on top and the liquid will seem to be cloudy in the beginning
- 3. As it cooks the milk solids will slowly settle down in the bottom and the liquid will become thinner and clearer
- 4. At one point the liquid will look muggy again. That is ok. In few minutes you see a clear golden liquid and the milk solids settling down in the bottom
- 5. Add a pinch of salt and allow it to cook until the milk solids turn golden brown. When you no longer see any scum floating and the liquid looks clear add a sprig of curry leaves or drumstick leaves. It will immediately turn crisp. When you see colorless bubbles turn off the stove and allow it to cool
- 6. Use a strainer to skim any residues and store it in the glass/steel container. Ensure that it is completely cool before you close the lid.
- 7. It yields 11 oz of ghee.
- 8. Don't throw away the milk solids and curry/drumstick leaves. See more uses in notes.
- Please note that the cooking time will vary depending on the amount of butter you are using.
- Uses of Buttermilk
- 1. Make cake or muffins
- 2. I usually add it to rava dosa / rava idli / ragi dosa batter
- 3. Use buttermilk instead of water while making rotis/phulkas
- 4. Use buttermilk in Mor kuzhambu / Kadhi or any curry
- Use of Ghee Residue
- 1. Take a handful of cooked rice, add salt and mix it with the residue and enjoy. This will be one of the best things you would have ever ate.
- 2. Make ghee laddus: Add handful of wheat flour, crushed nuts, powdered sugar and mix it with the residue. Make small balls and relish
GHEE TRIVIA 1. Making ghee on a full moon or waxing moon is considered auspicious. It is believed that the ghee made on this day will possess superior healing power 2. Ghee can aid in weight loss if it is accompanied by a balanced diet and good exercise routine 3. Lighting Ghee lamps in home removes negativity and brings positive energy and peace 4. In hindu tradition, yagna/havan is performed to induce rain. I thought it to be superstitious practice until I read this. In havan, ghee is usually burnt along with rice and other grains and herbs. When ghee is burnt it releases tons of oxygen into the atmosphere which purifies the air around us. Also it releases propylene oxide which actually induces the rain. I feel our ancestors were totally cool and extremely knowledgable. Sigh!!!
5. Ghee is one of the best massaging oil and moisturizer. It replenishes and nourishes skin. So go ahead and massage your little ones with ghee 6. If you are like me who frequently burn your hand while cooking, keep ghee right on your counter. It has powers to quickly heal burn related injuries 7. It is used to heal mouth and stomach ulcers 8. An aged ghee costs a fortune. Older the ghee the higher are its healing powers 10. You can read more benefits of ghee, here, here and here