The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ghee, what if

pmccool's picture

Ghee, what if

I've been following the discussions about croissants and butter content and moisture levels in butter.  And then I saw a container of ghee at the supermarket and said "Hmmm." 

Ghee is something that I have never used.  Since it is clarified butter, I suspect it's moisture content would be much lower than ordinary butter but have no clue what the analysis might be.  Nor do I know how the melting, followed by separation of the solids, would affect flavor or handling characteristics.

Have any TFLers used ghee in baked goods that are dependent on butter?  I'm thinking croissants, puff pastry, brioche, etc.

My oven is on the fritz, so I can't experiment.  But I'm still curious...


Mebake's picture

Hi Paul,

It will work as butter, but you have to compensate for more water.As Cheryl said, GHee contains no Moisture, it is essentially Milk Fat. It will enrich any kind of dough you put it in beyond your imagination!


clazar123's picture

I live in the midwest/US (Milwaukee area) and ghee is pretty expensive here.It would probably taste great but cost may be a factor.


breadbaby's picture

Ghee is really easy to make.  Just take a pound of unsalted butter (organic or pastured if you can get it) and heat it over very, very low heat.  As it melts, the milk solids will sink to the bottom.  If a scum forms on the top, just skim that off and throw it away.  Then drain off the clear milk fat through several layers of cheese cloth, butter muslin or paper towels. a fraction of the cost of buying it ready-made.  A pound of butter will yield less than 1lb of ghee, so if you want a pound of ghee, start with more than a pound of butter.  I like to brush the tops of my fresh-from-the-oven loaves with lots of ghee, and it is wonderful for frying eggs.

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

There's a little more to it than this.  You cook it until the milk solids in the bottom of the pan turn brown.

Ghee isn't just clarified butter - it is browned butter.  Once the milk solids turn brown, you know the moisture is all cooked out.

They do this in India because historically it is so hot there, butter goes rancid very quickly.  It is the milk solids and the moisture that allows this..  Cooking the moisture and milk solids out makes it last much much MUCH longer.  Another reason is that doing this raises the smoking point by quite a lot - ghee may be used as a cooking oil at high temperatures that would burn butter.

I won't buy the stuff.  It is often adulterated, and usually undercooked.  Making your own is cheaper, safer, and tastes a ton better.

pmccool's picture

but perhaps I should elaborate on my intended question.  I'm interested to know if someone has made croissants, or puff pastry, or brioche or whatever by substituting ghee for butter.  Even dry butter, which is recommended for croissants, isn't 100% fat.  There are still traces of moisture and the milk solids.

If you did use ghee in that kind of bread/pastry, how did it turn out?  What were the differences when compared to making the same product with butter?  Is it suitable, as is, for such applications?  Or do adjustments need to be made?  If so, what would you do differently to accommodate using ghee in place of butter?

Then again, if no one has used ghee in these types of products, I may eventually have to do some experimenting just to satisfy my curiosity.  If the oven repair tech eventually shows up, that is.


jennyloh's picture

Ghee can be used to make tarts, as we use it in asian pastry such as pineapple tarts,  similar to  the form of choux pastry.  Somehow it makes the pastry lighter,  much more flavorful than normal butter.  However,  with 100% fats,   it is quite sinful.  

iamsaraiam's picture

I'm watching a YT video of a French baker and was rather amazed to see he made his croissants with clarified butter - 99%. When I make 1lb browned butter, I start with 1.25lb butter to account for the water loss.

I guess I'll have to experiment.

I just love the aroma and flavor of browned butter. If you're going to make croissants with clarified butter, why not make them with browned butter?


giyad's picture

Did you ever actually do this @Paul? I'm curious as ghee is solid at room temperature which should make it easier to work with and not require going in and out of the fridge during the process. However, ghee feels less pliable so I'm not sure how easy it would be to shape it. If you ever tried it please do let us know.

pmccool's picture

For that matter, I've only made croissants with regular butter once since that post and it wasn’t pretty. 

I have lost some weight, though.  Perhaps there’s a connection?