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I am about to start making clarified butter and I want to know how removing the milk solids affects the end result when sauteing, making flavor bases and other things. I like the idea of cooking with butter that is harder to burn but I want to know what I am giving away here.

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Pros:

  • Higher smoking point. Regular butter's smoking point is 325-375F while clarified butter is around 485F. But it can still smoke and burn! However the higher smoking point means it'll be much more applicable in terms of sauteing food without worrying about burning the butter.

  • 100% fat. Often times its hard to calculate the exact replacements in baking when you want to replace a fat with butter because regular butter isn't 100% fat. Using regular butter, you would need to factor in how much extra water you are introducing into the recipe.

  • Longer shelf life. Without the water and milk solids, the shelf life of the clarified butter will be much longer. Can even be stored without refrigeration.

Cons:

  • Less buttery flavor. The milk solids that you are removing makes up a lot of butter's flavor. By removing this, you are removing flavor.
  • Well if it loses the buttery flavor, what is the point in clarifying butter in the first place? – Bar Akiva Jan 19 '16 at 18:21
  • @BarAkiva for the pros I listed. Plus its generally regarded as "healthier" than regular butter. Note that it'll still have a buttery flavor, just not as strong once its clarified. – Jay Jan 19 '16 at 18:22
  • Healthier? How come if what you end up with is more fat and calories per Tbsp? I can understand the advantage for lactose intolerant people, put I do not know why it should be considered "healthier" per se. – Bar Akiva Jan 19 '16 at 18:26
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    @BarAkiva I don't have too much experience in term of that, hence the healthier in quotes. However, I've been told it is better in terms of cholesterol. And in general health discussions are discouraged here. – Jay Jan 19 '16 at 18:32
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It depends on the recipe but, clarifying butter removes fat, milk, sugar, etc from the butter. Leaving a pure (clean) product. Clarifying it will remove any likelyhood of contamination (spoilage) and will reduce separation.

Try cooking green beans (or any veggie) in a pot with water and add a significant amount of butter, then put it in the fridge overnight. The next day, the butter will have created a hard, fatty-like, milky layer on top of the water. This is an example of non-clarified butter. That whitish-yellow layer that separates from the water and green beans below.

Now, clarifying butter won't do this, which is why so many sauce recipes (such as Hollandaise or Bearnaise sauces) require clarified butter. So it will store well, not separate, stay creamy, and last longer.

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