O.M.Ghee... Fail.


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I make ghee about once a month and it always turns out great. I made my most recent batch the usual way, but this time when I stored it, it seemed a little runnier than usual. Usually it solidifies once it cools, but this batch stayed more liquidy. And today I went to use it, and there were a couple of tiny spots of mold on it!

I'm sad, but I'm also befuddled about why this would have happened. Did I not strain out all the solids? Was it something with the atmosphere, or perhaps the container wasn't perfectly clean?

Stephanie

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Chances are two things happened. First, if you didn't cook it long enough, there might've been moisture left in it which would make it liquidey. Putting a wet spoon in to scoop or putting it into a wet jar might've caused the mould too.

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Not solidifying when it cools means your current batch of ghee has a very different lipid profile than your other batches.      Were you definitely using pastured butter?  Any chance you could be using ordinary butter, or even butter with vegetable oil added?  

The mold is most likely from water getting in to the vessel that holds your ghee.    The container does need to be clean of course, but it also needs to be very dry.  Air dry the dish in a drying rack overnight if you can.  It takes very little moisture to introduce mold.     If you saw tiny spots today on the top of your ghee, my guess is that is environmental.  If you kept your ghee near the stove on a day that you were cooking, or if you kept it uncovered for a few hours on a humid day, that alone might be enough.

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22 minutes ago, Carol said:

Not solidifying when it cools means your current batch of ghee has a very different lipid profile than your other batches.      Were you definitely using pastured butter?  Any chance you could be using ordinary butter, or even butter with vegetable oil added?  

The mold is most likely from water getting in to the vessel that holds your ghee.    The container does need to be clean of course, but it also needs to be very dry.  Air dry the dish in a drying rack overnight if you can.  It takes very little moisture to introduce mold.     If you saw tiny spots today on the top of your ghee, my guess is that is environmental.  If you kept your ghee near the stove on a day that you were cooking, or if you kept it uncovered for a few hours on a humid day, that alone might be enough.

I've made ghee with every variety of butter from the cheapest to the most expensive. Ordinary butter clarifies and becomes solidified ghee just fine--if one takes the time necessary to both simmer out the water and to solidify the milk solids and if one strains the ghee properly through 4 layers of cheesecloth. (I'm not talking about "butter" which has oil added and therefore isn't really butter, just talking about ordinary cheap store brand butter.)

But I agree that the container MUST be both clean and dry. :)

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I always use Land o' Lakes unsalted butter. I'll be more careful about the moisture next time. It's possible the container was fresh out of the dishwasher and still had some water droplets.

Has anyone tried adding a coffee filter to the cheesecloth layers when straining out the solids?

Thanks for the responses!

Stephanie

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6 minutes ago, Bellmaestra said:

I always use Land o' Lakes unsalted butter. I'll be more careful about the moisture next time. It's possible the container was fresh out of the dishwasher and still had some water droplets.

Has anyone tried adding a coffee filter to the cheesecloth layers when straining out the solids?

Thanks for the responses!

Stephanie

If you have four layers of cheesecloth . . . anything else would be superfluous. Also, make sure you're slowly simmering your ghee long enough so that the milk solids are solidified. For me, that's about 30 minutes.

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I've been doing it in the crockpot, and it was as done as it usually has been; I usually let it go for a couple hours until it separates and has some browned bits that fall to the bottom. When I strained it, it was that gorgeous golden color and there were plenty of remaining solids in the cheesecloth. Maybe I'll go back to the stovetop next time, just to make sure.

Stephanie

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56 minutes ago, Bellmaestra said:

I always use Land o' Lakes unsalted butter. I'll be more careful about the moisture next time. It's possible the container was fresh out of the dishwasher and still had some water droplets.

Has anyone tried adding a coffee filter to the cheesecloth layers when straining out the solids?

Thanks for the responses!

Stephanie

I actually don't use cheese cloth with mine.  I strain my ghee twice through a miracloth -- I think it works much better!
https://www.amazon.com/Miracloth-All-Purpose-Cloths-Pack-6/dp/B00L1PM9FW/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1492031588&sr=8-1&keywords=miracloth

I don't think this name is widely known outside my area.   I've seen them sold in Canada as J Cloth.  I think in other parts of the US they might be called Handy Wipes?  They are usually in the cleaning section of the grocery store but the cloths are untreated.  They can be washed or boiled before use (I boil mine), just make sure you give the cloth a few hours to completely dry before straining your ghee :)
 

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I had another thought... when I started melting my butter in the crock pot, I kept the lid on it for awhile, then I took the lid off for another hour or so. I wasn't really paying attention. But it's possible that during the time the lid was on, there was condensation that got back into the melted butter. This is a very old crock pot; the kind that heats at a very low temperature; this was from before it was decided that the low temps were unsafe for slow cooking.

Time to try a new batch; we'll see what happens!

Thanks again for all the input!

Stephanie

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Tried again and this batch seemed to be just fine. I only did two sticks of butter this time just in case. I actually ended up straining it 3 times, because it didn't go through the coffee filter very well, so I went through 2 coffee filters and then the 4 layers of cheesecloth. I lost a little bit to the cheesecloth because it was cooling down and solidifying in the final process.

Life is a science experiment!

Stephanie

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