Why would anyone clarify butter?
To separate the milk solids from the pure butter fat so that you can use butter at a much higher temperature without smoking!
Place the stick of unsalted butter in a small pan set over low to medium low heat. Look at what happens – very quickly, foam starts appearing at the top. The foam is floating milk solids. These are what stand between you and beautiful clarified butter.
Your job for the next few minutes is to skim off the foam.
How do I skim foam? Use a spoon! As the foam rises, trap it with the spoon and scoop it into a separate container. Only scoop and discard the foam.
Don’t worry, this is the only time consuming part of the process and should take about 10 minutes tops.
After skimming the foam, your butter looks like this. What on earth are those things in the bottom of the pan? More milk solids! These are the heavier solids that sink. All you want is the clear yellow liquid above those solids. Now we’ll get a little fancy.
Choose a bowl with a lid – the one you will save the clarified butter in. You will also need a strainer that is smaller than the opening of the bowl and one piece of cheesecloth cut larger than the opening of the bowl.
Some assembly is required. Put the strainer on top of the bowl. Then put the cheesecloth on top of the strainer, forming a well. Carefully and slowly pour the clear liquid from the pan through the strainer into the bowl. Stop when the solids demand to be poured out.
If solids make it into the clarified butter, wipe out the pan, pour the butter back into the pan again and re-do the pour.
Your clarified butter is beautiful! Make up a bunch and keep it in the fridge for use in all those recipes you have ignored because they called for clarified butter and you did not know what that was.
Now you are a Clarified Spoon Mage™!