I can’t remember the last time we bought cooking fat or margarine at home. Why? We make butter and ghee which we use for cooking and spreading on bread every day. If I can save Kshs 2,500 each month by avoiding buying cooking fat or margarine, then I think it is worth the effort. None of our family members is intolerant to cow milk and we all enjoy our home made butter on bread and food cooked with ghee.
This is an email I got from one of our readers and with her permission I thought it was okay to share it with you.
How does she make butter and ghee?
Here is the rest of the text
Actually the method is not complicated. We don’t use any specialized equipment but rather the traditional way. A traditional gourd and sufurias are all we use.
We start by filling the gourd with raw milk from our three Guernsey cows which we milk twice a day. Once filled, the gourds are covered and the milk left to ferment for 3 to 4 days when it forms into mala. Then we shake the gourds until the butter form and accumulate on the mouth. The butter is then separated from the sour milk and transferred into a clean bowl. We normally drink the sour milk during meals or give to our neighbors if we can’t finish the whole amount.
The butter is kneaded in a clean bowl using a spoon. Clean water is then allowed to run on the butter to clean it. We sometimes eat the butter directly at this stage after adding some salt, or we put in a fridge to keep longer. The butter can last in the fridge up to 2 weeks before it goes bad.
All the butter that are about to go bad is heated gently in mild heat for 45 to 60 minutes to melt into ghee. The ghee is collected in clean containers and stored in a fridge for future use. Ghee lasts longer compared to butter. We usually use all the ghee before making fresh ones.
We use the evening milk which we fill into several gourds on a daily basis after leaving some for making tea. All the morning milk is sold to a nearby dairy cooperative. The creams from the gourds are gathered into one bowl every 3 to 4 days before churning into butter. And we melt the butter to form ghee every week. Now we seem to have excess butter and ghee for our use. We make about 1½ Kg each week. We have since introduced our neighbors to these and they seem to like it. Now we are thinking of packaging the butter and ghee for sale. Hope we shall succeed.
As she has clearly put it, making butter or ghee is not difficult and it can save you a lot in your kitchen budget. If you have extra milk from your cows then it is worthwhile to make the small savings. You might not make the huge saving like she does but a saving is all right especially in this difficult times when food prices are hitting the roof.
Butter is made with cream collected from milk. You can make butter if you have raw milk but those who don’t have cows should not worry because they can buy milk cream from the supermarket. However butter from raw milk is the best. Goat or camel milk can also make very good butter and ghee. Cream and butter made from a camel and got milk is yellower compared to the cream and butter from cow's milk. Camel milk contains more fat so you can get more cream and butter per litre of milk compared to cow's milk.
You can opt to let the milk sour first or just get the cream from fresh raw milk. And you can use a jar instead of a gourd. If you have to get the cream from fresh raw milk, heat the milk first then cool to room temperature. The fat in the milk will collect at the top in the form of cream as the milk cools. You can freeze the milk to get more cream and faster too. Remove the top creamy layer and store in a jar a cool place. Repeat this everyday till there is enough cream in the jar. If you let the milk go sour, shake the milk container until the cream settles on top of the sour milk. Remove the creamy top and collect into a separate jar then store in a cool place, preferably a fridge. Repeat this every time you make sour milk until there is a substantial amount, as you did with the fresh milk.
Shake the cream in the jar for some time. The more cream you use the bigger the batch of butter produced. Don’t fill the jar completely because the more cream in the jar the less movement therefore the longer it takes. A half full jar often gives good results. Also don’t keep the cream too warm because it will be more difficult to clean the butter.
The liquid becomes harder to shake as it gets thicker, and the color becomes more and more yellow as the fat molecules group together. Shaking becomes easier as the butter cluster together. Eventually it breaks and the butter separates from the milk. The white liquid that remains is called buttermilk. If the buttermilk is not removed the butter can turn bad very fast. Pour the liquid out of the jar, then add some water and continue shaking and pouring the water away. Repeat this two to three times until the water becomes clear.
Empty the butter in a strainer and strain to get rid of water. Then transfer the butter in a bowl and knead with a spoon until it forms a ball. Kneading also removes water from the butter. At room temperature properly cleaned butter can stay good for several days or for a few weeks if kept in a fridge.
You can add salt if you like or store it unsalted. Adding salt help the butter to last longer because it helps preserve it
To make ghee, melt the butter in a pan over gentle heat for about 45–60 minutes, by which time the sediment will have settled on the bottom of the pan. Strain the ghee into a clean tin or jar, cover and store in a fridge. Ghee lasts much longer than regular butter because the milk solids are removed.