Traditional ghee is made by either cow-milk or buffalo-milk. The cow-ghee is golden brown. Buffalo ghee is
off-white cream color. Buffalo-milk is
is popular in Punjab. Buffalo-milk has a higher butter-fat content and results in
higher ghee yield than the cow-milk. Here, we will assume cow-milk. The color of ghee and yield depends on the
species of the dairy animal, animal feed, and the lactation time.
On average, 21 pounds of milk will yield one pound of Makhan, one pound of Makhan will yield 1½
cup of ghee.
Step 1 Make Dahi yogurt
Bring fresh whole milk (un-pasteurized, un-homogenized) to a boil. Let it cool to warm. Stir in starting
culture. Wrap the container in a blanket to keep warm. Incubate for six hours. You have made the Dahi (yogurt)
Churn Dahi in the early morning hours when it is cool. In about 10 to 20 minutes of continuous churning,
the butter-fat 'breaks' from the yogurt as butter-globules.
The butter-globules clump together to form Makhan. The Makhan is skimmed-off to make Ghee.
Makhan (Cultured Butter) Recipe
Step 3 Make Ghee
This whole process process will take about 45 minutes for one pound of Makhan.
1. Transfer Makhan to a heavy iron Karahi (Indian wok). Turn on low flame-heat at slightly-warm temperature to melt Makhan.
This is about 110° F, same temperature at which starting culture is added to make Dahi. High heat
will burn the Makhan resulting in bitter
2. After the Makhan has melted, the heat is increased to simmer. This is kept at about 190° F. This process is same as reducing milk to make Khoya. If the milk-solids bubble up, stir the foam back
in to melted Makhan. Cook on simmer till all the moisture is gone. You have golden yellow butter oil with
milk-solids sunk to the bottom
3. Increase heat to medium. The temperature is kept at about 250° F. This process is same as deep-frying Khoya
balls to make Gulab-Jamun. During this step, the milk-solids are toasted to light brown. The color of
butter-oil becomes yellowish brown. It adds nutty flavor. As soon as the milk-solids turn light brown color,
turn off heat.
4. Let the ghee cool to warm so we can handle it without fear of getting burned. Filter the ghee using
multi-layered cheese cloth or a thin muslin cloth to remove toasted brown milk-solids.
5. Store ghee in an opaque jar such as freshly fired terracotta jar (Gharia), or a crock-pot (Imrit baan). You
may also use dark brown or blue glass jar.
For long-term storage, the lid may be sealed with wax.
Properly cooked and stored ghee will not become rancid for several decades at room temperature. Properly cooked ghee has no
moisture, all the milk-solids have been removed. Ghee must not be exposed to light.