As in governance, so in food: quality counts and will out. I am clarifying butter at the moment. I do that regularly. It is cheaper than buying clarified butter, and I can control the end result. I like the clarified butter to be ever so slightly caramelized.

All butters are not created equal. On the stove at the moment, Horizon organic butter, bought on sale. I never buy it unless it is on sale, preferring the taste of other brands. I thought it might be okay for clarified. But it is sputtering and spitting on the stove, which means to me that the water content is higher, the milk solids content is higher, the fat content lower: cheaper, in short. That’s my best guess, anyway. The butter has gotten to the point at which I want to stop cooking it, but there is still froth on the surface. If this were a better butter, the surface would now be clear, and all the milk solids would have sunk to the bottom of the pot.

To make your own clarified butter:

One pound of sweet (unsalted) butter, a pot sufficiently deep to contain all the butter with plenty of room left over, cheesecloth, a four-cup (two cups might just barely do it)  pyrex measuring cup, a small strainer or funnel, a broad glass jar for the finished product. Do not use frozen butter: that will sputter no matter what butter it is. Put the butter in the pot, turn the heat on low. After a while, the butter will begin boiling. If it is boiling too enthusiastically, turn the heat as low as it can go. A white froth will rise to the surface, and after a while, all of that froth will be gone, and the liquid will be a clear gold color. Turn off the heat. If you would like slightly browned butter, let it go longer, until it is… slightly brown. The scent will also tell you when the butter is beginning to caramelize. If you burn it, throw it out. It will taste foul.

Let the butter cool for a half hour or so. Pour the butter through the cheesecloth into the pyrex cup. Let that cool to room temperature, decant into the jar. Let stand another hour or few, and you’re done. Clarified butter needs no refrigeration.

My favorite butter at the moment is pasture-raised Organic Valley. Seems to do the best as clarified also.