Ghee and Milk Protein

Ghee /  Clarified butter on rustic blue background, selective focus
Ghee is sometimes called clarified butter. (Image: vm2002/iStock/GettyImages)

Ghee is made from butter and is sometimes called clarified butter. Although it is technically a dairy product, just like milk, yogurt, ice cream, cream, butter and cheese, it's made only from the fattiest part of dairy and contains very little milk protein.

Milk Protein

The main proteins found in milk are called casein and whey, which are found in all dairy products. However, the higher the fat content of a dairy product, the lower its protein content.

For example, 1 cup of whole milk has close to 8 grams of protein, while 1 tablespoon of butter has 0.1 gram of protein and ghee has no detectable amount of protein. However, ghee may still contain traces of the milk protein casein.

Milk Allergy

If you have a milk or casein allergy or an intolerance to milk protein, it is best to avoid even trace amounts of milk protein. To prevent any potential health problems or side effects of milk protein, you should completely avoid all dairy products, foods derived from dairy products and processed foods containing ingredients derived from dairy products.

Because ghee is made from a dairy product, you should not consume it if you are allergic to casein, unless you find a ghee that is certified to be free of casein. Some organic brands claim to be free of casein. When buying ghee, it's important to read label or check with the manufacturer if you are concerned.

Make Your Own

If you don't have an allergy, you can make your own without any problems, as long as you can tolerate trace amounts of milk protein. Making ghee is relatively easy.

Put 1 pound of unsalted butter in a pan. Melt the butter and gently heat it until it comes to a boil. Heat at moderate intensity, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, or until it turns to a clear and golden color. Curds containing the traces of milk protein found in butter will form at the bottom of the pan. Pour the golden liquid through a fine sieve or cheesecloth and let it cool.

Use

You can keep your ghee at room temperature or in the fridge. Ghee is more stable than butter when heated at high temperatures. Butter can burn because of the milk protein it contains, but by removing most of these proteins from ghee, it can be heated without burning. Use ghee to saute your vegetables, cook meat, chicken or fish or to fry rice.

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