The process of clarifying butter does two things: it boils out the water (of which there is a great deal in butter) out, and it causes the milk solids to fall out of suspension. Some of the solids will rise to the top as foam, but most will fall to the bottom. You will lose a third to a half of the quantity of butter you started with. So, if you start with two sticks of butter, you’ll end up with a quarter to a third of a cup of clarified butter.
The amazing thing about clarified butter is that it will hold up for a long time, even off refrigeration (although I recommend keeping it chilled). It can also be heated much hotter than most fats without burning. (The threat of fire, however, is always there, so be careful.)
- 2-4 sticks butter (unsalted preferred)
Heat the butter into a small saucepan over the lowest heat and let it sit there. It will take about 20 minutes, and is finished when the bubbling has stopped almost completely. Spoon out the foam, then pour the rest of the butter carefully away from the solids on the bottom. If you want to be thorough, you can strain the butter through cheesecloth.