Frying with Butter, when to know its burned

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Whole butter is burnt when the milk solids are dark and bitter. Clarified butter is hard to burn. If either is smoking or in flames your in trouble.
 
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One question, if I heat butter in a microwave and remove the "foam" that forms on top ... is that clarified butter?
 
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The foam is the solids that is removed to make clarified butter. Clarified butter looks like oil. It should be clear yellowish.
 

phatch

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Clarifying butter both foams and settles. Removing the foam is part of it but you also want to remove the settled solids. Just melting butter in the microwave is not really clarifying it. 


Butter is not a good choice for frying a steak as it burns in the hot pan. Finishing with butter is a good thing. Speed basting with butter is good too. But by the time you get to using the butter for basting, the pan is not as hot as at the start and the butter shouldn't burn.


Flipping every minute is not the method I endorse, but I picked the video to show the difference in how he uses oil and butter in cooking the steak
 
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What you need to know is that butter is only about 82% fat, the rest is water.  For this reason, whole butter is pretty lousy to saute with.
 

cerise

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Hi guys, when you fry/finish your steaks with butter how do you know the butter is burnt?
I think you're mixing apples with oranges, & unclear as to the question. Let's take it one step at a time.  Are you frying or finishing(?) steak with butter? 

You can add a pat of butter or compound butter to the finished steak., etc.

If doing a browned butter sauce (i.e. for pasta), watch for an amber color.

Clarified butter - mostly for seafood (lobster) as a dipping sauce.
 
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Ghee. Don't forget that... For more than seafood dipping. [emoji]128512[/emoji]
Many western cuisines don't/won't acknowledge what the Indians (from India, that is) have known for centuries:

Ghee doesn't require refrigeration and is shelf stable for a loooong time.....
 

phatch

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I'm not a fan of clarified butter for seafood. There's not enough flavor left in the clarified butter and I find whole melted butter more to my taste. I think this is part of the popularity for butter or olive oil poaching for lobster and such. Use a fat with the most flavor rather than one with the flavor removed. 

Clarified butter is much better for high temperature cooking of course. And storing, even preserving as with confit or traditional potted shrimp or ham
 
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When I get cracking some brown butter with parsley and mint  is a must. so damn good.
 
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Yes I only finish my steaks with butter, but I have read the butter burns, and the thing is I have no idea to know when it is considered burnt(on fire doesnt count :p)
 
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Do a very easy and inexpensive experiment. Tablespoon or two of butter in a small frying pan. Low heat. Heat until it melts. Taste. Continue until the foam and water cook off. It will stop sizzling. Taste. Cook until the butter starts to brown. Taste. Keep cooking and tasting. You'll taste when it goes from browned to burnt and you will see the difference too. Browned will taste nutty, like hazelnut; burnt will taste bitter
 
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