A significant portion of the population has an issue with digesting dairy and specifically the lactose sugar or the proteins. Casein is the most well-known and researched dairy protein. One’s dairy issue may be due to an allergy, but it may also be due to issues with gut function. When improperly digested the milk protein casein results in casomorphins: a peptide with an opiate structure. Researchers have shown that these peptides are taken up by various areas of the brain, many of which are responsible for vision, hearing and communication, therefore leading to processing issues.
When milk is properly fermented a large percentage of the proteins get pre-digested and lactose is consumed by the fermenting microbes. Proper fermentation is 24 hours for yogurt – unfortunately most commercial yogurt is not fermented long enough. Thus fully fermented milk products are much simpler for the human gut to properly digest. If even this seems too much for your gut to handle, but you would like to add some dairy into your diet? A good starting point is Ghee or Clarified butter.
Ghee is generally well tolerated by most people as it contains simply milk fat, no milk proteins or lactose. When purchasing commercial ghee, as with any product, read the labels and know your source as they may contain preservatives and other additives. Ghee is fairly simple to make at home and then you know that it is pure.
Ghee has a nice nutty flavor. Ghee may be used plain or for cooking, baking or frying as it will not burn as butter may due to a small content of whey. As ghee is often the easiest dairy product tolerated, ghee is a great place to start when introducing or re-introducing dairy. Start with a small amount to see how well it is tolerated. Slowly build up your daily use. Once this is tolerated in the diet for 6 weeks or more you may consider trying organic butter.
Start with organic unsalted butter (any added salts may contain flow agents or fillers). Organic butter is best as non-organic butter contains pesticides, hormones and antibiotics.
Ghee may be made in the oven or on the stove top.
Oven: Preheat to 140-200°F. Place butter in a metal or glass pan and leave in the oven about 30-50 minutes.
Stovetop: place butter in a pan and warm over medium heat. Melt butter and allow it to cook uncovered in the pan for 20 – 40 minutes.
The melted butter will separate with white bits which float and sink. It will bubble a bit as you can see and here in the below video.
Reduce the heat and allow it to gently simmer until the milk solids separate, the liquid becomes clear, the bubbling subsides and it should smell a bit caramelized. You do not want it to become brown, this means you have cooked it too long.
Stain the golden liquid through a fine mesh strainer. If you want to be certain to fully remove all particles you may strain several times or add a coffee filter to the strainer.
Store in a clean glass container. Cover once fully cooled. Ghee may keep unrefrigerated for up to 2 months or longer refrigerated.