Clarification – Interesting Facts

The goal of clarification is to remove any impurities from a liquid in order to achieve a clear consistency and a more intense flavour. The two most popular clarified products are clarified butter, which is also known as ghee, and meat broth, also known as a consommé. The process behind clarifying these two items is not identical, but both require a lot of time and the right temperatures.

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Before heating up the soup and the meat broth, it makes sense to degrease your meat broth by hand. Simply spoon out the larger pockets of fat from the surface of the liquid, and for the smaller pockets, use a paper towel.

Clarification – Butter

The sweet nutty taste of clarified butter is worth the effort. Aside from this, it is always of a soft consistency, is easy to spread and portion out, and has a higher smoke point than most other fats. Clarified butter lends a delicious buttery taste to frying, baking and deep frying and is particularly popular in Indian cuisine.

In order to make it yourself at home, you will need one stick of butter, a saucepan, a strainer spoon, a fine sieve and a Mason jar. Once the butter is heated in a saucepan, it will form a white foam on top. Skim this out with a strainer spoon. The butter is clarified once the liquid turns a clear golden yellow and as soon as it stops steaming. Once it is slightly cooled, pass the liquid through a sieve with a coffee filter or a cheese cloth on top, and into the Mason jar.

Clarification – Methods

There are various ways to clarify your soup. The simplest method is to strain the liquid through a sieve covered with a cheese cloth. This way, you can strain the bits and pieces out of the broth. The classic method is with the help of some egg white, which coagulates in the hot broth and filters out even the smallest of pieces.

Clarified broth with egg

This is quite a cheap method involving the addition of whisked egg white into the liquid. The egg white coagulates, gathers all the small pieces and a white substance rises to the top of the liquid, making it easy to skim off. The disadvantage of this quick and easy method is that the result is never quite perfect and in some cases, the egg white may extract some of the flavour.

Clarified broth with meat

A more elaborate but effective method is to clarify broths with certain cuts of meat or fish. Ideally, use low-fat meat with lots of collagen which will act similarly to the egg white and gather all the remaining substances. Beef shank is generally the best option for broths, otherwise game and fish can also work well. Roughly chop any of these meats before using.

It is worth browning the meat first with some carrots, onions and leeks, alongside a bay leaf, cloves and spices or herbs. The meat should be as cold as possible when it is added to your broth liquid. Slowly heat the mixture and stir often to avoid the meat sinking to the bottom of the pot. At 70°C the proteins will bind the remaining bits and pieces and then rise to the top of the mixture, allowing you to scoop them out. The most important thing here is to simmer the broth, not boil.

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