caseins, which are responsible for the burning) leaving only the fat part, to obtain a fat source as pure
as possible. This allows the butter to be heated to higher temperatures without blackening or burning,
while maintaining practically all of its tasty and flavoursome qualities.
Clarified butter can be prepared by melting butter in a saucepan over a low heat, and skimming off the
foam (which contains the denatured proteins) as it forms with a spoon. Then the upper layer of the
remaining separated mixture is spooned off and used.
For a solid clarified butter, the butter can be placed in a microwave, the foam skimmed off, and then
cooled in the fridge for several days until the fat solidifies (about 54 hours) and then it can be easily
removed from the water.
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More about culinary ingredients: Thickeners/thickening agents
Traditional thickening agents
As explained previously, both proteins and carbohydrates can act as thickening agent. The long starch
molecules and the long strands of denatured proteins act to interfere with the movement of the water
molecules, reducing their ability to flow, so thickening the liquid.
How long stranded molecules thicken liquids
Proteins as traditional thickening agent
The proteins that have been used most commonly as thickeners are either the proteins present in
blood (which is how blood pudding is thickened) or in egg yolks (which is how custards are thickened).
However, protein is a very delicate thickening agent – is the sauce is heated to too high a temperature,
the proteins risk to join together and form lumps, which may give the thickened sauce a lumpy of
The food ingredient containing carbohydrates and most commonly used to thicken sauces is flour.
However using flour as a thickening agent is associated with several disadvantages. In particular, flour
does not dissolve in cold water, as can be seen pouring one water drop on flour: it rolls.
When flour is poured in hot water, it form lumps, the external layer of flour lumps forming a gel, which