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The next two evenings were devoted to transforming my homemade butter into ghee. I filled my biggest pot with butter and turned up the heat to let it melt evenly and simmer before the lactose and protein began to separate from the fat.

During the butter's time on the stove, the only thing you have to do is listen and watch. Allowed to move and roll, the butter makes a nervous frying noise. Then it quiets. While the butter is simmering, it's important to resist the urge to stir or skim the liquid. If you leave the butter alone, even as it sizzles and foams, the lactose and milk protein separate naturally from the golden essence that is ghee. This can take anywhere from 20 minutes to hours, depending on how much butter you start with and the size of your pot.

It was easy to see when the ghee was ready. Everything got quiet, and the bubbles were clear. The aroma was lovely, like croissants. Then I took the pot off the heat and let it rest for about 30 minutes. Once it settled, I poured the ghee through a doubled piece of cheesecloth (an unbleached coffee filter works well, too) into clean, dry airtight containers. In India, the curds are used to make ghee lamps. In my kitchen, they became a special treat for the dog.

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