The ghee manufacturing process is always intricate regardless the manufacturer follows a traditional or advanced industrial process.
The traditional process is also called the Ayurvedic process for making cow ghee. It is a slow cook process and it is also called the Vedic process of ghee production. This Vedic ghee making process is also called the traditional process of ghee making as well as it is popularly called as Desi or Indigenous Method.
Different methods are used for making ghee in the dairy industry. However, all the methods work on the same methodology or preparation flow. These processes are:
- The concentration of milk fat either in the form of milk cream or milk-butter.
- Clarification of fat-rich milk portion by using heat and thus the percentage of water gets reduced, and only less than 0.5% stays in the final product.
- The curd/cream content gets eliminated in the form of ghee residue.
Traditional ghee making process
This method is also known as the Vedic ghee manufacturing process and it is mostly divided into five interrelated steps. These steps are extending from procuring raw material (milk) to making the end product ghee, clarified butter. In the Vedic process these five steps are important because it is believed that by following these 5 steps, the best quality of ghee in its purest condition is produced. Each of these steps is called sanskar in this ayurvedic ghee manufacturing method.
Step (sanskar)-1: procurement and boiling
Procurement is a vital issue for making ghee in the traditional ghee manufacturing process. The quality of raw material milk is largely dependent on farming and the diet of the cow. Grass-fed cow milk is always better than grain feed cow milk. In the traditional process, 25-30 liter cow milk is essential for making around 1 liter of cow ghee. In Ayurveda, grass-fed cow’s milk is counted as the best material for making the purest form of cow ghee.
The milk is thoroughly boiled. This long boiling process helps in two ways. The milk collected from the firm gets completely disinfected. On the other hand, by using the boiling process, the manufacturers make the texture of the cow milk more concentrated.
Step (sanskar)–2: Curdling
In the ghee manufacturing process, boiled milk is converted into curd. In the traditional process, one tablespoon curd is added into the milk. Instead of curd, in-home sometimes lemon juice, or any natural sour ingredient is added to milk. The milk stays overnight in a covered pot and gets converted to curd. Once the curd is fully prepared, it is churned thoroughly.
Step (sanskar)–3: Churning
The curd is churned now by a wooden churner, which is called Bilona. Traditionally, card churning is done in two way direction of bilona, one is clockwise and the other is anticlockwise. Churning is mostly a lengthy method. Once the curd gets divided into butter and buttermilk, the raw ingredients of ghee, the milk butter gets prepared.
Step (sanskar) – 4- Separating
At the end of the churning in the ghee manufacturing process, butter and the buttermilk gets segregated. This butter is then used to produce ghee.
The butter is also called ghee butter. It is still not free from the milky part, which means this ghee butter may contain lactose and casein. By heating-process of cooking, clarified butter, ghee is produced.
Step (sanskar) – 5- Heating
In the ghee manufacturing process, the produced butter is now placed in a heavy-bottom steel pot and it gets heated against a medium-high flame. Once the ghee butter starts boiling, it is allowed to boil for some more time so that the water in ghee butter gets evaporated.
In the course of the boiling process, the boiling butter gets clarified, and a visible layer of solids is found at the bottom of the pot that indicates that the ghee is almost ready. At this phase you will get to smell the nutty aroma of pure cow ghee and the butter will turn yellow-golden.
In the final step, the golden liquid ghee is filtered via a strainer and stored in jars for later use. It is extremely vital to store the pure Ghee in a dry jar away from the exposure of light, heat, and moisture.
The advanced method of ghee making process
However, the traditional ghee manufacturing process was mostly used for homemade ghee making purposes. But dairy companies usually use another commercial process, where they skip the course of making butter from milk.
In this procedure, the cream is separated from the milk, and good quality ghee is prepared from this milk cream.
There are more 4 processes for ghee manufacturing apart from traditional or desi ghee making processes. These four processes are
- Direct Cream Method
- Creamery Butter Method
- Prestratification Method
- Continuous Method
Direct cream method
The Direct cream method is a commercial ghee manufacturing process. Here a kettle is used to boil the milk cream. These kettles are mostly made of steel and they come with a steam-heated jacket and fixed with an agitator, a steam regulator valve, pressure, and temperature gauging devices and a portable, hollow, stainless steel tube with central boring for draining out the contents.
Heating gets stopped when brownish froth is seen on the surface, and the color of the ghee residue becomes golden yellow or light brown.
However, this commercial ghee manufacturing process has few drawbacks. One is its long cooking time, and secondly, the presence of serum solid in the cream may add a caramelized flavor in the ghee produced.
If it is bulk manufacturing, then only this process becomes cost-efficient.
Ghee manufacturing is important as the process somehow decides the ghee quality. However, the time and the purity of raw material play a critical role in deciding ghee quality. Grass-fed cow milk is a better raw material than grain-fed cow milk for producing good quality cow ghee, and that is why grass-fed cow ghee enjoys higher demand in the consumer market.
Advantage: The manufacturer does not have the obligation for butter production before ghee production.
Creamery Butter Method
This is the standard ghee making method applied in most of the organized dairies. In this process, unsalted or white milk butter is used as the raw material. Butter blocks are melted at 60°C to 80°C in a butter melter. Melted butter is pumped into the ghee boiler where final heating gets done by using steam as the heating medium.
Now the steam pressure is increased to raise the temperature. A certain amount of scum is formed on the top of the surface of the product, which is removed frequently with the help of a holed scoop. At this stage, typical ghee aroma gets felted. The final heating temperature is adjusted at 114±2°C. Produced Ghee is filtered by the oil filter into the settling tank.
In this process, butter is produced from matured cream of 38 to 40% fat applying continuous butter making machine or the method of batch churn. Butter is then transferred to butter melted and gets melted there at 80°C around temperature. This melted butter is kept into a ghee kettle or boiler at a temperature of 80-85°C for 30 min. Here, in ghee kettle, the stratification of mass gets done, and the product gets stratified into three separate layers. Denatured protein elements (curd particles) and impurities are found on the top layer or as floating on the surface. The middle layer is made of clear fat, and the bottom layer is found made of buttermilk serum carrying 80% of moisture and 70% of solids-not-fat contained in the butter.
The bottom layer is then cautiously removed without disturbing both the top and middle layers. The middle layer mostly consists of fat and is heated to 114±2 ° C temperature along with the top layer of floating curd particles and denatured protein. This step is essential to create a typical ghee aroma. Milder flavor ghee can be manufactured, as most of the curd content is removed before the final clarification temperature of ghee clarified butter.
This Continuous method was developed to meet the necessity of high volume production and to overcome the restraint of the batch method. Limitations of the batch method are as follows:
- Demand high use of energy, due to low heat transfer co-efficient
- Cleaning and sanitation of equipment may not be enough satisfactory
- Equipment and process mostly found unsuitable for a large volume of production
- The factory Floor becomes extremely slippery due to unwanted ghee spillage
- Handling losses often reach the optimum level
So, the continuous method can offer you the following benefits;
- Better control over the quality of the product
- Contamination by handlers can be mostly eliminated
- CIP is highly possible
- No foaming of the product is observed during the production
Butter is heated in a butter melted to liquefied state and then is transferred into the balance tank, and then it is pumped further to the scraped surface of the heat exchanger (SSHE), followed by flashing in vapor separator. This heating in SSHE and flashing are repeated in the next two stages to reduce the moisture level in the produced ghee. Ghee is then pass through the centrifugal clarifier where ghee-residue gets removed. Clarified ghee is stored for filling and packing.
All grass-fed cow ghee is not of organic quality. Organic grass-fed cow ghee is a premium product in the dairy market. The winning combo of the authentic ghee manufacturing process and pure raw material can make the best quality grass-fed cow ghee. Organic cow ghee is an organic certified product, organic certification is not decided by the claim.
For example, Milkio organic grass-fed is produced from 100% grass-fed cow milk and under the best hygienic condition. The ghee is manufactured without adding any synthetic color, preservative, and flavor, and its organic quality is certified by BioGro, New Zealand’s largest and best-known certifies for organic produce and products.
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