The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the category “UK”

How To Make Clarified Butter

Clarified butter is butter from which the milk solids have been removed. Commercial operations may use a centrifuge or decantation to do this.

The traditional ghee method involves melting and heating the butter so that its water evaporates and some milk solids rise to the top of the melted fat (to be skimmed off) and others sink to the bottom (to be filtered out later). If the butter is cooked long enough the milk solids caramelize and give a nutty flavor to the butter fat.

Advantages of clarified butter over fresh:

Clarifying butter preserves it. As the water and milk solids in the butter are removed, butter prepared this way can last indefinitely without refrigeration in an airtight container.

– Clarified butter’s smoking point is higher than that of fresh butter, which makes it useful for sauteeing and frying.

– Since you’ve removed the milk solids the clarified butter is low in lactose and so can be tolerated by many people who are lactose intolerant.

Here titlinihaan in the UK shows us how she makes ghee on the stovetop. Using 500 grams (so, about one pound) of butter the process takes her about an hour and a half:

Titli didn’t mention this, but you want to be careful that you don’t burn the solids on the bottom of the pan, because that can ruin the taste of the whole batch.

Here David Bruce Hughes in Santiago, Chile shows us how he makes large batches of ghee. “The time that you spend to make a large quantity of ghee is not going to be much more than to make a small quantity, so you might as well stock up, ” he says. He mentions a lot of the technical aspects of the process.

A hands-free method of making ghee is to use the oven. In “The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking”, Yamuna Devi writes “This is the best method for making a stockpile of ghee. Because the heat surrounds the ghee, rather than contacting only the bottom of the pan, the cooking is slower but almost effortless. More of a crust will harden on the surface, and the solids at the bottom of the pan will remain soft and somewhat gelatinous.”

Yamuna uses a baking pan deep enough to allow about three inches (approx. 7.5 cm) of pan above the surface of the melting butter and bakes her ghee at 300 F (150 C).

If you are processing a pound of butter you may need to leave your pan in the oven for an hour before you can skim and filter.

Instead of skimming off the solids as the butter cooks, as Titli did, you skim after you’ve removed the pan from the oven. Then you filter the mixture – either with a clean tight-woven cloth, layers of cheesecloth or with a coffee filter as Titli suggested.

Yamuna writes that you can save the milk solids for use in dishes or to spread on bread.

For flavored ghee, you add herbs and/or spices (added by themselves to the butter or you can put them into a sachet you’ve made with cheesecloth and add that to the butter) to the ghee as it cooks.

Other terms for clarified butter: brown butter, beurre noisette (French), samna/samneh (Arabic), ghee (Hindi-Urdu), butterschmalz (German), manteiga da tierra (Portuguese), manteiga de garrafa. Spiced clarified butter is known as niter kibbeh. Smen(North Africa) is spiced, cultured clarified butter.

How to Cure Wood

Curing wood you’ve felled or found (drying ‘green’ wood in a controlled fashion) is essential if you want to use it for construction, woodworking, or even just for use in your woodstove or fireplace.

You can read Curing Wood in 5 Steps here.

Curing the wood keeps it from cracking, splitting and distorting after you’ve already created/built something with it.

Artificial drying – over a fire or in an oven also risks splitting or otherwise damaging your wood.

“Cabinet maker Jeff Segal shows how he’ll store and cure the freshly milled plane tree, using bearers or stickers [square dowels] to separate the wood and allow the air to circulate.”

Learning to Spin On A Spinning Wheel

Sue MacNiven in the UK shows us how to spin yarn on a spinning wheel:

More on using a spinning wheel from the PIPA Project:

How to Make Wood Shingles

WoodlandsTV from the UK shows us how to make oak shingles with hand tools. He notes that the oak shingles should last about 70 years untreated due to their high tannin content:

Learning to Card Wool

Sue Macniven in the UK shows us how to card wool well for good quality yarn:

High-Efficiency Wood Stoves

“The latest next generation wood burning stoves are over 90% efficient and look good too. If you are thinking of installing a wood burning stove then find out more. They come in a variety of designs with some being more efficient than others. Some wood burning stoves can revolve and would look good in the most modern of homes. Anglia Fireplaces demonstrate their use.”

Rammed Earth Construction

Rowland Keable from the UK talks about rammed earth and rammed chalk construction.

Building with Straw Bale Demo

Barbara Jones who builds with straw bales in the UK, demonstrates how load bearing straw bale construction works. She shows us the various simple tools and components of straw bale construction (wooden pins that anchor the bales to a base plate, baling twine, the base plate itself, top plates, mallets, baling needle, strapping, etc.).

Forest Garden 411

Martin Crawford of the Agroforestry Research Trust talks about the Forest Garden he planted at Schumacher College, Dartington, South Devon, United Kingdom over 14 years ago.

Forest gardening is an interesting (and new to me) concept – that in temperate climates uses a young forest as a model. Martin explains that in conventional farming/gardening we use a lot of energy just to keep the land from going to back to the wild state it wants to get back to. Using the forest model, he says that very little energy goes into that kind of policing and so forest gardening ends up being much more low-maintenance than other forms of farming.

Forest gardens allow you to grow a mix of food and medicinal plants (for example, nut trees, fruit trees, herbs, vegetables, etc.). He says you may grow up to 200 species of plants in any one forest garden.

Here is a closer look at a food forest garden planted by Robert Hart in the UK.

Herbs – How to Make a Cream

Rickvanman talks about the purpose of an herbal cream and how to make them.

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