Introduction to Ghee Processing

India is the world’s largest producer and consumer of milk and dairy products. Ghee currently controls the second largest market share in terms of revenue in the Indian market. With the growth of the organized sector of the dairy industry and establishment of modern dairy plants, the emphasis has shifted to conducting investigations on newer and larger-scale methods of ghee manufacture which could profitably be adopted for routine ghee production by these dairies instead of the desi method used in the dairy.

There are five methods of Ghee Processing:

  1. Desi method:


It is an age-old process adopted mainly in rural areas/villages and at urban household       levels because of simplicity in equipment and technique. This traditional method of making ghee contributes about 80% of the total ghee produced in the country. This method usually involves two routes-

  1. Lactic acid fermentation of raw or heated milk is followed by the churning of curd into Makkhan (butter) .

   

 2. Separation of malai (clotted cream) from the boiled milk and its churning into butter  which is further heated to make ghee.

 

 

  1. Direct Creamery 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. The small dairies use a technologically improved method for ghee making which involves the separation of cream from milk by centrifugation.

 

 

  1. Creamery-Butter Method

In this method, unsalted creamery butter or white butter or cooking butter is used as a raw material for ghee making. First, the butter mass is melted at 60° C. The molten butter is pumped into the ghee boiler. The steam pressure is increased slowly to

raise the temperature of butter to 90° C. This temperature remains constant as long as the moisture is being driven off. The scum, which collects on the top surface of the product is removed from time to time. The temperature gradually rises, and the heating at the last stage is carefully controlled. The disappearance of effervescence, the appearance of finer air bubbles on the surface of fat and browning of the curd particles shows the end-point. At this stage, the typical ghee aroma is also produced. The final temperature of clarification is adjusted less than 115° C. The ghee is then pumped, via oil filter or clarifier, into another tank, cooled by re-circulating water at 60° C. The ghee is then packed in suitable containers.

  1. Pre-stratification Method:

Butter is produced from aged cream of 38 to 40% fat using continuous butter making machine or batch churn. Butter is then transferred to butter Melter, and melt at 80°C. This molten butter is kept undisturbed in a ghee kettle or boiler at a temperature of 80-85°C for 30 min. Here, in ghee kettle, stratification of mass takes place, product stratifies into three distinct layers. Denatured protein particles (curd particles) and impurities are collected on the top layer and floats. The middle layer consists of clear fat and bottom layer consists of buttermilk serum carrying 80% of moisture and 70% of solids-not-fat contained in butter.

 

  1. Cream de-emulsification method:

This method of continuous ghee making is based on the principle of de-emulsification of fat in cream from oil-in-water phase to water-in-oil phase. In this process, milk is separated into the cream of 40% fat using a centrifugal cream separator a clarifixator. This cream is further concentrated in a concentrator which work under centrifugal force. The de-emulsification of fat is done mechanically in the clarifixator and concentrator. Scraped surface heat exchanger is used to generate flavor and remove most of the moisture from fat concentrate. The traces of moisture left in ghee are removed in a vapor separator and the ghee residue removed by an oil clarifier.

 Hazards in Ghee Processing:

  1. Physical Hazards
  • An extraneous matter like Foreign Particle, dust, dirt, glass, stone etc. due to low storage, environment.
  • Very fine particles in ghee due to improper settling.
  1. Chemical Hazard
  • Probable Cross-contamination may occur from remaining cleaning agent. residues due to unclean pipelines.
  • Polymer Migration from packaging Material.
  • Cross-contamination due to residue of cleaning chemicals. 
  1. Biological Hazard
  • Coliforms, Clostridium Botulinum, Salmonella, E.coli, Yeats & Mold / Aerobic spores due to improper cleaning.

Conclusion:

Ghee is an essential part of Indian diet, religious, ceremonial function, and therapeutic purposes. Ghee is broadly prepared by two methods: traditional method and industrial method viz. creamery-butter method, direct cream method, pre-stratification method, and continuous method. On the word of market dynamics, more than 90% of the ghee is produced by traditional method by unorganized sectors in India by making makkhan and then converting it into ghee.

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