The Fresh Loaf

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Spelt Pastry - Using Ghee instead of butter?

bread10's picture

Spelt Pastry - Using Ghee instead of butter?


I would like to make pastry but will have to make a few 'twists' in the recipe.

I am unable to have modern wheat but can have spelt and khorasan. I am also unable to have butter, butter substitutes or margarine, but can have Ghee (clarified butter).


Anyway I was thinking of making the pastry for pies and vegetable triangles using spelt flour and was wondering whether I could substitute ghee instead of butter in the recipe?


If so do I substitute 1:1 or how much?


Has anyone tried making pastry using ghee and what were your experiences?


The other alternative is just using olive oil but not sure that this would even work??



Mebake's picture

Ghee, or clarified butter, is butter that had its moisture driven off. It is essentially full, pure milk fat, period. Should you like to use it in lieu of butter, you'd want to compensate b adding 20% water per 100g, i.e. for 100g butter, use 80 grams ghee, and 20% grams water. Heat the ghee until it melts, add it to some water, so as not to cause splatter and slowly dissolve using low heat. When the mixture cools, use it,


clazar123's picture

I had obtained a quantity of khorasan (we call Kamut here in Wisconsin,USA) and experimented making loaves of bread. What I found is that it has excellent gluten conten but it is a very stretchy,extensible gluten and a wonderful golden color. If you need a shape-holding gluten, the khorasan may need either a pan or a mix with another flour to improve  the shaping. It is great for flat breads and pizza crust all by itself.

I don't have enough experience with spelt to comment on that but there are many others here that will chime in, I'm sure. I would like to see what is said about that as I have some spelt readily available.

pmccool's picture

but in the context of laminated doughs.  The butter available to me here in South Africa has more water in it that is desirable for that application.  I'm not sure that I agree, Khalid, about adding water back to the ghee.  Or at least not in the quantity you advise.  More often I see butters with fat contents of 85% or higher recommende for use in the butter blocks for laminated doughs.  Here's where I need some additional education: is the water in the butter of the butter block a requisite for the steam-driven expansion of croissants and other laminated breads?  Or is the water in the dough the driver?  If the former, then yes, some moisture is required in the butter or ghee.  If the latter, then maybe it is not.

Anyway, I'm interested to hear about others' experience utilizing ghee in place of butter for pastry doughs, laminated or otherwise.


jbaudo's picture

I can't have butter either and have sucessfully used olive oil and spectrum shortening (made from organic palm oil) in a pie shell with great success.   I only use the olive oil crust for something savory like a quiche because the olive oil has such a strong flavor.  The shortening works better because it behaves the most like butter.  And actually the best thing (or so I have heard) to make a pie crust with is lard but I have never seen good quality lard for sale anywhere.  The stuff they sell at the supermarket has been hydrogenated and highly processed.  I also can't use the margarine because it is all  made with soy with upsets my stomach so that is why I use the shortening.  I have never used spelt.  I have a recipe for pie crust made with olive oil if you are interested - just let me know and I will post it.

EvaB's picture

which is something of the same consistancy as ghee, and my mother just used the same amount as for lard, but it being a fluid rather than a solid (although you could chill it to a solid state she never did) it does make a difference in the feel of the crust, its less flaky and more fine crumbed when cut! But its just fine. She measured it more by eye than in cups, but I'm sure it was accurate, since she could pour an 8 ounce cup every time!