Bovine milk cream (40% fat) was ripened under different time/temperature/inoculum conditions with Streptococcus lactis subsp. diacetilactis DRC-1 before converting by heat treatment into ghee (Indian clarified butterfat). Biochemical changes in cream, in terms of titratable acidity, volatile acids, diacetyl and acetaldehyde and flavour changes in the ghee made from it in terms of free fatty acids (FFA), total carbonyls (TC) and flavour score, were studied. Of the different combinations of ripening conditions, 30 °C, 18 hand 3% inoculum produced optimum changes in the cream which resulted in the development of the most desirable flavour in the ghee, being comparable to that of desi ghee (made by the indigenous method). The flavour characteristics as determined by FFA (% oleic acid), TC (μmol/g fat) and flavour score (out of 10) of the best ripened cream ghee were found to be 0·54, 6·756 and 8·83 respectively. The flavour of ghee became impaired after a particular level of acidity developed in cream after 18 h incubation. The optimum conditions of ripening standardized under laboratory conditions were also extended to a semi-industrial scale.