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People don’t set out to make whey. They just end up with it as a bonus by-product of making homemade yogurt.
If you strain yogurt using a cheesecloth or nut-milk bag, the cloudy, yellowish liquid that drains away is fresh whey. The straining or dripping process is a simple technique to help thicken yogurt. Different types of milk produce varying yogurt consistencies. Any dairy milk yogurt can be dripped but goat’s milk and raw milk are well known for creating thin yogurt and are improved considerably by dripping out some of the whey. The longer yogurt is left to drip, the more whey that gets extracted and the thicker the yogurt will become. You can drip yogurt for a short burst or up to twelve hours. Dripping yogurt overnight will result in a thick spreadable cream cheese texture and also a large jar of whey!
Many people regard whey as something to throw out, when in reality it is a superb ingredient (or food) in its own right. It is low in calories, packed full of protein, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and active bacteria that shouldn’t be wasted.
Whey has many uses and can be stored in the fridge, sealed in an airtight glass jar for up to 6 months or frozen for longer. Here’s a list of ways to put whey to good use.
The living bacteria in fresh whey can be used in place of a starter culture (or portion of yogurt) to inoculate another batch of homemade yogurt. Add approx. 1/4 cup of whey to heated and cooled milk and then ferment for 24 hours.
Whey is a natural food preservative. You can use a small amount of whey as a culture starter to lacto-ferment vegetables, sauces, chutneys and jams. Add a tablespoon or two to a new ferment to get it bubbling with good bacteria.
If you are soaking whole grains, legumes or nuts & seeds in order to reduce the anti-nutrients then you might want to consider adding a bit of whey to the water. The beneficial bacteria and acidity of whey helps to break them down, so they are easier to digest.
Give your breakfast a protein and enzyme boost by substituting milk or water for whey when soaking chia, flax or oats. Why not pour it straight onto your cereal? These recipes would be perfect for soaking up a little left-over whey. Vanilla chia pudding with banana nice-cream and Paleo orange and anti-oxidant berry bircher muesli.
Substitute the water or milk content in your baking with whey. It’s perfect in gluten free and grain free baking as well as traditional wheat flour baking. Note, the probiotic, live bacteria will not survive during cooking, but the vitamins, minerals and proteins will. Whey will also help improve the texture and alter the taste. Leave the batter to sit and make your own sour dough blender bread or pizza bases.
Because whey is packed with nutrients and naturally high in protein it’s an ideal liquid replacement in smoothies and shakes. Add a little whey to our high fibre, gut loving green smoothie, pitaya (dragon fruit) smoothie bowl or tropical anti-inflammatory smoothie bowl.
Make fresh, lively food. Whey can be an unnoticeable ingredient added to salad dressings and sauces. Be sure to download our yogurt handbook for recipes such as lacto-fermented mayonnaise, Mediterranean herb salad dressing, and cultured creamy ranch dressing.
Soaking meat in whey will help tenderize protein. Aim for 30 minutes to two hours, and then check periodically to make sure the meat isn’t starting to look cooked around the edges.
The acidity of whey can help clear away dead skin and nourish healthy skin cells. Plus, the vitamins and minerals have excellent toning qualities. Dab some on a cotton ball and apply to your face as a toning agent or add a cup full to a bath.
Because why is acidic, it helps nourish your hair by keeping your pH in balance. Rinsing your hair with whey can make it stronger, smoother and shinier.
Whey can be added to pet food. Dogs, cats, and even chickens may enjoy the extra flavor of whey added to their regular feed!
Real ricotta cheese is made by reheating the sweet whey left over from cheesemaking, however we made homemade ricotta from the whey from homemade yogurt here.
If you are overflowing in whey add it to your compost pile. It adds nutrients and makes thick, black compost.
What do you do with whey? Have you tried something we haven’t listed here? We'd luv to hear from you.