Make Way for Whey

Lately we’ve been making whey – LOTS of whey. Well, I guess we aren’t really “making” whey, we are just collecting it. IMG_5098

You see, I recently learned that you can make your own cream cheese from yogurt (thanks Nourishing Traditions!) and ever since we have been making homemade cream cheese every week. It tastes so much better than the store bought stuff, it’s cheaper, and it is so easy!

Here’s how you do it:

It’s easy. According to my husband all you have to do is “Get the yogurt out of the whey.” Yes, he thought that was funny. So, start by putting some yogurt in double layered cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter (I actually just use an old t-shirt of my husband’s that I’ve cut up and washed well and designated just for that purpose).  Hang the yogurt over a bowl and leave it for a few hours or overnight (like in the picture). You can also just leave it in a strainer instead of hanging it. Afterwards you will be left with yummy yogurt cheese in the cloth and a bunch of whey in the bowl.

So, what do you do with bowls and bowls of whey? Honestly, I haven’t really known. I use some of it to make my beet kvass, and I plan on using some of it to ferment some vegetables soon. But, I feel like I have so much of it I haven’t been able to use it fast enough.

Whey is something that I realized I know almost nothing about - apart from the nursery rhyme “Little Miss Muffet”, of courses. In all honesty that was the only time I’d heard of using or eating whey. So, of course, I got online and decided to learn all I could about whey.

Here are a few things I learned:

  • Whey is good for you! It contains a high quality protein that is easily accessible to the body, as well as all the water-soluble vitamins and minerals from the milk.
  • Whey has been shown to increase lean muscle mass.
  • Whey protein is sometimes referred to as “the most nutritious protein available.”
  • It can increase energy.
  • It may help reduce stress fractures in athletes.
  • It can strengthen the immune system.
  • There is some research to suggest it might help with cancer, particularly prostate cancer.
  • Whey is recommended to burn patients because the quality protein it contains can help speed up the healing of wounds.
  • Whey can cause migraines in some people.

After a little more research I now have a whole list of ways to use whey:

  • Make Ricotta Cheese (although I’m not sure that I can do this with the whey left over from yogurt cheese – does anyone know?)
  • Use it as a substitute for the liquid in baked goods (pancakes, scones, bread, etc.)
  • Mix it with fruit juice for a quick energy drink
  • Make lacto-fermented pickled vegetables
  • Use it as a substitute for buttermilk in recipes
  • Add it to soup stock
  • Water acid-loving plants like roses with it
  • Feed it to chickens, pigs or other animals
  • Cook pasta or rice in it instead of water
  • Pour a mixture of 50% whey and 50% water on berry bushes to increase the yield
  • Make smoothies out of it (for example mix it with a banana and cocoa powder)
  • Make Mysost
  • Drink it plain (Whey used to be a popular drink at inns and coffee houses)
  • Take a bath in it

Well, that gave me a lot of ideas… Now I think I’ll go sit on my Tuffet, eat some curds and whey and pray no spiders come along. Speaking of which, does anyone know what a Tuffet is?

Have you ever collected whey after cheese making? If so what did you do with it?

Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany Stedman

This post has been entered in the following blog carnivals: Fight Back Friday, Food Revolution Friday, Food on Fridays, and Wholesome Whole Foods. Check out all of these links for lots of other wonderful posts all about food.