Monday, October 3, 2011

How to make Whey

Whey is a dairy product. Technically more of a bi-product. But it's a good bi-product with health promoting qualities (though not in it's powdered form.) When you separate milk you have two things, curds and whey (think little miss muffet.) You can use any kind of milk to get whey: cow, goat, sheep, etc. But why would you want whey? What is it used for?

The following is from Wikipedia on Whey : Liquid whey contains lactose, vitamins, protein, and minerals, along with traces of fat. In 2005, researchers at Lund University in Sweden discovered that whey appears to stimulate insulin release, in type 2 diabetics. Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, they also discovered that whey supplements can help regulate and reduce spikes in blood sugar levels among people with type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin secretion.

Wikipedia didn't have too much more interesting than that, but had a bit about traditional whey drinks. Whey having a positive effect on blood sugar, though, is very interesting!

Whey is also full of lots of good bacteria. The easiest way to make whey to take plain, good quality, yogurt or keifer and strain it through a cheese cloth. You then have whey and yogurt cheese. You can also take raw milk and sour it to make "curds and whey" and then strain that through a cheese cloth. Whey is also left over from cheese making but depending on the type of cheese you probably don't want to save that whey for lacto-fermenting but you could drink it if you want. Whey made during cheese making tends to be heated thus killing the bacteria we need for our fermenting adventures.

Whey can be added to bread, instead of water, for bread making.

I use whey for fermenting. Due to the lacto-bacteria content it's a great starter to use in making fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, pickles, salsa, etc. There is lots of great recipes on line and I will post more as I make them.

Check out my Dilly Bean recipe that calls for whey!
The prairie homestead also has a blog post about 16 ways to use whey. Check that out if you are interested in even more things whey.

I also read, but now cannot find where, that whey is good for digestive complaints.

Nutritionally one cup of whey has:

60 calories

253 mg of calcium
24.6mg of Magnesium
192 mg of Phosphorus
352mg of Potassium
1.1mg of Zinc
4.4 mcg Selenium
Choline 39.4mg
17.2 IU Vitamin A

This is from a general nutrition website ( and I bet grass fed milk would have an even higher nutrient content.

So here are some more detail instructions on how to make yourself some whey!

Get your good quality plain yogurt or keifer, whatever amount is fine but enough to fit in your strainer. 2 cups or so is a good amount to start with.

Line a fine mesh strainer with cheese cloth and put it inside a bigger bowl to catch the whey.

Fill your cheese cloth lined strainer with your yogurt (or keifer).

Let sit on your counter for the day or over night. Poor off whey. Some people like to let it strain the fridge but because its a fermented product it is fine to sit on your counter for a few hours.

Do not press down on or squeeze the yogurt cheese. This gets milk product into the finished whey.

Poor your whey into a glass jar and your yogurt cheese into another. The yogurt cheese will last weeks and the whey will last months.

You can also used soured milk to make whey but I have never tried that. I make my own keifer so I do keifer whey.

This post linked to Monday Mania

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