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My friend Susan texted me early one recent morning. (Not too early by farm chik standards – I was mostly finished with the chores except milking. You may have just finished your first cup of coffee. Anyway…) Her challenge for the day – spend sometime writing down notes about whey, 20 things or one page. So, it’s the heat of the day – what about whey???
Whey is what you have left after you make a batch of cheese or the liquid that separates and sits on top of your yogurt. Technically, it is a component of milk that separates after the curdling process. If you’ve taken a cheese class with me you know the “first whey” is the “milky whey” (tee hee) and after you have used that to make more cheese what’s left is the second whey.
Whey contains water, minerals, (albuminous) proteins and a bit of lactose (aka milk sugar – up to 5%). There are many uses for whey; here are just a few that I have already incorporated into our daily living in very random order…
- Make more cheese (best to use fresh whey not more than 3 hours old for maximum yield, texture and taste). Whey Ricotta, Ziegerkase, Gjetost and Mysost are some of the commonly made whey cheeses. I posted recipes in that section of the blog.
- Use to replace the water in bread making. My everyday bread is also in the recipe section.
- Add 1 Tablespoon to any beverage to aid digestion.
- Whey is also a flour conditioner and can be use to replace water or milk in most baking – pancakes, muffins, etc not just bread. I find it really improves the texture and softness of the crumb.
- Use as part or all of your liquid in making soup or stock.
- Make a healthful beverage by adding canned juice concentrate (apple or lemonade are awesome and mask the tang of whey really well) or powdered drink mix (like Kool-Aid or crystal light). Or, try with crushed mint leaves and crushed ice for a refreshing summer cooler.
- Turn the drink into popsicles for the kids. Mine will try most anything if it’s frozen.
- Along the beverage line you could try your hand at a fermented or carbonated whey beverage (instead of soda or beer) such as Rivella (Scandinavian beverage) or what Giddy Goat used to sell as “Giddy Up” – tasted like bubbly apple ginger beer without the alcohol.
- Add to your daily smoothly to increase your protein.
- Pour into you bath water to soften your skin.
- Use as a refreshing facial mask – apply a thin layer (avoid eyes) let sit 15 min rinse off.
- Use for soaking grains/beans/rice/flour.
- Use as the cooking water for grain, beans, oatmeal, rice and pasta.
- Use in place of water in reconstituted package mixes (not that I endorse things like hamburger helper but if you are going to use them why not add some nutrition)
- Use as a marinade to tenderize meat and fish (especially raw fish for use in sushi). Add spices to ¼ cup whey in a zip lock – marinate for 2 hours or overnight.
- Use for lacto fermenting or sprouting or soaking raw veggies or fruits.
- Use when making pickles and you can reduce the salt required or perhaps instead of the vinegar.
- Feed to your livestock or pets: – goats, dogs, cats, pigs
- Water you plants, especially acid lovers like azalea, blueberry, and strawberry plants.
- Add to the compost heap. The worms will thank you!