Whey is a by-product of cheese making that is often thought of as waste. After milk curdles, it separates into curds (solids) and whey (liquid). The curds are then used to make most cheeses. So, what can you do with all that whey left over from making cheese? Whey is full of protein that cannot be captured in the cheese making process and is a low fat food which has many uses in the kitchen.
Types of Whey:
Sweet whey is the whey left over from cheese making with rennet, such as when you make Feta cheese.
Sour whey, also known as acid whey, is the whey left over from cheeses where you have added acid directly to your milk, such as when you make Mozzarella using citric acid and also from non rennet cheeses such as the whey left over from draining quark. You can actually taste the difference in the whey and this means that they are used differently in cooking.
Here are a few ideas of ways to use your whey so that it does not go to waste:
Ricotta is by far the most popular whey cheese and is made by curdling the whey proteins using heat and acid. The additional proteins leftover from making your first round of cheese are captured into a beautiful fresh cheese that can be eaten right away or used in recipes such as cheese cakes and pasta sauces.
Use in Baking:
You can use your excess sweet whey in baking recipes, in place of water and milk. This will give the added benefit of additional protein in your final product. Use sweet whey instead of water in your bread making. Use sweet whey instead of milk in cakes, scones and any other baked good where you would have normally used milk. Use sour whey in place of buttermilk. I use sour whey to make buttermilk scones and buttermilk pancakes.
Use in Cooking:
Use sweet whey instead of water as a base for your soups and stews. Cook your potatoes in sweet whey. Cook grains such as rice in sweet whey. You get the benefit of all that whey protein instead of throwing it out.
Use in Drinks:
You can use the whey, both sweet and sour, left over from your cheese making in drinks. Just add the whey to smoothies in the morning for breakfast. Health-food stores sell whey protein for you to add to smoothies, so just use the whey and get the benefit of the protein without the cost of the protein powder.
Feed it to Your Pets:
Feed the whey to your dog or cat. Cook up kitchen scraps in whey to soften them up to feed to your chickens.
Use in the Garden:
Use sweet whey diluted 50% with water to spray onto your vine crops such as pumpkin, zucchini and cucumbers to help prevent and treat powdery mildew.
Freeze for Later:
There are so many things you can use whey for, but if you have quite a bit and nothing you want to use it for right now, then you can freeze it for later use.
So the next time you have some whey left over, don't throw it out - use it!