I use whey a lot when cooking – for homemade condiments like homemade ketchup, for soaking grains and beans, as a starter culture for lacto-fermenting vegetables (like sauerkraut) and fruits, and as a starter for beverages.
If you’ve never made whey before you’re in for a surprise – it’s whey easy! (Corny, I know.) And when you’re done, you’ve also created sour cream and cream cheese (directions below)!
Whey has been used for centuries. The Icelanders preserved their food with whey and Greek doctors referred to it as ‘healing water’. In the Middle Ages, doctors recommended whey for various ailments and up until the 1940’s spas in Europe treated gout, anemia, arthritis, and even tuberculosis with it.
What did they know that we don’t? Whey is a protein that provides your body with an excellent source of minerals, essential amino acids, and digestive bacteria. In 2000, a study by the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center found that whey may also prevent breast cancer!
Many health food stores rightly tout the benefits of whey protein. But if you’re really looking to build muscle, maintain your blood sugar, and boost your metabolism, skip the huge containers of powdered whey protein on the shelf and try making your own.
Homemade whey is really simple to make. You can make it from homemade yogurt, raw milk, or kefir. I usually get my whey from dripping yogurt because that’s what I first learned and I’m comfortable with the method. However, I wouldn’t hesitate a bit to use kefir or raw milk.
In the pictures below I’m using viili yogurt, but I’ll also explain how to make it with raw milk or kefir.
I don’t consider this recipe totally sugar-free because of the lactose in milk products. However, when you make homemade yogurt or kefir there is very little lactose left in the end product and many who are lactose intolerant can eat them both. Still, be aware that there may be remnants of lactose in the whey.
Whey (gluten-free, candida-diet)
yogurt, milk or kefir (each preferably raw or homemade)
large 1/2 gallon jar or bowl
large tea bag, cheese cloth, or tea towel (Make sure you don’t use softener when you wash your tea bag – it creates a film and won’t let the whey drip through. Plus you might have odd tasting whey.)
1. If you’re using raw milk, set about 2 quarts of milk in a jar or bowl at room temperature for 2-4 days or until the milk has visibly risen to the top and the bottom is a yellowish liquid whey.
If you’re using yogurt or kefir, no earlier preparation is needed.
2. Place a large tea bag, cheesecloth, or tea towel inside a half gallon size jar or large bowl. Pour the yogurt (raw milk or kefir) into the tea bag.
3. Pull the tea bag about half way up the jar and secure it with a metal ring or rubber band. Make sure the tea bag is pulled up far enough that the whey can drip out and the tea bag won’t be sitting in it. Put the jar in the fridge and let it drip for about 24 hours.
Note: The yogurt that’s left in the cheesecloth is now a delicious, creamy sour cream, or if you want to let it drip longer and become even thicker, a nutritious cream cheese. You choose the consistency you want.
You can use the sour cream or cream cheese in any recipe just as you would store-bought. They will last for about 1 month in the refrigerator and the whey is good for 6 months.
See how easy it is to make your own whey! Plus, now you’ve got cream cheese or sour cream to use. In the end you’ve spent less than 15 minutes to create several whole food masterpieces.
Talk about multi-tasking!
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