Thursday, May 21, 2009

Make whey while the sun shines

To put it very simply, whey is the watery part of milk and is rich in lactobacilli (friendly bacteria which produce lactic acid). I use it to start many food-prep processes, including soaking oatmeal, lacto-fermentation, preserving homemade mayo, and preparing raw fish. Before I started buying whey through our buyers' club, I made my own from a container of plain organic yogurt. I use Seven Stars, which worked well, but you could use any kind -- just make sure it's unflavored and full fat. As a byproduct (or really the whey is the byproduct I suppose) you will also have a sort of homemade cream cheese which is delicious spread on muffins. I take my recipe (and most of my recipes) from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon. Here's what she writes:

"Line a large strainer set over a bowl with a clean dish towel. Pour in the yogurt, cover with a towel, and let stand at room temperature for about a day. The whey will run into the bowl and the milk solids will stay in the strainer. After a day, tie up the towel with the milk solids inside, being careful not to squeeze. Tie this little sack to a wooden spoon placed across the top of a container so that more whey can drip out. When the bag stops dripping, the cream cheese is ready. Store whey in a glass jar and cream cheese in a covered glass container. Refrigerated, the cream cheese keeps for about 1 month and the whey for about 6 months."


  1. I just tried making whey from raw milk, and the end result is more milky than I expected. Is this normal? Did I not get all the milk proteins out? I followed Sally Fallon's recipe pretty closely.

  2. Hello Viola,

    I have not made whey from raw milk before I don't think...perhaps once, when I let the milk separate naturally at room temperature, but I'm not sure. I generally buy it from farmers who have it as a by-product of cheese-making or other processes, or else I strain the yogurt myself. In fact, whenever I make yogurt "cream cheese" I am left with a nice amount of whey. I would recommend straining yogurt the next time. It can sometimes look a little milky, but any milk solids remaining usually settle to the bottom after you have left it in a jar for a little while.