Technique: Tangy Yogurt Cream Cheese and Whey
“Whey is such a good helper in your kitchen. It has a lot of minerals. One tablespoon of whey in a little water will help digestion. It is a remedy that will keep your muscles young. It will keep your joints movable and ligaments elastic. When age wants to bend your back, take whey… With stomach ailments, take one tablespoon whey three times daily, this will feed the stomach glands and they will work well again.”
By Hanna Kroeger Ageless Remedies from Mother’s Kitchen
Whey is a liquid yellow by-product of cheese making. If a gallon of raw milk was set on the counter for several days, it would eventually separate into curds (solid) and whey (liquid). Or as demonstrated in this blog, a quart of yogurt can be strained into sweet cream cheese (solid) and whey (liquid). Curds are used to make cheese. And, we’re all familiar with the creamy & comforting delight called cream cheese. But… what the heck should we do with that weird yellow whey?
Liquid whey is chock full of vitamins, minerals and beneficial bacteria (probiotics). An old wives tale that actually works touted that a bit of whey settles the stomach and stops diarrhea. Due to it’s good “bugs” (friendly bacteria), whey can be used to activate a fermentation process that produces delights like lacto-fermented sauerkraut, beet kvass, highly digestible baked goods and more. This natural fermentation produces loads of depression-avoiding B Vitamins. It also increases the shelf-life of foods and provides even more beneficial bacteria to re-build our healthy gut flora. We pay hard-earned money for vitamins filled with freeze-dried probiotics. Come to find out, we can produce our own fresh and lively probiotic-filled foods for a portion of the price. All beginning with a jar of high-quality grass-fed yogurt.
1. Purchase 1-quart of organic, preferably grass-fed, whole milk yogurt. I often use Straus Creamery.
2. Locate a fine-mesh strainer, a lid the size of the mesh strainer or larger, a large bowl (I like to use an 2-Quart measuring cup), a thin tea towel (thin is important to allow the liquid to seep through), a wooden spoon and a tall pitcher or vase with a wide mouth. See Picture #1 and #7.
3. Set the strainer over the bowl. Line the strainer with the thin tea towel. See Picture #1 and #3.
4. Pour the yogurt into a fine-mesh strainer lined with a thin tea towel. See Picture #2, #3 and #4.
5. After yogurt is poured into the lined strainer, cover with a lid and set aside at room temperature for 4-6 hours. Check occasionally to see if the whey has stopped dripping into the bowl. Once it has stopped dripping, move on to Step 6. If your house is exceptionally warm (above 80 degrees) place this whole set-up into the fridge. See Picture #5 & #6.
6. When the drips have subsided, place a wooden spoon across the mesh strainer and double-knot the diagonal corners of the tea towel over-top of the spoon handle. Set the taller vase or wide-mouth pitcher next to the strainer. Carefully lift the satchel, place it inside the tall vessel, hanging the satchel by the spoon handle. Be careful not to squeeze the satchel. It should drip slowly on it’s own accord. Pour the whey from the bottom of the original bowl into a glass container. Store in the fridge. Place the whole vase/spoon/satchel operation into the fridge. Allow it to drip in the fridge for 8-12 hours or overnight. It is finished when it is no longer dripping. See Picture #7.
7. After whey has stopped dripping, remove the satchel and place on a cutting board. Untie the tea towel from the wooden spoon. Scrape the cream cheese into a glass bowl with a lid and use as you would use any store-bought cream cheese. It is slightly sweeter, having come from yogurt. It is delicious mixed with a little jam and spread on toast. Yogurt cream cheese must be refrigerated and will last for approx 1 month. Combine the second batch of whey with the first batch. Store whey in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. See Picture #8.
“Whey” to go!
xo – Organic Spark