Ways We Use Whey
I’ve been doing a lot of cheesemaking, and as a result there has been a lot of whey. If you’ve made cheese, you know that whey is a byproduct of cheesemaking. And there isn’t a little of it; there’s quite a lot. The pitcher pictured above is usually full up.
I hate to waste food, so I work hard to find ways to use up whey. My understanding is that you need to use it in a week, so it’s a bit of a race. No problem, though, as it’s tasty and nutritious stuff and can go in lots of places:
- Substitute for water in bread. We make ciabatta bread on a frequent basis, and the whey makes it taste much richer and more interesting. Plus, it’s more nutritious.
- Substitute for stock in soup, rice, or risotto. Another way to avoid using commercial broth or wasting perfectly good vegetables making new broth (a pet peeve of mine). Similarly, I’ve read that you can soak dry beans in it.
- Sports recovery drink. On its own, mixed with Nuun (our favorite hydration solution, high on what you need and low on all the other junk), or mixed with chocolate milk (allegedly a good recovery drink, though I have my doubts).
Some other ways I’ve heard whey can be used, though I haven’t tried to do so myself:
- Soda. Not sure I would ever actually make soda, but I did get to taste Rivella in Switzerland a few weeks ago. It’s a Swiss soda made of whey. Makes sense to find something to do with whey if you are a nation of cheesemakers!
- Animal food. The founder of Vermont Butter & Cheese told me that her whey goes to local livestock, who love it so much that they are very unhappy when they’re deprived. I’ve heard that people feed it to their dogs, but I haven’t tried with my cat yet.
- Plant food. My understanding is that the acid whey from soft cheeses can be used to water acid-loving plants, but I don’t think any of my plants are acid lovers! Examples I’ve found of such plants include azalea, magnolia, and rhododendron.
- Other cheeses. Because I’m still making just soft cheeses, the acid whey I’m producing can’t be used to make ricotta or other cheeses — I don’t think. Looking forward to using the sweet whey from hard cheeses once I “graduate” to these!
Leave a comment if you know of other creative uses for whey or have feedback about any of these!