31 August 2011

Using whey in your food and the Great Nappy Hunt

When I have the time, I make sour cream, yoghurt and fresh yoghurt cheese which is a delicious spread, particularly on rye bread. I know many of you make your own yoghurt and I have written about it in the past so today let's talk about whey - the  byproduct of yoghurt and cheese making in all its various forms.

This is my latest batch of yoghurt, made overnight using yoghurt from a previous batch. You can see the whey has separated from the milk solids when the jar lay on its side all night.

 Whey ready to use for baking or for lacto-fermentation.

Whey is sometimes seen as a waste product by some cheese makers, or it is given to calves or pigs to drink but it's a healthy live liquid that can be added to many recipes and used as a milk substitute. Whey keeps for a long time in the fridge. I have used it after it's been stored in the fridge here for nine weeks and it was fine. I use whey in baking, simply by substituting the milk portion of the recipe. Every cake or scone recipe I've given you here, you could substitute whey in place of the liquid recommended. 

(Above and below) Some of that yoghurt was made into a spicy chilli jam cheese.

You can use whey in other recipes as well. Sauerkraut, for instance, is delicious made with whey. The process is called lacto-fermentation. Lacto-fermentation was used in earlier times to preserve vegetables for long periods of time when there were no fridges or freezers. Vegetables treated in this way  have increased levels of vitamins and enzymes and the lactic acid in the fermented food promotes the growth of healthy flora in the gut, in the same way natural yoghurt does.  Here are some very good recipes, using this simple process, from Nourishing Traditions. Even if you've never tried this kind of food before, give it a go. It's delicious, healthy and really easy to make.

Medium cabbage, cored and shredded
1 tablespoon caraways seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon sea salt (I use lake salt)
4 tablespoons whey

In  a bowl, mix the cabbage with the caraway seeds, sea salt and whey.  Pound it all together with the end of a rolling pin or a wooden meat mallet for about 10 minutes. You want to release the juices from the cabbage. Place this into a litre/quart size preserving/canning jar and press down very firmly until the juices come to the top of the cabbage. Make sure the top of the cabbage is one inch down from the top of the jar. Put the lid on and secure tightly and sit it on the bench for three days to ferment, then put it in the fridge. You can eat it then but it will get better the longer it's left to mature.

1 head Chinese/Napa cabbage, cored and shredded
1 bunch chopped green onions
1 cup grated carrots
½ cup grated daikon radish
1 table spoon freshly grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes - more or less according to your taste
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 tablespoons whey

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and pound to release the vegetable juices. Then refer to the instructions above as it's the same technique. Leave it for three days on the bench to ferment, then store in the fridge. It will get better with age.

4 medium tomatoes - peeled and diced
2 onions, finely chopped
¾ cup chopped chilli - hot or mild depending on your taste
6 cloves crushed garlic
1 bunch coriander/cilantro
1 teaspoon dry oregano
juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 tablespoons whey
¼ filtered water

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and place in a litre/quart preserving/canning jar. Press it all down in to the jar and if the vegetables aren't completely covered, add a bit more water. The top of the vegetables must be one inch below the top of the jar.  Put the lid on, leave on the bench for two days to ferment, then store in the fridge.


Okay everyone, hold on to your hats, the Great Nappy Hunt starts tomorrow! The Hunt is an online scavenger hunt  across 150+ work-at-home parents' websites. My lovely friend Rebecca from Bean Sprout Bubba sent me some information about The Hunt and it's looks really exciting, with $10,000 worth of prizes to be won. Rebecca is sponsoring two prizes and I have to tell you that I bought two of the chrome nappy sprayers she has on offer, and they're brilliant. Rebecca has a special offer throughout September for registered Hunters.

You have to register to take part and when you register, a Hunt discount code will be emailed to you. Registration is free. You can find more information on Rebecca's website: Bean Sprouts Bubba.  Good luck, Hunters!



  1. I've been wanting to make fermented sauerkraut (don't know why I haven't yet) and now you've inspired me. The Kimchi sounds really good, too, so I may be trying that as well.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hmmm.. I really don't understant a thing of today's blog. I think I have to use the translater for today ;o)

    Have a great day!

    Love from Holland

  3. Very timely, I just made my first batch of Feta and there is loads of Whey!

  4. Hi Rhonda, thanks for sharing these recipes and ideas. I will have to give the sauerkraut a go. My husband is Swiss-australian and he loves his sauerkraut.

    Just had a query though regarding your yoghurt. From the pictures it looks very smooth. I have made yoghurt using a couple of different methods but mine always seem to turn out lumpy - i.e. basically inedible unless you mix it with, say, granola to disguise the lumps. Do you have any tips on achieving a smooth consistency?

  5. Provincial Homemaker, I use a good quality natural yoghurt and make sure I mix it in well. If you use yoghurt as a starter, make sure it contains no gelatine. I use a local Barambah Organic yoghurt or a commercial powder starter. http://www.barambahorganics.com.au/ I'll do a post about it next week because I've slightly changed the way I make it.

  6. YUM sauerkraut! That is a big thing here where I live. I love to get a nice pork roast, cover it in sauerkraut, add a few apple slices and put in the crock pot to cook all day. Serve it up with mashed potatoes and that is my FAVORITE dish! At most Pennsylvania Dutch restaurants, especially the buffets, there is always pork and sauerkraut. Even where I work, (a grocery store and garden center attached - I work in the garden center) we have a hot foods bar and there is always pork and sauerkraut in there - everyday!

  7. I like to add the whey I have left over from making whole milk ricotta to bread dough and smoothies. I usually use about 1/2 cup kefir and 1/2 cup whey in a fruit smoothie, when whey is available. Occasionally I have used up the whey faster than the cheese.

    The salsa recipe is a new one to me and sounds like one I would like to give a try, thanks.


  8. Hi Rhonda! I just posted last night about how this year I made whey and lacto-fermented sauerkraut for the first time. I used the same recipe as you and it was so yummy! I'm keen to make both kimchee and I also have the same salsa recipe sitting here from another friend ready to go!
    You always have great life-giving hints and recipes here!
    Hope this finds you well :-)
    Lusi x

  9. Not food, but for anybody with a bokashi bin, yoghurt whey can be used (with molasses) to ferment newspaper instead of the expensive bran you're supposed to buy.

    I fermented a whole stack of pieces of newspaper and they've lasted me for ages.

    You should find instructions via google (I can't find mine at the moment).

  10. It's good to have your feedback, Lusi, thanks. We are both well, I hope you and your mob are too.

    That's a great tip, Hazel, thank you.

  11. Thank you for those recipes. I've only ever used it for bread making and can't think why I didn't use it for cakes as well! Hazel, I am off to look up bokashi bins, I have never heard of them an am intrigued what one can do with a fermented newspaper!

  12. Hello Rhonda,

    Why not make Rocotta Cheese once you have all the whey? To me, an Italian, it is the best choice...
    Also, thank you for speaking so kindly of Italian and Greek Immigrants in one of your posts. I agree with your point of view, and being an Italian Immigrant (to Ireland) myself, I can definitely tell that my family does the same.

    I love your blog!

    Hugs from Green Ireland, Vanessa

  13. Thats interesting to know Rhonda, I hate making a batch of fresh cheese only to see the most of it (the Whey) go down the sink. I may keep some next time to try in my baking!

  14. I just noticed your different profile pic. It's my favorite so far! You look very lovely in red :) And so happy and peaceful :)

    ~ Mrs. T. in KY, USA

  15. These recipes sound so intriguing. I've always disposed of my whey, because I didn't know there was any nutrition in it! Oops.

  16. The cloth nappy hunt (there is one in the US called the cloth diaper hunt) is lots of fun and very addictive! I already have a complete stash of fluff for my 12 month old but I love to look at all the lovely nappies and there are heaps of other deals going in conjunction. Thanks for sharing the word Rhonda :)

  17. "Nourishing Traditions" is a book that I just got my hands on for myself. I took it out of the library here and realized I needed it at home to make all kinds of notes in! I had stopped making yogurt for awhile as it seemed to turn yeasty in flavor after two or three batches. However, I miss having the whey around! Any ideas on how to keep the yogurt fresh-tasting, or do you always use a new starter instead of some of the old batch?

    Thanks again for your timely, lovely posts!


  18. I make kimchi; I was inspired by Nourishing Traditions and Wild Fermentation. Love it.

    My next project is to make ricotta so I am saving up my whey. I have had whey that is 6 months old and it still smelled and worked the same as 1 week old; if properly handled, it doesn't seem to spoil

    regarding yogurt-
    Yvette- I have found that if I drain off the whey that separates from my starter (as it is stored between batches) my yogurt comes out tasting fresh and non-yeasty for months and months before I have to buy a new starter.

    Provincial Homemaker- to mix in your starter well and smoothly, in a separate bowl, whisk your starter with a spoonful of your warmed milk, then another and then another, whisking well between until additions. Once it is fairly liquid, whisk it into the warmed milk and proceed with your recipe. I have found this to make nice and smooth yogurt. It even seems to improve the texture when I have had to use yogurt with gelatin as my starter.

  19. Hi Rhonda, I am a sadly addicted nappy hunter! I've participated in at least 4 but am yet to win anything :-( I figure that there's always a chance! And the opportunity to find out about heaps of products that I would not have otherwise known about means that I can make better choices about what and where I buy things when I need to. Love it :-)

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