Friday, 18 March 2011

Show me the Whey and Homemade Cream Cheese

I just dropped my phone cable in my coffee, so I will be posting photos for this post when I get a new one!  (When I exclaimed that my cable was all wet, my 4 year old very helpfully told me, "that's because you put it in the coffee.")

When attempting to create your own lacto-fermented foods, you need to begin with whey.  What is whey?  You have heard of it, but might not have tasted it.  Whey is the liquid leftover when milk is drained to make cheese. In years past, people made their own cheeses and used the whey in their food preparation.  With modern conveniences we have left whey behind.  That is until recently when body builders have taken to supplementing with whey protein powders.  (I cannot recommend them as I am suspicious of dried milk powders and processed foods in general). 

In an effort to return to more natural foods I have decided to make some whey, which will feature in a number of upcoming recipes.  The recipe makes whey and cream cheese at the same time.  The whey can be added to beverages or soups, or used in a number of recipes.

To make whey you really need to have raw milk.  It just cannot be done with pasteurised milk from the supermarket.  Since my nearest source of raw milk is a two hour drive, I am making my whey with organic yoghurt.  This yoghurt has been made with pasteurised milk, but the beneficial bacteria which has been reintroduced will make sufficiently nutritious whey.

This is probably one of the easiest recipes I have ever done.  You will need:

Organic yoghurt (large tub)
cheesecloth or a clean tea towel (no bleach or fabric softeners)
strainer/sieve (optional)
rubber bands or string
two clean storage jars

1.  Place the sieve over the bowl and then lay the cloth in the sieve.
2.  Pour the yoghurt into the cloth and tie up the corners with string or a rubber band.
3.  You could leave this in the strainer, but it is best if you can hang this from a hook or cabinet knob overnight.  The whey will drip out.  I used 500 g of yoghurt and got one cup of whey and maybe 3/4 cup of cream cheese.
4.  You can store the whey in the fridge for up to 6 months.  For the cream cheese, you can add salt to taste and store in the fridge for a month.  You can add some fruit or herbs to make flavoured cream cheese.  This may not last as long, so it is best done as you want it.  (Garlic and artichoke is quite nice.)  With these small quantities I will be using both the whey and the cheese by the end of the week.  The cream cheese has a yoghurty taste, but is very nice. 

Whey protein (Wikipedia)
Making Whey from Yoghurt

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