Monday, 16 May 2011

Leftover whey.

One of the great trials for people making cheese by hand is that they have an awful lot of excess whey that they either have to come up with uses for or throw away.  I am not a fan of throwing things away, obviously, because it is wasteful.  If I want to take the time to make something by hand, then I would like to be able to do so efficiently.  This was a sizeable concern to me yesterday because I not only had leftover natural buttermilk from making butter, but also a bunch (about 0.7 of a litre) of leftover whey from making paneer.  With the natural buttermilk I made a granita that turned out excellent, so all I needed was a use for all the excess whey...

Yesterday I used some of the whey (a cup) in making the sauce for my butter paneer, which of course still left me with about two cups of whey to come up with uses for.  I had asked Tim to use the whey when he made the basmati rice, instead of water, because I've heard that works well and tastes great, but he misunderstood and didn't use it, so I can't say much about that solution (it seems like it might be messier than using water in the rice cooker, but I don't know).  Other potential uses I've read about are:
  • watering plants (for this type of whey, because it has had an acid added to it, you must make sure that the plants you water like acids)
  • for your pet's food, particularly if it is dry, to rehydrate the food
  • as a substitute for milk in recipes, particularly biscuits (I'm not sure that this type of whey - called "acid" or "acidic" whey can be substituted for all recipes due to the interaction of the acid and the leavening agents, but certainly anything that has lemon in it already should be fine)
  • lemonade (substitute the whey for water - apparently very delicious, and because the whey was made with acid already, it will not create any curdling issues - I might try this tonight to confirm)
  • for rehydrating things such as beans, or for cooking pasta to add nutritional value
  • in soups
The final use that I found for the whey was in smoothies.  As I've mentioned before, I have a smoothie every day for lunch, and the liquid that I had been using was orange juice.  I asked Tim today if he would instead use at least some of the leftover whey, and it turned out great!  You certainly can't taste it and of course it adds a lot of nutritional value to the smoothie (I don't add any protein powder or tofu, just fruits and the juice, so this is a great addition).  I don't know how long the whey is going to last in the fridge, so next time I make paneer we will definitely try to use up more of the whey by making the rice with it, but we have definitely found some good solutions to the excess whey problem so far.  Also, if it comes down to it, we can always give some to Loki (our dog) in his food, I'm sure he would love the variety!

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