Whey is the fluid part that results when dairy products like yogurt or milk separate. It is full of beneficial bacteria and enzymes, helpful to digestion & immunity. It can be drunken alone or used as a flavorful, nutritious addition to soups and sauces.
It's useful in for so many kitchen projects, including:
- as a starter culture for lacto-fermented vegetables & fruits (i.e. home-made probiotic-rich pickles & sauerkraut),
- for soaking & sprouting grains (to improve their digestibility before cooking), and
- as a starter for many beverages (i.e. homemade ginger ale).
It's not hard to make at home. I'll provide a recipe below. BUT...
If you want to save time & effort, you (Berkeley-area-folk) can order it for pick up through Three Stone Hearth Community Supported Kitchen.
Whey can be made from piima milk, whole-milk buttermilk or yoghurt. I like to make it from raw milk because raw milk comes with the right blend of digestive enzymes and bacteria needed to cause separation to occur.
To make whey, pour raw milk into a clean glass quart jar, i.e. mason jar. Cover the jar with a lid (or coffee filter, or clean cotton cloth) and allow it to sit undisturbed at room temperature for 2-3 days until separation occurs. You will know the milk has separated when you see white solids floating in a yellowish clear liquid. The liquid is whey. The white solid is cream cheese – also known as curds.
Next, line a strainer with an unbleached coffee filter or clean cotton cloth (such as a freshly laundered t-shirt).
Pour the liquid and solids into the strainer, catching the liquid in a glass bowl. When the dripping stops, transfer the whey into a lidded jar labeled with the date. The whey will keep in your refrigerator for about 6 months.
The cream cheese byproduct can be seasoned to suit your taste and used in your favorite recipes. It is far superior to commercial cream cheese, which is produced by putting milk under high pressure and not by the beneficial action of lactic-acid producing bacteria.
Sally Fallon & Mary Enig. Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition & the Diet Dictocrats. 2nd Edition. p. 87.