Whey is the by-product of cheese making. It is a collective term referring to the milk serum, milk permeate or liquid part of milk that remains after milk has been curdled and the curd removed. It is a by-product of cheese making, that has been referred to as liquid gold throughout history.
Firstly, let us clarify something – not all whey is created equal. There are two broad categories of whey, which cannot be used interchangeably: sweet whey and acid whey.Unfortunately/fortunately the majority of what we get from our milk when cheese making is whey, so it would be a shame not to make use of it somehow. Thankfully there are plenty of uses for this liquid gold.

SWEET WHEY:

This is the whey produced from rennet-coagulated cheese, or cultured cheese, where the whey is drained off at a PH of 5.6 or above (low acid, hence sweeter whey).  This type of whey comes from the production of halloumi, some hard cheeses, cheddar and Swiss in particular, and some soft cheeses.  Sweet whey contains vitamins, minerals, protein and gut-friendly, lactic bacteria. It has a slightly sweet flavour and can be enjoyed by itself as a refreshing beverage, or used in any of the following ways:

  • Use instead of another liquid in baking recipes.

  • Use in recipes specifying buttermilk.

  • Use to make lacto-fermented veggies.

  • Use to make a fizzy, gut-friendly beverage, such as our whey lemonade.

  • Use instead of water in stock/broth.

  • Use to make whey ricotta, or other whey cheeses.

  • Use in smoothies.

  • Use to cook your veggies, rice, quinoa et cetera.

Note: sweet whey may also be frozen for later use, with the exception of whey ricotta, which requires fresh whey.

ACID WHEY:

Acid whey is sometimes referred to as sour whey due to the higher acid content (PH less than 5.1).  Acid whey comes from acid type dairy products such as ‘cheats mozzarella‘, mascarpone, paneer, whole milk ricotta and more, and some cultured dairy products that have been well fermented such as cottage cheese and yoghurt. Acid whey can be used in the following ways:

  • Feed to your pets (chickens, dogs, cats, pigs).

  • Use to make beverages (recipes here).

  • Pour under plants that love acidity (e.g citrus trees).

  • Tenderise meat by soaking in the whey.

  • Use to cook porridge, rice, quinoa, pasta, potatoes (and much more), instead of water.

 

WHY DO WE LOVE IT?

Whey is particularly rich in whey protein (think whey protein powder), potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, some vitamins and in many cases gut-friendly bacteria to boost your intestinal flora.

Historically, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, suggested whey for the health of his patients. This long-forgotten, valuable food should again be made part of our regular diet for its contribution to good health and to minimise wastage.