17 Uses For Whey

Posted on | September 21, 2012 | 12 Comments

And not to use in your ferments 😉

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Whey is the by-product of straining cultured dairy products like yoghurt, kefir & cultured cream. Whey is also acquired by cheese making. The solids you gather from straining off whey are the curds. Hence, Little Miss Muffet & her curds & whey.

We make a LOT of yoghurt in this house, but homemade yoghurt comes out quite thin in comparison to the store bought. I could always add a thickener like the name brands use, but to me, that defeats the purpose of a natural, low-ingredient product. 1 gallon of milk yields approximately 2 quarts of yoghurt after straining. That typically leaves us with about the same in whey.

What to do with all that whey?? Since we end up with 2-4 quarts of whey on a slow week, I had to start getting creative with whey. Over the past few years, these are some of the things I’ve done with our “refuse.” Remember, I’m a waste not, want not kinda gal 😀

Here we go!

1. Ricotta– If you’ve just made mozzarella cheese, you can then make ricotta with the whey that’s left. I tried this, & my curds were entirely too small & fragile, so I was left with a WONDERFUL spreadable cheese. I’m not complaining. I was able to acquire almost a cup of a new found cheese by using the “trash” left over. You may try this, & depending on your climate & environment, come out with ricotta. Or you may come out with something spreadable. I’ve also read you can use the whey from fermented dairy products to make ricotta, but I haven’t tried that yet. If you have, comment & let us know how that turned out, will ya? 🙂

2. Smoothies– We make a LOT of smoothies. You can add your whey to smoothies, keeping the whey raw & full of wonderful gut healing properties. You’ll have to learn how much whey is just enough, as each person’s taste buds are different. Start small. I’d say about 2-4 tablespoons per blender batch of smoothie. In turn, we like to freeze smoothies, making frozen smoothie pops!

3. Stock– Add it to your stock/broth. Even though by keeping the whey raw, your body enjoys the MANY benefits of the enzymes, sometimes there’s just too much whey to use in raw form. When you add it to your stocks, you’re adding valuable nutrients that might otherwise be lost by a batch of whey gone bad, because you couldn’t find a use for it raw. I typically add a pint or so to my large slow cooker of stock in the last few hours of it cooking.

4. Soup– Again, this application takes away the probiotic punch, but refer above- extra nutrients. Add your whey to soup, especially if you’re using a store-bought stock base. You can also switch out some of the broth called for in a recipe with the whey.

5. Sauces & gravies– I’ve been known to add a little bit of whey to sauces & gravies & BBQ sauces & etc. ‘Nuff said.

6. Pets– Dogs love this stuff as is. At least the doggies we’ve fed it to have. We also use it mixed into out kitteh’s food occasionally. We usually use dairy kefir, but if we’re out, whey it is! If whey is so good for us, why can’t it be good for them? **Whey is not toxic to your pets, so rest assured it won’t hurt them UNLESS your pet is somehow immune compromised or has health issues that they will not tolerate whey. Most of the lactose is removed in the culturing process, so if your pet is healthy, this won’t upset their tummies like straight milk can. Like us, however, start them out small, & work them up to the amount you’d like them to have each day!**

7. Livestock– When we were raising chickens in Wyoming, we fed them whey as well. This was an AWESOME whey (haha) to get it used up before it went bad. Chickens will eat almost anything, & they loved this treat! This goes along with my waste not want not tendencies, because I believe we are all what we eat. I loved that my chickens ate many of the foods we did, making their eggs something we’d enjoy & maximize from.

8. Soaking grains/flours– As outlined in Nourishing Traditions, the best way to consume your grains is by soaking them in water & an acidic medium before baking/cooking with them. Whey fits the bill for that acidic medium.

9. Baking substitute– Use in place of milk, buttermilk or other liquids when baking. This would apply to things like biscuits, cakes, cornbread, etc.

10. Fertilizer– Since whey is an acidic medium, be careful! When using whey to water your garden, be sure to water it down. About a cup or 2 per gallon is sufficient. Don’t do this every day; every 2-3 weeks is fine. However, if you know which of your plants are acid loving plants, or you need to acidify your soil, this is a good option. For acid loving plants, every week or 2 is ok. As long as you dilute it well, all will be fine with the world.

11. Compost– If you’re worried about burning your plants, your next option is to compost it. Just pour it on your compost pile. Done 🙂

12. Marinade– This makes an awesome marinade for meats. Add some of your favourite spices & a dash of whatever else you like, & WOW! This will also help tenderize your meat, so it’s a win-win.

13. Baths– I know. :REALLY!?!” you’re asking. It’s ok! Is it any different than adding apple cider vinegar to your bath?? Oh wait. You don’t do that either? Um… Try it 😀 The whey- just add a cup or 4 to your bath, soak & feel the happiness upon your skin.

14. Salad dressings– Adding whey to your salad dressing is yet another excellent way to use this awesome powerhouse up in raw form. Use it in place of some of your liquid when making salad dressing.

15. Drink it– OK, maybe not as is, but definitely add a tablespoon or 2 to your drinks throughout the day. Keep in mind, if you’re going for the probiotic benefits, you’ll want to be sure your hot bevvies are comfortable to touch.

16. Sports drinks– Instead of using powdered whey, which is chock full of all things fake, try natural whey strained from your cultured dairy products. This goes in line with using in your smoothies, drinks, etc.

17. Take it back– Last but not least, if you’re like me & occasionally strain the yoghurt too long, it ends up SUPER thick. Oops! That’s ok. We just whisk a little bit of whey back into the yoghurt until it’s the texture & thickness we like (which is a little thicker than we REALLY like, because we find that after we add things in, it tend to thin out some).

Reader submitted ideas

I asked on Facebook what some of my readers’ fave ways to use whey were. Here are some of their answers:

Gina B- “We make soda with whey and juice. Got it from Donna at cultured food life’s website.”

Amanda M- “The only things I use it for are fruit ferments or lemonade.”

Lisa H.- (used with permission from her book- Lisa’s Counter Culture) “Freeze into ice cubes and blend them into smoothies for a more slushy texture or to cool-down a beverage on a hot day.” AND “Make popsicles.”

Debi C- “i use it in place of the liquid when making bread”

What are your favourite & clever “wheys” to use why? We’d LOVE to hear from you, so just leave a comment down below!


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12 Responses to “17 Uses For Whey”

  1. Jenny C.
    September 26th, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

    Can you give more information on how to turn whey into ricotta? I’d like to make some mozzarella soon and it would be great to have more guidance on what to do with the whey!

  2. The Vintage Wife
    September 27th, 2012 @ 12:24 pm
  3. 4 Things You Can Do with a Single Gallon of Milk | Modern Alternative Kitchen
    February 6th, 2013 @ 11:10 am

    […] the leftover whey from the yoghurt, I’ve found several things I can do with it. I loathe waste, so every bit of everything I can use is awesome possum for […]

  4. How to Make Whey - Delicious Obsessions
    June 23rd, 2013 @ 11:34 pm

    […] 17 Uses for Whey – Vicariously Vintage […]

  5. Whey Has More Uses Than You Think | Ready Nutrition
    August 17th, 2013 @ 6:14 am

    […] flavor to their feed. 5. Whey is a wonderful fertilizer for the garden. According to an article at http://www.vicariouslyvintage.com, since whey is an acidic medium, it can be used as a soil conditioner. It is best used on acid […]

  6. Whey Has More Uses Than You Think |
    August 18th, 2013 @ 12:44 am

    […] flavor to their feed. 5. Whey is a wonderful fertilizer for the garden. According to an article atwww.vicariouslyvintage.com, since whey is an acidic medium, it can be used as a soil conditioner. It is best used on acid […]

  7. Norene
    March 16th, 2016 @ 4:49 pm

    I make paneer for Indian dishes. Also make yougurt. I mix a small amount of yougurt in a qt. jar of whey and let it set out in a warm place for a day or so. It takes on the tart flavor of the yougurt and becomes fizzy. I refrigerate it and drink it as you would milk or kifir. This probably wouldn’t thrill a lot of people, but I love the tart flavor and find it very refreshing. I don’t care for sweet things and eat my yougurt in savory ways as well, like you would use sour cream.

  8. The Vintage Wife
    March 17th, 2016 @ 12:51 am

    I’ll have to try that drink, Norene! We actually use our yoghurt, not only as yoghurt, but in place of sour cream.

  9. Sandy
    September 11th, 2017 @ 11:52 am

    If you have an old dog and feed them whey it takes away that old nasty gym bag smell that old senior dogs out, LOL. What it is doing is bringing nutrition into their body and fighting off fungus! Also just to give you a heads up my old senior dog is on kidney food very low protein from the vet. But I do also make her food to go along with that and way is low protein. All the protein is in the other part of the dairy product.

  10. Margaret
    February 24th, 2018 @ 10:54 pm

    We use whey to make cider. Just remove a cup of apple juice from a gallon of apple juice and replace with whey to within 1 1/2 inches of top. Tighten lid and lightly shake to stir. Loosen lid and place in warm place for a couple of days. Will begin to fizz. DO NOT SHAKE after it fizzes or you will have apple cider all over your kitchen.
    Will take longer if, like us, you don’t heat your house at night in the winter. Like all lacto-fermented foods this is great for digestion. Drink and enjoy!

  11. susan
    March 6th, 2018 @ 1:17 am

    Whey from 0%fat yogurt is the very best treatment for seborrheic dermatitis (a greasy yet scaley dry rash)and dandruff (the oily scalp kind), and also cradle cap on babies. Even on the most sensitive rosacea prone skin , whey is a wonder worker. Bovine whey is second only to human breastmilk in lactoferrin , which dissolves the chitin layer on the fungus Malassezia globosa. This fungus feeds on fats, so 0%fat is essential to this treatment. I have used yogurt, but whey is much easier to rinse out of your hair and off the body.
    There is a popular treatment of raw honey mask applied for 3 hours, every 3 days, for 6 months, and then once a month thereafter. If you have ever suffered from seborrheic dermatitis, you will try anything! In my opinion the whey works even better than raw honey in this regimen.
    Also the lactic acid in dairy products is a fantastic exfolient for the skin, and especially useful on the scalp. Really helps get rid of all the build up of skin from the Malasezzia and the skin overgrowth from the rosacea, and the normal old skin that need to be sloughed off. But it does it soooooo gently!
    I don’t use soap or shampoo. My aim is to keep the barrier function of the skin in good order. My hair is 3feet in length and I require no conditioner in order to brush it. I do use a boar bristle brush to move the oil off the scalp and along the hair shaft. And I bathe EVERY night .
    If you or a loved one suffers with an out of control Malassezia (babies, the elderly, compromised immune function etc), please point them to whey. This fungus is native to our skin but overgrows causing irritation from oleic acid in its waste product, then triggering rosacea and and or dermatitis.
    As if all that wasn’t enough , the fungus causes the skin to produce even more oil (sebum)on which the fungus feeds! Quite a vicious cycle. When you control the Malassezia, then the sebum production goes down as well.
    Also, many skin issues with dogs is actually a Malassezia overgroeth.
    Many people suffer this malady. You should never have to throw that wonderful whey away!

  12. susan
    March 6th, 2018 @ 1:25 am

    I use the whey full strength.

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