How To Make Whey (& Yogurt Cheese)

One of the staples of a Real Food diet is regularly eating fermented foods. Not only do fermented foods provide great probiotics to aid digestion but they also allow our food to stay naturally preserved for longer periods of time. One of the easiest mediums to use when fermenting is whey strained from yogurt.

Don’t agonize too much about the perfect yogurt needed to make whey. I wanted to start fermenting very early on but I was confused about the quality of yogurt that I should be using. Lots of blogs recommended raw milk yogurt but that wasn’t an option for me and I’m guessing it’s also not an option for most people either, especially those that are new to the Real Food movement. Of course it’s best if you can source raw milk and grass-fed yogurt but remember that plenty of grocery store brands can pass the test. Here are the minimum qualifications for a good yogurt:

-Organic
-Whole milk
-Plain, unsweetened
-Contains multiple live cultures
-Regular, not Greek yogurt (Greek yogurt is already strained so very little whey will be produced)

How To Make Whey (& Yogurt Cheese)

Items needed:
-Yogurt
-A bowl
-A strainer
-Unbleached cheesecloth or an unbleached towel
-Mason Jar


Steps:

1. Place a strainer over a bowl. Line the strainer with unbleached cheesecloth or an unbleached towel.

2. Pour as much yogurt as you like into the cheesecloth and let the whey drip out into the bowl. I like the pour out an entire yogurt container to get as much whey as possible. This process can take several hours, but will be faster if left out on the counter. If that makes you nervous then place the straining yogurt in the fridge. Just keep in mind that the straining will be much slower.

That’s it! You now have whey and the left over yogurt is strained thick into yogurt cheese which has a cream cheese like consistency (as pictured in the last photo). You can pour your newly acquired whey into a glass jar and store in the fridge. I personally like to strain the whey a second time through a coffee filter for a more clear liquid. If you’d like to do that as well then follow step #3 below.

3. Line an unbleached coffee filter into a mason jar and secure with a rubber-band. Pour the whey through the filter to strain it one more time. I typically do this in batches since the coffee filter can only hold so much at a time.


Here is the strained yogurt cheese. The longer you strain, the more cream cheese like consistency will occur.

Whey can last up to six months in the fridge. I usually use it all up well before it goes bad, but you’ll know when it turns by the smell.

TIP: Try not to dip your spoon directly into the jar when you need some whey. Instead pour the amount needed directly on your spoon to avoid bacteria entering into the jar and spoiling the whey.

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