How can I use up or recycle whey from cheesemaking?

wheyIt was my birthday (the big 3-0) last Monday and because I’m wild and exciting, I decided I’d like to spend the day making cheese. I’m determined to get quickly confident with soft cheese so I can move onto hard cheese as soon as I’ve got a room they can be stored in for 12 months (*insert misc house-moving grumbles here*).

I planned it out carefully to make sure we used up everything as efficiently as possible – we started making butter and used the leftover buttermilk to make buttermilk cheese (which was interesting because it was slightly sour), and I’d planned to whey ricotta from the whey leftover from the paneer and lemon-flavoured soft cheese making but there just wasn’t enough milk solids left to do it justice.

What else could I do with the watery whey? I’ve heard it can be a good protein drink for bodybuilders or people who just want to, um, build up their bodies — I tried to give some to our poorly-sick cat to help her bulk up but she was more interested in the leftover cream.

As I said, I’d like to conquer cheeses so will be producing a few litres of this a week – any suggestions? Recipes? Other ideas?

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19 Responses to “How can I use up or recycle whey from cheesemaking?”

  1. Mary Horesh says:

    This may not be appropriate for you, but when visiting the Frasers of Turnastone, a Country restoration trust farm, they get whey from Neils Yard which is up the road from them and they feed it to the pigs.

    It was great to see when we arrived at a wooded area and delivered the whey, the farmer tapped the side of the bucket and out of the woodland trotted the tamworth pigs as they knew that meant food and they came and lapped it up.

    So maybe a pig at the bottom of the garden?

  2. louisa says:

    Ok, replying to my own question here but anyway…

    Apparently it can be used as the liquid in bread making or in soup (with/instead of stock) or while cooking rice.

  3. Bobbie says:

    Being a Southern U.S.A. cook, I use it to make the best cornbread ever! Just substitute whey for buttermilk.

    Also, feed it to my chickens after mixing in some day old bread. They love it.

  4. Melinda says:

    I use it when it calls for liquids in baking. Makes great pancakes and cakes.

  5. Alice says:

    Scones apparently use whey, and you can never make too many scones…!

  6. jing says:

    On Maki’s Just Hungry post about making tofu ( someone has left a comment about washing white cottons with tofu whey and getting “the whitest whites”. It is apparently safe for delicate cloth that can’t be bleached (which of course we would rather not do anyway). I don’t know if or how this works and I have no idea if this is a tofu-whey-only deal, but it might warrant further investigation.

    Also, isn’t whey the basis for ricotta?

  7. Jaap says:

    You were right in the beginning. Mix it with fruitjuice and you have your high energy drink. Perhaps add some fructose if you find it too acid. It is very popular in Germany like that.



  8. terri says:

    I just read that you can make ricotta cheese with leftover whey. needs to be re-heated to 200 degrees, then strained through very, fine cheese cloth (or cotton pillow case) see or other websites for further instructions.

  9. Diane Nazar says:

    I have heard it is very good for use in lacto fermented pickle making, like saurkraut. Sally Fallon’s cook book ‘Nourishing Traditions’ uses whey in almost everything from baking to marinating.

  10. Stacia says:

    You can only make Ricotta from sweet whey, not acid whey. So if you were making soft cheeses, you probably have acid whey and cannot make Ricotta. However, once you start with the hard cheeses, I think you get sweet whey from them and could try it at that point.

    I husband and I have found success using acid whey (from making mozzarella) as a buttermilk substitute and also to replace milk/water in bread recipes. So far we have tried it in pizza dough and tortillas. Yum!

  11. jill says:

    I use the whey to reconstitute frozen juice. Mix the whey/orange juice with a little cream, whir it up in the blender with a couple of ice cubes and you have nice healthy frothy orange cream drink. so nice.

  12. Alexis says:

    I’ve been experimenting with whey – like you have been making cheese and end up with 2-3 litres left. I do alot of baking as well and it makes fantastic bread, with a decent keeping quality – just replace your water with whey and continue as usual. I’ve also used it in waffles – it makes a lighter crisper waffle – very nice. I’ve been told by a friend who lived in an ashram for 18 years that using whey to make rice works very well too – though I’ve not yet tried this idea – I trust her “foodie” sense. I think I saw someone mention that it works well in cornbread – I agree, it makes very nice cornbread.

    It keeps well in a sealed jar (I simply pour it back into the milk container that I bought my milk in) for at least a week to a week and a half (beyond that I don’t know, usually by this time I’ve used it up in bread).

  13. I’ve answered this question as best I can in my blog post:

  14. Rob says:

    Other ways to store it is to put into ice cube trays and freeze then thaw when needed

  15. Koro Gazza says:

    Spray excess whey on fields or paddocks,or pour around your vegetables in your garden-not over them.Whey is a great natural fertiliser.I have been engaged spreading whey back on the farms that supplied the milk, for several years.It gives a great boost to the grass regrowth thus increasing milk production

  16. Judi Sutherland says:

    You can make ricotta from the whey from soft (acidic) cheese. I do it all the time. It will not be so good with harder cheeses where the curd is salted before draining.

    Just bring they whey up to almost but not quite boiling. Then let it cool, then strain it through a piece of cheesecloth in a sieve or colander.

  17. Bee says:

    Can I wash my face with it? :P

  18. Barb says:

    Many people say you can make ricotta, but I’ve made ricotta a few times now and still have quite a bit of whey leftover. Thanks for the great ideas about baking and fertilizer! I hate to see so much liquid go to waste!

  19. Nicole says:

    I wrote an entire post on what to do with leftover whey here:

    I hope it helps!!

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