I’ve talked a lot about fermented foods and drinks lately, from my favorite water kefir, to homemade sauerkraut. Lately, I’ve been enjoying trying things like fermented condiments, salsas, and more.
Most of these recipes use whey to speed the lacto-fermentation process and for a long time, I avoided these recipes because I simply didn’t have and didn’t know how to make whey.
A friend and lacto-fermenting veteran shared an easy way to make whey, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t started doing this sooner! The best part is, you can make whey at home in any kitchen with ingredients available at any grocery store.
Whey and Cream Cheese Recipe
- 32 oz full fat organic plain yogurt
- cheesecloth or thin dish towel
- Pour the desired amount of yogurt into a cheesecloth or thin towel.
- Pull the ends of the towel up and secure with string or a rubber band.
- Tie the towel with yogurt in it to a cabinet handle and position a medium size bowl underneath.
- Leave it alone overnight to drip. The dripping liquid is whey.
- In the morning, if the dripping has stopped, pour the whey in the bowl into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator for up to six months.
- The yogurt left in the towel is actually cream cheese now. Put it in its own container and use as you would store-bought cream cheese.
- Make sure the towel is thin, as it will absorb too much of the whey if it is a very absorbent towel.
- Use the whey for homemade salsas, sauerkraut, fermented veggies or pickles and more.
Have you made whey before? If so, what is your favorite recipe using it? Share below!
Discussion (158 Comments)
I see the whey lasts for about 6 months. About how long does the cream cheese last? Or would it be about the same date that’s on the package of yogurt?
Not very long, as it is really good and doesn’t last long before you have to make more. Yum! I know this is an old post, but just couldn’t help but answer.
Deborah De Block
Doesn’t pasteurized yogurt age differently than if it was from raw milk?
It does, but even pasteurized yogurt contains the live bacteria needed to lactoferment. Raw milk yogurt (or when) would produce a faster ferment and a wider variety of probiotics.
Hi! Loved the post! Thank you!
I just made my first attempt at whey & sour cream. I would love some feedback/tips from those more experienced than I. I’m just a newbie. 😉
Is it ok to leave this out on the counter overnight, or does it need to be refrigerated? Seems like dairy left out all night will have gone bad by morning…?
I’ve never had any trouble with it. It just sours more since it is a living fermented food rather than rotting, but you can just leave it out long enough to drain and then put it in right away.
In making yoghurt, one adds the culture to milk and keeps it warm to allow the bacilli to multiply. You cover it to keep competing bacteria out. Once the milk has been completely colonized, it is more difficult for competing bacteria to take hold, though it can happen. As the yoghurt ages, the food source for the bacilli diminishes, and there is a die-off of the living organism, and bacteria will begin to colonize, which is why your fresh, newly-opened yoghurt does not spoil quickly, but partially eaten older yoghurt will begin showing mold around the edges. (Also, by opening and putting nonsterile impliments in the container, or putting your mouth or fingers on it, or leaving it for house flies to land on, foreign bacteria are introduced.)
So, home made yoghurt, or fresh yoghurt, can be left out for different lengths depending on conditions, the main one being temperature. Older yoghurt can spoil more quickly.
My dad is Turkish and claims the Turks invented yoghurt! He makes his own every week and strains it in a cheesecloth to make ‘Greek’ yoghurt. But he pours away the whey! He dies make his own pickles but I think he uses vinegar. Must tell him to start using the way instead of wasting it.
Do you think I could use coconut yogurt and get the same results (I am allergic to whey)?
You can use young fresh coconut water. In a jug combine coconut water and water kefir grains and leave covered on bench for 1 to 2 days. When cloudy and some bubbles it is ready, strain out and bottle then refrigerate for a minimum of one day. Keep 1/4 cup to transfer to next batch.
Im interested in the coconut yogurt as well..Q. cant buy young fresh coconut water all year round??
Young coconuts are found in Asian markets, the only way I would buy it. They are available year round. I suppose there are many places without Asian markets, but try the American supermarket. The coconuts are white, not stripped down to the hard shell, but just the outer skin cut off, leaving the fibrous interior you can cut away to get at the hard shell. These coconuts come wrapped in plastic, and are kept refrigerated. Once you experience young coconuts, you won’t go back to the canned version. There is also the canned coconut milk sold for Thai cooking, which is different.
Question – what happens if you make this with Greek yogurt? That was the only organic yogurt I could find when I went to get some for this recipe. I have fermented my lemonade for 2 days now, and am now wondering if using Greek yogurt would affect how this works/doesn’t work. What say you? Thanks!!
I haven’t tried it with greek yogurt, but as long as you got some liquid off, it should work for fermenting.
Thanks! I am drinking it right now. It turned out great! Just a bit tart, the way I like it. I used half lemons and limes. Yum! I also followed Laura’s suggestion that she linked above, and did the extra draining. I got about half a cup from half a carton of Greek yogurt. We’ll see how this helps over the next couple of days.
Isn’t draining the whey how you make Greek yogurt from regular yogurt?
Nope. Greek yoghurt has additional bacteria added. It is time to read labels again.
Kate, traditional Greek yogurt recipes do not have additional bacteria added.
It is the commercial varieties which have additional bacteria added and list these on the label.
Wellness Mama is right in saying “Yep!”
You could bring milk to a rolling boil, take it off the burner and add some acid like apple cider vinegar. When the curds form strain the mixture saving the liquid. Now you have whey as well as ricotta cheese. Fastest and easiest step to get whey. Really good cheese as well.
The cheese left here is Paneer I think, not ricotta
I think it is ricotta. Paneer is ricotta that has then been pressed to make it drier. At least that’s what I read on some websites.
Is it possible to use the whey from Kefir?
Thanks for posting this! I may have to give this shot. I will soon make awesome foods like this as I have the time to make fermented foods.
I make a homemade yogurt, a gallon at a time, and always strain a quart or two. I just line a sieve with a coffee filter, put it over a bowl, and pour the yogurt in; let it drain for as long as you want, the longer the thicker. My husband loves strained yogurt (it’s like Greek yogurt, really creamy) and I also love having the whey.
It does become Greek yogurt. That’s what Greek yogurt is, regular yogurt that has less of the whey in it.
This is called lebany. In the middle east it is a staple food.
We add a bit of pink or sea salt to it. We cut scallions (the entire thing), grape tomatoes (1/2’d or 1/4’d) marinate them in olive oil and white balsamic vinegar. Mound the very thick creamy lebany in the middle of a serving plate. strain (reserve a spoon full) the veggies and heap in a ring around the lebany. dribble a small bit of reserved liquid over the mounded lebany. It is so pretty. Scoop veggies and lebany onto your favorite read or cracker.
Yum! Thank you very much for sharing this!
I use why for fermenting, but also love to add it to other foods I am eating, especially smoothies!
I READ YOUR LINK, BUT IM NOT SEEING ANOTHER STEP. IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE PRETTY MUCH DOING THE SAME THING, JUST LETTING IT GO A LITTLE LONGER…. AM I MISSING SOMETHING?