Whey, Too Good to Waste

Ricotta is a staple in my kitchen. I use it for ravioli and tortellini filling. I add it to frittatas, quiches, and savory pifresh-ricottaes. Last week, I included it in my pierogie filling. I even make dessert out of it.  Now that I’m in the habit of making my own ricotta, I feel like I’ve got the world at my fingertips – a light, fluffy, cheesy world. When you make all this cheese, you also wind up with a whole lot of whey. What to do?

Now, people will tell you that it’s a refreshing and healthy drink. I haven’t gotten that brave yet, but when I went on a calzone making binge and found myself with over 7 quarts  of whey, I had to think creatively to find other uses. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, with way too much whey, here are a few ideas to help you out.

  • Make whey pancakes. The batter, when I made it with AP flour, was a little runnier than my steadfast pancake recipe, but the pancakes were very tasty and worth wiping the drips off the counter.  For a really smug pancake, I’ll try this recipe next with whole wheat flour.
  • Pawn some off on a friend and give her the recipe for Italian white bread.
  • Use it as a base for soups. I’ve substituted up to 50% whey for stock, depending on the soup. I’ve used it successfully  in minestrone, chicken noodle, potato leek, and others.
  • Feed it to some friendly chickens. It’s good for them. (I don’t exactly remember why. I’m the baker, not the chicken farmer. I do it to make the chickens like me better, so they’ll be kinder when I come to visit.)
  • Add it to your pasta sauce. We liked it in pesto.
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4 thoughts on “Whey, Too Good to Waste

  1. I’m not positive why the whey is good for chickens. They certainly love it and I’m sure it’s full of awesomeness for them. I think I got the idea in my head when the Samish Bay Cheese (?) folks told me at the ballard market that their bacon didn’t need cured because they feed the pigs whey. And somehow, in my mind, pigs==chickens and therefore it’s good for the chickens.

    So, while I don’t know the mechanism, our bird are healthy and happy and I think the diverse diet, including whey, contributes to that.

  2. The whey is for calcium! Calcium is good for them as the eggshell is largely made of calcium, and a Ca deficiency results in eggs with very thin shells, or no shell at all (which is quite alarming).

    I thought it might have other health benefits also — delicious cultures maybe? — but this paper indicates maybe not: http://www.cababstractsplus.org/abstracts/Abstract.aspx?AcNo=20053161053
    Then again, this is about production (fast-growing, confined) meat chickens, so who knows how that would apply to our chickens.

  3. OK, to be fair, it doesn’t say they are confined, just that they are production (meat) birds. Ours are most certainly not — neither confined, nor production. Nor meat at all. Not this batch, anyway …

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