Raise your hand if you know where whey comes from! Whey is a byproduct of cultured dairy products; mainly cheese. Making kefir cheese was when I at not only created my own raw cheese for the first time, but it's also when we produced our first quart of homemade whey. If you're wanting to use whey to lacto-ferment things, you will need to be sure it's raw whey. We need those organisms (probiotics) to be alive and well to do their little culturing job, and if your cheese is being heated higher than 104º, those little buddies die off. Also, if you're thinking of using whey powder? Forgetaboutit. There's no living cultures in there.
Some easy ways of using... whey is putting some in smoothies, yogurts, and puddings (after it's been cooked. You don't want to kill the little bacteria guys with heat). Also, if you add a couple tablespoons to the water you soak your beans in, it helps release a very helpful enzyme called phytase. I'll get more into soaking and phytic acid on another Monday...
A personal favorite way to use whey is making oatmeal. My kids love calling it porridge. Here's a quick how-to:
Soak 2 cups oats in 2 cups filtered water,
and 4 tablespoons whey (or other cultured dairy product) overnight in a covered bowl.
In the morning, pour your oats in a saucepan, add 2 more cups water. Cover, bring to a boil, spoon out any foam, then simmer to desired consistency. The oats finish cooking in a fraction of the time when they're soaked overnight. My kids like to eat it with a little milk and rapadura. Mmmm.
Do you have some leftover oatmeal? Here's something for you: save it in the fridge and take it back out when you need a snack or another breakfast. Make fried mush out of it! Doesn't that sound delicious? Well, my kids think so. They get so excited when they see me making it. All ya do is heat up 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet,
mix about 1 1/2 cups of yer leftover porridge with 1 beaten egg,
add a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon,
mash it all together with a fork,
and fry 'em up like pancakes.
Flip 'em to brown the other side, of course.
Drizzle them with syrup and yummo! No waste, re-use of leftovers, healthy, quick goodness. And do you know what else you can make with whey? Sauerkraut! Suddenly craving a Rueben sandwich? Me too.