Whey Usage and FAQ's

You try to buy the best milk you can for cheese making and when you're done you have a couple of pounds of great cheese, but what about all of that whey that's left over?

Why is there so much and what can you do with it? Here are a few simple things that a home or farmstead cheese maker can do with whey.

Check out all the different ways you can use whey, here!

Whey Usage FAQs

Milky Whey

We are fortunate enough to have our own Jersey cow, from whom we receive fabulous milk. Recently, I have been making ricotta, and the results are great, but the step that says, "be sure there is no milky whey" never arrives for me. I seem to get a fairly good yield, but the whey is always milky white. I've tried keeping it on the heat longer, raising the temperature to near 212F, but it doesn't ever clear up.

Jersey milk will always be milky looking. The fat is so high that there is not enough protein to hold it all, so some leaks into the whey. Our directions about clear whey are directed to what most home cheese makers have access to - pasteurized and standardized milk.

Butter from Whey

I have a farmstead sheep dairy and would like to make butter, but I need to find a use for the skimmed milk which will be leftover.  Sheep milk is too expensive, and I can't afford to lose all of that milk to make butter.

Can I use the whey left over from cheese making, to get whey cream, and whey butter? I make a Manchego style cheese, and I think the whey from that may work.  Yes! Simply collect the whey in a sanitized container, let sit overnight at 60F or less, to prevent too much lactic acid from developing. After sitting overnight, skim the surface to remove cream that rose to the top.

One thing that makes a big difference is the culture you use. O-Type culture works best with little to no gas production. If you are using a D-Type or L-Type culture, it can become pretty gassy and your butter may have a spongy character. If using a thermophilic, such as yogurt type culture (including bulgaricus), the acid production may be high. 

The yield will depend on your milk and how much butterfat was not held by the curd mass from the cheese. Running the whey through a cream separator, if you have one, will provide the best yield.

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