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Why Ask Whey?
brooksmoses brought over this excellent vegetarian Indian cookbook a while ago, so I have many things planned for dinner tonight. I'll make these lentil-based griddle cakes, and saag paneer, and this interesting spice-paste-stuffed roasted cauliflower thing. This morning I made the paneer. It seems to have worked well, but as 8 cups milk + 1 cup yogurt = about 8 or 10 ounces of paneer, I have vast quantities of whey left over.

What do you do with whey? I expect that as the protein has turned into cheese it won't work right for cooking with in place of milk. Might be good for oatmeal or things like that where you can use milk or water, as it is in some sense intermediate between the two -- I expect it'll make excellent chai. What else could I do with it?

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It is. Er, was. All gone now. But it was yummy briefly.

According to the sainted Harold McGee, there's actually quite a lot of protein left in whey; what's mostly removed in the cheese-making process is mainly casein protein and fat. What remains is a low-fat liquid rich in whey proteins such as lactoglobulin (and a dozen or more others), plus most of the milk sugar (lactose) and a bunch of micronutrients.

You can make whey cheese (ricotta) by heating and adding acid (lemon juice, vinegar, buttermilk) to whey; you can also use the whey as is to fortify soups, etc.

What kind of soup does whey work well in? A cream soup type of thing? I tend to veer minestrone-ward with my soups, and whey seems like it would clash with the tomato/citrus flavor complex. Or turn into ricotta cheese, apparently.

Hm. Worse things could happen to a soup.

Whey is is virtually flavorless - slightly sweet from the lactose, but otherwise just about undetectable in a soup. I've used it in winter squash soup, and also in place of stock in dishes like risotto (excellent!) beef stew - and even in place of water or milk in cornbread!

I think you're right about not using it in a highly acidic soup - the resulting fine-grained curds would impart an unpleasantly grainy texture, I suspect.

Ooh, squash soup. Yes, that would work well.

Make brunost! It's my favorite whey cheese:
(ok so I've never actually tried this myself and it's probably not easy, but it sounds fun!)

Fascinating. I suspect it wouldn't come out right with cow milk leftovers, but brunost is quite yummy.

Various other links on the internets tell me brunost can be made from cow, goat or a combination of the two.

I know, I know that if I try this I will wind up with milk-based napalm sludge all over the stove and the floor and the counter and possibly me. And I am still tempted.

Maybe I can talk someone else into cooking it. Someone with more arm endurance.

It is a fine liquid for breadmaking, and adds protein. I also add it to soups, boil rice in it, &c.

Oh, and apparently, you can make ricotta from it: http://www.instructables.com/id/Great-Ricotta-Cheese-From-Whey/

Ooh, rice, that's a good idea.

I should give breadmaking another go sometime. It sounds like I'd enjoy it, but it hasn't managed to hold my interest quite yet.

Whey is a fantastic protein supplement. It would make a great base for smoothies, e.g. for breakfast or after workouts.

Mmm, smoothies. Good idea.

I believe it's a good material for soaking grains in traditional-foods fashion.

I am really intrigued by that elderberry sparkle thing.

I keep meaning to try fermenting things -- homemade ginger ale calls to me -- but I have not yet gotten around to it.

this is Joanne.

making ricotta with it is good. or the smoothie suggestion.

and you may really be happy if you do homemade ginger ale. we've done it and it is great! it also means leftover ginger and ginger syrup and crystallized ginger and can you tell I love ginger?

I have ginger and ginger juice and (uncrystallized) candied ginger and I love ginger too. Mm, ginger.

I should make some more paneer so I can use all these great suggestions.

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