Friday, June 19, 2009

Homemade Whey & Cream Cheese


Whey is an excellent starter culture for
lacto-fermented veggies and fruits, for soaking grains and as a starter for beverages. The cream cheese, a by-product, is much healthier than the commercial variety, which is produced by putting milk under high pressure and not by the natural beneficial action of lactic-acid-producing bacteria.


sound bite:
Whey is such a good helper in your kitchen. It has a lot of minerals. One tablespoon of whey in a little water will help digestion. It is a remedy that will keep your muscles young. It will keep your joints movable and ligaments elastic. When age wants to bend your back, take whey... With stomach ailments, take one tablespoon whey three times daily, this will feed the stomach glands and they will work well again. -Hanna Kroeger / Ageless Remedies from Mother's Kitchen


Homemade cultured whey can be made from various types of cultured milk, good quality yoghurt or even fresh raw milk. I usually make whey and cream cheese when the milk is starting to turn. It will sour and separa
te naturally when left at room temperature for several days. Cream cheese and cottage cheese are traditionally made by letting the fermentation process continue for several days until the white curds or casein-containing portion of the milk separates from the whey.


sound bite:
When this cream cheese is weighted down or inoculated with further cultures, it undergoes as additional fermentation process resulting in many different types of cheese. Modern cheese makers consider whey a waste product, but in earlier times it was used to produce a variety of other fermented foods and beverages. -Nourishing Traditions


I love making the cream cheese as it is
a great snack for my family and a good addition to many recipes. Our favorite snack with this is Homemade Whole Grain Crackers topped with cream cheese and dried cranberries. We also like to throw in salmon, cream cheese, garlic and lots of spices in the food processor and make a creamy spread for sandwiches or crackers. The whey is a great bonus as I use it a lot for making my kraut and soaking my grains.

The first time I made it I left it out too long and it had a strong blue cheese flavor (which I don't like, but my hubby and mom loved it). So the second time around I was more careful about the time and was much happier with the taste. Below is a recipe from Nourishing Traditions. Very easy and straight-forward.




Homemade Whey & Cream Cheese
Makes about 5 cups whey and 2 cups cream cheese

  • 2 quarts piima milk, whole-milk buttermilk, yoghurt or raw milk

If you are using piima milk or whole-milk buttermilk, let it stand at room temperature 1-2 days until the milk visibly separates into white curds and yellowish whey. If you are using yoghurt, no advance preparation is required. You may use homemade yoghurt or good quality commercial plain yoghurt. If you are using raw milk, place the milk in a clean glass container and allow it to stand (covered with a lid) at room temperature 1-4 days until it seperates.

Line a large strainer over a bowl with a clean cotton dish towel. Pour in the yoghurt or separated milk, cover and let stand at room temperature for several hours (longer for yoghurt). The whey will run into the bowl and the milk solids will stay in the strainer. *Tie up the towel with the milk solids inside, being careful not to squeeze. Tie this little sack to a wooden spoon placed across the top of a container so that more whey can drip out. When the bag stops dripping, the cheese is ready. Store whey in a mason jar and cream cheese in a covered glass container. Refrigerated, the cream cheese keeps for about 1 month and the whey for about 6 months.

*NOTE: I found that I did not need to do this, but you might need to. Just simply pull up the towel like a bag and see if any more whey drips out.



Staying Cultured,

33 comments:

  1. Hi Mare, what a unique foodie blog. Lots of good information here and how amazing that you are in Costa Rica? Must be beautiful. this cream cheese would win out over Philly any day. best, s

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  2. Hi there. I'm an ecuadorian living in US and I just found your blog. I think is very interesting and very nice. We have something in common 'cause I'm a mama of two and I'm a Christian. Thank you for sharing all this good stuff and I'll be checking it time to time. God Bless!

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  3. s. stockwell - Thank you and welcome to my blog!! Yes, we love it here and it is beautiful.

    Amiguita - Great to meet you! Glad you enjoy my blog. Hope I heard from you more! Many Blessings!

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  4. Kristin BachleitnerJuly 28, 2009 at 10:37 AM

    Hey Marillyn, when I've made cream cheese, my American taste buds just couldn't tolerate the sour flavor. Do you like that, or do you add anything to mask the flavor? Maybe my children could eat it with an unbiased mouth.

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  5. Hey Kristin! I have grown to enjoy the cream cheese. My daughter and hubby LOVE it. It is especially good on crackers topped with raisins or dried cranberries. I enjoy blending it with honey or you can blend it with salmon, garlic and olive oil for sandwiches. Glad to see you looking around my blog! I will email you back later :o)

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  6. Hello. I am experimenting with whey and after letting my raw milk set out for several days I realized I don't think this batch turned as it should so i searched a bit and found your blog. My question is when you place the raw milk in the container, do you cover the glass container or leave it out uncovered for several days? Thanks ~ AM

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  7. Hello AM! I am so glad you found my blog! What I usually do is leave the lid on loosely. I just made some whey and cream cheese recently and discovered that sometimes it doesn't quite separate, but it would have a strong cheesy smell. So, I simply poured it out into a strainer with a thin towel and the whey came out along with the cheese. I usually leave it for two or three days. Just make sure it is left in a warm spot. Let me know if this helps!!!! Have a wonderful week!

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  8. I'm glad i found your blog too!
    Thanks for the tip. Whey/cream cheese take two, here I go!
    Yes, I found that is exactly what happened; it did not seperate. Now I know that I will put it in the strainer and let it do its thing anyway. BTW, is using a cheesecloth ok instead of a thin towel?

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  9. Am - Great! Also, I forgot to mentioned that it is good to stir it once or twice too. Yes, a cheesecloth should do fine... just make sure it doesn't leak cheese into the whey. I like using a thin muslin towel because I know it is keeping everything in and letting all the whey out without bits and pieces. Have a great week :o)

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  10. I'm on day 3 of letting my raw milk sit out to separate. So far it's just a layer of cream on top so I'm out searching the web for whey first-timers support groups!! :~)
    I saw your earlier answer to this question about the milk not separating so, I will just keep an eye on it and keep my fingers crossed!

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  11. Taster B - Your milk should be ready to drain. Sometimes the milk doesn´t separate completely because it can be so thick, but if you shake it a little you will see that the milk is more solid than liquid... its ready to be drained. Sometimes the temperature is a factor, so keep it in a warm place. Hope this helps!!

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  12. What if I have raw milk that is about three weeks old in the fridge and has seperated...can I use this for whey and cream cheese?

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  13. So, I started draining my milk last night and then forgot about it so it ended up sitting out for about 8 hours. Do you think that the cream cheese is okay to eat still?

    I am really enjoying your blog and can't wait to try more of the great recipes you've posted.

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  14. The cream cheese will be totally fine. I've often left my cheese to drain all day or overnight. The longer, the better because you want to make sure all the whey drips out or the cream cheese will go sour quickly.

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  15. hello im on my 1st batch using raw milk. i live in mexico so its pretty warm. when i looked at the top of the cream it has mold on the top. not much but does that mean i left it too long? i cant find anything on the web to help me. any suggestions?

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  16. Hello mrea!
    How long have you left it out? What color is the mold? Was the jar clean when you put the milk in it? Let me know and I will see what I can help you with :o) Never had problems with mold in mine.

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  17. Hi Marilyn,

    Thank you so much for publishing this! I've been a real fan of the Nourishing Traditions cookbook and never worked up the courage to make cheese and my own whey. It really is true that a picture is worth a thousand words; your picture made it all come into focus for me! Thanks again!

    Linda

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  18. 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. ;)
    http://sherlockmama.com/?p=136

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  19. Dear Mare,
    Do I need to use full fat dairy or can I use low or nonfat yogurt? Thanks so much, I want to try this right away, but I am a calorie counter so I avoid most fats most of the time, but I can try an exception!

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    Replies
    1. Hello!
      Yes, you need to use full fat dairy to make this work. :o)

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  20. Hey just found your blog today and love it! Both as an organic-glutenfree-fermenting nut and believer! I make my cream cheese using milk kefir for a double whammy ferment and it's delish! Then I have kefir whey to play around with. I look forward to reading more of your blog.
    Cheers! and God Bless!

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  21. I just made mayo, and read about adding whey, to help as a preservative. I also have raw milk kefir, which has separated a bit,is the clear liquid on top of my kefir considered whey? I mixed it in the mayo, and am leaving it sit on the counter for 8 hours.

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    Replies
    1. Hello Jody! I thought I replied to this, but obviously did not. So sorry!

      Yes, the clear yellowish whey is whey. Hope you had great success with making the mayo!!

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  22. I saw someone asked if you can drain the whey off milk that has soured in the fridge and separated already, eliminating leaving it out at room temperature but couldn't find the answer. Is this ok to do?

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  23. Hello,

    i've made whey months ago, and i haven't finished using it.I stored it in a glass jar in the fridge. Today, i looked at the lid, and there is a lot of blue,white mold growing. I wonder why, it scared me so much. it is only on the lid.Should I continue on using the whey? I smelled it and it doesn/t seem to have a big yogourt smell, as i used to get when the last time i opened it though.Should I continue to use it? I dont understand why though. Should i discard the lid or wash it?
    i dont know what to do. Please HELP!

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  24. No worries. It's normal! The smell will tell you if it is bad or not. With the mold, just wash it with hot soapy water and dry really well before putting it back on. I have kept my whey in the back of my fridge for almost a year before finishing it off. Yes, there would be some mold, but I just wash it off and I am still alive to tell about it :)

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  25. I don't know if this posted or not. So forgive me if it's a repeat :)
    I am a newbie with raw milk. I have 2 half gallon jars that were forgotten and left out. It has been out now for about 5-6 days and has separated. How do I know if it's still good for cream cheese and whey?Also, how do you get cottage cheese? Thanks, Deb

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    Replies
    1. Hello Debbie! Its good and ready to strain now!

      Really, your nose will tell you. If it has a nice pleasant sour smell, then its good. Once the whey has separated from the solids... it is good to strain it.

      As for cottage cheese, I have never tried to make it. I am think you will need a culture of some sort. Google around and I am sure you will find some good, simple tutorials! :)

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  26. Hi! I have a quart jar of raw milk that's been sitting in the fridge for several weeks, and it's all separated - some solids at the top and bottom, whey in the middle. Do I still need to let it sit out on the counter for a day or two, or can I just go ahead and strain it and use it? Thanks for the great information!

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    Replies
    1. Hello Melody! It sounds like it is already cultured because it slowly cultured in your fridge for several weeks. I would put it out for 24 hours to get it at room temperature and then strain it and use it.

      Delete
  27. Hi, I took 8 cups of raw sour milk out of the fridge. It had already separated, so I stirred it back up. Oops! If I leave it on the counter, will my thick sour milk separate again? Is there something else I should/could make with this milk? (My original plan was yogurt, but I thought fresher milk would be better.)
    Thanks, Sarah B.

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    Replies
    1. Hello Sarah,
      Yes, you can leave the milk on the counter to let it separate... but if the milk is already chunky, then you should go ahead and strain it with a cheesecloth. Let it drip dry and then you will have cream cheese & whey!

      As for making something else with the soured milk... smoothies, if you are fine with the flavor! Otherwise, you can use the cream cheese and mix it with spices to spread on bread and use the whey in smoothies or to make lacto-fermented foods.

      :)

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