How To Make Whey

by Ann Marie Michaels on May 1, 2009

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howtomakewhey

If you’ve ever wondered how to make whey, this recipe will show you how. I’m not talking about powdered whey or whey protein. I’m talking about the liquid whey as in “curds and whey” — how to make whey from yogurt or milk.

Since I publish so many recipes that call for whey, I want to post this recipe for whey so you can refer back to it as necessary. I use whey to soak beans and grains (including oatmeal), and I use it in many lacto-fermented recipes including lacto-fermented salsa.

We’re talking about real, natural whey here — not that whey protein powder you see everywhere. This is the whey that Miss Muffett was eating with her curds. Whey is the liquid that’s leftover from milk or yogurt when it is strained to make cheese. Whey is also highly nutritious.

How To Make Whey

Makes about 2 pints

Making Whey With Yogurt or Kefir

Ingredients:

Yogurt or kefir (2 cups) — where to buy yogurt

Equipment:

Strainer
Clean cheesecloth (or thin dishtowel)

Directions:

1. Set a large steel mesh strainer in a large glass bowl or pitcher (do not use metal) and line it with some cheesecloth or a very thin dishtowel (if you use a thick one, it will soak up too much of the liquid)

2. Transfer the yogurt or kefir into the strainer.

3. Let it drip for a few hours. When the dripping slows, tie the cheesecloth or towel to a wooden spoon (or any big spoon) and place the spoon on top of the pitcher to where the towel of yogurt is hanging suspended in the pitcher from the spoon. You can also tie the cheesecloth to a cupboard handle and let it drip into the bowl below.

4. Let it drip overnight.

5. When it is has completely stopped dripping, pour the the liquid whey that dripped into the bowl or pitcher into a clean glass mason jar and store in the fridge. It will keep for about 6 months.

6. The white creamy stuff in the towel is cream cheese, and can be used in recipes or spread on toast. It will last a few weeks to a month in the fridge.

How to Make Whey With Raw Milk

Ingredients:
Raw milk (2 quarts) — where to buy milk

You can also use raw milk to make whey (don’t try this with pasteurized!).

1. Place 2 quarts of the milk in a glass jar, bowl or pitcher and leave at room temperature for 2-4 days until the milk separates into curds and whey.

2. Pour into the strainer lined with cheesecloth. Follow instructions above.

This post is a part of Fight Back Fridays at Food Renegade. Visit Fight Back Fridays for more stories about and recipes for real food.

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{ 179 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie November 7, 2013 at 6:13 AM

This is from my own experience and also from talking with cattle farmer’s wives:
Yes, if you leave raw milk to sit out it will clabber. That means it will get thick. This is also referred to as “souring”. And yes, if you leave it long enough it will separate into very soft curds and whey. I don’t know what the limit is as to how long you can leave milk out without it turning into something nasty; never tried it. You say you left yours in the fridge so I would just guess that in the cold it would take a lot longer to go truly bad. Again, I haven’t experienced leaving milk for 5 weeks.

If you put the separated milk into a very fine cheesecloth like butter linen, the whey will drain out and you will be left with very soft and soured curds which usually aren’t very tasty–they can get bitterly sour. And their soft texture makes them a little harder to handle. I suppose you could drain them in a coffee filter but that might be tedious unless the filter is a very big one. Experiment.

If you want to turn them into something more palatable then it is best to heat the whole thing, curds and whey, to around 120 degrees which will toughen the curds a bit, Drain it for a while, (saving the whey) rinse the curds very well under water and then drain again not saving the water. Depending on several things you should end up with cottage cheese. It might have a slight sour flavor but oh well. It’s still nutritious and useful.

But, the farmer’s wives most frequently gave any of their overly old milk to pigs, chickens, and dogs which is very good for them too. I often end up with more old, clabbered milk than I care to deal with and give it to my dogs. I know they benefit from it. I don’t have chickens or pigs; just dogs, cats and ducks. Oh yeah, and a husband LOL!

Good idea soaking the rice.

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Becky Henning November 7, 2013 at 2:28 PM

I find that my cream cheese from raw milk is not very tasty. Any tips?

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Annie November 7, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Are you rinsing your curds real well? And remember that homemade cream cheese from raw milk will have a distinctively different taste from bland store bought. It will have a real “cheezy” taste.

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MovieBuff Babe February 11, 2014 at 1:08 PM

After the cream rises (milk clabbers) you can use it for churning butter, cream cheese, cheese, or cottage cheese but if you don’t want the final product to have a bitter taste you still have to “wash” it out… rinse it with water till the water runs clear. For more Curd in cottage cheese, rinse, allow the curd to dry while bound in cheesecloth. Break it up, add whole cream and allow to sit in fridge at least overnight so the curds absorb moisture from the cream and soften, stir. Enjoy!

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Annie March 19, 2014 at 10:41 AM

I’m just now seeing your comment MovieBuffBabe and I just want to inject something. Letting the raw, non-homogenized milk stand long enough for the cream to rise to the top isn’t the same thing, and doesn’t correspond to, clabbering. If the milk is left alone soon after milking the cow, the cream will rise nicely to the top in 24 hours or even less. You will want to keep it in the refrigerator while it is separating. The milk under the cream (we refer to as “skim milk”) isn’t clabbered at all at this point but is quite liquid and fresh tasting. Personally, I don’t prefer skim milk for drinking and only use it for making cottage cheese and add cream back to it so I’m still getting a whole, natural (and very tasty) food.

You are SO right about rinsing the curds. I learned that one by experience! I do this after the heating process so that they hold together perfectly. I don’t heat it over 120 degrees F. sometimes less.

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Kayla November 11, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Hey,

This is my first time makeing whey/cream cheese. Hoping for some help/insight/clarity. So I got my recipe from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. I put my raw milk in a 1/2 gallon canning jar with the lid and put it on the shelf in my laundry room. It took about two weeks for it to separate. Today I poured it into a mesh strainer lined with a tea towel. Its not curds though like cottage cheese its more like really soft butter. The texture almost made me gag, but I have issues with texture. What is it supposed to look like? Smell like? How do I know if its unsafe to eat/drink? I will appreciate any help you can offer! Thank so much! :D

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Annie November 13, 2013 at 3:20 PM

I haven’t read the NT recipe. I really should since I have the book on my shelf. LOL.
I’m not surprised at the outcome of your clabbered milk though. I usually add something to my raw milk to help it get a good curd. Like a bit of buttermilk or even some powdered mesophilic starter. After only 2 to 4 days (depending on the weather) It develops a nice, firm curd that can be easily cut. Then I heat it very gently to about 120 degrees F, hang it for a little while to save the whey. Then I rinse the curds under clear water before hanging it in butter muslin to turn it into fabulous cottage cheese.
This is the simplest kind of cheese I know of. I have some recipes for cream cheese but none of them call for raw milk. I guess I have to read what Sally Fallon says.:)

I think the above recipe (“How to Make Whey With Raw Milk”) is mainly for getting some whey. I don’t know if I would like the “cream cheese” that is left; at least not without doing something with it. The recipe just above that one uses yogurt which is a whole different thing because it is already a cultured product to begin with. That is why I recommend adding some kind of starter to your raw milk to get it…uh…started! I fear, if you don’t heat the milk, a little bit anyway, that the natural bacteria in the raw milk will compete with the starter–maybe not, I’ll just have to experiment with that.

Another good tip: Raw cream, which rises to the top of raw milk when sitting for a while, will get a very strong taste and odor very quickly. This can spoil your cheese making efforts. I always remove the cream as best I can before starting so as to have some fresh cream for other uses and to keep my cottage cheese fresh and clean tasting. However, when the raw cream turns “sour” it is still useful for many things. Raw milk is so amazing!

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Annie November 13, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Also, (forgot to say) that the thick stuff left over from straining yogurt, though you certainly can spread it on toast, is actually just a Greek-style yogurt. Now you know you don’t have to buy Greek yogurt at the store; just strain plain yogurt (real yogurt without any additives) and voila, Greek yogurt. And, the longer you strain it the thicker it gets. I’ve been know to leave mine hanging for almost 48 hours. But as thick as it gets I still wouldn’t call it “cream cheese”. Cream cheese has cream in it (dairy fat).

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Jacqueline November 25, 2013 at 8:24 AM

I am attempting to make Whey and Cream Cheese (from Sally Fallon’s book. The recipe did not say whether you cover the Raw Milk airtight or whether you just put a towel over the top of the container.
Can anyone help me?
Mine turned out weird and took 5 days!

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Annie November 25, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Right off hand I can’t remember what Sally said but I am convinced that she would tell you to NOT seal it. You don’t want that kind of bacteria growing in there LOL! A towel, or loose lid is fine.

And the term “weird” can mean different things to different people. Can you be more specific? And, did you seal that batch or not?

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copperboom January 11, 2014 at 12:08 PM

I want to make this with organic pasteurized goat kefir. Will that work? Can I put the whole set up in the fridge or will that stop the dripping process? I’m still getting used to the whole “food going bad” is good for you thing. Wish their was more info on food safety for traditional and fermented foods. Or am I just worrying to much and as long as you keep eating fermented foods you will have enough good bacteria to fight the bad?

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Annie January 11, 2014 at 7:11 PM

Yeah copperboom, you’re probably worrying too much. But it won’t hurt to set up something in your fridge to drain curds. I have done that many times. It’s just a strainer that is lined with fine cheesecloth (like butter muslin) set over a bowl or pan in such a way that the bottom of the strainer will stay above the whey. I have frequently desired a VERY thick yogurt cheese which can take 24 hours or more to release all the whey that I want it to. Putting it in the refrigerator is good for that process. If you’re only going to leave it drip for 8 to 12 hours then leaving it out is fine unless you keep your house at 80 degrees F.

I must admit though, I have never made goat milk yogurt and can’t tell you how a homemade version turns out. I say just try it; what’s to lose really? Even if it doesn’t firm up like you want it you can still use it and it’s good for you.

The more you include fermented foods and whole foods in your diet the healthier you will get. The healthier you get the less risk there is experiencing any negative affects from something that could possibly have a disease causing bacteria in it. Build up the good bacteria in your body through fermented foods, raw foods, fresh, whole foods AND stay away from foods that encourage bad yeasts. I’m talking about sugar here.

Hope this helps,
Annie

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Annie March 19, 2014 at 10:57 AM

I think I answer (“reply”) a little too fast sometimes. I just noticed that you (copperboom) wanted to know if you could get whey from Kefir; not yogurt. Is that right?
I can only tell you my own experience and from that I don’t think this would work. When I make Kefir I strain it through a plastic strainer made for just this purpose. Everything goes through the strainer except the kefir grains. I have noticed that if you don’t stir the kefir it seems to have a clearer liquid near the top but I’ve always just stirred this back in to make a perfectly smooth kefir.

Also, in case you don’t know, there are special precautions in the making of kefir or yogurt with raw milk. The natural enzymes and bacteria in raw milk will overtake the probiotic cultures in yogurt and kefir so inbetween batches you need to keep your kefir grains in a bit of pasteurized milk and you need to put your freshly made yogurt starter portion back into pasteurized milk as well. This way your grains and starter will have a better chance of growing and thriving, ready for your next batch.
You can pasteurize your own milk in a way that’s more healthy than the way it’s done at most dairies–slowly, carefully and not over 145 degrees F. Here’s a web page that explains this simply: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/pasteurize-raw-milk-at-home.aspx#axzz2wQshcVYe

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Sarah W. February 12, 2014 at 10:38 PM

I was wondering if you are saying to not use a metal strainer because it the acidic whey can be caustic to the metal and possibly corrode it?
Because wouldn’t chemical from plastic be absorbed and broken down a little by the passing whey that has a very acidic property?

I think of this every time I strain my kefir grains, I have searched ALL over the internet for a glass, pyrex or even wooden strainer and cannot find one :(

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Annie February 13, 2014 at 4:10 PM
Annie April 18, 2014 at 12:01 PM

And line the steamer basket with good quality cheesecloth

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Ellen March 16, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Cultures for Health sells an all plastic strainer. I ended up getting it after my first attempts to make kefir failed since I apparently let the grains drain with the milk/whey.

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Annie April 18, 2014 at 11:59 AM

I should have mentioned, concerning plastic strainer vs. metal strainer that the main reason to not use a metal strainer is that it could possibly be reactive. Stainless steel (good quality stainless) is known to not be so reactive to acid foods. Being reactive means that it can cause a very noticeable change in the food making it look funny and taste off and possibly be sickening. Straining kefir through a plastic strainer only takes less than a minute so I don’t worry about any fearful “leaching”. I certainly watch that sort of thing in my food prep and storage but I am not so fearful as to worry about it in this situation.

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Marc March 16, 2014 at 8:23 AM

This website and blog are great. Thank you to the author and contributors for putting something like this together. Maybe people here can help answer my questions. I was about to buy Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, but after reading the comments section on Amazon, I decided against it. Anyone else have a suggestion to a “one stop shop” for information on using Raw milk? I can only make so much butter (which all I really feel comfortable making) but now my freezer is full of buttermilk and butter. I know I can make countless different things with raw milk, but all the recipes I find do not give enough detail on how to start from a quart of refrigerated raw milk (which is how it comes to us.) Each jug naturally separates while sitting in the fridge (top 1/4 is the cream, bottom 3/4 is the “skim” milk.) My questions for mostly all these recipes is:
Do I just shake that jug up and mix it all together and then follow any recipe using that “mixed” milk?
Do I separate the cream off the top and use only that?
Do I separate the cream off the top and use only the leftover milk?

I guess I just need to know what part of the milk I am supposed to for each of these recipes. I know this seems like a silly question, but imagine you are me, without a lot of knowledge working with raw milk, and then look at every recipe and start with that jug of raw milk I have in my fridge. It is not clear on how to go from A to B, but it is very clear from C and on. TIA!

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Ellen March 16, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Personally I love Sally’s book – there are many things I’ll never make from it but it’s so fun to read. You have to see it to understand. It’s not just recipes and instructions, but all kinds of interesting information about the history and culture of food. (Maybe your library has a copy?)

I recently picked up Donna Schwenk’s book which gave me a lot of great ideas for yogurt, kefir etc. I am now up to my eyeballs in kefir! I gave the book to my mom but I am getting another copy for ideas of what to do with all that good cultured raw milk. :)

My next goal is cheesemaking, which is what brought me to this site. :)

I do shake my raw milk before using it for kefir, smoothies etc.

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Annie March 17, 2014 at 7:59 PM

When you just “shake” or stir the top cream back into the milk you’ve simply got “whole milk”. And depending on the time of year, the season and breed of the cow that top cream will be a lot, a little or some amount inbetween. shake it up for whole milk and use it any way you would milk. Drink it, pour it on cereal, make pudding, hot chocolate, etc. Just remember that when you heat your raw milk it is no longer raw. But starting with fresh whole milk is always going to be an advantage over store-bought, conventional, pasteurized milk.

If you are planning on making a simple cottage cheese or farmer’s cheese then it is best to remove as much top cream off the top as possible. If a little is left that is okay. The trouble with the cream is that as the milk clabbers the cream gets a bitter, sour taste that will ruin the cottage cheese. Also, if you remove the cream right away when the milk is fresh then you have fresh, sweet, lovely cream to do whatever you want to with. I usually take it off the top of the milk, put it in a glass jar and when the cottage cheese is done I mix some of the cream back into the cottage cheese when I eat it. Raw cream will turn pretty quickly so you want to use it quickly. Even if it does turn you can still use it in baking and in pancakes. Works very well for those things.

For cottage cheese you mix a little buttermilk into the the skimmed milk (about 1/4 cup to a gallon (but you don’t have to be accurate) sit for a day or so until it forms a nice clean curd. Then you cut the curd and gently heat it up to about 120 degrees or more (but not too much more or it won’t have the raw advantage). then you put it in a fine cheesecloth-lined colander over a pot.

At this point I usually draw up the corners of the cheesecloth and let it hang for several hours or until it quits dripping. Then I transfer the whey to jars for safe keeping and rinse the curds under running water still in their cheesecloth and still in the colander. I gently stir them with my fingers until they look clean of whey. Then hang the cloth and curds back up and let it drip over night until the curds are very dry.

You can add things to the curds to make them moist when you go to eat them. I like to use things like yogurt, cream, buttermilk, kefir–anything that tastes good to me. Add some pieces of fruit and a drizzle of honey and I am in for a treat.

I store my dry curds in the fridge in glass Pyrex containers.

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Marc March 18, 2014 at 7:33 AM

Thanks, Annie, for the reply.
I normally do just shake the milk to mix the cream back in together and use as normal on cereal, hot chocolate, etc…
I have been using the cream separate lately because I know you can do a lot of other things with it and to try and cut down on the direct consumption of that many calories (we go through a lot of milk) so I have been making and freezing butter.

You mentioned mixing a little buttermilk with the skimmed milk for cottage cheese. Is this the same buttermilk I get as a byproduct when I make my butter from the raw milk?
You next mentioned letting it sit a day or so until it forms a curd. Am I letting it sit out at room temperature or back in the fridge? Sealed tight or loose cloth placed over the opening?
Then you mentioned heating it to 120 degrees. What is the best way to do that? Double boiler, direct heat, or oven method?
The curds that form at the end. Are these the same things known as cheese curds or “squeaky cheese” that I loved as a kid? Or how can I make this curd into that?

Thanks again for the help. And is this the only way to get whey? Basically mix buttermilk with skimmed milk and let sit until it separates?

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Kelly Bisciotti April 18, 2014 at 8:17 AM

Marc, whenever I find myself with “too much” raw milk, I make ice cream with it! That uses up a lot of cream from the top and leaves the skim milk. And you won’t feel pressured to eat up all of that great cream in a short amount of time.

Otherwise, we typically just shake our jars to mix the cream back in before using it in soups, our morning coffee, cereal, kefir, and for my son (raw whole milk is SO good for kids growing brains).

Oh, here’s my ice cream recipe, I hope Annie doesn’t mind if I share it here: http://www.musingsofamodernhippie.com/2014/04/raw-milk-ice-cream-recipe.html

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Marc April 18, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Kelly,
Thank you for the info! We get 1.5gal of milk each week (about a quart of cream from that) and only three of us drinking/eating it. So it really adds up and I am just trying to not intake that much dairy fat (I know it is good for you in moderation :-) over the course of time. A quart of pure cream a week seems like a lot and I do not want the “white” gold to go to waste.
I think I will make the ice cream and build some positive credit with my neighbors!

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Kelly Bisciotti April 18, 2014 at 11:16 AM

Glad to help! We also get about a gallon a week for 3 of us. There are weeks (like these last few) that we, for whatever reason, don’t use much and end up with almost 3 gallons worth in the fridge at a time. Then I panic and try to come up with uses for it before it goes “bad”. Not sure about your area, but around here raw milk is quite hard to come by so it kills me to waste any of it. I can’t wait to try Cheeseslave’s whey recipe!

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Annie April 18, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Annie doesn’t mind since she (me) isn’t the creator of this website. LOL! I just jump in and blab a lot ‘cuz I love this subject! :)

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Kelly Bisciotti April 18, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Oh, haha! I thought AnnMarie posted under several different names. Hopefully SHE doesn’t mind either! :D

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Annie March 18, 2014 at 9:10 AM

These are all good questions!
The buttermilk I referred to was plain, store-bought cultured buttermilk. I stick to a brand that is either organic or at least claims that their cows are NOT given growth hormones (don’t need that junk!)

I put the raw milk into a stainless steel pot, add the cultured buttermilk and cover it with a loose fitting lid. It does need to breath a little. A cloth would work very well too. Leave it out at room temperature.

The curds should heat very slowly. I do it by placing a metal trivet over the burner which is set on low or med. low. I put the pot on that. I have a handy dandy cheesemakers thermometer http://www.amazon.com/Tel-Tru-Stainless-Cheesemaking-Thermometer-degrees/dp/B00DHO12SK/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1395157948&sr=1-1&keywords=cheese+thermometer+with+clip
WOW! the price has gone up since I bought mine!
Then I go about other business but stay close and in tune with my pot of curds so I don’t over-heat them. You want your cottage cheese to be tender. Heat toughens proteins, not to mention it will cook your curds…don’t want that.
Some people use a double boiler.

Yes, this is probably the same or very close to the same you remember. But most cooks heat the curds a lot more and even start with pasteurized milk which make the tougher and squeakier curds. You can pasteurize your own raw milk and do it in a much gentler fashion than what conventional dairies do which will preserve many of the good nutrients.

This isn’t the only way to make whey. You can also do it by letting yogurt drip through cheesecloth. This absolutely MUST be yogurt that is plain and has no “extra” ingredients like thickeners, sweeteners or other additives. Just milk and cultures; period.

Making your own yogurt is a possibility but there are things you need to know when starting with raw milk. Yogurt has it’s own unique culturing ingredients which don’t work best with the enzymes and bacteria in raw milk. It can be done; extra instructions needed. Same with making kefir.

By the way, the best “cheesecloth” is something called “Butter Muslin”. It is worlds better than any cheesecloth you can buy at most stores. It is very durable and can be laundered and reused many, many times. You can find it on Amazon.com. I see that Amazon offers another brand of fine cheesecloth that has very high customer ratings. (Basiloff) I haven’t tried it. With butter muslin you don’t have to double it to get perfect curds.
http://www.amazon.com/New-England-Cheesemaking-Supply-Company/dp/B004QISGIA/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1395157462&sr=1-1&keywords=butter+muslin

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Annie March 18, 2014 at 9:11 AM

I forgot to mention that you need to stir the buttermilk into the raw milk a bit to make sure it is evenly distributed

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Marc March 18, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Very well! Thank you again for the response. I will go get some buttermilk now. I mixed in some of my buttermilk I had saved from making butter but if you think I need the stuff from the store, ill run get that.
I have the milk out on the counter coming to room temperature as I type.
I will let you know how it turns out!

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Annie March 19, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Yes, you need the cultured buttermilk. Probably this can be made at home but I’ve never done it. Now you’ve got me thinking. My guess is that you take a little store-bought buttermilk and stir it into pasteurized milk and let it sit just like you would yogurt. But I will go Google…

The liquid left over from making butter we have always called “buttermilk”. And after Googling I have learned something. But my guess was right for all our intents and purposes. “Buttermilk” in other parts of the world points to slightly different products but are all very similar. It is possible, if we leave the milk sit for 24 hours to separate that in that time it will ferment a bit. So if we lift the cream off the top and make butter, that butter will then be “cultured” butter and you will get more of it than is produced where the cream is mechanically separated from the milk when it is fresh. This fermentation is actually very good for us.

Here’s a snippet from Wikipedia: “Originally, buttermilk referred to the liquid left over from churning butter from cultured or fermented cream. Traditionally, before cream could be skimmed from whole milk, the milk was left to sit for a period of time to allow the cream and milk to separate. During this time, naturally occurring lactic acid-producing bacteria in the milk fermented it. This facilitates the butter churning process, since fat from cream with a lower pH coalesces more readily than that of fresh cream. The acidic environment also helps prevent potentially harmful microorganisms from growing, increasing shelf-life.[3] However, in establishments that used cream separators, the cream was hardly acidic at all.”
I found this very interesting; learn something new every day, eh?

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Marc March 20, 2014 at 7:16 PM

Ok, so I am leaving out of town for a few weeks and needed to do something with my “experiment” on the counter that we talked about above.
It sat for about 3 days. It is about a half gallon worth. I have it sitting in tripled up cheesecloth, draining into a bowl (muslin on order.) When I poured it out, the entire thing seemed to be mostly curd or the texture of yogurt rather. It smells wonderful! Only about a cup worth of whey came from it.
My questions:
Does that sound like a normal amount of whey?
What do I have left over exactly? Is that yogurt? Cream cheese? or cheese curd?
Is it safe to eat just like that? I did not apply any heat to it (yet.) Should I?

I know you mentioned something above about the whey being good in the fridge for 6months and the cream cheese up to a month. I am a little confused as to what this product I have left over actually is. I think you refer to the same substance as three different things.
What do I need to do to that substance; to make it Yogurt, to make it Cream Cheese, or to make it Cheese curd? Do I have to do something different to get each one?

It smells great (like Greek yogurt) but I am too scared to eat something dairy that has been sitting on my counter, UN-refrigerated, for 3 days until I know EXACTLY what I have or someone smarter than me at this tells me it’s ok :)

Marc
soondog@hotmail.com

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Annie March 20, 2014 at 8:02 PM

Honestly Marc, I am a bit confused by what you just wrote. What is the “it” that you have sitting in cheesecloth? How did you get to that point?
A half gallon of milk should produce over a quart of whey.
You say you didn’t heat it at all before you set it up to drip; is this true?
No, you can’t possibly have yogurt. Yogurt is made by the addition of cultures specific for yogurt. If you have already let your milk clabber then it’s too late to make yogurt as far as I know.

As I explained above, I always heat my curds AND whey together never past 120 degrees F. THEN I CUT the curds. THEN I strain out the whey through butter muslin.

I always start with a gallon of milk which, after taking the cream off the top leaves me with about three and a half to three and two thirds quarts skimmed milk. From that I get (approximately) one overflowing pint of cottage cheese. I also end up with almost two and a half quarts whey.

Sounds like you forgot to cut the curds. You really need to cut the curds to release the whey otherwise you will end up with…I don’t know. A thickened curdled milk product of some kind; probably useful for something I’m sure. Don’t throw it out. Freeze it in small containers and decide what to do with it when you get back. Use it for pancake batter or cake or cookies or sourdough bread. Or if you have pets give it to them; it’s very nutritious. When you thaw it it will separate. Just whisk it up.

Please remember this: What instructions I have given here are only one way of making cottage cheese. There are many, many other things that people do to turn milk, raw or pasteurized, into beautiful cheese things. I have made several types of cheeses and it took just too much babysitting for me. As fun as it was to learn, I got tired of it. But there are many websites that can help you with cheese making. The way I do it here is a very rustic, seat-of-my-pants (to steal one of my friends recipe names–and she’s the one who got me started on this anyway) cottage cheese. Here’re the instructions straight from her website: http://whitloxhomestead.blogspot.com/2012_11_01_archive.html

Hope this helps. I’ll be here at my computer for a little while longer tonight.

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Annie March 20, 2014 at 8:12 PM

The “cream cheese” mentioned above in the article is about the thickened yogurt you can get when you drain plain yogurt. The gist of the article isn’t so much about making a cheese of any kind but about making whey to use in other recipes that call for it.

I disagree with the article when it says you end up with “cream cheese” after draining the whey from the yogurt. This can’t possibly be cream cheese as cream cheese is made from cream. Yogurt, even full fat yogurt doesn’t have enough cream in it to be called “cream cheese”. What you actually end up with is a thickened yogurt which is being sold in grocery stores under the name of “Greek Yogurt”. So, if you think about it, you can easily make your own Greek-style yogurt at home and then you have some whey if you need it for making stuff like fermented veggies. Some people have even used yogurt whey as a starter for their own homemade yogurt..

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Marc March 20, 2014 at 8:55 PM

Yep, I think I have the curdled milk product you are talking about.
So what I did was take the cream off the top of my raw milk and put back in the fridge to use later on something. I then used the leftover “skim” milk and added some Buttermilk from the store, stirring the two together, and let it sit on my counter for 3 days.
I then tripled up the cheese cloth in a colander over a bowl and dumped the “product” into the cheese cloth and am letting it drain over night.

That is step by step what I have done so far. No heating or cutting of the curd (what does that mean exactly? :)

I will have a few hours in the morning to finish this up so I will see what you suggest.
Thanks again for all the help!

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Annie March 21, 2014 at 7:44 PM

I have read recipes on line that do pretty much what you did except that you didn’t cut the curd. You do that by actually slicing through the curdled mass before you remove it from the pot. I use a long, thin spatula that looks something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Wilton-Straight-Blade-Spatula-15-Inch/dp/B0000VZ0WW/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1395453179&sr=1-1&keywords=curd+knife
Here’s a video of a guy cutting curd. However, he is making a firmer cheese and heating it more than what we want with what we are doing. He also has a handy dandy cross cutter gadget which I don’t have but anyway, this gives you a picture of the thing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8cUbxOYWCI

Here’s an illustration that shows how I do it with my long spatula:
http://www.culturesforhealth.com/how-to-cut-curd-cheese-making

With this cottage cheese that we are talking about, perfection flies out the window and everything works out just fine anyway.

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Annie March 21, 2014 at 7:53 PM

Here’s another web page with good instructions:
http://curd-nerd.com/cutting-the-curd/
The picture on this page looks a lot like what my clabbered milk looks like and what the cuts look like after I’ve made them.

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Andrea B April 1, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Does whey go bad? I separate the whey everytime I make yogurt (every 2 weeks) and I have so much whey! I keep it in the fridge. How long can I keep it?

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Annie April 1, 2014 at 4:18 PM

Don’t know as mine gets used up within a week or two at the most. Do you have pets?. Whey is very good for them. Let them drink it straight up or pour it over their food. You can also use it in any baked thing you make. Just substitute some for the liquid in the recipe. It’s also great for fermenting veggies and soaking nuts and grains before dehydrating them.

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dv July 5, 2014 at 12:37 AM

I’m surprised to hear so much drinking of raw milk. TTBOMK, we are sold pasteurized milk because sometimes a herd despite being vaccinated for disease can develop sickness that we ingest when drinking raw milk. I have a small herd of milk goats and was instructed by the agricultural bureau not to take a chance of sickness, ( brocilosis aka malta fever.) I heat up the milk after having cut the curds to kill any onwanted bacteria and have wonderful cheese. I definetly would not suggest drinking raw milk in any form. This disease is one that is a lifetime “friend”, it can be controlled with rounds of antibiotics but stays in body and flares up at will.

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Alyssa July 19, 2014 at 9:48 PM

This is probably a stupid question… can I use store bought plain kefir to make whey? I don’t like kefir enough to make my own… :(

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