Whey is a by-product of cheese and tofu making.
In cheese-making, whey is the liquid left over after the fat and protein in the cheese have coagulated to make curds. The whey will, however, still contain some protein that other cheeses can be made from. Cheeses made from whey include Ricotta Cheese, Cottage Cheese and the Norwegian cheese Brunost. Whey can also be used as a coagulant for the next batch of cheese, as it sometimes is in making paneer.
Whey is also a by-product of making tofu. Soy milk is coagulated into curds and whey. The curds are used to make tofu. The whey is drained off; the more whey that is drained off, the firmer the tofu will be. The whey can be yellow or amber in colour.
Tofu whey can be used as livestock feed, or it can be used to coagulate the next batch of tofu. To make leftover tofu whey into a coagulant, save about 3 pints or 7 to 8 cups of the whey. Leave for two weeks at room temperature in a sealed container. After that, store in refrigerator. To use, use about ½ to ⅔ of it, depending on how much you need, and replace what you use from the fresh batch of whey. The amount of whey coagulant you use will be about 20 to 25% as much of the soymilk you are using. Pour slowly in, seeing how it does and how much you actually need.
If you make cheese at home, don’t throw out the whey. It can be used as the liquid in bread-making or other baking. Darra Goldstein is a fan says, “[Whey] makes a beautiful, very tender dough.” Goldstein, Darra. A Seat at the Table, a Journey Into Jewish Food. YIVO Instituted. Module 1.3: Ashkenazi Foodways. Accessed October 2020 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qgEnkyOSrA
Some cheese producers (here the producers referred to were Cheshire cheese producers) in the United Kingdom during World War Two faced a knock-on problem from cereal grain restrictions about what to do with their whey byproduct:
“With other milk producers cheesemakers suffered acutely under rationing restrictions. Cheese-makers, however, had one problem which was peculiarly their own, which was that of the utilisation of whey for pig feeding. Whey, with the addition of cereal food, was unequalled as a healthy fattening food. With the cereal ration at present available, it was impossible to maintain a sufficient stock of pigs to use up all the whey. On cheese-making farms, unless whey was fed to pigs, the disposal of it at once became a serious social problem, for farmers were restrained by law from running it into drains or streams where it at once became offensive. So, the Federation, acting again through the National Cheese Council, had requested the Minister of Food to grant an increased allowance of feeding-stuffs for pigs kept on cheese-makers farms, in order to ensure a full utilisation of whey. The Milk Marketing Board had supported their case, and it had been sympathetically received by the Ministry of Food.
As a result of the representation, it had been arranged for the Ministry of Agriculture to make what provision was possible for the economic utilisation of their whey. Ald. Goodwin said they had received an intimation from the Ministry of Agriculture that a notice would be issued detailing arrangements for allowances of cereals to supplement the feeding of whey fed pigs, but he was not aware that the notice had been issued. They had received from the Scottish Cheesemakers’ Association a letter saying that they had been notified by the Department of Agriculture for Scotland that rations were to be allowed on the scale of 28lb. of meal per month for each pig kept in June, 1939.” — Cheshire Cheese Federation. Chester, England: The Cheshire Observer. Saturday, 3 May 1941. page 2, col. 4.
|Goldstein, Darra. A Seat at the Table, a Journey Into Jewish Food. YIVO Instituted. Module 1.3: Ashkenazi Foodways. Accessed October 2020 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qgEnkyOSrA