Whey is a side product when we make cheese from milk. It’s the the thin liquid that remains when we strain and curdle milk or kefir.
You can also see it when you prepare kefir and there is sometimes a separation happening during fermentation. This happens when when the room temperature gets higher and the grains are very active, or if you leave it a bit longer to ferment. Kefir curdles are separated from a thin, liquid whey. But this is not the best way to get whey.
If you want to get whey, strain kefir for a few hours, preferably overnight in the fridge, and you will get a thick cheese that can be used for a variety of cheese dishes. The easiest preparation is to simply flavour it with some herbs or spices and eat is as a cheese spread.
The other product of straining is whey. Preserve the liquid that strains from kefir because it has many benefits!
Superfood full of proteins
It’s well known that whey is very rich with proteins, primarily of α-lactalbumin and β-lactoglobulin, bovine serum albumin and immunoglobine. It also contains vitamins and minerals and a very low level of fat. When whey is derived from kefir it does not contain lactose, because it is already gone (99 %) during fermentation of kefir.
Because of its protein value it is very commonly used in sports, especially in bodybuilding for muscle building, as a nutritional supplement. This is called whey protein – powder derived from liquid whey.
Health benefits of whey protein are numerous:
Whey protein can help you build muscle and lose body fat. Consuming proteins makes you feel satiated for longer and helps you reduce daily calories intake.
Research published in International Dairy Journal found that daily consumption of whey brought a more than six-point reduction in the average blood pressure of men and women with elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
Some studies also show that whey proteins may show anti-carcinogenesis and anticancer activity.
There is also some initial research on how proteins can help treat asthma, especially with kids. It may have an impact on the cytokine response in atopic asthma.
How can whey be used?
You can process whey further to produce whey cheese, like ricotta or whey butter. Or use it in breads or baked desserts: cakes, muffins, pancakes. You can basically replace skim milk in most recipes for whey.
The easiest way to use whey is to simply mix it in your everyday drinks, smoothies etc. Use fruits and herbs to add some flavour and voila, healthy and refreshing drink for you!
Share in comments how you use whey! 🙂