Most of us know that little rhyme by heart from our childhood, but does anyone actually know what curds and whey are? That information seems to have been lost in our modern world. Today I am going to help restore our common knowledge regarding curds and whey. We’ll have to leave a “tuffet” for another day.
Now, we’re quite used to seeing “whey protein” listed in many processed foods. I know when I first found I had a dairy intolerance, I started paying close attention to those words on packages. That is not the type of whey that we’re talking about today. It’s highly processed and not something we want to include in our diets.
I’m going to show you how to get whey which you’ll then be able to use to ferment a variety of vegetables or make fermented condiments, such as mayonnaise. You’ll see that it’s a super simple process that then allows you to do so many more things in your kitchen!
First, you need to start with either yogurt or kefir. If you’re on the GAPS diet, this should be homemade and cultured for 24 hours. If you’re using store bought, be sure to use a high quality yogurt without lots of extra fillers.
Place a small strainer, ideally conically shaped, in a 2-cup pyrex measuring bowl. Lay a piece of flour sack cloth or a few layers of cheesecloth on top of the strainer. I prefer to use flour sack cloth; I think it does a better job than cheesecloth and it’s easy to reuse it by tossing it in the washer.
Scoop in yogurt and watch it start dripping. I give it a little time and then add a bit more yogurt until it’s pretty full on top. You’ll see a yellowish liquid dripping – that’s the whey! After a while, you might have the whey touching the bottom of the strainer. I usually pour what’s strained into a jar and then let it continue.
Let it keep straining on your counter for 24 hours. I put a cloth napkin on top to keep out any dust or bugs. Once it’s done straining, I pour the rest of the whey into the jar I had already started yesterday. The stuff left on top is cheese, very similar to cream cheese, but so much better!
I’ll be showing you what you can use your whey for over the next few weeks. You can use the cheese as a spread on crackers or bread as is. Or you can add a few herbs and spices to your liking. Or you can sweeten it with a little bit of honey and vanilla and use it as a dip for fruit.
I hope you feel so much more enlightened now about the Miss Muffet rhyme. I know it was keeping you up at nights, but now you can go make and enjoy your own bowl of curds and whey. Be sure to watch out for spiders!