making strained yogurt and whey

In conversations about food with friends and strangers, one dead-end we often run into is whenever we mention whey.  their eyes glaze over slightly and you can tell you've lost them, even though they may continue to listen politely.  whey is a near-magical ingredient that can transform your ingredients into a nutritional bucket of gold.  and, its easy to make.  as a key ingredient in our mayonnaise, whey pickles, beet kvass, and the recommended method for soaking grains, we think everyone should know how to make it.  all you need is a quart of plain organic yogurt, a strainer and some cheesecloth.  you dump the yogurt into the cheesecloth and strainer and let it sit overnight- that's it!  the watery stuff that drips out the bottom is the whey.  the 'cream cheese' left in the strainer is a by-product of the process, and tastes awesome on some toast, crackers or in your scrambled eggs.

february 28, 2011... covelo 

there are two basic methods of draining the whey out of yogurt.  the first involves a strainer and cheese cloth, the second a coffee cone and filter.  use what you have on hand.  if you are like us and use up a fair amount of whey you’ll want to invest in a large mesh strainer and some unbleached cheesecloth (and a few large pyrex glass bowls).

method one

2 cups organic yogurt

#6 coffee cone filter

1 unbleached or bamboo #6 coffee filter

jar -big enough for  2 cups of liquid

clean dish cloth

Put the filter in the cone and place both on top of the jar.  put the yogurt in the filter and cover loosely with a cloth (keeping out debris).  let it sit for around 24 hours while the whey drips into the jar.  the end result is about a cup of strained yogurt and a cup of whey.

method two

1 quart organic yogurt

large mesh strainer

unbleached cheesecloth


wooden spoon, skewer

clean dish cloth

Line the strainer with cheesecloth (I double over my cloth) and place over a bowl (you’ll want space for the whey to drip into the bowl without touching the yogurt).  pour in the yogurt and cover loosely with the cloth.  if you begin this early in the evening it can sit overnight.  in the morning or 8-12 hours later, carefully tie up the cheesecloth and attach to the spoon/skewer without squeezing the nearly solid yogurt.  hang till the bag  stops dripping.  I fasten the skewer/cheesecloth onto my sink faucet and place the bowl underneath to continue to catch the whey, you can also accomplish this by using a pitcher.

Whey will keep refrigerated for up to six months and the strained yogurt (yogurt cheese or cream cheese) will keep about three weeks also refrigerated.

ideas for consuming

*add fresh chopped herbs (cilantro, oregano, parlsey, mint, whatever is handy)

  to the yogurt cheese and enjoy as a spread on toasted sprouted bagels

*a dollop of the yogurt cheese and fresh ground pepps on top of soups, bean

  dishes or steam kale is delicious and nutritious

*whey is great to add to soaking grains

*use whey to make homemade saurkraut

*after washing your face in the evening, use whey on a cotten ball as a toner for skin