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Ways to Use Leftover Whey

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There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: Where there's a will, there's a whey -- here's how to use it in everything from biscuits to braised meat. 

Whey Cool

The milk has curdled, the curds have been strained, and fresh mozzarella is ready to be sliced, diced, and added to everything on the table. For now, we'll ignore the three quarts of cloudy whey in the kitchen, storing it in the fridge and telling ourselves we'll put it to use another day. A week passes, and the mozzarella has been used up -- but the whey remains. 

Like stone fruit pitsbread loaf heels, and other seemingly useless leftovers, whey -- a byproduct of making cheese and yogurt -- has a suprising number of uses. Prompted by Maricela's question on the Hotline, here are our community's tips for cooking with whey. 

Creamy Homemade Ricotta

  • Yvette Lukoff makes ayran (a cold yogurt beverage) with whey instead of water for added protein and flavor.
  • Substituting whey for buttermilk in biscuits yields a lighter, fluffier end product. Our Assistant Editor Sarah Jampel swears by this recipe for drop biscuits from one of our Test Kitchen Managers, erinmcdowell.
  • Fresh mozzarella not enough to satisfy your cheese cravings? Use the whey leftover from the cheese-making process to whip up a batch of fresh ricotta, as HalfPint and lem monade suggest. Start by swapping whole milk with an equal amount of whey, then proceed with the recipe as usual.

Making Perfect Caramel

  • Kimhw suggests substituting whey for milk in dairy-braised meat dishes. This technique tenderizes tough cuts of meat while imparting a unique, rich flavor to the dish.
  • Thesugarchef makes caramelized whey and even whey sorbet.
  • Susan feeds whey to her dogs for added protein, claiming they love the flavor. (We bet they'd like whey even more paired with homemade peanut butter dog biscuits.)

Have you uncovered any unique uses for whey? Tell us in the comments or join in the coversation over on the Hotline!

Tags: 5 Ingredients or Fewer, Community, Tips & Techniques, Advice, Ingredients, Hotline, Your Burning Questions