I just made fresh ricotta for the first time, and I got a quart of whey out of it. Normally, I would just put the whey into bread dough, but now that you all are here, I thought I'd ask you what you'd do with it.
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I do use whey in bread dough - it's a nice use for it and it uses a lot of it.
You could use it as the liquid in a bean soup or another soup with fairly strong flavors. I find the sourness of the whey doesn't come through in a dish where the other ingredients have strong flavors. I tried it once in a lighter vegetable soup and didn't really like it there.
Finally, in desperation, I've also used it to water my outdoor potted plants.
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I like the potted plants answer the best.
It's certainly an easy solution and it takes away a lot of the guilt about throwing it out. :-)
Put it in your bath water.
I recently got the Nourishing Traditions cookbook and they call for whey in many of their lacto-fermented pickling recipes. The cookbook claims the whey will keep for about 6 months in the fridge. The whey allows you to cut down and sometime eliminate the salt as the whey's lactic acid provides the preservation role salt normally plays.
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ChezSuzanne, I also bought that book recently (and have been making all kinds of great lacto-fermented things). Is the whey from ricotta the same, for this purpose, as the whey from yogurt or straight buttermilk? I've wondered about that. Ricotta is made (at least according to the recipes I've seen) using a combination of regular milk and buttermilk. I was actually going to post a foodpickle question about it!! ;o)
Great question AJ. The ricotta I've made is regular milk + buttermilk. The whey recipe in Nourishing Traditions for the base of lacto-fermenting looks like it's from whole-milk buttermilk, so I'm thinking the whey is essentially the same. But I'd definitely be interested in hearing what others' experiences are!
How was the ricotta? I've never made it; anxious to try.
Kayb: SO easy and SO good. I would go for it, if I were you. Best recipe I found is at http://marketcook.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/adventures-in-dairy/
Try using some of that delicious ricotta to make gnocchi! I suggest using the recipe from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers. I made the spinach version the first time I tried it. Her method is different from others I've seen, very clearly described and really almost magical the way the gnocchis form. I felt like I had really accomplished something and I am an experienced cook.