Homemade whey starter
Whey is the liquid component of dairy and is used to make gut-loving fermented food
What is whey?
A whey starter culture is the liquid that occurs when you strain cheese and yoghurt. You may have noticed whey sitting on the top of your yoghurt tub when it separates naturally from the solid yoghurt.
Whey is packed with live Lactobacillus bacteria that are integral to our gut health. It’s often used in fermented food recipes to enhance the bacteria diversity and help build a robust and resilient gut microbiome.
The benefit of fermented foods
Every system in the body has a connection to the gut. It really is our internal ecosystem.
Including fermented foods in your child’s diet may improve their digestive function and boost their immunity. Enhancing your child’s gut health can also be beneficial in improving symptoms of anxiety, depression, allergies, eczema, joint pain, autism and cognitive function - just to name a few.
In short, taking care of your child’s gut and their gut microbes will in turn take care of them.
Now, while it’s popular to just consume a probiotic supplement, fermented foods can be even more beneficial as they include a broad range of bacterial species. As diversity is proving to be the greatest indicator of gut microbiome reliance and robustness, including these foods into your child’s every day diet will be so beneficial.
How to make homemade whey
Cultured whey isn’t something that can be bought in a store, but it can be easily made using a quality, organic plain yoghurt. Don’t use a yoghurt that contains additives or any flavours.
To extract the liquid from the yoghurt, all you’ll need is muslin cloth, a milking bag or thin tea towel, a bowl and rubber bands.
Position your cloth over a bowl and pour in your yoghurt. Pull up the ends, twist and secure with a rubber band or string.
Place the yoghurt bundle into a sieve over the bowl to catch the liquid and place in the fridge for up to 24 hours, depending on how much whey you need. You’ll see the whey dripping into the bowl almost immediately.
Store the liquid (your whey) in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 1 month. You can also freeze the remainder for later use.
How to use whey
Whey can be used as a starter culture to make fermented vegetables, like these ginger and turmeric fermented carrot sticks. You can also add this gut-loving culture to smoothies or juices, or use it to make cheeses or ginger-ale.
Some people even put the whey on their compost pile to improve the nutrient profile.
If you try making your own homemade whey please let me know!
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Homemade whey starter
Prep time: 5 mins | Cooking time: 12hrs
- 500g full-fat, natural organic yoghurt
- mulsin cloth, mulsin bag or thin tea towel
- rubber band or string
- Place the cloth, bag or tea towel in a sieve over a bowl. Pour in the yoghurt before pulling up the ends, twising and securing with a rubber band or string.
- Place in the fridge for up to 24 hours, depending on how much whey you need.
- Use immediately or store the whey in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 1 month.
It's important to use full-fat, natural yoghurt to make your whey culture. Avoid flavoured, low fat or additive-filled yoghurts.