Lacto-Fermentation & Whey, Recipes

How to Make Liquid Whey and Greek Yogurt

November 16, 2012

Liquid whey is used in many recipes for real food and is a versatile ingredient! You can:

+ Soak flour, grains, and beans.
+ Making lacto-fermented condiments.
+ Make beverages or drink it straight.
+ Freeze in ice cube trays to use as usual.
+ You can even feed it to Fido and many other pets.

Liquid Gold Whey

So what is whey? The Weston A. Price Foundation offers an excellent explanation:

“Whey is the tart, golden liquid known to the Greek doctors of antiquity as ‘healing water.’ In fact, Hippocrates and Galen, two founding fathers of medicine, frequently recommended whey to their patients.3 Whey from fully fermented milk no longer contains lactose, and with its dose of probiotic organisms will help maintain a synergistic balance of the inner ecosystem and encourage repair of gut dysbiosis. Whey also contains a fair number of minerals, particularly potassium, and a notable amount of vitamins, especially B2.4″ (source)

In summary, whey is good for pre-digesting foods to make it easier on your tummy. It also provides wonderful (good) gut bacteria and enzymes for maintaining a healthy digestive tract. You can’t buy liquid whey from the store and the powdered stuff you find in the bulk section is not your friend (it is overly-processed and, for lack of a better word, dead)!

So follow these easy instructions to get your own liquid whey right at home. It will last  6 to 7 months in a tightly sealed glass container in the fridge. There are many ways to obtain whey (from buttermilk, kefir, sour cream – really any cultured dairy); I use Organic Plain Whole Milk yogurt from the store. Right now my favorite is Nancy’s brand, which you can check out here. My husband and I do make our own yogurt from occasion to occasion, but it never comes out quite the way we want. We are working on perfecting it, but for the time being we are buying our yogurt (though, when you do use homemade cultured dairy – you do get a TON of whey).

After extracting the whey, you will get thick, rich, and decadent greek yogurt! It would also make a great cream cheese-type spread.

Liquid Whey & Greek Yogurt

1 – 32 oz container Organic Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
strainer
big bowl (glass if possible)
cheese cloth/paper towels
towel or lid to loosey cover bowl

1. Place the strainer in the big bowl. Then line the strainer with the paper towels or cheese cloth.

2. Scoop the yogurt into the lined strainer. Place a lid or towel over the bowl and then place in the fridge for 8 to 16 hours.

Making Whey

3. The next day, the whey will have strained into the bowl, pour into a mason jar via a funnel and then tightly cover.

Liquid Whey That is Done

4. Remove the yogurt from the strainer and you have delicious thick greek yogurt (perfect with honey)!

Greek Yogurt

I would recommend straining this into a glass bowl and avoid plastic if possible. I am still on the hunt for a big enough glass bowl to do this in. If you have any tips or tricks for making whey – please share below!

Please visit the Weston A. Price Foundation’s article “Enjoying Little Miss Muffet’s Curds and Whey” for some excellent additional information.

Until next time,

Katie

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note that I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with Girl Meets Nourishment's ideals and that I believe would be of value to my readers. You may read my full disclosure statements here.

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71 Comments

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  • Reply What is Lacto-Fermentation & Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut - Girl Meets NourishmentGirl Meets Nourishment February 18, 2013 at 10:38 am

    […] food, use artificial preservatives, or can it with high heat. There was a time when just a little liquid whey or salt was added to the food to start producing lactobacillus (probiotics) bacteria cultures. […]

  • Reply karen April 10, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Looks interesting, only problem is that paper towels are laced with chemicals! Don’t think I want my food “seeping” thru that.

    • Reply Katie April 10, 2013 at 6:30 am

      I have cheese cloths on my wishlist, and I recommend using those or a thin towel if you have them. :)

      — Katie

      • Reply Sarah April 30, 2013 at 6:16 pm

        One can also use coffee filters- about 4 big filters are enough to do yogurt made from 1/2 gallon of milk. Yes, I make my own yogurt…. One can use natural filters (non-bleached)….

  • Reply Wendy April 28, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I’m going to try this with coffee filters, since I don’t have any cheesecloth. Have you ever tried that?

    • Reply Katie April 29, 2013 at 6:25 am

      I have not tried coffee filters, but I have heard that it works great! I just purchased some cheesecloth this weekend and I am so excited to try it for the first time. I hope that your whey/greek yogurt making is smooth sailing! ;)

      — K

      • Reply Wendy April 29, 2013 at 10:06 am

        It worked great! I can’t believe how easy this is. I just made some fermented ketchup with the whey. I can’t wait to try it! And some Greek yogurt for lunch. Yum! Thanks for the post!

        • Reply Katie April 29, 2013 at 12:53 pm

          No problem! Glad you had resounding success! I need to make some fermented ketchup soon too…I love that stuff. :)

          — k

          • Sarah April 30, 2013 at 6:17 pm

            I just saw this AFTER I posted that I use coffee filters… :-)

  • Reply Heather May 14, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Katie,

    Although not a bowl, this glass container (with a glass lid) is a great size for draining: http://www.amazon.com/Anchor-Hocking-1-Gallon-Heritage-Glass/dp/B0000DDVN7/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1283890669&sr=8-2

    • Reply Katie May 14, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks, Heather! :)

      — K

      • Reply Caroline May 26, 2014 at 7:04 am

        I don’t use Anchor Hocking products because they are made in China. I am not sure what the Chinese could do to glass but I avoid most things that are made there if I need to eat from it. Pyrex, on the other hand, is made in the USA. I have a set of glass bowls that nest and have unfortunately plastic lids. I’ve had them for about 5 years and do not use the plastic lids if the contents are hot. Not sure if the plastic lids still off gas or it’s just if they touch or are heated. Here is an example from bedbathandbeyond
        http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/pyrex-reg-glass-bowls-with-lids-set-of-3/1014050159?Keyword=pyrex+bowls
        I bough mine at WOOT one day when they had a 14 piece for $20.

  • Reply Easy Lacto-Fermented Ketchup | Girl Meets NourishmentGirl Meets Nourishment May 14, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    […] sea salt (like this) 2 tablespoons + 1/2 tablespoons organic raw apple cider vinegar 3 tablespoons liquid whey 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (where to buy spices) 1/8 teaspoon ground […]

  • Reply Laura June 11, 2013 at 1:26 am

    On a different but related note, I made some chicken stock for the first time the other day and it went well until I had to pour the strained broth from the large glass bowl into the jars. I used a funnel but the liquid ran down the side of the bowl as I was pouring and made a huge mess, along with wasting some of that precious stock! I would like to know what the trick is to pouring without making a mess? This would be helpful to this situation as well I would imagine. Thanks!!

    • Reply Katie June 12, 2013 at 6:00 pm

      I have experienced the massive spilling of precious stock myself – and it stinks! We started setting the bowl up in the sink and then we really slowly pour it, we still spill a little but it’s not as much as when we did before. I don’t have a super eye-opening answer, but I think with practice you’ll be a pro-broth pour-er in no time!

      :) K

      • Reply Laura June 12, 2013 at 6:16 pm

        That sounds like a good idea. Thanks so much for a quick reply! Your site is invaluable on my health journey!!

        • Reply Katie June 12, 2013 at 6:24 pm

          No problem, thanks for stopping by! :)

    • Reply Janelle December 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      I dip a pyrex liquid measuring cup in the bowl and then pour into the jars. Works great!

  • Reply How to Make Lacto-Fermented Mayo | Girl Meets NourishmentGirl Meets Nourishment June 12, 2013 at 7:25 am

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  • Reply K June 12, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    I can’t find my cheesecloth….have never done liquid whey before….how many coffee filters do some of you use?? thanks :)

    • Reply Katie June 12, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      I would use one or two. :)

      -K

      • Reply K June 12, 2013 at 6:29 pm

        WOW – thanks for responding so quick :) I am SUPER excited…..LOVE your site!!!!!

        • Reply Katie June 12, 2013 at 6:32 pm

          Thank you K! :)

  • Reply Kristee June 14, 2013 at 6:11 am

    My trick for pouring broths is to transfer from the cooking pot to a large 4 cup glass measuring cup. From there I pour into containers. It’s one more dish to wash but prevents spillage and is worth it!

    • Reply Katie June 14, 2013 at 8:11 am

      Great idea, Kristee!

      • Reply Laura June 14, 2013 at 10:40 am

        Awesome idea, thanks!

  • Reply Aleena June 16, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Oh Man!! I’ve been dumping the liquid whey off my yogurt for months! Who knew it would be so useful to make your lovely pickles and kraut! I sincerely have been enjoying your site (brought here because of eczema issues) and cannot wait to try all the amazing natural foods you discuss. Consider me your newest fan!

    • Reply Katie June 17, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      It truly is an incredible thing. :)

      — K

  • Reply Maureen July 4, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I’ve been making yogurt for a few months, and have been straining it to get Greek yogurt because it’s so much yummier. I’ve been saving the whey, but not straining it too well… but I do have cheese cloth so I will start doing it your way! Thanks – I only just discovered your site and I’m so excited! I am seriously getting into whole nutrition since reading “Nourishing Traditions” but getting the family on board (teenagers, set in their ways) is an uphill climb – more like a sheer rock face…!

    • Reply Katie July 4, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      I know what you mean, Maureen! And welcome aboard! I am happy you like the site, and hopefully I will continue to share lots of good information for you. :)

      Good luck!
      Katie

  • Reply Christina M July 7, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks for this post! How long does the whey last for in the fridge?

    • Reply Katie July 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      It can last up to four to seven months in the fridge. :)

  • Reply John July 24, 2013 at 8:04 am

    It seems like if you take regular yogurt and strain out all (or most) of the whey protein, then you are going to get a byproduct with significantly less protein than the original yogurt. The principle characteristic of Greek yogurt — other than its yummy-ness, of course — is its high protein content. Something doesn’t add up…

    • Reply Katie July 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      Hello John,

      My understanding that if you strain out the liquid whey, you concentrate the solid portion of the yogurt which contains casein – the milk protein. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Katie

  • Reply 56 Awesome Fermented Food & Drink Recipes | Girl Meets NourishmentGirl Meets Nourishment August 28, 2013 at 7:49 am

    […] food, use artificial preservatives, or can it with high heat. There was a time when just a little liquid whey or salt was added to the food to start producing lactobacillus (probiotics) bacteria cultures. […]

  • Reply Zami August 29, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Can I use whole milk curd instead of the yoghurt for the Whey extraction? All the yoghurts where I live have ton of additives and I generally avoid them.

  • Reply Rose September 30, 2013 at 3:08 am

    I stay away from dairy unless it is raw, and was wondering if the whey you made here from organic yogurt is ok for people who need their dairy to be raw (as well as organic)? Wondering why ‘raw’ isn’t mentioned when choosing the yogurt. I have heard ‘IF IT ISN’T RAW, IT ISN’T MILK’ and I assume it would be the same for any form of dairy. So, is it still ok if it isn’t raw and why?

    • Reply Katie September 30, 2013 at 6:16 am

      Hi Rose,

      I live in a state where raw milk and raw milk products are illegal, so I can only use products like the best quality organic yogurt I can find. If you can find a trusted, raw yogurt – you can most definitely use that for making the whey. A lot of states have made raw milk illegal so it is tough for us, and we must do what we can and make the best of what we got.

      Hope this helps,
      Katie

      • Reply Angelique October 8, 2013 at 6:54 pm

        I hear ya Katie! I live in Missouri. It can be really hard to get certain things here. And to make matters worse I live in a very rural part of Missouri, so even getting organic can be a serious challenge. I sometimes have to go to St. Louis to get certain items, which is over an hour away!

  • Reply Michelle October 7, 2013 at 9:53 am

    I’m wondering if I can use sour cream instead of yogurt. I seriously can’t stand the taste of yogurt so I never buy it. But we use sour cream in various dishes and I’ve seen liquid forming on top of it. I personally stir the liquid back in but my guy pours it off. Is that whey?

  • Reply How to Make Lacto-Fermented Mayo (with video!) | Girl Meets NourishmentGirl Meets Nourishment November 23, 2013 at 1:23 pm

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  • Reply Ed Fives December 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Thank you for the information. Can you add this to a smoothie for additional protein? I am looking for an alternative to powders.

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  • Reply Alicia March 10, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Thanks for the post! Very useful, as I am about to start making my baby goats milk formula,.which calls for liquid whey! I guess we will be eating a lit of yogurt or using it to bake with, because I will need 1/4 cup liquid whey per day for the formula!

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  • Reply Laura Singer April 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Hi Katie, I don’t know if you have heard the GA.P.S. Diet(Gut And Psychology Syndrome) by Dr. Natasha Campbell MacBride MD, MMedSci (neurology), MMedSci (nutrition) but her son was born with severe autism, so she said out too figure out how to make him better,and by doing the gaps diet he is completely normal, no sign of autism whatsoever. it is all about cleaning the gut and rebuilding the gut I am just now starting this diet myself, in addition to the gaps diet I am also taking Standard Process Organic whole food supplements.

    • Reply Katie April 18, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      I have heard of the GAPS diet, but thank you for sharing as some of my readers may not have! :)

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  • Reply Anita Smith April 29, 2014 at 7:37 am

    does the whey left over from making mozzarella and ricotta work for a ferment- or does the cooking affect it?

    • Reply Katie May 18, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Hello Anita,

      I have never personally tried using the whey from making leftover cheese, so I am not sure if it would work or not. From most of the research I have done, signs point to it not working the same as “raw” whey” I personally always use yogurt, sour cream, kefir, or something similar to extract my whey. Since the whey from cheese-making is usually heated above 90 degrees and has some different properties than “raw” whey, I believe that the whey would not work the same as whey from yogurt and the like. :)

      Hope this helps!
      Katie

  • Reply Bill April 30, 2014 at 5:28 am

    For straining my homemade yogurt, kefir, liqueurs, wines, etc, I highly recommend these towels from WalMart: Mainstays 5pk Flour Sack Kitchen Towel, White – you get 5 for under $5. They have an amazingly tight weave (for holding flour), and much more effective than squares of t-shirts or even linen. I only use cheese cloth now for things like covering the top of the quart canning jar when I make kefir, or placing fresh herb sprigs in soup or stew.

    Someone earlier asked about needing a larger bowl. You can buy a huge 4 quart glass bowl at WalMart for about $5. It says lists it for $18 on their website for some strange reason, but it was around $5 in the store.

    • Reply Katie May 3, 2014 at 11:20 am

      Great tips! Thank you, Bill!

  • Reply Cecilia Yung May 3, 2014 at 12:38 am

    Thank you for sharing! I always assumed that Greek yogurt was just strained, but didn’t know the benefits of the whey. I happened to be reading a health article and someone mentioned adding whey to his oatmeal, (I’m assuming powder) that’s when I saw your site. Glad I found it! I’ll be trying this soon! I’m glad that I’ve recently found an inexpensive yogurt at Walmart that has live and active cultures w/probiotics in it and is cheaper than the generic brand when I get the larger size. Karoun Dairies in So. Cal. It’s pretty thick already which makes me wonder if there’s still whey available.

    • Reply Katie May 3, 2014 at 10:12 am

      So happy to help! :)

  • Reply Cecilia Yung May 3, 2014 at 12:38 am

    Thank you for sharing! I always assumed that Greek yogurt was just strained, but didn’t know the benefits of the whey. I happened to be reading a health article and someone mentioned adding whey to his oatmeal, (I’m assuming powder) that’s when I saw your site. Glad I found it! I’ll be trying this soon! I’m glad that I’ve recently found an inexpensive yogurt at Walmart that has live and active cultures w/probiotics in it and is cheaper than the generic brand when I get the larger size. Karoun Dairies in So. Cal. It’s pretty thick already which makes me wonder if there’s still whey available.

  • Reply Jo Murphy August 31, 2014 at 1:56 am

    Hi Katie, as an avid fan of home made yoghurt (I make 2 litres of yoghurt every 2nd day as my 7 children just gobble it up!!!), I would like to share my method with you. I believe that after two years I have finally perfected making yoghurt and have just started straining it and producing whey. This is what led me to your page. I plan to use some of the way in my home Bokashi (composting) bucket instead of fermented grain which costs quite a bit. I make my yoghurt using a thermomix but im sure you could adjust it. Just let me know if you would like me to share this with you. Thanks. Jo

    • Reply Katie September 9, 2014 at 8:05 am

      Hello Jo,
      I would love to hear how you make your own yogurt! I am still on the hunt for the perfect way to make it. Thank you for sharing!
      Katie

      • Reply Arlene September 13, 2014 at 2:02 pm

        Hi Katy. I am new to your site. I didn’t know that the liquid that gathers at the top if yogurt was whey. I just mix it back in my yogurt. Have I been wasting it all this time? I’m going to try your method of making whey now but regret saving all that good stuff in the past. I’m so glad I found your site!!!https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10152683594025119&substory_index=0&id=186879680118

        • Reply Katie September 14, 2014 at 10:00 am

          Hello Arlene,

          By mixing it in, you are still getting the benefits from the Whey – but now if you strain it, you can make all sorts of delicious and fun things!

          Hope this helps,
          Katie

  • Reply jonathan October 12, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    If you are on the cheap, visit a second hand store and buy a cheap drip coffee maker and reuse the filter cup ( with a filter installed) to strain out whey. Unbleached filters are available and Mellitta makes a Porcelain drip coffee maker and unbleached filters if having no plastic is an important consideration.

    • Reply Katie October 13, 2014 at 8:44 am

      Great tip, Jonathan!

  • Reply michael November 12, 2014 at 5:55 am

    how much sugar is in fermented whey liquid per cup?

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