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  • Writer's pictureSarah

How to Make Whey and Cream Cheese From Milk Kefir, Raw Milk, or Yogurt

Homemade whey is a great item to have on hand for traditional cooking.  It is easy to make, and filled with probiotics! You can use homemade whey in a variety of ways, including:

  • to ferment condiments, like mayonnaise and ketchup

  • to aid in fermentation of vegetables, like pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi

  • as a probiotic drink

  • as a great add-in for smoothies

  • to aid in soaking of grains, beans, and legumes to increase their digestibility and nutritional content

The resultant cream cheese is delicious and can be used in many ways, including:

  • as a spread on crackers with some sliced cucumber on top

  • mixed with a little honey and vanilla extract for an easy and delicious dessert

  • as a wonderful food for babies

I use either yogurt, raw milk, or milk kefir to make whey.  When using raw milk or milk kefir, the whey will be slightly cloudy, which indicates the presence of milk solids.  If it is important to make sure your whey has no milk solids present, I recommend using store-bought whole-milk yogurt (this results in a very clear whey).

Many people use cheesecloth to make whey, but I prefer to use a dish towel or a couple small cloth napkins. This results in whey that is more pure as the fine-weave of the cloth traps more of the milk solids. 

Homemade Whey and Cream Cheese

  • Milk kefir, raw milk, or yogurt

  • Equipment needed: Strainer or colander, small dish towel or cloth napkins

  1. If you are using raw milk, let it sit out on the counter for 1-7 days until it sours and separates into curds and whey (it will take longer if the milk is very fresh and less time if the milk has been around for a little while).  If you are using milk kefir or yogurt, no additional preparation is needed.

  2. Place the strainer or colander over a glass bowl.  Line the strainer with a dish towel or cloth napkin.  Make sure none of the cloth is hanging outside of the strainer; otherwise, some whey will drip out of the bowl.

  3. Pour the raw milk (which has already separated), milk kefir, or yogurt into the cloth.  Allow to sit at room temperature for about 4-8 hours.  As it sits, the whey will drip out of the cloth and into the bowl.  Then push the cloth closed over the top and move it all to the fridge.  Let sit overnight.

  4. In the morning, you'll find cream cheese in the cloth and whey in the bowl.  Store the whey and cream cheese in glass containers in the refrigerator.  The whey will keep for about 6 months, and the cream cheese will keep for about 1 month.

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