My friend Mary recently mentioned to me that she was drowning in whey.
She had a gallon or two of raw milk that had soured and she wisely decided to allow it to naturally separate on the kitchen counter. She then strained the clabbered milk into cream cheese and whey.
The raw cream cheese could be blended with a bit of maple syrup and strawberries to make a lovely raw spread for a morning bagel, but what about all that whey?
Some of the whey could be used for fermenting probiotic loaded vegetables and fruits but Mary said she had so much, there was no chance she would use all of it for that purpose.
In cases where you have a lot of whey to use up and no idea what to use it for, try making the traditional Norwegian gjetost cheese (pronounced “yay-toast”).
This simple cheese is made by boiling down whey for a number of hours until it is reduced to a quarter or less of its original volume. When the gjetost cheese is almost ready with the whey almost boiled down, you add some cream to enhance the smoothness and flavor.
Believe it or not, that is all there is to it! Gjetost cheese tastes somewhat like cultured butter with some cheddar overtones and can be served as a sauce for pasta similar to an alfredo sauce.
You can also use gjetost cheese to flavor vegetables or enhance the flavor of soups.
The idea is to boil it down to the desired consistency for the appropriate culinary use.
You may use the whey from either cow or goat milk to make your gjetost cheese. Know that if you make it from goat whey which is the traditional way to do it, it will definitely taste a bit goaty.
Makes about 1 pint of gjetost cheese
1/2 gallon whey (the fresher the better – NOT whey left over from cheesemaking)
1/2 cup cream
Pour the whey into a large pan and bring to a low boil. Simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours stirring frequently until the whey has been reduced to the texture of thick gravy and is about 1 pint in volume.
* This is a great task to start right after breakfast and it will be done by lunchtime.
Stir in cream and continue to simmer stirring often until desired consistency is reached.
Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Blend the gjetost cheese with a stick blender to enhance creaminess and serve immediately as a pasta sauce or pour into containers to refrigerate for later use.
Gjetost cheese will last for about 1 month in the refrigerator.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
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