How to Separate Whey from Plain Store Yogurt (+ VIDEO)
Clabbered milk is a very useful item for the traditionally minded cook and has the consistency and taste of drinkable style yogurt.
Unfortunately, not everyone has access to raw milk which may seem to preclude the use of unprocessed, liquid whey for fermentation purposes as it is not commercially available.
The good news is that you can easily extract whey from plain yogurt from the store. Using homemade yogurt is even better. You may use Greek yogurt too although you won’t get as much whey from the effort. This is due to the nutritional differences of Greek yogurt vs regular yogurt.
Powdered Whey No Substitute for the Real Thing
Please note that powdered whey is never an adequate substitute for whole, unprocessed, liquid whey. To gain the benefits of whey, it must be gently separated from a fermented dairy product like clabbered milk, kefir, or yogurt. Drying and powderizing whey even at low temperatures denatures the delicate proteins. It also eliminates the beneficial probiotic and enzymatic properties.
Uses for Liquid Whey
Liquid whey is an important ingredient in homemade baby formula recipes. In addition, it is indispensable as an inoculant for fermented foods and drinks. Unprocessed liquid whey is also wonderful to mix with filtered water and a little orange juice for a healthy sports drink naturally loaded with electrolytes.
How to Separate Whey from Yogurt (or Kefir)
The easy recipe below will result in a jar of beautiful raw whey within minutes! You won’t believe how easy it is! I recommend that you do not use Greek yogurt, as it contains significantly less whey than regular yogurt.
How to Separate Whey from Yogurt
Simple how-to for separating whey from yogurt or kefir. Homemade or store bought brands may be used including whole, lowfat, and no fat versions. Whole yogurt is recommended, however.
Line bowl with cheesecloth. Spoon in the container of yogurt.
Gather up the ends of the cheesecloth and secure with the rubber band. Attach the rubber band to a knob on one of your upper kitchen cabinets. Keep the bowl beneath to catch the dripping whey.
Leave dripping on the counter for about 1 hour.
Remove drip bag from the kitchen knob and place in a clean bowl. Unfasten the rubber band and scrape out the yogurt cheese within the cheesecloth into a container. Seal the lid and refrigerate.
Pour the liquid whey in the first bowl into a glass mason jar and secure the lid. Refrigerate. It will stay fresh for several months.
Separating Whey from Yogurt (Video Tutorial)
In the video below, I show you the very easy process for obtaining whey in its liquid, whole food form from a quart of plain yogurt. I also discuss what to do with the leftover yogurt cheese once the whey has been extracted. Hint: it makes a delicious stuffing for large pasta shells or lasagna.
Note that you can use kefir in place of yogurt if desired. Use the exact same process shown in the video. Kefir is healthier than yogurt too, containing far more beneficial probiotics. Unfortunately, it is harder to find quality brands commercially, but fortunately, kefir is easier to make at home than yogurt if that’s what you’d really prefer to use.
If using yogurt, you are going to want to source the best quality your budget can afford. Ideally, this is grassfed organic whole yogurt. But, in a pinch, you can use no fat or lowfat yogurt from supermarket brands like Dannon.
Cloudy or clear liquid whey will last in a glass mason jar in the refrigerator for about six months. Note, however, that the flavor will grow stronger and more pungent over time.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Sarah was awarded Activist of the Year at the International Wise Traditions Conference in 2010.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in Economics from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Government (Financial Management) from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mother to three healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, National Review, ABC, NBC, and many others.