Straining yogurt produces a thicker, creamier yogurt with the texture and consistency of Greek yogurt, whether you start with purchased or homemade yogurt. While it's easy to strain yogurt, you're left with a substantial amount of protein-rich, nutritious liquid whey. The remaining whey is high in calcium, low in calories and contains high quality, amino-acid rich protein. Finding uses for the leftover whey can help you get the most for your food dollar.
If you need Greek-style yogurt for a recipe, make your own yogurt, or simply prefer thicker yogurt, straining will produce a rich, creamy product. Strained yogurt is sometimes called yogurt cheese, and is ideal as a snack, added to a meal or served as a part of dessert. You will require a large bowl, a strainer that fits into the bowl, and cheesecloth. Line the strainer with cheesecloth and place it into the bowl. Pour the yogurt into the strainer and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy the strained yogurt and reserve the whey for other purposes.
One of the easiest ways to use leftover whey is in bread, muffins, biscuits or other baked goods. Replace milk or buttermilk in recipes with leftover whey for a moist and delicious bread or cake. You can also replace water with whey, but that will add calories and fat to your end result. Substituting whey for water in recipes will create a soft and tender bread.
Drinking and Smoothies
You can opt to drink the leftover whey. If you're fond of yogurt, you may enjoy the tart flavor of the strained whey. Pass the whey through cheesecloth again to remove solids, then add spices, lemon, or sweetener as desired. Whey also works well as the liquid in fruit smoothies, particularly if you're not fond of the flavor. Adding berries, bananas or other fruit can cover the slightly sour taste of the leftover whey.
If you strain yogurt regularly, you can freeze and save whey for ricotta cheese making. You'll need a substantial amount of whey, ideally one to two gallons to make ricotta, but you can experiment with smaller amounts. Heat the whey to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, then add 1/8 cup of white or cider vinegar per gallon of whey. Pour the heated whey and vinegar mixture into a clean cotton cloth or fine cheesecloth, sometimes called butter muslin. Hang the cloth from a cabinet door handle with a large pot underneath and allow the liquids and solids to separate. The remaining liquid may be used in baking and the ricotta in recipes as desired.