Whey protein is a very popular protein supplement for many looking to build up their muscles. But how is it made? Would you believe it if we said it’s got to do with cheese? Well, it’s true! Whey is actually a by-product of cheese making.
The Cheese Making Process
Cheese-making will create whey as a by-product. Every time we make a fresh vat of cheese curds or craft another batch of aged cheddar, we also create whey. We fill our cheese vat full of milk, and add rennet and culture. The culture eats the lactose that is present in the milk, while the rennet makes the milk curdle causing the liquid and solids to separate. Then we cook the curd to make it more firm, and the curds are cooked in the liquid whey in our cheese vat, where we occasionally stir the curds. This makes the cheese more firm in texture, as opposed to a softer cheese like a ricotta. After the cheddar culture in our vat has been stirred long enough, we have to drain the whey out of the vat, in order for us to move along with the curd or aged cheddar process.
When we make a fresh vat of cheese curds, we create 485 pounds of cheese, so we also get 3,395 pounds of liquid whey, or 425 gallons of whey produced. No Whey!
What can whey be used for?
Other creameries may have the equipment and facilities to then dehydrate the liquid whey and sell it as a protein powder that you may put in your smoothie or post workout drink. Some may use the whey as fertilizer, in certain amounts, on their fields. You can actually make vodka out of whey too!
But we use our whey in another way.
We haul that whey back to the farm and feed it back to our cows, because dairy cows require a lot of protein in their diet. It’s just another way that our farm and creamery can continue to sustain and support each other.
At Dan and Debbie’s Creamery we continue to find innovative and sustainable solutions within our business that will ultimately help the health of our herd. Stop by the creamery sometime and watch us make cheese!
- Posted by Elizabeth Uthoff
- On August 17, 2023
- 0 Comments