Using Over-Cultured Dairy Products

Ever let your yogurt go a little too long, or get a little too warm? I do.

Although its disappointing to have separated whey and “cottage cheese” in place of the creamy yogurt I was expecting, the curds and whey don’t have to go to waste.

Today I’m pouring about 2 cups of whey over 2 cups of oats for use in High Protein Waffles tomorrow morning. The curds can be used as part or all of the cottage cheese in the recipe.

Other uses for over cultured yogurt or kefir:
• in a smoothie, if not over-sour
• whey can be used in small amounts in culturing vegetables such as sauerkraut (I don’t do this, preferring only salt for sauerkraut, as I can taste a slight cow or goat flavor in the product when using whey.)
• any baked recipe which calls for buttermilk, such as biscuits or pancakes. In this case, the more sour the better! It may be necessary to use all the curds and only part of the whey so the batter is not too watery, and to blend thoroughly. This presents a great opportunity to soak the grain or flour in the recipe for 12 hours or longer.
• whey can be sipped straight, as a tonic
• creamy curds can be strained and mixed with herbs for a soft cheese spread for crackers or crisp green apple
• in case of an abundance of whey, I feed it to our (lucky) cats. 🙂

What creative uses have you found for over-cultured dairy?

Experiment Kitchen: Making Cottage Cheese

After making yogurt and kefir from raw milk last week, I felt courageous enough to attempt cottage cheese this week. Actually, it turned out to be a cinch.

I took a quart of raw milk yogurt, emptied it into a clean 2 qt. saucepan, and set it on the stove over medium heat. Stirring constantly, I waited to see a change in the yogurt curd. Here is a picture of the yogurt when I began heating it.

As I was heating it, I kept sticking my finger in it to test for temperature. The instructions I was going off of were word-of-mouth that it should be warmer than bath water, but not boiling. It took less than 10 minutes for the yogurt curd to change into a cottage cheese curd. The yogurt I was using came from the refrigerator, but if it had been from the counter (just finished yogurt culture) then it would have been less time. You can see the picture of the cottage cheese curd.

I removed the pan from the heat, and at this point I had the brilliant idea to be a little more scientific about the whole process and stick my candy thermometer in the pan. It registered 130 degrees. This probably means that the cottage cheese is not technically raw any longer (less than 117 should leave enzymes intact) but it also is a far cry from the “ultra-pasteurization” temperatures which damage and alter the protein molecules of dairy.

After allowing the batch to cool for 10 minutes or so, I spooned the curds and whey into my funnel fitted with a strainer. The whey ran through into the canning jar, and the cottage cheese stayed in the funnel for transfer to a second jar. One quart yielded 3 cups of whey and 1 cup of cottage cheese.

Cottage cheese has a really high protein content compared to other dairy products; 13 gms protein per half cup. It is an ingredient in my High Protein Waffles.

High Protein Waffles

This waffle recipe has fast become a favorite at our house. I love it because it is a healthy soaked whole grain, gluten free*, full of protein start to the day. My husband and children love it because you would never know that it is healthy, gluten free, or full of protein; it just tastes light and delicious.

12-24 hours before: soak 1 cup organic rolled oats in 3/4 cup whey (or 1 cup yogurt if you don’t have just whey). This should be done at room temperature or warmer, in a glass bowl, covered with a clean dish towel.

Morning of: in blender, mix together 4 large eggs (I use duck eggs, so if you have medium sized eggs, bump it up to 5 eggs) and 1/2 cup cottage cheese. Add soaked oats, and blend until oat pieces have been ground smooth. Blend in 2 tsp. non-aluminum baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt.

Pour from blender pitcher into a hot waffle iron. Remove when cooked, and enjoy with butter and organic grade B maple syrup. Or, if you’re sending breakfast out the door with someone, you can make two breakfast sandwiches from a waffle by layering a fried egg and filleted cooked chicken sausage between two quarters of waffle drizzled lightly with syrup. Mmm . . . yummy either way.

Yields 5 round “Belgian” waffles. Each waffle has 12 gms. of protein.

Note: The best way to do this recipe is with 24 hours prep, so the oats are nourishing you without stealing minerals from your body.  (Unsoaked grains, legumes, and nuts have a great deal of phytic acid -which human digestion can’t handle as well as ruminants- which actually steals important minerals, like calcium, from our bodies!). You can read more about this in this article from the Weston A. Price Foundation: Be Kind to Your Grains and They Will Be Kind to You.

However, if you’re in a hurry, or forget to soak the night before (as often happens to me!), then skip the yogurt/whey and increase the cottage cheese to 1 cup. Still just as delicious, and high in protein. And then start the soaking habit next time.

Get more tips on this recipe and see pictures on soaking oats here.

*Oats do not intrinsically have Celiac-causing-gluten in them, however, many oats are contaminated with gluten from other grains. If you have Celiac Disease, it is always wise to choose only Certified Gluten Free Oats.

You may also enjoy the ideas in Breakfast: Off to a Great Start.