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.

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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?

How To Soak Grains

Q:

I’m planning to make the High Protein Waffles, but I’ve never soaked grains before, and I am unclear on the process. I looked around a little on the internet, and it wasn’t much clearer. Did you separate your own whey from milk, or buy whey powder and reconstitute it, or would you suggest I just use yogurt? I haven’t even purchased the whey (or yogurt) yet, so if you have some direction on that, I’d appreciate it!

~Debra , via Facebook

A:

Soaking grains is pretty straight forward, although I know it can seem daunting at first since this practice has been all but abandoned in modern cooking. To soak my oats, I measure them into a glass bowl; you’ll want one large enough that there is some space left for the whey or yogurt. You can see my whey here in the picture.

Pour the liquid/yogurt on top of the oats and begin to incorporate with a small spoon.

Stir the wet and dry together until there aren’t any dry oats left.

Then smash them down firmly in the bowl with the back of the spoon. There shouldn’t be any pooling wet areas.

Cover with a dish towel and place on the countertop, or another warmish clean place, for 12-24 hours.

At the end of this time, you’ll notice that the oats seem to have dried out some, and are stuck into a clump which will need a little bit of breaking up before putting into the blender.

If you double or triple the recipe, you can soak all the oats together and then evenly divide them the next day after soaking. Since they are stuck together in a chunk, it’s not to hard to cut them evenly. However, I recommend only making one batch at a time (unless you have a really strong blender) as doubling the batch makes it difficult to completely blend the oats into the eggs and cottage cheese mixture.

Whey and yogurt can both be used in this recipe. If you use yogurt you’ll need to use a little more than if using whey, since it is thicker and won’t mix with the oats as freely. I often use whey just because I have it on hand when it has separated from the kefir I make continually on my countertop. If the whey hasn’t separated, I use the kefir or a plain yogurt, which is probably what you should do at this point.

Here’s a picture of oats soaked in yogurt.

These soaking agents are actually souring the oats, and the waffles will have a pleasant sourdough flavor. I think kefir makes them more sour than yogurt, but it is pretty inconsequential. The acids and bacteria in the whey/yogurt are the agents that are eating away at the sugars in the oats, and dismantling some of the anti-nutrients like phytic acid. Therefore, whey powder (protein powder) reconstituted would not work for this purpose, as it no longer has these active cultures at work.

On purchasing the yogurt: get plain, and make sure it has active cultures in it. I like the European Style Whole Milk Yogurt from Traders Joes, and while you’re there, their Small Curd Cottage Cheese seems to be a good choice (for the waffle recipe) since the side of the carton makes it sound like the cows live in a resort. 🙂
Make sure your waffle iron is fully heated before pouring in the batter. I was in a hurry when I made these a few weeks ago, and I ended up with a mess in waffle maker! :-/

The waffles freeze well after cooling, and can then be toasted for a quick snack later.

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.

Good Morning Smoothie Recipe

Wanna know our favorite smoothie recipe?

  • 1 ripe Banana
  • 2 cups plain Kefir
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed oil, not necessary, but a great way to get some “good fat” (essential fatty acids, aka Omega 3s)
  • 15-20 grams Protein Powder (we use True Whey, see note below)
  • Handful of frozen strawberries (or other frozen fruit)

Throw first 4 ingredients in blender; blend until smooth. Add frozen fruit; blend until fruit is finely chopped into smoothie.
Enjoy!

What’s Kefir?
Essentially it is a different way of preparing cultured dairy similar to yogurt. Lots of good healthy stuff in it. If you can’t find kefir, just go with plain yogurt – that works too.
We use True Whey powder by Source Naturals. It is a cow whey protein from grass fed cow milk which has not been heated or isolated; the immunoglobulins are intact and the structure of the protein and essential fatty acids haven’t been altered or damaged. In plain speak that means it’s food the way it comes out of the cow,  is a boost to our immune system, and able to be absorbed, rather than over-processed and of questionable health value.

I am aware of two other companies which make similar products with low heat: Designs for Health makes Whey Cool, and Garden of Life makes Goatein (from goat milk, for those with difficulty digesting bovine protein).

Often people with lactose intolerance do well with whey protein, but if you have an actual allergy to dairy products, try hemp protein, such as Vanilla Spice Hemp Protein by Living Harvest. It is one the the few complete proteins from vegetables.

Finally, if you go “protein shopping” you will find many brands and varieties of soy protein available. Rather than a health food, soy is a cover crop that needs to “go somewhere” and is therefore marketed heavily as a health food. Get the real scoop in these articles on westonaprice.org: Myths & Truths About Soy , and Soy: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite “Health” Food a longer article discussing many of the health risks of soy, including hormone disruption at all stages of life. Walk away from soy; there are much better options.

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