This is from my old blog. Originally posted July 2008.
I was too impatient to try baking bread with whey to wait the amount of time it takes to make a sourdough starter without yeast, so I went ahead and made up some bread today. It turned out good. E is planning to have some tomorrow with strawberry jam and the chocolate cheese we made.
Okay, this is fun to do with kids because of how it works. Milk has a lot of protein, sugar and fat solids in it, and the protein is resistant to acids, so when you add an acid to milk which is heated up so the molecules are less tightly together, the acid mixes fine into some of the sugars and liquid of the milk, but not into the proteins, which causes the proteins to separate from the rest. It winds up looking curdled, with solid curds and liquid whey. Most recipes call for a gallon of milk, but I had, like I said, a half gallon of organic milk.Measurements are American, I apologize, worse, we cook by volume, not weight. There are a lot of sites with conversions though.
Sauce pan, one big enough for a half gallon of milk, plus a couple inches head room, spoon, I have a wood angled flat stirrer I use, strainer, bowl (to drain the whey into), cheese cloth, a container to put the finished cheese in, some jars for the whey, spoon, hand blender or food processor (I don't HAVE a food processor, I do have a hand blender)
1 half gallon of milk
3 Tbs white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt (I use sea salt)
1/4-1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar, or sugar to taste
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup of milk
Line the strainer with a couple layers of cheese cloth, and set it over the bowl.
Bring the milk to a simmer, about 185° F, or until bubbles are just forming on the sides, stir frequently to keep from burning the milk. Add in the vinegar, you'll see curds start to form immediately, keep cooking and stirring over a low flame or low heat if you have electric pulling the pan off occasionally to keep it from boiling over. Lots more curds will form. After 10 minutes, pull it off the heat and pour the whey and curds into the strainer. You'll probably have to take the strainer off before you get it all poured to pour some of the whey into a jar, so do that, then set the strainer back over the bowl and finish pouring. Take the sides of the cheese cloth and fold them over the top of the solid curds, and push down with your spoon to express a bit more of the whey out, then put a cloth over the top, and set it all some place cool for a couple hours to finish draining.
After a couple hours, take the stainer off the bowl, pour the whey into the jars, close them, and put it in the fridge to use for baking later, it can be used for the liquid in almost anything. Rinse the bowl out, and turn out the cheese into the bowl, add in the other ingredients, blend well. The extra little bit of milk helps make this very creamy and spreadable. I think with a bit of powdered sugar, not too much, this would make an amazing not too sweet frosting for cupcakes. I'm thinking a bit of chocolate ganache, and a dollop of this cheese on top of devil's food. Oh yeah! That's what I'm forgetting, put the cheese into your container for it. I love my Lock&Locks!
Recipe makes two loaves of bread.
big bowl, wooden spoon*, oil/fat of some sort to grease the pans and the dough while it's rising, 2 bread pans
Proofing the yeast
1/4 cup warm water in the bowl
1 tsp sugar or sweetener**
4 tsp yeast or 2 packets.***
Proof the yeast, which means mix the sugar into the water, then sprinkle in the yeast. Give one stir with the wooden spoon.
Let it set for 10 minutes, if it's foamy looking at 10 minutes, your yeast is living and you're good to go.
Mixing the Dough
2 cups of whey
3 Tbs butter or other fat
6-8 cups of flour, I used an unbleached, organic all-purpose flour, if you are using a dark flour, you might need a bit more.
1 Tbs salt
2 Tbs sugar
Preparing the liquid parts of the bread
My old Betty Crocker cookbook from the 60s calls for scalding milk, but microwaves make it so easy.
Put cup and a half of your whey mix into a microwave safe cup, I use my Pyrex measuring cup, add 3 Tbs of butter, zap it for a minute. Stir in a half cup of cold whey to cool it down to "won't kill happy little yeast" temperature. Pour into your yeast mixture.
Put 2 cups of flour, the salt, and the sugar, and stir it in the liquids.
Keep stirring in the rest of the flour a cup at a time until you can't stir anymore, then flour your hands, and get in and start kneading in more flour. After you've added most of the rest of your flour (I've never needed all of it before I can't add more) keep kneading until it gets smooth and elastic. Kneading develops glutens, which creates the chemical reaction that turns your mix of whey and flour into a big mass of nice smooth uniform bread dough. I love this process. Now, most people turn it out onto a counter top, with a working surface of some sort put on to it, I just knead in the bowl, less clean up. When it's all a nice big smooth uniform ball of dough, oil the dough ball all over, and cover the bowl with a clean towel, and let it rise for an hour in a warm place.
Baking the bread
After an hour, grease your bread pans then check to make sure the dough doubled by pushing down with a fingertip, if the indention doesn't rise back up out of it, it's doubled. Punch it down, and knead again. Divide it into two balls, form loaves, and put it into the pans. Lightly grease or butter the tops, cover again, and set someplace to rise again. After it's risen the second time, put in the oven at 425°F for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, check by thumping the bread, if it just goes *thud* it needs a couple minutes more, if it sounds hollow, it's done. Let it set for as long as your family will let you. Which in my case was less then 10 minutes, then E was finding my bread knife. I think it's a hint I don't make bread often enough. She had a big slice off the heel of buttered bread fresh out of the oven.
The bread turned out a bit sweet, whey has a lot of milk sugars in it, and it rose a bit more then my usual recipe rises. It's a lovely bread.
*Yeast can be reactive with metal, and slow down or even stop the process, so I always use my big glass bowl, and a wooden spoon, it does make a difference in how much rise you get.
**NOT a no sugar sweetener, yeast won't grow on Nutrasweet. Honey, molasses, cane sugar, raw sugar, organic cane sugar, maple sugar, or birch syrup is fine. Something with sugars in it for the yeast.
*** Since E loves making pizza, we always buy jarred yeast, but if you only make bread occasionally, packets are the more economical choice since you won't risk it going bad waiting for next time. My ex-husband never saw the point of proofing the yeast until a batch failed on him. He wound up making cinnamon-cayenne crackers (also unintentional, he meant to make cayenne savory and cinnamon sweet) which were good, and an excellent reuse of failed bread, but really, it only take 10 minutes to proof.
This recipe, and several more yeast bread recipes are available in my Kindle e-book.