Oct 15, 2010

Whey Bread: An Old Tradition that You Never Knew About

Cheesemaking results in lots of whey. I made ricotta from the Gouda whey, you'll recall. Whey helps to regulate insulin and is a great source of proteins, minerals, vitamins, and lactose. One hates to waste a single thing in this cheesemaking process.

What follows is my digression-laced recipe for Whey Bread. It evolved from my ever-handy foolproof One-a-Day Baguette recipe. It has evolved so far that it bears about as much resemblance to the baguette as we bear a resemblance to Neanderthals, and I mean no insult to either baguettes or Neanderthals.

In this case I used goat's milk whey, which has a fuller flavor than cow's milk whey. I hesitate to use the adjective "goaty," which seems a lot like "stinky" or "yucky." In this case, you can taste the goat's milk flavor, but only if you think about it, and it adds a warm depth to the bread. Baking whey into bread is an old tradition in Spain and no doubt in many other places where they harvest grain and herd cows and goats.

This is a nice sturdy loaf, good for sandwiches. Mr. Picky ate a big slice of it, toasted and buttered, for breakfast.

Lauren's Whey Bread (makes two loaves)

3 cups whey
2 teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
4 cups unbleached regular flour
4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons salt

Lightly oil two loaf pans.

Warm up the whey in a medium bowl in the microwave for about a minute and half. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the top and let it proof for 4 or 5 minutes. Here's where I was flummoxed: the yeast did not foam like it always does. It kind of sank but I soldiered on because The Internet had no answers for me. But I know the yeast is good. It never fails to proof.

While this is proofing, or whatever it's doing, go ahead and put four cups of flour, doesn't matter which type, in your largest bowl. Put the other four cups in a medium bowl and mix it with the salt. This way you are ready to mix everything together and you needed something to do, anyway, in those four or five minutes. Getting everything ready is called mise en place, which, when I do it, makes me feel extremely good, bordering on smug.

Turn on some music now, if you want, because your hands will be busy and floury for a few minutes. I like Radio Paradise.

Okay, pour the whey mixture into the 4 cups of flour in the large bowl. Mix it with a wooden spoon,without overmixing. Add the flour and salt mixture and either mix with your hands (what I always do) or mix with the wooden spoon. You may need to add a little water because you need for it to be a big shaggy ball. I doubt you'll need to add flour.

Put the dough on a lightly floured counter or board and knead it for about 10 minutes. If the phone rings or you don't like the song you're listening to, tough.

Lightly oil yet another large bowl. Roll the dough in the oil and cover with a wet dishtowel. You may have to let the dough rise up to three hours. It may not exactly double, but don't worry about it. Cut it in half with a bench knife or just a big old hefty knife, and place the dough in the loaf pans. Let them rise again, maybe an hour or even two. Until they've risen a bit.

Bake them in a 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes. They should be golden brown. Cool on racks. Freeze one for later.


Domestic Goddess said...

I will never lose weight if you keep posting these recipes. Drat.

liz said...


julienj said...

My mise en place usually fails miserably, so I have to yell to whomever is home to come help me.

Last time I made cheese, I had so much whey leftover that I was putting it in everything, with the result that I would say "guess what the magic ingredient was?" every time I fed my family. The stock response, after I told them, "whey," was "no whey." Hee hee.