The liquid that pools in my yogurt - any uses?

I started making homemade yogurt, starting with powdered milk, because buying commercial yogurt involves consuming an insane amount of plastic, which is terrible for the environment. Even starting with fresh milk bought in the grocery store is bad, because (at least here on Hawai’i Island) we can’t recycle those mik cartons. So, powdered milk it is.

I’m thrilled with the results; now I can eat live-culture yogurt every day without generating any plastic trash. The barely-translated-into-English instructions from my Chinese-manufactured yogurt maker say something cryptic about how you might want to save the liquid that pools in the yogurt for another purpose, but there is no elaboration as to what that purpose might be. Perhaps because I start with powdered milk, there is a pretty substantial amount of pooled liquid once I start consuming each glass container of yogurt.

So far, I’ve been tossing it. But I am a thrifty Yankee who is morally opposed to wasting food; whenever I drain off the liquid, I think “what should I be doing with this?”

Any ideas?

I think that liquid is whey. Though not as nutritious as the yogurt, itself, it does have calcium, protein, and such in it. If stirring it into your homemade yogurt would make it too thin, you can use it as a substitute for water or milk in recipes.

I salute you for your yogurt-making abilities! I tried it years ago and had little luck. I’m pretty sure the (garage sale) yogurt maker I used didn’t get warm enough (probably why it was sold). Also, since this was pre-internet, I didn’t know that the kind and brand of milk mattered. I should try again.

Specifically, sour whey. You can use it as a replacement in any recipe requiring buttermilk.

I make my own yoghurt and strain the whey out it through cheescloth to produce a consistency akin to greek yoghurt.
The whey gets collected and frozen and we use it as substitute for eggs when baking. (my daughter is allergic) It just gets used as a direct volume substitute and it seems to work really well.

My husband makes yogurt, and just stirs the whey back in. I think the reason he makes his own yogurt is that he likes “regular” yogurt more than strained “Greek yogurt”, but strained yogurt is all the rage and it can be hard to find the plain stuff.

Yeah, and that stuff is too thick for my taste. Stirring the whey back in works ok for me. Luckily I can find full fat unsweetened plain yogurt locally.

We usually could. But now that we make our own, it’s just a matter of finding whole milk to start with.

Interesting thread! I have been eyeballing the powdered milk in my pantry and wondering if I could use it to make yogurt. I think I will give it a try. I just stir the whey back in to the yogurt. I usually add homemade granola before I eat it so having it a bit thinner actually works well.

As already mentioned, whey can be used as a buttermilk substitute/supplement. Anything you want to add a bit of tang to, just add the whey as your liquid.

Thanks for the good ideas, everyone. Regarding making yogurt with powdered milk, I don’t know if the taste would be acceptable to everyone. When I lived in Egypt, the yogurt I was served in restaurants was sublime; no other yogurt before or since has been as reliably delicious so I don’t even try to find a match. I’m eating my yogurt strictly for health, mixed with berries and almonds that tend to overwhelm the taste of the plain yogurt anyway. Having said that, I’ve eaten the yogurt straight up and find it surprisingly good.

@nelliebly - if you want to try again to make your own yogurt, it’s pretty easy. My first batch was weird but I tried again with a few alterations and it came out great. I use this Tibek yogurt maker (eek! prices have gone up - I think I paid something like $23 for it a year or two ago).

First I make 1 liter of milk from powdered milk I buy in 8lb bags from Costco (brand is The Saco Pantry, and it says “mix 'n drink” in giant blue letters on a white bag). The instructions say to let the blended milk sit in the fridge overnight; that probably doesn’t matter for yogurt making but I do it just in case.

Then I blend the milk with 50ml live culture yogurt from my previous batch (that’s 3 tablespoons and 1 tsp if you are using American measures), divide it up among the 8 jars and put them in the yogurt maker, put on the lid and plug it in.

Rather than sort through the vaguely mystifying instruction booklet every time, I’ve written out instructions of my own:

  1. Hit the “function” key. The display will show the temperature. The default is 108 and I find that to be fine.
  2. Hit the start button.
  3. Use the + and - keys to set the time on the display. During “winter” in Hawaii (temperature inside is usually in the 70s Fahrenheit, I think) 8 hours is just right.
  4. Press the “start” button TWO times.

And that’s it. 8 hours later, your yogurt is ready to be refrigerated. The booklet says most people don’t like it straight out of the maker; it needs to get cold first. I’ve never tested that, I always refrigerate it before eating. Warm yogurt does sound a little gross.

Whenever a recipe calls for buttermilk I often use half milk and half yogurt. Or half milk and half sour cream. Both work very well.