Thursday, February 3, 2011

What to do with the Whey after making Ricotta Cheese? Make Bread, that's What!

Since I made my first batch of Ricotta cheese about a year and a half ago, I think I've purchased one tub of Ricotta from the store. The homemade Ricotta is so much more creamy and I can make it as dry as I want by allowing it to drain longer.

I've made it several times since then finally settling on a water bath method posted by Gareth Mark @ Stumptown Savory. Using his method, the milk doesn't scorch...ever.

I prepare the cheese using a gallon of milk at a time, but instead of using whole milk, I now use 2% low fat milk, but I still add a cup of cream. It takes about 30 minutes from start to finish and produces about 2 pounds of delicious homemade ricotta cheese. But it leaves a pot full of whey.

I hate throwing stuff away. I do everything I can to use leftovers, bits and pieces of this and that, what have you....and the whey is no exception. So I went looking for what I could do with the whey and I found a recipe for the best bread I've ever eaten posted by Suzanne McMinn @ Chickens in the Road. Her recipe for what she calls Grandmother Bread is only 5 ingredients (warm water, yeast, salt, sugar and flour), takes just a few minutes to mix up, then you knead it, let it rise and bake. I substitute the ricotta whey for the water. Since I found this recipe, I haven't purchased a loaf of bread from the grocery store. I make two loaves every other week just because it is the best bread I've ever tasted. I know I'm repeating myself, but it's true.

Sandwich Bread from Ricotta Whey

It's wonderful toasted and the sandwiches made with this bread are to die for, even a simple ham and cheese.

Sandwich Bread from Ricotta Whey

When I make the cheese, I measure the whey 3 cups at a time into a small zip lock type bags and freeze it. It yields about 4 bags of whey, which will make 2 large loaves of bread per 3-cup bag of whey.

Oh, and by the way, I hope you visit Chickens in the Road for more wonderful variations of this bread.

Grandmother Bread
Adapted from Chickens in the Road, Breads, the Farmhouse Table

Two-loaf standard recipe

3 cups warm ricotta whey or warm water
1 tablespoon yeast (1 packet)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
7 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, combine warm water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Let sit five minutes until slightly bubbly.

Stir in first three cups of flour with a heavy spoon. Add the next cup of flour a little at a time as needed, stirring until dough becomes too stiff to continue stirring easily. Add a little more flour and begin kneading. The amount of flour is approximate–your mileage may vary! (I've used as little as 6-1/2 cups to as much as 7-1/2 cups depending on the temperature and weather conditions). Continue adding flour and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. (I generally set the timer for 10 minutes and knead for that long.)

Let the dough rise in a greased, covered bowl until doubled, about an hour. Uncover bowl; sprinkle in a little more flour and knead a few more time. Form into an even ball and divide the dough in half. With floured hands, shape dough into loaves and place in two greased loaf pans. Tear off two pieces of waxed or parchment paper and grease with oil spray (to prevent it from sticking to the loaves as they rise) and cover loaf pans. Let loaves rise for about an hour until they are tall and beautiful.

Bake for 25 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven. Makes two loaves. Recipe can be cut in half.


Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Hello! I saw this and repinned it from someone on Pinterest. I would like to try it, sounds delicious, PLUS I don't have a bread maker and you give the recipe with doing it by hand. Thanks for sharing!

Terri said...

Gloria, I don't own a bread machine either. I'm sure they're easier, but I like the hands on mixing and kneading. Just feels very satisfying.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tal said...

I made some heavenly ricotta cheese today, and my loaves are just rising as I thpe this. So nice to be able to use everything! Thank you for this recipe.

ang79 said...

Has anyone tried cutting this recipe in half and making in a bread maker? I have so much whey sitting in my fridge from yogurt that I've made and strained last week and I'd love to try it in this recipe with my bread maker.

Terri said...

Hi ang79 -

I don't have a bread machine and I've always made the full recipe, but I found this link that gives instructions on how to convert a traditional bread recipe to a bread machine recipe

Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

I cut the recipe in half and made it in the bread machine. I had to add about 1/4 c extra flour, so next time, I will decrease the liquid first instead. It was a high rise bread in the bread machine.

Anonymous said...

Husband and I made this bread today with our boys (5 and 3) using the whey leftover from ricotta we made together last weekend. We followed the recipe exactly as written and the results couldn't have been more perfect. The kids had fun mixing and kneading the dough, watching it rise, bake and then eating it! An excellent exercise in patience and using the resources we have on hand. Thank you for this wonderful idea and recipe!

Anonymous said...

Love this recipe! We used the whey after making ricotta, and we now have a new favorite loaf of bread to make anytime we make ricotta. I kneaded the bread in our KitchenAid mixer (using the bread hook), and it turned out beautifully.
Thank you for sharing this recipe!

Terri said...

I'm so glad all of you have been able to adjust the recipe to meet your needs. I love hearing how much you've enjoyed the bread. It really is one of our favorites!

Susan Carlyle said...

Just made ricotta yesterday and came up with enough plus a little water for four loaves. Superb bread! I wonder, if one could omit the salt, let the yeast, sugar and whey bubble up, then add a packet of Lipton's onion soup mix. Anyone tried it?

Bev C said...

Hello Terri,

I made some ricotta cheese today and searched the web and came up with your blog. The bread is amazing, my family said it was the best bread they have tasted.
The only thing I did differently was use the dough hook on my mixer to mix it.
Thanks so much for the recipe.

Happy days.

Terri said...

Hi Bev! Thanks. I made this bread again just last week. We love it, too. I haven't used my dough hook for this particular bread yet, but since my schedule is pretty busy right now, I think I'll give it a try.

Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Anonymous said...

Delicious and very easy!

Unknown said...

Would this work with whole wheat?

Anonymous said...

I cut the recipe in half and made it in my bread machine. I should have slightly reduced the recipe just a tad, it rose up and over the bread pan. Besides making a mess and having a little bit of a tough time removing it from the pan, it tastes amazing!!!

Angela said...

Hi. I just made 2 loaves of this bread and it turned out perfectly. Very easy recipe. Thank you.

Teresa said...

Thanks I'm trying it now. So great full I didn't have to throw away all that whey.

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