Kitchen lab: Whey miso soup

Remember Bill and Ted? Of course you do.

Probably way too long after that movie came out, I met a girl named Wei. At least once a day, she got the “No way?” “Yes way!” routine from someone, usually me. To my knowledge, she never knew what the hell we were talking about.

Anyhoo, we just made some paneer, which is basically pressed ricotta. You do this by heating fresh whole milk to a low simmer, adding some lemon juice (about 3 tablespoons for one liter of milk), taking the milk of the heat and leaving it covered for 15 minutes for the curds to separate out, and then draining the whole thing through cheesecloth. It’s not hard, and there are plenty of blogs to show you how.

Seriously, it’s worth learning how to do this

What I’m concerned with is the leftover liquid, which is most of it, and is yes, whey.

Apart from this small amount of very tasty fresh cheese, most of what was once a liter of milk was now whey, and you don’t want to throw that out. It’s full of protein, and has a nice rich taste that you wouldn’t guess from it’s unfortunate resemblence to a urine sample.

Some sites suggest using whey for baking, for marinating meat, or for making smoothies, all of which seem like quite good ideas. We thought it had a slight fermented taste, which would make it a good match with miso soup.

We tried this using Misa’s recipe, just because it’s a really good one, but the basic point here is just to replace some of the water with whey. But first, our recipe:

Misa’s miso soup
– Start with a dashi made by soaking kombu and dried anchovies (niboshi) in water for a few days.
– Add dried vegetables: daikon, burdock (gobo) and seaweed (wakame). Boil about ten minutes until the vegetables are soft, and add frozen spinach and tofu.
– When almost boiling, add miso (Misa uses mix of Korean and red miso), stir and take off heat.
– Add dried clams, these go in last to keep their taste intact.

Today she made this with one part whey to two parts dashi.

The verdict:
Miso soup is a very delicate balance of tastes. Adding the whey enhanced these with what Misa described as the taste of more a fermented, more expensive miso. She describes it as a “luxurious” version of her normal miso soup.




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