No, that's not a misspelled street address, though wouldn't that be a great name for my future goat farm and bakery? You know, some day when I'm rich and I can buy a chunk of land, raise dairy goats (and cows, too, because I love cows) and make all sorts of cheeses? And breads? And other stuff? Sigh…….
As I mentioned in my previous post, I made a batch of chèvre recently. And this time around I saved the whey. I had roughly 3 quarts of it, which I strained and poured into jars and put in the fridge.
Now there are plenty of uses for whey, which is why it shouldn't just disappear down the sink after an afternoon of cheesemaking. You can drink it, pour it on your cereal, feed it to your livestock, and I think I read somewhere that you can feed it to your plants. You can add juice or honey to it to sweeten and flavor it, and I think you can even make soda out of it.
But I decided to use it to make bread. I had mentioned this plan in a previous post, and Kat mentioned that she'd tried doing that but didn't like the resulting bread, but wasn't sure if it was the whey or just a bad batch of bread.
Since using whey in breadmaking is new for me, I figured I'd go with a version of my most tried-and-true bread recipe. I've made it lots of times, so I know it works as a basic bread recipe. I figured it would be a good one to use to try out the whey.
So here is my ingredient list for this batch of bread:
2 cups chèvre whey
2 packets dry active yeast (or two scant tablespoons)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon salt
5 cups all-purpose flour (approximately)
Now, actually, when I made this, I started by making a double batch of a starter – I used 4 cups of the whey, four tablespoons of yeast, and 4 cups of flour. I mixed all that together until it was smooth, placed it in a large bowl, covered the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it bubble.
And bubble it did! The original bowl I used was too small, and I just barely managed to transfer the whole mess into a larger bowl before it overflowed. I left the starter to ferment for a day or so before I made the bread. Then, when I was ready to bake, I divided the starter in half, put one half in a glass jar in the fridge for another time, and poured the remaining half in the bowl of my large KA stand mixer.
So basically what I had (if you're using the recipe above) is the whey, the yeast, and part of the flour. I added the sugar and butter and another 2 cups of flour and the salt, and mixed that for about ten minutes on medium-low speed using the paddle attachment until it was smooth. Then I switched to the dough hook and added more flour, in quarter cup increments, until I had a smooth, elastic dough.
I put that in a bowl, covered it with plastic, and left it to rise til doubled – about an hour and a half or so. I turned the risen dough out onto the counter, pressed the bubbles out, kneaded it for a minute or two, then put it back in the bowl for a second rise.
After the second rise, I divided the dough in half, shaped it into loaves, and put each loaf in a greased, standard sized loaf pan. I covered the two pans with plastic and let the dough rise until it was about even with the tops of the pans. While this was rising, I preheated the oven to 375 degrees F.
I baked the loaves for about 35-40 minutes – until they were golden brown.
The bread smelled great, though a little alcoholy, which concerned me a bit. The kids begged for bread before it was really finished cooling, so I sliced some off (it still smelled of fermentation) and made them each a grilled cheese sandwich. The sandwiches were devoured without complaint, so I figured the bread was okay.
And once the loaves had really finished cooling, they tasted fine. The bread was very moist, so maybe I could have baked it a bit longer, or maybe that's just the nature of the beast.
I'll be making more today, and I'll let you know how that comes out, but so far, I'm happy with using the whey for my bread. Yay!