Lactose in Lacto-fermented foods?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 03, 2012 at 7:32 PM

I use kefir whey as a starter for my lacto-fermented veggies (most especially beet kvass). I'm thinking of trying to eliminate ALL dairy to find out if I'm sensitive to it, and I'm wondering if that means that I need to stop using whey as a starter for my vegetable ferments?

I know that I can ferment without the whey, just with some salt, but I prefer to use the whey so I have more control over the fermentation process.

I don't know if this makes any difference, but I drain the whey from the kefir in a fine sieve, and then run that through a coffee filter so that there's only the clear liquid that goes into my veggie ferments.



on December 16, 2012
at 04:09 PM

Check Andrew's link below.



on November 05, 2012
at 02:09 AM

I may be wrong, but I assumed that some of the bacteria in the whey would be effective in fermenting the vegetables--and that the process would be a little quicker and with known organisms. Perhaps this is incorrect? I did the first batch without whey and it was slower and the flavor was not as good. I really like the kvass that I've been making with whey--great flavor!



on November 04, 2012
at 04:24 AM

Yeah, whey is actually superfluous--the bacteria in dairy-based whey isn't even the same bacteria that ferments vegetables. It's totally pointless. What difference do you notice in your ferments when you use/don't use whey?



on November 03, 2012
at 09:49 PM

I'm curious about your comment about having more control with whey. Can you expound on that? I have never tried using whey before, only salt, and never had any difficulty. I'm wondering what advantages you've had with it.

  • 3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

    asked by

  • Views
  • Last Activity
    1889D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

2 Answers



on December 02, 2012
at 10:07 AM

Why use whey in sauerkraut? It ferments beautifully with just salt. Worth reading this link




on November 03, 2012
at 09:57 PM

Yes, I think there is still lactose in the whey. How much varies, but I don't think that just a coffee filter would get the levels down all that much. I've never had a problem with just salt fermentation, but if you want to use a starter, you could try http://www.culturesforhealth.com/caldwell-starter-culture-for-fresh-vegetables.html which has only trace amounts of dairy (it says 17ppm). Since it doesn't seem like much research has been or could be done about the lactose content of whey from kefir drained at home, I can't say for sure, but I'd think 17ppm would certainly be less than what you'd get from home filtration.

And, that's just about the lactose. If you are sensitive to dairy, it might not just be lactose. If you want to do a whole 30 or something to see, may as well go all the way for a bit and see!

Answer Question

Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!