Many fitness people who cook with whey protein powder think they can treat it the same way they do flour. Newsflash! You can’t.You have to always account for its particularity and cook it on its own terms. This is the case with most protein powders, but it’s particularly critical to understand with whey. If you don’t, the potential for failure looms large. Whatever you’re making can turn out rubbery, “cardboard-y,” extremely dry and, well, pretty much impossible to (pleasurably) consume!
Let me give you an example: protein muffins. The first time I made a protein muffin, I followed a recipe I found online. It called for three egg whites and one scoop of whey, to be stuck in a mug and microwaved for a minute. A child could ace this recipe, I thought to myself.
Round and round went my mug inside the microwave. Mesmerized, I watched the mixture rise and rise until it could rise no more. After the minute had passed, this monstrosity began shrinking as quickly as it had mushroomed. I removed it carefully, and my shoulders slumped. My muffin was as deflated as my ego.
It looked like a chewed-up plastic cake, the kind you have to pull out of your dog’s mouth after he’s been mischievously playing with a child’s cookery play set. That’s when I took my first bite and realized that, while the muffin tasted more or less okay, chewing it was like chewing on a rubber sole. Horrendous.
FLAT AS A PANCAKE
I had a similar experience when I first made protein pancakes. I mixed two scoops of whey with three egg whites and a couple scoops ofoats.
Result: A bland and ultra rubbery pancake that soured my taste buds and broke my heart. My second abject failure made me want to give up on the idea of ever again cooking with whey.
You will find a lot of recipes online for protein muffins and pancakes that, like the above, leave you feeling as if you’re eating a tire.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. It never should.
You can work with whey to create incredibly fluffy and moist pancakes. You can use it to make soft, moist, and delicious protein muffins, muffins that no one will eye suspiciously and bite with the unease of a vampire. Make muffins that no one will be able to resist.
RULES OF THE RIGHT OF WHEY
There are four rules you must know to successfully cook with whey. Master them, and become master of the protein universe. You may use these rules to bake cakes as well but, for now, let’s stick to pancakes and muffins.
Never-NEVER-bake or panfry a batter that is more than ¼ whey. This is because, naturally, whey has a tendency to go dry, rubbery, and “cardboard-up” (if you allow me to paraphrase Steve Spurrier and coin that expression).
You have to offset this tendency. How? By making sure that the rest of your ingredients weigh it down and add enough moisture to counter the whey.
You must always use what I call a primary moisturizer. This can be cottage cheese, pumpkin puree, Greek yogurt, or a cooked sweet potato. It can also be fruits such as applesauce, apples, bananas or berries.
You always need to have a type of flour in your batter. This will combine with your whey and give volume to your final product.
My favorite flours to use are oats, coconut flour, almond flour, oat flour, amaranth flour, chickpea flour, buckwheat flour or quinoa flour. These are excellent gluten-free, high-protein, and high-fiber flours.
Always use a binding substance like egg whites, whole eggs or a combination of both.
By following the above rules, you’ll be able to make anything and everything with whey—from cakes and muffins to pancakes and breads!
The more you play with it, the more delicious variations of your protein favorites will result.
Add nuts, seeds, and any additional powders (e.g. cocoa, maca powder, lucuma powder), spices (e.g.cinnamon, cloves, ginger) and flavorings (e.g. vanilla essence, orange peel, almond essence) to your batter too.
The sky is the limit to what you can make once you understand the basics of whey protein cooking!
Experiment with your combinations. Find out what you like and don’t like. Combine lemon peel with poppy seeds, cinnamon with vanilla, cocoa with passion fruit!
Try exotic ingredients. Be creative with your flavorings and remember to always build on what you learn along the “whey.”
PROTEIN MUFFIN RECIPES
Without further ado, four recipes to get your started:
ORANGE VANILLA WHEY PROTEIN MUFFINS
These muffins are so good they’ll make you want to break dance! (Or at least learn how.) I’ll never tire of singing the praises of vanilla and orange—it’s a combination made on Mount Olympus.
- 1/2 cup of Vanilla Whey Protein
- 2 Whole Eggs
- 1 cup of Oats (I used gluten-free oats, but any will do)
- 1 tbsp of Orange Peel
- 3/8 cup of Milk (I used cow milk, but any will do)
- 1/4 cup of Coconut Flour
- 1/2 cup of Quark
- 1 tsp of Baking Powder
- 2 super-thin slices of Orange
- Preheat oven to 340 degrees F (170 C).
- Blend ingredients together.
- Pour batter into five cupcake cases or five individual tins.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
- When the muffins come out: Spread some organic butter on one and then stuff another one withGreek yogurt. Both ways, these muffins are sublime!
Serving Size Per muffin, recipe makes 5 muffins
CASEIN FROSTED PUMPKIN PISTACHIO CHIA SEED MUFFINS
These chocolatey, pumpkin-packed muffins explode in your mouth. Their super-moist texture and great nutritional profile make them a great post-workout snack or yummy breakfast treat.
Bring some to the office for a happy surprise. Oh la la!
- 1 small Apple
- 1 cup of Vanilla Whey Protein
- 1 medium-sized Banana
- 1 can of Pumpkin Puree (400g)
- 1/2 cup of Oats (I used gluten free, but regular would do)
- 1/8 cup of Chia Seeds
- 1/4 cup of cartoned Coconut Milk (almond OK too)
- 1/4 cup of Pistachios
- Preheat oven to 340 degrees F (170 C).
- Blend all ingredients.
- Pour batter into nine silicone muffin cases.
- Bake for about 40 minutes.
- Mix casein and milk.
- Pour mixture into piping bag.
- If desired, top with extra chia seeds and a sprinkle of organic cocoa powder
Serving Size Per muffin, recipe makes 9 muffins
APPLE STRAWBERRY BLUEBERRY PROTEIN PANCAKES
What’s not to love about protein pancakes? If you haven’t tried to make them yet, this recipe is a perfect first effort. The pancakes are bursting with blueberries and fruity deliciousness!
- 3 Egg Whites
- 1 big Apple, cored
- 1/4 cup of Strawberry Whey Protein
- 1/4 cup of Coconut Flour (I found some at the supermarket!)
- 1/8 cup of Blueberries (added after mixing the above)
- Blend all ingredients except blueberries.
- Spray pan with non-stick spray and heat on low/medium heat.
- Pour batter onto pan in small circles and add blueberries.
- When bubbles form, flip over slowly.
Serving Size Per servings, recipe makes 2 servings
BANANA AND VANILLA PROTEIN PANCAKES
What a kicking post-workout boom! Throwing “never say never” to the wind. I confidently declare that you will never tire of this protein pancake.
- 1 small Banana
- 1 small (120g) cooked Sweet Potato
- 1/2 cup of Liquid Egg Whites
- 1/2 cup of Vanilla Whey
- Blend all ingredients for 2-3 minutes.
- Spray pan with non-stick spray and heat on medium heat.
- Pour batter onto pan in small circles.
- When bubbles form, flip over.
Serving Size For whole recipe