I too use whey myself and tend toward the "pickling strength" brine - close to 18% so I can age it safely. The night before we need some, I put a chunk in whole milk to soak overnight and suck out some of the salt. It comes out tasting great. I'm not sure how long you can age it at a certain brine % and keep it safe but I've kept some as long as 6 months before it disappeared into a salad or in a pesto. I'm sure the commercial industry has figured out that in order to keep it on the shelf as long as possible.