Kefir is an ancient food, originally used to preserve milk (before there was refrigeration). It is a great substitute for sour cream and has a tangy taste like yogurt, with the consistency of heavy cream. Kefir tends to taste tangier the longer you leave it out, when culturing.
Kefir has a crazy high amount of good bacteria for our guts. Sort of like yogurt on steroids, containing over 60 different strains of probiotics, whereas; yogurt only has 7. Kefir is a yeast culture (and contains a very small amount of alcohol) and yogurt is a bacteria culture, containing no alcohol.
I am not a huge proponent of dairy products, especially with the quality of dairy, these days. But, I would have to say, kefir is one of the exceptions. I would classify kefir as a superfood, because it is so nutrient dense. Not only is kefir full of beneficial probiotics, but it is also full of vitamins and minerals, too.
To name a few, kefir contains:
MAKING KEFIR USING RAW MILK:
*In order to make your own kefir, you will need to start with kefir grains to begin the culture.
Despite the name, they do not contain gluten. They resemble large cottage cheese curds
and may vary in color from white to yellow.
This recipe uses raw milk. If you don’t have access to raw milk, This recipe can be made with pasteurized milk. If you are using pasteurized milk just make sure you are using organic milk from grass grazed cows. If this is the case, there is no need to temper the grains, and you can consume your first batch of kefir as soon as it is finished. With this recipe, however, the first few batches must be made using a combination of pasteurized and raw milk, so that the bacteria in the raw milk can adapt to the environment. Otherwise your kefir will not turn out.
You will need:
Plastic (BPA free) or wooden spoon.
Nylon colander to strain curds. DO NOT use aluminum, kefir bacteria will die.
1 or 2 quart glass jar preferably with a clamping glass (connected) lid. Or, a plastic lid.
2 tablespoons kefir grains (1 TBSP per 2 cups, is a good “rule of thumb”) You can purchase your kefir grains online.
I use Kombucha Camp or Fusion Teas brand. Kombucha Kamp also has a great support system. If you have any questions or concerns along the way, they are there to help. They also offer the jars, thermometers and other supplies that are helpful, when getting started.
1 quart organic pastured/pasteurized whole milk (this is only necessary for the first 2-3 batches) see below.
1 quart raw whole milk
Pour 2 cups of pasteurized milk into clean dry glass jar
Sprinkle with kefir grains
Do not shake or stir
Close lid tightly
Store (undisturbed) in warm dark place for 24 hours.I put mine in the laundry room because it is warmer than other rooms in the house.
Strain curds using nylon colander.
You will want to discard the first and second batches.
Place strained curds back into jar and add 1 cup of raw and 1 cup of pasteurized milk
Set aside in undisturbed warm area for at least 24 hours and up to 48.
Strain and discard (or you can consume, if you prefer).
Pour strained curd back into glass jar and add 4 cups of raw milk
Allow to sit undisturbed in warm dark area for 30ish hours.
Once it has set to desired consistency and zest, it is time to enjoy!
Follow directions to preserve your kefir grains or reuse.
Once you have begun the cycle, the kefir just gets better and better with each batch!
You can drink kefir room temp or cold. Add it to smoothies or top with granola and fruit. Enjoy!
*When you first receive your grains allow to soak in 2 cups of whole, pastured/pasteurized milk. I prefer to use RAW milk when making kefir. If you are using pasteurized, make sure it is NOT ultra pasteurized…basically by pasteurizing the milk you are killing all of the good AND bad bacteria. you must “temper” (blend the two types of milk, gradually) into the kefir grains. The amount of sit on counter 74-82 degrees, Ideally for 48 hours. Anything longer will counteract the probiotics and anything shorter will not allow the fermentation process to fully complete and it won’t give you the full nutrients.
Kefir grains last indefinitely, in between batches, (directly from your last batch of kefir). If you are only waiting a few days you can store in the refrigerator in a sealed glass container. Again, never use metal, as it will affect the kefir bacteria. If you will need to store them longer, rinse and dry the grains and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Milk Kefir Unleashed By Kombucha Camp
Cultured food for health by Donna Schwenk