Back to Ferments
WHAT IS KEFIR?
Kefir is a fermented milk drink which stimulates the growth of beneficial microorganisms (yeasts and bacteria) such as those of the intestinal flora, making it a probiotic which helps keep the pathogenic yeasts under control.
Kefir is produced from grains which feed on simple sugars and multiply in millions. They’re a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast and consist of gelatinous white balls, clustered together, resembling a cauliflower in appearance .
Kefir is rich in vitamins and minerals - B, B2, B3, B6, B12 which have a direct impact on energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism, they help prevent infections and support cell health. Vitamin K, A and D calcium, foliate, vitamin K2, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and tryptophan all of which help keep the nervous system healthy. Drinking kefir provides a beneficial effect on the health of those who drink it.
Kefir has even been demonstrated to enhance the ability to digest lactose and lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. It’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.
For further information, check out the Kefir study links below :
TAKING A BREAK FROM MAKING KEFIR - Place your grains in a jar with enough milk to cover them and place in the fridge. They’ll be happy like that for a few weeks.
MAKING KEFIR AFTER TAKING A BREAK - Take your grains from the fridge, strain the grains from the milk (the milk is good to drink), use your grains as before.
When the grains are healthy, they multiply - TOO MANY GRAINS?
Share the love and give them to your friends
Make smoothies from them … (Recipes to come)
Give them to your dog, cat, chickens!
Add them to the compost heap
HOW TO MAKE MILK KEFIR
When using pasteurised milk to make kefir, it’s been advised to bring the milk close to boiling (do not boil) in order to destroy any remaining bacteria in the milk. Once the milk is just under boiling, sit the pan of milk in a sink of cold water until the temperature of the milk is around 40°c-45°c before using it.
However, I live in the UK and buy organic, pasteurised milk from the local milkman for making kefir and I haven't ever heated the milk and we’ve never got ill from it. If you are concerned, please heat the milk close to boiling when using pasteurised milk. It is not necessary at all to heat the milk when using raw milk.
I would prefer to buy raw whole milk for everything, however due to my budget, I only buy the raw milk for making yoghurt with.
EQUIPMENT : Avoid metal utensils and vessels for kefir making as the grains don't like metal
Large Jar(s) - use what you have, for example reuse clean, empty jars that once contained gherkins, pickles or mayonnaise etc.
1 Litre / 2 pints of Whole Milk (preferably raw, organic, unpasteurised but definitely not UHT)
2 x heaped dessert spoons of Kefir Grains
Add the grains to your glass vessel, pour the milk over the grains, leaving a little space at the top, stir with a wooden spoon, cover loosely with a lid and leave on the counter, out of direct sunlight, stood on a saucer to catch any escaping liquid.
How long do I leave the Kefir on the counter to culture?
It all depends on the temperature of your kitchen. In my experience, it may take just 8 to 10 hours in summer yet it may take 48 hours and sometimes even 3 days in winter!! The kefir is ready once it's thickened
If the kefir is left out too long, it will begin to separate into thick kefir and liquid whey. If it does this, strain it and pop the grains into some fresh milk. The kefir that's strained is good to use but will be super tart ... and in some cases cheesy - which may be better used in a smoothie!!!!!
INSTRUCTIONS continued ...
When your kefir has thickened, stir it before pouring it into a nylon sieve placed over a bowl. Use your wooden spoon to gently stir the kefir around and through the sieve until you're left with just the grains in the sieve.
Tip the grains left in your sieve back in the vessel they came out of and top back up with milk - there’s no need to wash the vessel between every use.
Simply put your bowl or jug of kefir into the fridge or decant into jars before putting in the fridge. Consume as desired.