How to make Kefir
Kefir is a popular fermented milk with many health benefits. The milk is cultured with kefir ‘grains’. It has a refreshing sour taste and can be compared to a drinking yoghurt, but it is easier to make than yoghurt, and also healthier.
Kefir contains many beneficial bacteria and yeast, which colonize the gut with good bacteria. This will boost the body’s immune system.
It is also very easy to digest – babies love it.
How to make your own:
Place ¼ -1 cup of kefir ‘grains’ into a clean quart (1 liter) canning jar.
Add milk until ¾ full. We prefer good quality raw milk, but you can also use hormone-free pasteurized full cream milk. Never use Ultra Pasteurized milk for anything.
Cover with lid, but don’t screw it on tightly. You could also use a paper towel or cloth napkin to cover it with, and then secure it with a rubber band. It should be able to ’breathe’.
Leave it on the kitchen counter for about 8–36 hours. It takes longer to ferment in winter, and shorter in summer.
You can gently shake it a few times during this time.
The consistency becomes thicker and the whey and cheese parts may even begin to separate.
The shorter the fermentation, the milder the taste.
The longer the fermentation, the more sour the taste.
You could put the whole bottle in the fridge, where it will thicken even more. It will continue to ferment, but at a very slow rate.
OR: you could directly go to Step 4.
Screw the lid on tightly and shake everything well. Pour the kefir through a plastic strainer to remove the kefir ‘grains’ from the drinking kefir.
Put the kefir ’grains’ in a clean glass jar and start all over again.
There is no need to rinse the grains with water.
We take our kefir with us on holiday, but keep a spare-culture in the fridge at home. (Just leave the kefir ‘grains’ with fresh milk in a clean jar to slowly ferment in the fridge till you’re back. Strain the kefir when you’re back, and start a fresh batch)
You will notice that your kefir ‘grains’ will increase with time. You can give some away if it becomes too much or ferment an extra bottle of kefir or compost it.
The drinking kefir is now ready to be used. This is the part that collected in the bottom container.
It stays good for a long time, but will become very sour after a week or two or three. Our chickens absolutely love our too-sour kefir! It keeps them healthy too.
How to use your kefir:
1) Drink as it is
2) Use it in smoothies (I like to cut up fruit and freeze it in little Ziploc bags. Saves time A favorite combination is 1/3 peeled banana, few pieces mango and pineapple)
3) Mix 1 tsp – 1 Tbsp (5ml – 15ml) of organic ground flaxseed and little bit of real organic maple syrup in. This is truly a potent Super Food drink. (Warning: start with very small amount of flax and slowly work your way up to a greater amount). I use a coffee mill to grind flaxseeds and store it in the fridge in an airtight container.
4) Use it to soak whole grain flour for baking muffins, crackers and breads.
5) It can also be separated into whey and fresh cheese by pouring it through a strainer, lined with a milk filter and refrigerated overnight. Whey will collect in the bottom container and cheese will remain behind. Both products could be used in recipes.