Milk Kefir is a cultured, fermented dairy beverage that tastes very similar to a yogurt drink. It’s made using a starter of “Kefir Grains”, which is a combination of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars.
Kefir and Yogurt have a lot in common but also have many differences. They differ in consistency, nutrient content, and how they’re made. Since Kefir is fermented, most lactose intolerant people can tolerate Kefir.
Some sites recommend that you buy Kefir from the stores. There are many sources that recommend that you prepare Kefir by yourself. My own experience was that I liked the taste of my home grown batch of Kefir much better than the ones that I bought from the store.
Here’s how Kefir is prepared at home.
The main ingredients are Kefir starter grains and Milk (preferably full-fat milk, and not the UHT varieties)
The process is very simple – add a teaspoon of kefir grains to table spoon of full fat milk and mix well. Add this to a cup of milk and let it sit out at room temperature in a cool dark place for about 24 hours. After the 24 hour period, strain the Kefir grains using a plastic strainer. Your Kefir drink is now ready for consumption.
Here’s what you also need to know :
- The ‘Kefir Grains’ are living cultures and can be re-used as the starter for subsequent batches. After preparing your batch of Kefir, strain the Kefir Grains. You could store the grains by placing them in a cup of milk and keep in the refrigerator. Stored this way Kefir grains can remain viable for multiple uses.
- The grains enlarge in the process of Kefir production, even reaching a walnut size, and eventually they split.
- As the grains grow, you will also notice that your Kefir Milk ferments faster and becomes sourer. If you would like your drink to be less sourer, reduce the quantity of Kefir grains.
- Make sure that the Kefir grains do not come in contact with metal utensils (spoons, strainers, bowls etc.). Proponents say that contact with metals can spoil the Kefir grains. They recommend that you could use glass bottles, wood or plastic spoons and plastic strainers for producing Kefir.
- While washing the grains, use filtered or distilled water. Make sure that you maintain a high level of hygiene while producing your batches.
- When you start on a new starter batch of Kefir Grains, your first batch of production may have an odor. If you are sensitive to the smell, then you could discard the first two batches.