Saturday, 5 November 2011

1-2-3 Kefir

To demonstrate how easy it is to make your own kefir and thus have a probiotic drink handy to make smoothies with or eat as a snack, I have documented my own efforts! Since this first batch with almond milk, I have tried coconut milk (a little strange tasting), and am now on cows milk. I think incorporating this into my diet has made it easier for me to digest other milk products. So I'm pretty sure this stuff is great news for others needing probiotics or help digesting. After it has fermented, cows milk will have less lactose and other nondairy milk products will have less sugar in them.

Step One: Gather Ingredients
Order a kefir starter on the internet. I bought six packets for about $25 not including shipping from Body Ecology. They say the culture from each packet can be reused up to 6 times, so after two weeks of rapid kefir making I'll use the next. This is available from other venders and perhaps health food stores, although I have not thought to look. Follow directions on your starter over mine, this is just an example. You can also get grains that will not need to be purchased again, they will be self replicating. (I prefer this for now to assure high levels of the probiotics I want.)

Buy a quart of milk or nonmilk. To be honest I thought coconut milk was a bit weird because it is so fatty (I tried using canned in a pinch), so that wouldn't be my choice. Perhaps try whatever kind of "milk" agrees with you. Another option I have heard of is coconut water. In my example I used unsweetened almond milk from Trader Joes. $2-4

Step Two: Add the Culture

In a pot I added my milklike substance and turned on the stove. Once it reached skin temperature, I ripped open my packet and poured it all in.

Step Three: Stir
Afterwards maybe give it a minute while you dig around for a container for the next step.

Step Four: Pour and Cover

Pour it in a container. All I had at the moment was an old yogurt container. You may need a funnel if you are using a jar. Leave a little room for air to get in for the chemical reactions to occur, ie. don't seal it up all the way.

Step Five: Snuggle and Leave it

With cloth napkins I wrapped my kefir up real cute. Ideally kefir should stand outside of the fridge at about 75 degrees. I have also stuck it in a crockpot on low before to try and get it to culture faster, but only for a few hours because it shouldn't get too hot either. You should find out the particulars when you get your culture.

Step Six: Check it

After 12 hours give it a poke with a spoon, trying not to agitate the rest of it too much. There should be a level of whey or thicker cream at the top, depending on various factors especially what "milk" you've used. Is it thick enough for you? Is it a little tart? No? Leave it for another 6-12 hours and try it again. Cows milk, I've found, needs a full day. If you leave it out loner, it will separate into whey and cheese that you can press the moisture out of and use in salads. Haven't tried that yet, but it's on the list!

Step Seven: Eat

Mmm delicious kefir with raspberries and a touch of Stevia. Add it to your morning smoothie with protein or green powder and berries or fruit. Add Stevia, honey, or your desired sweetener if you like. It is supposed to be a bit sour. Personally sometimes I like to drink it that way especially if I've been having Halloween candy or something like that, but it is delicious like vanilla yogurt with two drops of Stevia as well. I also like to add cinnamon to help me regulate my blood sugar to stave off a sugar crash after aforementioned candy. As I will describe in the future, you can use it as a milk replacement in many recipes.

Step Eight: Repeat

To make a quart this time add 3/4 of a cup of the old batch to the new one after you warm it up or about a third of a cup for a quart. The cycle keeps on going! Noe: My brand of kefir promises a total of 7 batches per packet, with 6 packets in a box. Some kefir grains will produce infinite kefir.

In practice making kefir takes me abut 7 minutes including making a mess pouring my kefir into the small mouthed glass jar I like with a funnel. I save a couple bucks off the supermarket price and gain valuable health benefits. Win- extra win!

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