Kefir – what is it and how do you make it ?

Kefir is a fermented milk drink made with kefir “grains” (a yeast/bacterial fermentation starter).

It is a powerful probiotic and has numerous health benefits.  Benefits include relieving intestinal disorders, contributing to a healthy immune system and restoring the balance of friendly bacteria in the gut to name a few.

Kefir originated in the Caucasus Mountains and has been consumed in Russia and Central Asian countries for centuries.  It’s a popular drink in Eastern and Northern Europe and is gaining popularity all over the world.  You can read more about the history of of it here.

 Almost everyone I know who has been drinking kefir has benefited from it. I started drinking it in April and have hardly had a sniffle all winter.  You can read more about the benefits of kefir here.

I was lucky enough to get my grains from a friend but I see that you can buy it on the Faithful to Nature website.

And the best thing is that once you have sourced your grains the only money you have to spend is on milk. Quite a bargain if you consider the price of probiotics.

How to make kefir milk

Place the grains in a clean jar.

Kefir grains
Kefir grains

Pour in enough milk to cover the grains, stirring gently with a plastic/wooden spoon or spatula.

Cover with muslin (it’s very important that the grains breath) and secure with a rubber brand.

Kefir grains covered with milk
Kefir grains covered with milk

Let it ferment from 12-24 hours at room temperature.

How long you let it stand depends on the room temperature and personal taste.  I usually do not let mine stand for longer than 24 hours as it gets too sour for my taste.

Strain over a jug or bowl to seperate the grains from the liquid.

Straining the kefir to seperate the liquid from the grains
Straining the kefir to seperate the liquid from the grains

Stir the grains gently with your spatula.

Stirring kefir grains
Stirring kefir grains

Put the grains back in the jar, cover with milk and repeat the process.

Drink as is (it tastes like yoghurt) or use in smoothies.

Kefir Milk
Kefir Milk

I add cayenne pepper and turmeric to ours to increase the health benefits.

Kefir Milk with Cayenne Pepper and Turmeric
Kefir Milk with Cayenne Pepper and Turmeric

You can store kefir milk in the refrigerator.

You can also ripen the milk at room temperature for 1-2 days in an airtight container.  This increases the nutritional value, vitamins B and folic acid due to the bio synthesis of the microorganisms.

A couple of things to remember :

Do not to let the grains starve.  Make sure it’s always covered by milk.

If you are going away for a couple of days put the grains (covered in milk) in the fridge.  The cold slows down the fermentation process.

Do not use metallic utensils as metals destroy the microorganisms found in kefir.

Do not boil or overheat the kefir. This will kill the bacteria.

You can use goats milk, soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk or rice milk as a substitute for cow milk.

You can  make cheese with the kefir milk. I am busy with this at the moment and will tell you all about it when it’s done.

 

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