What is Kefir
Quite a number of people are familiar with yogurt and the various health effects it has but not many know that there is something even better. Kefir, which is also a fermented milk drink, contains even more probiotics that help us become healthier.
Kefir is produced with milk and tiny ball-shaped curds known as kefir grains. These grains are made up of billions of friendly yeast and bacteria which turn milk into a sour and slightly effervescent drink that looks and tastes quite like yogurt. The finished product is more watery than yogurt and can be immediately consumed, added to smoothies, or used to replace yogurt in recipes.
Kefir can either be bought from stores or made at home. A popular brand is Lifeway, which is available in many supermarkets in the United States.
Making Kefir at Home
If you are unable to obtain kefir locally or prefer to make your own, you can buy kefir grains or powdered starters online to start fermenting your own from milk.
Using Kefir Grains
Making this delicious probiotic drink with kefir grains is a very simple process. You will only need milk, kefir grains, containers to store your kefir and a strainer. As fermentation produces acids which can react with metals, it is best to avoid metal and use plastic or glass utensils instead. All you’ll have to do to next is to put your grains in milk in a container for 24 to 48 hours. Make sure the container is covered to prevent dust and insects from getting in.
The amount of milk to use depends on how soon you want it to finish fermenting and how you like your kefir to taste. Using a larger milk-to-kefir grain ratio will result in slower fermentation. I usually use about a tablespoon of kefir grains about half a cup of milk. This produces kefir that is a little sour in about 24 hours. Making kefir is not an exact science so it’s best to experiment with different fermenting time and quantities to get the taste you like.
When your kefir is done fermenting, simply strain the kefir grains out with a strainer and put them into new milk to make your second batch of kefir. The grains can be used over and over again to ferment milk into kefir. The finished kefir can be consumed immediately or placed in the fridge if you prefer a colder drink.
Using Powdered Starters
The process of making kefir is similar if you’re using powdered starters. These starters usually come with specific instructions for the duration of fermentation and quantity of milk. You also won’t need to strain anything out because there are no kefir grains involved. However, since there are no grains, you’ll have to buy new powdered kefir starters to keep making kefir.