Saturday, September 14, 2013

Milk Kefir

Well, I have finally ventured into milk kefir. I started out trying to use the starter cultures that you can find in the store. But, that got expensive since they don't really multiply well. I purchased real milk kefir grains about two weeks ago. They arrived last week. I covered them in raw whole milk and set them on my counter. Today, I finally had the time to do something with them. I may have left them a little longer than necessary, but they seem happy. They've multiplied already! As I said, I may have left them a bit too long - the kefir is slightly cheesy-flavored, but otherwise good.

I started off with a bit over 1 tablespoon of grains. I split them among 4 jars. Covered each with 1 cup of raw whole milk. Set on the counter for 5 days at room temperature.
They finally decided to 'set' yesterday and thicken nicely.
Today, I strained the grains from the kefir. Do not use metal utensils as the grains won't be happy.
Just allow the kefir to drain. Don't mash it through the strainer. You don't want to lose too many 'baby' kefir grains.
You should have thick and creamy kefir. It's about the same consistency as runny yogurt, but so much better for you!
You should have more grains than when you started. Mine multiplied slightly. I ended up putting some in another jar. So, I now have 5 jars on the counter for my next batch.
Milk kefir is very versatile and one of the best ways to get probiotics. You can drink it as-is, mix in fruit, honey or vanilla (or other extracts to your taste), use in smoothies, cold soups and much more. You can also use it in baking and other cooking in place of milk, but you will lose much of the probiotics due to heating.