Tuesday, May 9, 2017

How to make milk kefir with kefir grains and raw milk

Making kefir with a grain is very easy, and in my opinion much easier than using powdered starter. When using a kefir grain instead of the powdered starter, you also get a lot more probiotics.

To make kefir with a kefir grain, just add your kefir grains to a nice clean jar. (I usually like to make a quart at a time.) Then add in your milk. Put the lid on and place in a darker area for 12 to 48 hours, depending on the temperature of your house. Usually during the winter it takes longer than the summer, for most of the time 24 hours will be just fine. You will know when it is done by it having a buttermilk kind of tang to the smell as well as a healthy yeasty smell, like rising bread or beer. It should also be at least a bit bubbly. Strain out the grains with a non-metal strainer. At this point you can rinse them in non chlorinated water but it is not necessary. Put them in a small jar, cover with milk and store in the fridge or go ahead and make another batch.

For a second ferment, take your strained kefir and add fruit. Either blended/mashed berries, or a lemon rind are my favorites. let set for another day and you have a tasty drink!

To make kefir cheese let the strained kefir set out until it separates. Then scoop out the top creamy layer for a delicious spreadable cream, or scoop it out and strain in a cheesecloth until it is even thicker. The bottom layer is whey. You can make all sorts of things with this! Some more popular things to do with it is making homemade sodas, and cultured vegetables such as pickles and beets.

When making kefir with raw milk it is important that you have strong grains. If you order your grains through the mail then you must soak your grains in pasteurized milk before putting them in raw milk. This is because the raw milk has its own probiotics that can take over a week kefir grain. The first time you make kefir with raw milk and your new grains, make sure you use fresh milk, that way the bacteria in the milk hasn't grown so it will have a lower chance of overtaking your kefir grains. If your grains are nice and healthy though then you should not have any problems. Often times I use the last of my milk from that week to store my kefir in or to make kefir with and it does just fine.

When you have made enough kefir, store it in the refrigerator in fresh milk for up to two weeks, changing out the milk half way through. If you still don't need a lot of kefir at the end of those two weeks, make a small batch or two of kefir just to help it stay healthy. If your not in the mood to drink it you can always use it in place of buttermilk. So for things like, biscuits, fried chicken, pancakes, or for cakes and things that the flour is soaked with the kefir overnight to make a more nutritious batter.

The reason for storing milk in kefir is so that it has something to live off of while its in storage. Kefir grains live off of the sugars in milk, which is very helpful for people who are sensitive to lactose or for people who are trying to not have as much sugar in their diets.

Cows milk will make the kefir thicker usually, while goats milk will turn out a bit thinner. If you use a lower fat milk it will not be as thick, and it will also need to be re-fed with some whole milk.

You can also use cream or half and half to get thicker more creamy results. You can use a tablespoon or two in some cream to ferment it so that your kefir grain doesn't get coated in the cream. If you do ferment the cream with your grains, just make sure to rinse them off, otherwise they could get a crust on them. The crust is removable though and your grains will be fine.

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