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Author Topic: Beginning with and Using Kefir  (Read 218 times)

Poppa Tommo

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Beginning with and Using Kefir
« on: April 03, 2014, 02:09:55 PM »

Using Kefir


Kefir (pronounced kee-fer) originates from the Caucasus Mountains in Eastern Europe. It's believed that the name comes from the Turkish word "keif" which means good feeling. Kefir's flavour is naturally sweet and slightly bubbly, and mild but a bit tangy as well.

It is made by fermenting milk (whether from a cow, goat, or sheep) using both yeast and bacteria. With a sour, creamy taste similar to yogurt, kefir is touted for its probiotic benefits.

Kefir can be easily made at home, but requires an initial acquisition of "kefir grains," the name for the small clumps of yeast and bacteria mixed with proteins, sugars, and fats. They look rather like cauliflower florets These grains can be used indefinitely if maintained properly, allowing for a new batch of kefir to be prepared each day.

Learning how to maintain kefir grains is a process requiring minimal time and effort.

Steps

Purchase some kefir grains. There are several ways to obtain kefir grains. The cheapest way is to ask a kefir hobbyist in your area for some of their excess kefir grains. Anyone who prepares kefir regularly will be constantly throwing out excess grains, as the yeast and bacteria reproduce quickly. They may be willing to give you some at little or no cost.


                       
Kefir Grains

Place the kefir grains into a glass or plastic jar. When you receive your kefir grains, you can choose to rinse away some of the fat solids if desired, but do not use chlorinated water. The chlorine will kill the microorganisms in the grains. Place the grains into a clean jar.

Do not use metal utensils when handling the kefir grains, as this can adversely affect the microorganisms' health. Use only plastic utensils.


I use plastic, flip top tubs. Two, actually because I ferment mine over two days for a stronger mixture, most people just do a 24 hour cycle.





Fill up with milk of your choice – I use unpasteurised goats milk but I’ve heard of people using soya milk, almond milk as well as cows milk. Cows or goats milk can be full fat right down to skimmed but, to my mind, you are taking out the full goodness if you go skimming off the good stuff.




Remember – do not seal the tubs as gas produced by the fermentation needs to escape – I just leave a flap up, it stops those little fruit flies getting in in the summer.

The milk provides food for the yeast and bacteria, and will keep your kefir grains healthy and active. Place a loose-fitting lid on the jar, and leave it out at room temperature for 24 hours.

Remove the kefir grains from the milk.


After 24 or 48 hours, I use a plastic sieve to remove the kefir grains, which will be floating on the milk's surface. Place them in another clean jar. The milk has now been transformed into kefir, which can be consumed immediately or stored in the refrigerator.




Pour more milk into the jar with the kefir grains.

The simplest way to maintain your kefir grains indefinitely is to continually use them to prepare kefir. By pouring more milk into the new jar, you can prepare another batch of kefir in 24 or 48 hours, after which you can remove the grains. Repeating this process endlessly will keep your kefir grains healthy and active, while providing you with a continuous supply of kefir.

If you don't need this much kefir, you can still keep the grains healthy in milk at room temperature. Instead of adding a full jar's worth of milk each day, simply pour off a portion of the old milk and top it off with some fresh milk. Doing this daily will provide enough food for the microorganisms to stay healthy.

You don't need to be concerned about the milk spoiling, even at room temperature. The beneficial yeast and bacteria in the grains reproduce so rapidly in the milk that harmful bacteria do not have a chance to proliferate.


Store the kefir grains in the refrigerator if necessary.

If you will be away from home and cannot add fresh milk to the jar for several days, you can place the jar in the refrigerator. This will slow the microorganisms' growth, and fresh milk only needs to be added once a week. Leaving the kefir grains in the refrigerator for longer than 3 weeks may render them unusable in the future, however.

The Kefir in a smoothie

I love mixed fruit smoothies in the morning made with kefir just add any fruit to your liking – bananas, strawberries, any of the purple fruits, peaches, nectarines, raspberries; any of these can be frozen and added straight into your blender. For some, the flavour of the plain kefir is a bit strong so making up a smoothie softens it out and makes it really fruity.

A point about liquidisers, here. Most liquidisers have slicing/chopping action but some (we thoroughly recommend a Vitamix) can emulsify. Basically the difference is a slicing type is rarely able to reduce fruit skins down to a smooth paste but a Vitamix type can and does it well, but not just the skins but also the seeds, so no more forcing stuff through a fine sieve. Also, opening up the seeds brings another dimension to flavour.




In the Vitamix I blend for about 1 minute – you will have to judge the results of using your own blender and adjust where necessary.
Now go on….enjoy your kefir.

« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 10:21:02 PM by King Tommy »
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Big Gee

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Re: Beginning with and Using Kefir
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2014, 02:15:10 PM »

Looking good Tommy - are you going to add to this with pretty photos etc.? I tried the link but the connection keeps on getting 'reset'  usf:-(

I'm coming begging for some 'grains' any day soon now!
  ThU5:-)
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 02:17:44 PM by Big Gee »
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Poppa Tommo

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Re: Beginning with and Using Kefir
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2014, 02:17:31 PM »

Hi BG
Yep but I am struggling a bit. I've opened a Flickr account with Yahoo and done everything you say: clicked on the img icon above,entered the url link and saved but no picture turns up when I view the post.. I'll keep trying.
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Re: Beginning with and Using Kefir
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2014, 02:20:53 PM »

Try another image URL (anything will do) just to make sure you're using the image tags correctly. If that shows up, then the problem is the image URL you are copying from Flickr. Sometimes they play silly little games with those functions.
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Poppa Tommo

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Re: Beginning with and Using Kefir
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2014, 02:49:54 PM »

Well we got there but I would like the pictures to be a little bit bigger really. Still that should get you all started on the Kefir at last.

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Re: Beginning with and Using Kefir
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2014, 09:49:04 AM »

Great write up there Tommy and have mastered the photos aswell  ThU:-) .
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ThU:-)LOOK CLICK BELOW TO VIEW DRAWINGS  ThU:-)

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Re: Beginning with and Using Kefir
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2014, 10:39:30 AM »

Don't you just love it when things turn out right and a plan comes together Tommy?

I see our five minutes of PMing yesterday has worked. Well done you - BY Jove - I think you've got it Ol' Boy!! No stopping you now!  ThU:-)
« Last Edit: April 04, 2014, 12:01:37 PM by Big Gee »
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Poppa Tommo

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Re: Beginning with and Using Kefir
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2014, 06:07:55 PM »

Thanks for the encouragement, guys (I include gals in the guys bit too). All I need to do now is get you all drinking that lovely stuff, you'll all be bright eyed and bushy tailed in no time....Squirrel already is, isn't she???

I split my kefirs about once every week or two, I've go half the local inhabitants on it so any spare I usually introduce the the compost bin.

So

Speak up if you need some grains.
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The Super-Smoothie
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2014, 10:10:22 PM »

I've decided to open the kefir recipes with the Super Smoothie.

After some considerable research into balancing the ingredients for the 'perfect start to the day' for me and the good lady (aka SWMBO) following our various life challenging ailments I have come up with a power-packed, immune system boositing, stamina supporting breakfast in a glass.

Just so's you see where I am coming from, I and the good lady both suffered serious setbacks in terms of having cancers, treatments for same and, thereby, compromised immune systems.

Over the 6 years since all this came about we decided to do all we could to help our battered bodies to make the most of the uncertainties that our lives ahead held for us. We both have to take various medication and this drink helps line the stomach and mitigate against vitamin and mineral depletion. Just out of interest daily living with all it's stresses and pollution robs us of those precious vitamins and minerals too.

Enter Kefir and Kombucha. For now I will concentrate on Kefir.

I am going to assume that you have read the introduction, if not, go there now and then return to this post.

So, here we are.

I brew my Kefir for two days - this converts the basic ingredients in the chosen milk base (un-pasteurised goats milk for us) into more of the amino acids, vitamins and minerals needed by our bodies.

Two tubs rotated-over two days means that you have 2 cultures in two tubs. Use one for the current day's smoothie, top it up with fresh milk and then overlap them each day. This way you are always using a culture that is 2 days old.

Ingredients
These are selected for their precious, health giving properties in a balanced and complementary way.

Strawberries, frozen from last years allotment, so, organic and frozen within 30 minutes of picking. Strawberries are rich in folic acid. Two or three into the liquidiser.

Blueberries - also home grown and frozen, a rich in those 'blue fruit' antioxidants  -small handful.

Bananas - I use de-hydrated slices that I do myself (that'll be another post under 'Preserving') which means that additional sugar coatings are avoided.- equivalent of half a banana per person - rich in potassium and natural sugar

Pineapple pieces, also dehydrated ourselves. Boosts the immune system, nourishes hair and cleanses the body. About the equivalent of one pineapple slice.

Peach slices - frozen from the glut season Peaches, plums and nectarines have bioactive compounds that can potentially fight-off obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to new studies. About half a peach or nectarine.

Raspberries - frozen from our own allotment. They may be little, but boysenberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and cranberries are big on antioxidants. Small handful.

Brazil nuts - 3 of these provide you with all the RDA of selenium .Brazil nuts are rich in mono-unsaturated fats and selenium. Both these compounds help prevent coronary artery disease by lowering LDL cholesterol.

Macadamia nuts - excellent source of natural unsaturated fats and omega 3.  The nuts are rich source of mono-unsaturated fatty (MUF) like oleic acid (18:1) and palmitoleic acids (16:1). Studies suggest that MUF fats in the diet help lower total as well as LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels in the blood. The Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fiber, MUF fats and antioxidants work favorably in maintaining healthy blood lipid profile and thus offer protection from coronary artery disease and strokes. Use about 5 nuts.

Whole Almonds - loaded with minerals, one of the most nutritious of tree nuts. Uses about 10 nuts.

Organic oats - all agricultural grains contain phytase, a substance which bind up various minerals from being digested by humans. I soak about a tablespoon of oats in 2-day-old strained kefir overnight so that the phytase is neutralised, thereby, enabling absorption of the essential minerals. Oats are proven to help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.

Buckwheat Flour -  It has a high content of fiber and protein, and significant amounts of iron and magnesium. Besides, it contains all the eight essential amino acids. Buckwheat is also packed with phyto nutrients which are amazing disease fighting organic components. The several health benefits of buckwheat can be attributed to its amazing nutritional profile. Use about 1teaspoon In the overnight oat and kefir mix.

Of course you can add whatever you like but this as a daily regime has proved to us to be an excellent start to the day, giving stamina and sustenance well into lunch time. Almost eliminating the need for elevensies, biscuits, etc.

All this lot goes into a liquidiser or blender. I usually blend for 1 minute to ensure a creamy consistency, this is purely subjective, as is the proportion of ingredients. Please, make a drink that you like. Adding or omitting as you desire.

I sincerely hope that you feel the benefits as we have.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 11:07:26 PM by King Tommy »
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Btoe

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Re: Beginning with and Using Kefir
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2014, 11:19:50 PM »

KT, I think I've killed my Kefir grains. I had went on holiday and left them as suggested in the milk and placed it in the fridge. I have made one batch since coming home but it smelt horrible, looked as it it had split and yellowy liquid on the bottom and cheese on the top. I have since removed the kefir grains and tried cleaning them in spring water and put them back into milk but nothing seems to be happening. Have I killed them??  spf:-(
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Re: Beginning with and Using Kefir
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2014, 11:13:34 AM »

Tommo is the kefir expert Btoe. It sounds to me as if they may have become contaminated with some other 'iffy' bacterium. But don't take my word for it, I'm just going by my experienbce with kombucha SCOBYs. They can get contaminated sometimes with stray mould spores that may be floating around in the air. They also stop working when that happens and often land up with 'funny' smelling problems. I would scrap the grains you have & start afresh. Hoever wait till Tommo responds - maybe he can shed a better light on things. It's always best to 'if in doubt - leave it out' you don't want to play with something which may cause harm.

I can get grains to you in a few days or if I can't I'm sure someone else who makes kefir on here can provide fresh grains pretty quickly.
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Poppa Tommo

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Re: Beginning with and Using Kefir
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2014, 11:15:35 AM »

Usually, leaving them in the fridge just covered with milk (or water is fine too) for up to a week or so, so I'm surprised that they might have died.

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KT, I think I've killed my Kefir grains. I had went on holiday and left them as suggested in the milk and placed it in the fridge.   spf:-(

Giving them a good rinse out - tap water is fine usually - should work so give them another go by rinsing, cleaning the container and with some fresh milk.

At this time of year when the ambient temperature is warm the milk will split quite quickly. I leave mine to ferment for 2 days by which time there is a clear separation betweent the curds and whey and you'd think that it has all gone wrong, but no, it has just continued to do its job. I still strain that out and use it.

If, on the other hand it smells really bad and not just 'cheesy' then trust your nose and your instincts.

If you need a replacement I'm quite happy to send you some but you will have to wait a week or so as I have just split mine. Although someone else on here might have some sooner.
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Re: Beginning with and Using Kefir
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2014, 02:04:04 PM »

Thanks guys, the grains themselves still look ok. After I washed them, I put them into fresh milk so hopefully today fingers crossed I'll have a happy outcome. I'd grown quite attached to them lol. I must admit I had tried leaving them 24 hours and tried the 48 hour time basically found I liked the longer flavoured Kefir. I did wonder about the temperatures recently and if too warm if there would have been an affect on the kefir. I'll let you know how its went when I get home. Thanks again guys  chrs:-)
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Re: Beginning with and Using Kefir
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2014, 02:06:51 PM »

It's to the Tomato King the thanks are due Btoe! He also doubles up as our kefir guru on here!!  ROL :-))
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Re: Beginning with and Using Kefir
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2014, 02:16:10 PM »

TBH, Tommo described it to a 'T' and it was the level ofseparation that threw me into thinking that I'd killed it. My wife was quite miffed when I told that I thought that I'd done it in. Heres hoping now  ThU32:-)
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Poppa Tommo

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Re: Beginning with and Using Kefir
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2014, 02:39:46 PM »

Gosh, such kind words...glad to have been of some help.

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Re: Beginning with and Using Kefir
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2014, 06:23:25 PM »

Quit the false modesty 'Tomato Man' - I'm not that nice in big doses (got to say that to save my reputation - members on here will think I'm going soft instead of grumpy in my old age!!!)  CW ;-)
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