Friday, January 29, 2010

Adventures in Kefir (also Sunday Stills)

How did this all come about? Well, one hears things...reads things...not even sure where... Then one day you're reading one of your favorite blogs and there it is again...kefir. OK, you think, since this blogger is close to home, here's my chance, maybe it's just meant to be. You see, kefir (a frothy drink made of fermented milk) can only be made with the use of kefir "grains". The "grains " are the starter and are a living mass that continues to grow and so can be passed on. So, to make kefir, and enjoy it's myriad touted health benefits, one must acquire "grains".

Let's see if I can shorten this story a little (it may be too late). This particular blogger lives in the same county I do, but nearer to my Mom. So I commented and asked if she (her husband actually) had any to share and could I please have some. She did, I could, and they delivered it to my Mom and Mom delivered it to me, and now I am documenting the process for all to see. (THANKS MEG AND LEE!)

Also, the Sunday Stills assignment this week is texture so I felt like maybe these pics could do double duty.

This is how I began--
  • clean jar
  • kefir grains
  • milk
  • spoon

Close up of the "grains". They actually look kind of like very very overcooked cauliflower.

I put about a tablespoon of the "grains" in my jar. I was only making one cup so according to my internet research this was a good proportion.

I then added one cup of milk. I'm sure fresh raw milk would be best, but I don't know where to get that. Yet. My research said to cover the jar, but not airtight, so I put a coffee filter over it with a rubber band. I don't what difference things like the type of cover or the use of metal utensils might make. This is my first time after all.
That was easy, right? Now I just had to let it sit for 24 hours at room temperature. You can let it ferment longer, but I was afraid it might get too stout (sour) for my taste.
Here it is 24 hours later. I shook the jar a little so you can see the change in texture.At this point, you strain the kefir into another clean container. (nylon mesh was recommended, but again, I don't know the consequences of metal use) The purpose of this is to retrieve the "grains".I found that a gentle lifting,stirring (NOT PRESSING) motion helped get the liquid through without damaging the "grains".Here is my first recovered "grain". You put these back with the others.OK. All strained. "Grains" in one jar, kefir in another. It is recommended that the kefir be well chilled before drinking.At this point I have not yet tried it. I'll run get it and try it "live".

OK. Here we go.
Hmm. Pleasant smell, not at all like spoiled milk. Tangy. Smooth, creamy. I think I could drink this! It is very much like plain yogurt, but somehow different. However it will probably be better in smoothies with fruit. I may try it with a little honey. OK, I just tried it with honey, and

In conclusion, I believe this has been a worthwhile endeavour and I encourage you to try to find some kefir grains yourself!

I just had the kids try it (the version with honey) and they liked it! Whoo hoo! We are just gonna be so healthy....

Off I go now,to make another batch. I have some more experimenting to do!


mountainmelody said...

wow! I'm not sure I'm that brave yet. :)

Shannon said...

What can I say? I like adventure:)

Stone Bridge Farm said...

Hi there...followed your link. I loved the post. I have been wanting to try kefir for some time now too. Where do you get the grains??? Maybe we could do a trade? a scoby for some kefir grains???'s a thought!

Shannon said...

Hi Lori! I think that trade sounds like a great idea! I don't know how long it takes the grains to really grow and increase in size/quantity, but I'll let you know when I think I have a shareable amount. In the meantime I'll probably be reading through your archives! Thanks for stopping by!

countrypeapie said...

So glad you are enjoying it! I think you're not supposed to use metal because it reacts with the kefir somehow. Lee always uses organic milk, but we have found a farm in Blountsville that offers raw milk. We have been meaning to get some for a while and just haven't had the time, but if we do decide to make the trek, I'll try to let you know and maybe we can get some for you.

Shannon said...

Hi Peapie! We are enjoying it,thanks! The kids actually like it in their oatmeal!

It's funny you should mention that farm in Blountsville because I just the other day found a site that listed raw milk sources and found the farm in B'ville listed. I don't know when I might get around to it either. Have you contacted them? Do you know how much they charge?