Homemade Milk Kefir Recipe

Milk Kefir is a fermented milk drink similar in taste and consistency to thin or drinkable yoghurt. Milk kefir is a for more superior probiotic, though : while yoghurt typically contains 2 to 7 strains of beneficial bacteria, these are transient, i.e. they have a beneficial effect on our health while we consume them, but they do not have the ability to actually colonise our gut. Also, yoghurt doesn't contain any beneficial yeasts, which are very helpful when it comes to keeping pathogenic yeasts such as candida in check. In contrast, milk kefir usually contains over 20 strains of beneficial bacteria, plus over 10 strains of beneficial yeast, that have the ability to colonise the gut. It is thought that milk kefir originated in the North Caucasus mountains. The 'kefir grains' that ferment the milk (traditionally goat milk) are a combination of bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, fats and sugars. This symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (or SCOBY) forms white "grains" that resemble mini cauliflower florets. To make milk kefir, all you have to do is add the kefir grains to goats or cow milk (use the best you can find/afford, raw and organic is best, organic and un-homogenised is next). The bacteria will start eating the lactose in the milk, making them multiply. The milk kefir is ready when all or most of the lactose has been consumed. The milk kefir is then strained and the kefir grains are moved to fresh milk. With this cycle, you can make homemade milk kefir indefinitely, with spare kefir grains to share with friends and family as they multiply. Smoothies, salad dressings, soups, scones, pancakes and cakes, kefir ice cream, over muesli or granola, strained to make kefir cheese, are just a few examples of the numerous ways you can consume your milk kefir (other than just drinking it).

Posted by: michael
On:

Cuisine

Eastern European

Time

< 15 mins

Skill Level

Newbie

Serves

8

Courses etc.

Breakfast
Detox
Healthy Drinks

You will need

IngredientAdd
1 generous Tbsp milk kefir grain (obtain from a friend or through the internet)
1 litre full fat goats milk, ideally organic, even better, raw OR This item is only available in our high street shops. More products
1 litre full fat cow milk, ideally organic, un-homogenised, even better, raw This item is only available in our high street shops. More products

Need help converting measurements? View our recipe measurement conversion tables here.

Method

  • You will need a 1 litre glass jar, a wooden or stainless steel spoon, some kitchen towel, cheesecloth or paper coffee filter, a rubber band or a canning jar ring and a fine mesh plastic strainer (to strain out the kefir grains once the kefir is ready) : all scrupulously clean.
  • Put the kefir grains into the jar, add about 1/2 cup milk and stir very gently with the spoon. Top with the rest of the milk, making sure to leave at least 1/2 inch space to the top of the jar.
  • Cover with the kitchen towel or cheese cloth, and secure with the rubber band or canning jar lid. You want to allow the kefir to breathe, but keep any impurities or insects out.
  • Allow to culture on your worktop at room temperature, until the milk has slightly thickened and has developed a pleasantly sour smell. Milk kefir cultures best between 20 and 30C (68 to 85F). It usually takes about 24h, longer in colder temperatures and less time in warmer temperatures.
  • If you are concerned about any residual lactose, you can allow the milk kefir to ferment for longer, but never longer than 48h. Leaving the kefir grains in milk too long after all of the lactose has been used weakens them and will kill them over time. If you notice your grains stop multiplying or don't multiply as much, revert to a shorter culturing time to preserve their health and vitality.

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