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What Is Kefir and How to Make This Nutritious Probiotic Drink

By Edited Dec 4, 2016 2 3

What is Kefir

What is kefir? It is a healthy probiotic drink made from kefir grains. If you like the taste of yogurt, you’ll probably enjoy this fermented milk drink too. Like yogurt, kefir is a highly nutritious fermented milk product although it tends to have a runnier consistency, making it more of a drink. Many lactose intolerant people have no problem with kefir even if it’s made from cow’s milk.

Kefir is easily made at home, and because the grains keep growing, you’ll always have a supply as long as you keep the grains alive. Home-made kefir is chocked full of healthful probiotics. It contains at least 10 different species of bacteria and yeasts[1]. An 8 oz. (about 240 ml) glass of kefir provides at least 25 billion CFU of beneficial probiotics[2]. This is better than many probiotic capsules on the market and as a bonus, comes with vitamins and minerals too.

What is kefir - how to make it at home

Kefir in glass containers
Kefir can be easily made at home with just kefir grains, a container, a strainer and cow’s or goat’s milk. Unlike yogurt, which needs to be fermented at about 110F (approximately 43C), kefir is made at room temperature, bypassing the need for an incubator or a yogurt maker. You can also use milk straight from the fridge -- boiling or heating up the milk is not required. Kefir takes up to 24 to 48 hours to ferment and can be enjoyed right away or stored in the fridge for a cooler drink.

This is how I usually make this yummy fermented food:

Tools used: Container(s) with a lid, strainer with 1/8” (2mm) holes, blender (optional)

Be sure not to use metallic tools as the acids produced during fermentation may react with metal. Stainless steel is fine though. I use a blender so I can make a fruit smoothie with my kefir but you can enjoy it plain as well. Just strain the kefir into a clean container or cup. For the strainer, you don’t have to get one with 1/8” holes specifically but I’ve found that that’s a good size to for straining without the grains falling out.

Ingredients: 1 tablespoon Kefir grains, 1 cup milk, cut fruit (optional)

Any type of cow’s or goat’s milk is fine. Some sources have mentioned that UHT milk is not suitable for making kefir but I’ve used it many times without problems.

Instructions:

First, strain the previous

Strained kefir grains
batch of kefir directly into the blender. Sometimes, the curds are too thick and get stuck in the strainer -- just tap the strainer against the blender to get them out.

When you get all the kefir into the blender and, you should see the cauliflower-like grains left in the strainer. Pour the grains into a container, add the milk and cover. Keep the grains and milk in a place away from sunlight for 24 hours. I usually place mine in a dark cupboard.

Add cut fruit in the blender, blend and serve or place it in the fridge for a cold beverage.

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Comments

Jan 16, 2013 4:09pm
javrsmith
I have been interested in Kefir for some time since I heard about it. I'll have to try it now. Making Kefir at home is on my longer range to do list.
Jan 16, 2013 4:37pm
Introspective
I've never heard of Kefir, this is interesting information. Thanks.
Jan 17, 2013 5:04am
Klaartje_Loose
i like Kefir! And forgot about it, thanks for reminding me, I'm gonna get some new grains.
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Bibliography

  1. E Simova, D Beshkova, A Angelov, Ts Hristozova, G Frengova, Z Spasov "Lactic acid bacteria and yeasts in kefir grains and kefir made from them." Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. (2002): 1-6.
  2. "Microbiological, physicochemical, and sensory characteristics of kefir during storage." Food Chemistry. (2005): 613-620.

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