Milk kefir grains are live active cultures consisting of yeast and bacteria which exist in a symbiotic relationship. Adding the kefir grains to fresh milk yields a probiotic drink within 24 to 48 hours. This dairy kefir culture is reusable and with care, will allow you to make kefir over and over again. Once a batch of milk kefir has finished culturing, simply remove the kefir grains and place them in fresh milk.
The taste of finished kefir varies greatly based on the type of milk used (cow versus goat for example) and the length of time it is allowed to culture. Generally speaking, milk kefir has a sour taste and an effervescent texture.
There are numerous uses for kefir including making a type of cream cheese, adding to smoothies and drinking alone. Kefir can also be flavored after it has cultured and the kefir grains have been removed.
Kefir is a probiotic cultured milk beverage similar to that of yogurt and other probiotics. This means that inside kefir there are literally trillions and trillions of good beneficial bacteria. Once consumed and are inside the body, these good probiotic bacteria will literally clean you up.
Probiotics clean up the most crucial and critical parts of the body like the stomach by providing the body with beneficial bacteria. The stomach is where diseases from bad bacteria, viruses and other ill effecting organisms often spread. By effectively cleaning and restoring your stomach and digestive system to it’s healthy and vibrant state, you will quickly notice your entire body feeling much better.
Save Money: Make Your Own Kefir
- In the case of milk kefir grains, homemade kefir will contain a larger number of probiotics than will kefir powder (which is made with a powdered starter culture).
- Regardless of whether you use kefir grains or a powdered starter culture, making your own kefir costs significantly less than commercial kefir and you have complete control over the milk you use (e.g. organic, non-homogenized, raw, etc.).
- Reusable culture; makes a new batch of kefir every 18-48 hours.
- With proper care, the culture can be used indefinitely to create delicious probiotic rich kefir.
- Can be used with cow milk, goat milk and coconut milk.
- Milk kefir grains can also be used with raw milk.
Differences Between Milk Kefir Grains and Milk Kefir Powder
There are three primary differences between Milk Kefir Grains and Powdered Milk Kefir Starter:
- Kefir grains have a larger number of probiotics (about 30) than the powdered starter culture (about 6).
- With proper care, kefir grains can be used for many years to make kefir.
- Powdered starter culture can be reused for a number of batches (a small amount of each batch is used to culture the next batch). Exactly how many batches is dependent on a number of factors (e.g. personal hygiene, cross contamination, container and utensil cleanliness, etc.).
Powdered kefir starter culture has a smaller initial investment cost than kefir grains but generally doesn’t last as long.
Taking A Break From Making Your Own Kefir
To take a break from making milk kefir simply place the kefir grains in the fresh milk, place a tight lid on the container and place it in the refrigerator. The cold will greatly retard the culturing process and they can keep this way for up to several weeks. If at the end of that period you require more time, simply repeat the process with fresh milk. If you desire a longer break period, you can also dehydrated your milk kefir grains by placing them on unbleached parchment paper in a safe location (room temperature) for several days until they are completely dry. Then place the dehydrated kefir grains in a secure container (a zip-style plastic bag, glass or plastic jar, etc.) and in a cool dry place. They should keep this way for at least 6 months.
Storing Other Cultured Foods Around Your Kefir
When items are being actively cultured (and don’t have lids), keep a distance of at least several feet (and preferably more) between items. When your cultured items are being stored in the refrigerator with tight fitting lids, there is no need to keep distance between them.
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