03 October 2007

Kefir

Several people asked about my kefir experiment. I haven't tried making real kefir yet with kefir grains because they can be a little hard to get (I have found someone who might be able to give me some soon though), so I've only tried the Yogourmet kefir starter. And since it produces kefir that I am totally satisfied with, I'll probably stick with that unless I get the grains and they are amazing.

It's easy, easy, easy to make with the freeze-dried starter. You just mix the starter with room temperature milk (I mixes up some powdered milk, like I always do for yogurt, so I didn't have to reheat the milk) and let it sit for 18-24 hours on the counter. Then stick it in the fridge overnight and stir it up in the morning and enjoy. Save about 1/4 c of the original batch to start your next liter of kefir (apparently you can do this about 7 times, which is pretty reasonable). You can also make kefir cheese if you let it incubate a little longer till the curds and whey separate; drain it in cheesecloth like you do for yogurt cheese or paneer.

And what is kefir, you might ask? It's a cultured milk product that originated in the Caucasus. Like yogurt, people sing the praises of its health benefits (especially the probiotics), but I just make it because I like to drink it. The boys like it in smoothies better since it is pretty sour. You can also use it in recipes in place of buttermilk, if you like. Kefir tastes the way buttermilk should taste, in my opinion. And if you live in Central Asia, you might be able to buy more reliable kefir than milk.

And how do you pronounce kefir? I've always said keh-fear, as they do in Russia, but when I started asking for kefir started in Utah, no one knew what I was talking about till I said KEY-fur. Ick. Of course, most people didn't know what I was talking about anyway.

5 comments:

PinkDamselfy said...

I don't know where you are or even WHO you are, but I grow Kefir grains and know where you can probably get some for free or if you want to pay for them, I know where you can get them very inexpensively grown on organic goat's milk.

Halima

Amira said...

I've found a few people in my city who are happy to share their grains, so I think I'm set. Thank you though.

Nyura said...

Did you ever try kefir with the live grains? I've got some on the way, and am curious about using powdered milk -- does it really work as well?

BTW, I was stunned when I asked about kuh-FEER grains at the local food co-op and was corrected to KEY-fer. Blimey!

Amira said...

I still haven't tried the live grains. I ought to, but since it's so easy to use the starter, I just haven't gotten around to it.

I use powdered milk for both yogurt and kefir and I don't have a problem with it. In fact, it's easier to use because you don't have to boil it first like you do with regular milk. I do use non-instant, which has less powdered milk flavor to it, I think. But if powdered milk gets more expensive than fresh milk, I'll use fresh.

Maybe we'll have to start going to health food stores and asking for kefir the right way and correcting them.

Ellie said...

I use grains and it's really wonderful.

The grains work better in fresh milk. And when you use grains, there's no boiling necessary. Also, no boiling necessary with a live yogurt starter. Just plop it in the milk and sit it in a warm place until it's ready.