Kefir, fermented milk offers a good source of probiotics. The cauliflower-like grains are used as a starter and added to fresh milk. Fortunately the process of making homemade kefir is easy and affordable.
What is kefir and where they originated from?
Kefir provides a large part of the diet of the mountaineers of the Caucasus, famous for their longevity. It is also known for its amazing healing powers.
One of the first researchers of kefir, V.V. Podvysotsky, came to the conclusion that the kefir grains were an accidental creation due to the change in starter product. When the tribes from Central Asia steppes moved into Caucasus Mountain, they brought their cultured drink kumis, which is a fermented mare’s milk. In due course, the horse milk was replaced by more prevalent cow’s milk and the magical amalgamation happened.
For the first time, the benefits of kefir were officially discussed in the middle of the 19th century. The Tiflis doctor Dzogin told his colleagues in the Caucasian Medical Society about it in 1867. Gradually the rumor about the healing properties of the drink spread far, beyond the Caucasus mountain and even beyond the Russian Empire.
Today thanks to that phenomenon people around the world enjoy kefir drinks.
How to make kefir at home?
Making kefir literally takes 5 minutes. All you need for homemade kefir is:
- Kefir grain
- Clean glass jar.
Put the kefir grains in a jar and add the milk but not all the way to the top. Leave some room for expansion.
Loosely cover the jar with a towel or cheesecloth. I use coffee filters and secure them with a rubber band. Leave the jar at room temperature for 24 hours away from direct sunlight.
After 24 hours you will see that milk has separated. That means that the fermentation has happened. Stir the kefir mixture with a non reactive spoon and run through a strainer into a clean container.
The strainer will catch the grains and let the liquid kefir go through. Pour the kefir into a clean class jar with a lid and stored in the fridge.
Wash the jar, transfer the grains into the jar, add the milk and repeat the process. You can repeat these step for as many days as you want. But when you are ready to take a break, cover the grains with milk and store them in the fridge. And since the grains are a living culture, you might need to feed them every week with milk.
After a while your grain bank will grow and you will have more grains that you need. There are numerous suggestions for excess grain use. You can add a tablespoon to the smoothies and blend with berries, some give to their pets, use in the garden, or share with others.
Homemade Kefir -Fermented Milk Drink
- 5 tablespoon Active Milk Kefir Grains
- 5 cups Whole Milk
- Place your active kefir grains in a clean glass jar.
- Add the whole and give it a gentle stir with a wooden or plastic spoon.
- Cover your jar with a cheesecloth or a napkin securing it with a rubber band.
- Leave the jar on a cupboard or a counter at room temperature for 12-24 hours. The kefir is ready when pockets of whey start to appear, and the milk has thickened considerably.
- Set a fine sieve over a glass bowl. Gently stir the fermented milk kefir with a rubber spatula and strain the whole thing. Use the spatula to push the kefir through the stainer. The grains will stay behind.
- Retain the grains for your next batch of milk kefir.
- Pour the finished milk kefir into a new clean glass jar and close it with the lid.
- The grains are ready to use again or stored in the fridge by adding enough milk to cover the grains.