Last week I mentioned my new found love of Mason jars and that I store my kefir in a mason jar. Well this prompted the question: "what is kefir?" The short answer is kefir is a pro-biotic. It is a fermented milk product that is similar to yogurt. You can find commercial kefir smoothies next to the yogurt at the grocery store. Kefir uses a different type of culture to ferment the milk than yogurt does. Yogurt uses only bacteria (primarily lactobacillus) while kefir uses bacteria and yeast. You are probably familiar with the texture of yogurt, whereas kefir is more of a thick liquid vs. the gel-like consistency of yogurt.
There are many health benefits of probiotics including kefir. To read more about the health benefits of milk kefir, click here.
You can purchase commercial kefir smoothies, but they are not cheap. Making your own kefir is cheap and easy- especially if someone gives you the kefir grains to start with. (If you are in the Atlanta area and want some I would be happy to share.) You could also purchase a kefir culture starter.
I received my kefir grains from a friend. Here are what the grains look like.
I make milk kefir with raw milk, but you could also use pasteurized milk or make water kefir.
The process is simple. Place your grains in a mason jar and cover with milk. I cover my jar with a coffee filter and rubber band to allow it to "breath" (ferment would be the technical term) and allow the CO2 gas to escape.
I culture mine every 24 hours (every evening), which means that every evening I strain (using a nylon strainer) the kefir into a second mason jar that is stored in the fridge. You could culture it longer, but the longer you leave it the more sour the taste.
Kefir does have a bit more of a sour taste than yogurt. Although I'm sure some people drink it straight, I find that gross. I mainly use my kefir to make smoothies although I do soak some of my grains with a little bit of kefir as well.
1/2 cup kefir
1/2 cup frozen berries
1 Tbls coconut oil (must be melted)
I love my magic bullet
Toss everything into a blender and enjoy!!
I admit that kefir is a pretty new endeavor here in the Team Bowen household. I've just been doing it for a few months. If you make kefir as well, I would love to hear from you and hear about any ways you use your kefir!