Kefir

Is a fermented milk drink made with live kefir “grains” which are a combination yeasts and bacteria.

Kefir is much like yogurt except they differ based on the type of cultures used to ferment the milk. Kefir uses bacteria and yeasts in fermentation and yogurt uses only bacteria, primarily lactobacillus species. The consistencies differ as Yogurt is usually thicker whereas Kefir is primarily a liquid.

Kefir milk is a fantastic, nutritious food, it tastes great, it’s full of probiotics and it´s easy to make at home – If you like Real foods then this is another great way to take back control over your food and what you eat.

You could think of these blobby grains like pets, I´ve started to get quite fond of mine, and well, while they aren’t so fluffy and not that into cuddles, they don’t really ask for much and they give back plenty in return,  they also won’t chew holes in all of your new socks.

WHY YOUR BODY LOVES KEFIR:

  • Regenerates intestinal flora.
  • Cleanses the intestines.
  • Provides beneficial bacteria and yeast.
  • Milk proteins and nutrients.
  • Help digestion.
  • Minerals: calcium, iron, iodine.
  • Vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin D, vitamin K2, folic acid.
  • Kefir grains have a larger number of probiotics (50 or more).

As well as providing many vitamins, minerals and  proteins, with it’s probiotic content Kefir strengthens the digestive system which plays a huge role in strengthening health and wellbeing.

“A good digestion turneth all to health”

(Ayurvedic quote)

 

Agni is a Sanskrit term to describe the “digestive fire” that exists inside of us, breaking down the food and all the things we ingest from the environment. When our digestive ability, or Agni, is strong, we create healthy tissues and eliminate waste products efficiently.  According to Ayurveda, the five-thousand-year-old Indian medicinal practice, a healthy digestive system is the basis for physical strength, immunity and general wellbeing. A strong Agni will not only make one feel energetic and strong with a healthy glow but also help the body process and use the nutrients in our food as well as flush out toxins and negative emotional energy.

“Stomach, a slave that must accept everything that is given to it, but which avenges wrongs as slyly as does the slave”  

(Ayurvedic quote)

KEFIR PRODUCTION

Traditionally, Kefir was made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway;  left in the warm sun by day. The bag would be purposefully knocked by anyone passing through the doorway to help keep the milk and kefir grains well mixed.

Production of traditional kefir simply requires some starter kefir grains which are added to the liquid one wishes to ferment.

Kefir grains cannot be produced from scratch, but the grains grow during fermentation, and additional grains are produced. There are very few commercial kefir products on the market and that’s due to kefirs relative instability, sometimes it ferments the milk sooner and other times later, it can also die.

Kefir remains a mainly artisanal food and is mostly made in peoples homes and grains shared between friends and families.

 

HOW TO MAKE MILK KEFIR

The “Traditional or artisanal process” 

  1. Introduce the Kefir grains into a jar or non metallic container with milk at a ratio of about 2-10%

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  1. Cover with a breathable material while you leave it to ferment. I have tried all sorts of different materials and systems, cheesecloth, gauze or kitchen towel are all good choices. Its good to use a couple of layers if the cloth/gauze has a very open weave – The idea is to let air in but keep any critters out. My favourite container for this is a Kilner or clip top jar. The lid can be dismantled easily and adapted perfectly to ferment your kefir inside, they come in many different sizes which is great, as your grains grow you can upgrade to a bigger jar.
    Heres how:
  • Remove the lid and take the glass part out , keep the metal ring
  • There will be a small metal loop which holds the ring around the neck of the jar with pressure – Hold on to this piece as you will use it to hold the ring back in its place
  • Take your cloth or paper towel and cover the jar.Put the metal ring around the neck of the jar, there will be a groove in the glass that it fits into snugly. The clip part in the front is no longer useful so to hold the ring in place while you slide on the little metal loop.

    _DSC0544 kefir Alchemy making kefir Alchemy

The jar may be left from anywhere top 24 to 48 hours but some have been known to leave it longer, how long you leave it for is a matter of taste.

Some observations and recommendations:

  • The mixture gets thicker and more strong/sour tasting the more time you leave it. Its about finding your perfect timing/ratio according to your preferences
  • The cold slows the fermentation process so it will take longer to make kefir. If your home is warmer than standard room temperature, the process will be noticeably much quicker.
  • The jar may be agitated whenever you pass by it but its not totally necessary to do so.
  • Never expose the culturing kefir to direct sun.

HOW TO DRAIN THE KEFIR GRAINS

Ok, so you have left your kefir a while and now you want to get on with eating it!
And start the process over again.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Another clean jar big enough for all your kefir milk.
  • Not metallic strainer/colander and bowl.
  • Wooden or plastic spoon.

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  1. Prepare your bowl with a colander or strainer on top as you see in the photos above.
  2. The grains are then removed by filtering the whole mixture through the strainer.
  3. Now get those grains back into their jar (freshly washed of course).
  4. Pour in some nice fresh whole milk and repeat the process!

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The grains you have left over the Kefir community making your yogurt… say “Hi!”

If you suddenly cannot find time to drain your grains… Don’t worry!…

To take a break from making milk kefir:

Simply place the kefir grains in fresh milk with a tight lid on the container, and keep it in the refrigerator. The cold slows down fermentation and they can be left for several weeks.

You can repeat this process but change the milk first and your grains will thank you for it. I have successfully left my grains a few times with no problems.

You can also dehydrate milk kefir grains by placing them on baking paper in a safe location until dry.  Store the dehydrated kefir grains in a sealed container, in a cool dry place.

KEFIR FOR SKINCARE Beneficial bacteria for the skin

Our skin, regardless of whether oily or dry, needs a balanced PH level. Balancing the acid/alkaline is essential for skin vitality.
Thank goodness, that a Kefir, due to the Lactobacilli makes an easy treatment with PH balancing effects. A Kefir face mask perfectly cleans the skin from harmful substances and dirt, deep cleansing and allowing skin to regain vibrancy and elasticity.
Not only that,  Kefir also contains alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA) –  a form of lactic acid which acts as a skin exfoliate and balances  PH levels, helping to reduce wrinkles and smooth skins surface.
A Kefir mask also contains amino acids which are extremely important components for hydration of the skin and play the role of antioxidants.

A Kefir facial mask is suitable for all type of skin.  You can boost its effectiveness and tailor to your specific needs by adding fruits, such as avocado or berries as well as honey, egg and oils.

We love to mix with our Isis dry cleansing grains to a paste and leave on for as long as you like.

A note on Acne:

As we already know, Kefir helps enormously in the digestive processes, which is fundamental for skin health and wellbeing. Often digestive dysfunctions and the accumulation of toxins in the intestines show on the skin and can manifest themselves as acne and oily, reactive skin. Always analyze your body as a whole and treat your skin from within too and you will drastically notice the effects.

Mask for oily skin, prone to breakouts:

Take:
2 tablespoons of kefir, 1 tablespoon of honey. Mix well and apply over the face.
Leave for 20-25 mins.
Rinse well with cool water.

You may apply the mask and leave over-night. Just ensure you cover your bedclothes with an old cotton pillowcase or towel.

KEFIR USES:

Typically Kefir is used much as you would yogurt and can be consumed alone and it´s lovely cold from the fridge.
I regularly add to smoothies and if i´m short for time i mix half a glass with my hemp oil supplement,  like a mini-shot of goodness that you can further spice up with spirulina, barleygrass, pollen etc etc :)

Milk kefir can be used in so many ways, that I have decided to link out to our RECIPES post for more ideas and uses.

Does anyone have experience making Kefir cheese? Please feel free to comment below.

http://www.kefir.net/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kefir

http://www.naturalnews.com/024477_kefir_bacteria_probiotics.html#