Kefir is a creamy, tangy and tasty fermented milk beverage that is more healthful than yogurt. It builds immunity and imparts a sense of well being. A daily glass of kefir is a delicious and fuss-free way to support your energy and overall health (unless that is, you’re sensitive to casein in which case dairy products are contraindicated). You can purchase this fermented milk beverage ready-to-drink or you can culture it at home. I hope you’ll try the later as once you’ve got the hang of it, kefir is as easy to make as a cup of tea.
You can make kefir from any milk, be it low or full fat, raw or pasteurized, dry or wet, cow or goat. Other milks (soymilk, almond or coconut milk) may be used but the grains will not replicate.
Kefir is in a different class of ferments than live-cultured yogurt. When made from a grain starter, kefir literally colonizes your gut, whereas yogurt’s bacteria are transient. Kefir contains major strains of friendly bacteria and beneficial yeasts not commonly found in yogurt. Its dynamic mixture of various organisms is self-sustaining from generation to generation, while yogurt weakens with each batch you make.
Traditional kefir is a remedy for many people with digestive disorders. It’s an excellent source of protein, calcium, magnesium, biotin and vitamins B1, B12 and K. It’s also an abundant source of tryptophan, the “relaxant” amino acid.
Because traditional kefir grains multiply, you can share the starter with many friends. You may use kefir (or fil mjolk) as a buttermilk substitute in baked goods or, further separate out the whey to make a soft cheese.
If you’re new to culturing milk, making your first batch may take a leap of faith. But, you can do it. And here’s your safety net: culturing makes a food taste better. Should a fermented food smell or taste bad—it’s probably bad—so toss it.
Authentic kefirs grain (not the dried, shelf-stable grains) contain the complete range of beneficial flora that only self-sustaining ferments offer. They’re available from G.E.M. Cultures and other on line sources. Or, find a kefir aficionados willing to share starter grains. Here’s one kefir chat group that’s been on line since 1999.
May you be well nourished,