Kefir for the Soul (and Gut)
Kefir, otherwise known as “The Gift of God,” is a fermented milk drink similar to very thin yogurt. What sets it apart from the average yogurt drink is the abundance of health benefits contained in just one glass.
So, what makes Kefir, Kefir? The secret’s in the grains. Kefir grains have been used for thousands of years and originated in the Russian mountains. The term Kefir "grain” is misleading, as it is not the typical grain associated with bread or rice. It’s a mesophilic symbiotic culture — which is a fancy way of saying it is a bacteria and yeast culture that grows at room temperature.
The culture is important to the fermentation process from which Kefir is made. During fermentation, lactose in the milk is broken down and released, leaving the slightly sour, probiotic-packed Kefir for your enjoyment. Also because the lactose in milk is broken down during fermentation, most people who are lactose-intolerant can drink Kefir.
This fermentation process produces good bacteria to help balance gut health. Kefir's provides a powerful probiotic boost to digestive and immune system health. Kefir has also demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and cancer fighting effects, is beneficial in lowering cholesterol, and is a great source of of B-vitamins, amino acids, protein, calcium, and potassium.
By now, you’ve got to be thinking, “I need to get my hands on this!” Luckily, Kefir is SO easy to make. You can find detailed instructions on our website here: https://www.snowvillecreamery.com/kefir-recipe or check out the recipe below.
Plain Kefir has a pretty tart taste and can take some getting used to, so try it first in a smoothie (perfect yogurt sub in any of your favorite smoothie recipes!) Blend Kefir with your favorite fruit, sweeten it with honey or pure maple syrup or spice it up with cinnamon or ginger! Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your Kefir concoctions.
Keep in mind that Kefir is a living organism and produces various flavors from day to day, season to season and milk to milk. It’s your world, we’re just making Kefir in it.
First is the care of the grains — Kefir grains must breathe to live - no oxygen = dead grains.
Do not keep them for more than a few hours in an air-tight container. The lactic acid that digests yeasts in the Kefir grains produce carbon dioxide, which will build pressure and blow off the top of a sealed container.
Culture the Kefir grains for at least one day at room temperature.
*If the Kefir needs to be refrigerated and unchanged for a day or two, culture it a few hours to develop acidity, and then place it in the refrigerator until you're ready to resume culturing.
Its important to use milk that is high quality and fresh. The fresher the milk is, the better the culture will be. Using milk within three days of purchase is recommended. It's also important to use milk like Snowville's that is minimally processed, low-temperature (not ultra!) pasteurized milk, so the milk can culture properly. Bonus points if the milk is unhomogenized.
After the milk has had time to culture, pour into a strainer or colander with a large bowl underneath. Using a rubber spatula, stir until the cultured milk has separated through, and the grains are left behind. Enjoy!
To start your next batch, place the drained Kefir grains in a glass jar and pour in your milk. Use as much milk as you'd like - more milk requires more culturing time. Stir the grains and milk and cover with something air-permeable like a coffee filter or cheese cloth.
Culturing will take anywhere from 20 to 40 hours, depending on the temperature and proportion of Kefir grains to milk. Kefir grows best at room temperature over a range of 58° to 88°F. Find a place on your counter to leave the Kefir to culture, out of direct sunlight.
Recommended utensils for keeping Kefir: - A glass jar hold that can hold one or two pints of grains and milk, depending on the volume you are producing daily. - A stainless-steel colander or strainer - Large enough bowl to strain the Kefir into - A rubber spatula is invaluable to squeeze the Kefir from the grains in the strainer and scrape every delicious drop from the underside of the strainer and bowl.
We'd love to share this wealth of health! If you want your own Kefir starter grains, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!