What is kefir and why would you drink it?
Kefir is a fermented dairy beverage you can make at home using kefir grains. The grains look like cauliflower and are squishy.(Like my very technical lingo?) 

The grains are made up of a community of yeast and bacteria. It has more good gut bugs (probiotics) than yogurt. So I drink it cause it is full of beneficial bacteria, has antioxidant properties, and because it tastes so darn good!
Do not confuse the kefir you buy at whole food market near the yogurt with the kefir that you make with real live kefir grains. The store bought kefir tastes like a drinkable yogurt with a sharp lactic acid bite. Homemade kefir is sweet and creamy, less sour with a bit of a zing. 
See the bubbles?

Store bought kefir  is good... until you taste real kefir. Kefir you make at home using grains is effervescent, sweet with some slight sour notes, and creamy smooth texture.
I use kefir in place of buttermilk. If  i need yogurt I pour it into butter muslin and hang it for 12 hours to drain the whey. For cream cheese hang it longer. Easy peasy no?
So how do you make it?
You place your fresh grains into a clean mason jar and pour dairy milk over it. I like my kefir fizzy so I lightly screw on a cap. Let it sit out over night to ferment. If you prefer a sour lactic bite to your kefir let it ferment longer. Once it is to your liking strain the kefir grains out. Metal is not recommended since some say it upsets the balance of the grain colony.
What you have left behind once you remove the grains is Kefir! At this point it will keep refrigerated for a week. I make about 2 cups worth daily and drink it as soon as it is ready. You can add fruit and sweetener if you like. I do a quick blend in the jar with my immersion blender for a smooth creamy mouth feel. Drinking curdled milk is not appetizing to me so a quick blend really makes a difference.
 Once you have stained out your grains place them in a new clean mason jar and cover with milk. Repeat often!

where can you get real kefir grains? There are many sources on the internet like this one. I got my first batch in the mail.. It took close to a month to get a balanced flavored kefir. I have also shipped partially dried grains to friends but, it takes me a week or so to have enough to share. My first few batches had a very pronounced yeasty/ beer type smell and flavor. Eventually your grains will settle down and the yeast will be less predominate. Just enough to create fizz without smelling like sourdough starter. I drank it anyway. You may have bad batches every so often. I think it is the nature of live food. You can toss those or share them with a pet. My dog LOVES kefir and it has improved his digestion! ( he was on antibiotics and I never thought to re-balance his gut with probiotics)
Don't for get to enter my give- away for a chance to win a $50 store credit!


Sook said...

This is new to me. I will have to look for it. :)

darla said...

nice blog on kefir.
well done!

Chef Dennis Littley said...

I drank kefir for quite awhile, neve thought about making it.....I bet its a lot better that the store bought.


I love kefir and I'm really intrigued by how the flavor will differ from making it myself. I'm going to have to try this some time...thanks for the education!

(oh, and in response to your question on my post about who I suppose the Gandhi of our time is....what a great question, I've been thinking about that everyday since you asked. I'm not sure there is one of our time, his passion and devotion to his beliefs almost seem unmatched, but I'm still working on it) :)

symphonious sweets said...

thank you for your comments! I was not really sure a post about kefir would spark much interest. I highly recommend those of you who are interested get some grains and start fermenting! Let me know if you make your own kefir.
- katie