If this isn’t a red letter day, I don’t know what is. My husband, John finally wrote a guest post for my blog! John is an excellent cook and has been a huge influence on my own passion for good, healthy food. Read on to learn about his latest culinary adventure….
I am already feeling guilty that I have never written a guest post on my wife’s blog and if that is not bad enough, I decided to write about how we got hooked on a fermented dairy product named kefir.
I had been making our own yogurt for a while which includes warming up milk to 185 degrees, adding a few tablespoons of yogurt and then swaddling the pot in a heating pad over night. Once I got the hang of it, all went well and most importantly the kids ate it. It helps that I have a brother who makes maple syrup, which we often add on top. Although I came up with a number of tricks, I have found the process of heating the milk a little bit of a pain.
How to Make Kefir
When I read that the probiotic benefits of kefir were better than yogurt, I purchased a commercial kefir starter from Yogourmet at our local coop to make my first batch. The slope got steeper and slipperier when I read that I could make kefir by buying a living yeast/bacteria organism called kefir grains. Kefir grains look like cauliflower and they are somewhat analogous to a sour dough starter for bread. The greatest benefit is that they can be added right to the milk without any preheating and by the next morning the little buggers have turned your milk into a mild but tangy kefir (right on your kitchen shelf- no refrigeration needed.) It took a while for me to get accustomed to leaving the milk out of the refrigerator and trusting that it would not spoil until I learned that this living culture of 30 microflora actually keeps the bad bacteria in check. Each morning we simply strain out the grains, pop them into a clean jar, top it up with fresh milk and put the jar back on the shelf. For more detailed information on ordering your own kefir grains check out Kefirlady and for background check out Dom the Kefir Guru.
With this constant supply we have been making fruit smoothies, pouring it on granola and using it in recipes that call for buttermilk which included a delicious apple-oat muffin recipe and a super light waffle batter. I made a very nice strawberry kefir ice cream, have added it to bread dough and have recently started making kefir cheese using goat milk and cow’s milk.
The challenge is that the kefir grains always want their fresh daily dose of milk and they keep growing. Although I had plenty of warning that things would quickly get out of hand, I am experiencing the kefir madness firsthand. The benefit is that this very simple process creates a fun and interesting dimension to preparing a broad range of foods. Of all the things that I have read and experienced, I am most impressed with the fact that while store-bought milk invariably loses nutritional benefits when processed, it is possible to improve that milk and your health by using the kefir grains to transform it into a lovely, tangy yogurt. So now the hook: I am willing to do a kefir grain giveaway for someone who wants to try it out. Just leave a comment on this post and we will randomly pick a winner or two. The giveaway will be open through the end of July, 2011. (you must have a U.S. mailing address to enter)
Have you made your own kefir? Let us know how it works for you!
Would love to make my own kefir! Thanks! 🙂
Carissa Cason says
I make kefir using the starter culture, but want to get some grains and start making “real” kefir. We love to drink it with a few drops of liquid vanilla creme stevia, and I’ve also made a delicious ranch salad dressing with it.
Jessica heiden says
Wow! This is very interesting as I have never experimented with anything like homemade yogurt or kefir, but family loves both. It’s almost painful to purchase both in the store as they’re expensive and it’s the same ol’ story…plastic containers. I’m inspired to try it myself. Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge.
Jenn B says
I’ve been making my own kefir since this spring. Recently I had so many grains that I had to put them on Craigs List! Do you know if there is a good way to eat the excess grains?
I just started using Kefir in my morning smoothies, and was not only dismayed at the price, but also of the lack of an organic choice in the grocery stores in my town. I would LOVE to make my own! I’ve made my own yogurt as well, fairly easy, less expensive, and much less tart. And then strain it for greek yogurt! 🙂 Anyway, would LOVE to try the kefir ‘experiment’.
Jeanette Logan Cott says
We bought some kefir shakes at Costco and loved them. I just know they’re not same health wise as the real thing. I’d love to try the real thing.
I wanted to try making my own yogurt since we go through it so quickly but thought it would be too much work. With a 3 yr old and a 5 month old I would love to try making Kefir as it doesn’t sound too hard. Buying organic yogurt is adding up too. Is the Kefir organic?
Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!
I would love some kefir grains! I’ve been looking for some, actually!
Deirdre Holmes says
I tried making kefir once, but the consistency left me wary, so I didn’t actually drink it. I love buying it, but get discouraged both by the price and the added sugar. I’d love to give it another try. Thanks!
Thanks for the giveaway…would like to try making kefir.
I would love to have the opportunity to try making our own kefir!
Beth Pullen Cummings says
I was just reading about this the other day and wondering where I could get some grains. I would love to win some!
Kasi Andrade says
I’m already doing water kefir, which is pretty good. It’s like kombucha without the vinegar taste. 😛
I’d love to win some dairy kefir, but if I don’t would you be willing to trade for some water kefir? I’ve got some some madness going on in my kitchen too. 🙂
Sarah Milcetic says
A friend gave us some kefir a couple weeks ago to try and we loved it! I have been meaning to try and get a starter. It would be awesome to win it. PS Thanks for switching your feed to the full posts…I’ve been reading them all 🙂
I would love to try making kefir. I make my own yogurt so it shouldn’t be difficult for me.
I would love to try this – thank you for your kindness in offering this as a giveaway. Although I do mostly “from scratch” cooking I have never delved into making my own yogurt or kefir. I just started making my own sourdough starter and am giddy that I captured wild yeast – LOL 😉 Right now my boys love yogurt and I buy the big quart size plain whole milk greek style yogurt and mix it with homemade canned jam or fresh fruit/honey for them. But I’d love to give kefir a try! Thanks for the chance!
ariel bouvier says
I never considered making kefir. This something that I would like to give a try. I’m feeling lucky!
Jenn Sonnenberg says
My kids love kefir, but it’s so expensive here. I’d love to try making our own. Thanks!
My mom and I used to make homemade yogurt together years ago–like a kitchen science experiment. You’ve inspired me to start with my own kids. Would love a try at making kefir as well–so pricey at the store, but so nutritionally beneficial.
My Mom made her own yogurt out of financial necessity. I would love to try making my own too!
Veronica K says
I would love to try to make this, thanks for the giveaway!
Lisa La Nasa says
I’ve been planning to try making yogurt for years now, and never got around to it, because it seemed like such a process. I would love to try Kefir. It is so wonderful, but I’ve never considered making it. Thanks!