What is Milk Kefir?
Milk kefir is, to put it lightly, an acquired taste. Sour and pungent, milk kefir is a cultured dairy food originally from the Caucuses – the region where Europe meets Asia. There it has been traditionally heralded as an elixir of long life and health. It seems that there’s wisdom in this tradition: milk kefir is rich in beneficial bacteria, phosphorus, vitamin K, biotin and folic acid – nutrients that are essential to health and well-being. A single component of milk kefir – kefiran– may prove particularly beneficial as it successfully protects beneficial bacteria from damage in the hostile environment of the digestive tract.
Benefits of Milk Kefir and Kefirans
Milk kefir is strongly anti-inflammatory and may prove helpful in combating gastrointestinal distress caused by infections from bacillus cereus, salmonella, e coli and helictobacter pylori. Milk kefir is also particularly important in recovering from clostridium difficile infection and associated gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea which often accompanies use of antibiotics. Despite the fact that milk kefir is, itself, a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts (or SCOBY), milk kefir also acts as a powerful antimicrobial food – helping to limit the growth of pathogens while encouraging the proliferation of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract.
Ready in: 24hrs 2mins
Yield: 1 quart
- 1 tablespoon kefir, grains (looks like little pieces of cauliflower)
- 1 quart whole milk
- Put kefir in glass jar and fill almost full with the whole milk (organic, unpasteurized is preferable).
- Cover with a clean cloth and place on the counter.
- Wait 1 to 2 days, stirring periodically with a PLASTIC spoon (not metal).
- When thick, strain out the kefir grains with a plastic strainer. Don’t smash the grains.
- Place grains in a clean jar and repeat.
- You can cut down the tang of the kefir by ‘2nd fermenting’: After removing grains, put 1-2 slices of lemon or lime peel or a vanilla bean back in the jar with the kefir. Cover and let sit on counter another day. After removing the peel/bean, taste the kefir. If it is to your liking, then cover with a plastic lid and put in fridge until ready to drink. If not, let sit a little longer with the peel/bean.
- NOTE: If you run out of milk or will be out of town, place grains in a glass jar and cover with milk. Put a lid on the jar and keep in fridge until ready to use again (they should be okay for a week or two, but will need fresh milk to feed on then).
Recipe adapted from geniuskitchen.com