Making creamy cold fermented kefir at home

I like to make kefir at home. You can find many resources that teach you how to make kefir, but I know of a way to do it that is a little different. This article assumes that you at least know the basics of making kefir. I’m going to go over how I do it, but I guess you know all about how long to ferment it and what a properly fermented batch looks like.

Several years ago when I started making kefir, my kefir grains multiplied to the point where I could ferment a gallon of milk at a time. The problem here is that since I’m the only one who actually drank it at the time, and it only takes 24 to 48 hours to ferment, I couldn’t drink it fast enough. The other problem I had came in the summer. Kefir ferments much faster in hot weather. I lived in an apartment where I could easily get to 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit, and I usually went to my parents’ lake house on summer weekends, so I didn’t want to leave just a gallon of explosive fermenting milk. in the kitchen. We actually turned off the window air conditioners when we were going to spend the weekend and it was a second floor apartment so the temperatures would get a lot higher. I decided to try a cold ferment. The colder the temperature, the slower the ferment will be. Now, you can mix this however you want. You can start at room temperature to get it going, then put it in the refrigerator when it has reached the proper “done point” and leave it where it will continue to ferment, but at a much slower rate. You can take your time getting to it and you don’t have to worry about it exploding or turning into cheese.

Let’s go over the first part of the ferment, which is the basics of making kefir. Wash your hands well before continuing.

First you need the kefir grains, which are little white, rubbery-textured things that look like cauliflower florets. No one has been able to find out where the first ones came from or by what mechanism they were first created. They get bigger and a little bit falls off the bigger part and then those parts in turn get bigger in the milk until they have chunks that fall off and grow and it goes on and on and on. As far as is known, all the kefir grains on earth come from the earliest batches in the Russo-Georgian region of the Caucasus mountain range, where members of the Muslim tribes considered them a gift from God like the manna that fed the ancient Israelites in the desert even before that. .

You also need milk. You can use any type of mammalian milk, but the most used are those of cow, goat and sheep. I have personally made kefir with cow’s and goat’s milk. I prefer the taste of goat’s milk to cow’s milk and I also like goat kefir better, but I make it in small batches due to the high cost of goat’s milk. To make a gallon, only use cow’s milk as long as you agree with it and there are no allergies to bovine mammary secretions (milk). Where I live, I am fortunate to be able to get organic, grass-fed, I guess, non-homogenized creamy milk from Jersey cows, which is MUCH creamier and fatter than the more common and waterier milk from Holstein cows. Unfortunately, for most people they get stuck with homogenized Holstein milk mixed with BGH from grain-fed cows. Hey, use what you have. Kefir will even make the milk safe to drink, but you can go for organic grass-fed milk.

You will need some bowls and tools. I prefer Pyrex style glass bowls and plastic ladle and strainer. You need plastic and not metal tools for all of this. Also, try using glass bowls, measuring cups, etc. I also use a Pyrex style quartz size pouring container with a handle. I leave paper towels to catch any leaking pages, but you don’t have to. You want all your things to be clean. You also need containers to store the strained kefir. I use old, clean plastic mayonnaise jars. They are made of food grade plastic. Use food grade plastic or glass. This is optional but really increases the ability to drink. A kitchen mixer or an electric hand mixer. You should also have at least two large gallon glass jars with the snap-on lids and rubber gaskets. That is what I use. You can use any food grade glass jar or plastic jar. I recommend a large one to store all your milk and grains in one container, but I suppose you can divide it all into two smaller ones if the large one is for some reason too unwieldy. You will also need a large, wide-mouthed funnel. This is also optional, but we’ll see where it comes in handy later.

Put all your things. All of this assuming you already have enough kefir grains to make this large amount and that you were already fermenting at least once to make a batch. You should have either put it all together and fermented it then chilled it in the fridge to slow it down or started it at room temperature and then left it cold for a longer amount of time to allow your consumption to catch up. your fermentation or maybe you just wanted to take a break from brewing and drinking kefir for a while.

Take the pitcher out of the fridge that has been fermenting cold and, carefully on a towel spread out on a counter, gently shake or swirl to mix in the curds, whey, and fat that have separated a bit. You want it to flow as freely as possible to pour into the strainer.

Attach your plastic strainer, which should have holes large enough to allow the fat mixture to pass through, but not large enough to lose many of your smaller grains to the kefir. If the holes are too small, you’ll be standing there with a strainer full of kefir that never drains. You may want to experiment with some, but they have to be plastic, not metal. The strainer should also be large enough so that the edge of the strainer fits just over the edge of the bowl so that you don’t have to constantly hold it and that there is enough space under the strainer for the strained milk to collect there.

Open the fermented jug carefully because there is carbon dioxide that will want to escape. Hold the large jar of fermented kefir with both hands and slowly pour as much as you can into the strainer so that it is full. There may be some splashing and dropping when the grains and lumpy milk hit the lumpy milk. This is normal. Put the jar down and lift the strainer by the handle and gently rock or rock the strainer back and forth to stimulate movement and the straining process. If all goes well, you should have a colander full of grains and a bowl full of kefir. Pour the grains into the strainer in the other bowl, or just keep them in the strainer, but for now put the strainer in that other bowl to keep everything straight and tidy.

The next part is optional, but if you don’t, your kefir will be lumpy and the gritty, gritty texture will turn off many people, especially children. Additionally, this step will slow or stop the tendency of chilled, strained kefir to separate into curds and whey. All you need to do to mix them is to lightly shake them or flip the container over a few times, but still.

You can pour the strained kefir into a blender, but I prefer one of those handy electric hand mixers. Get a clean plate to put in between uses, as I am assuming all the effort up to this point has to be repeated at least once, and it will drip. Simply insert the hand mixer into the container of strained kefir and mix a few times by pressing or pressing the button. You can wiggle the end of the mix to make sure you get it all, but keep it pretty well submerged or you’ll end up with kefir all over the place. I know from experience. Now your kefir will have a delicious creamy and silky texture. You can add mango nectar or some other fruit juice or something to it at this time for flavor if you don’t like the taste of tangy sour kefir. You can mix each container that you will fill with a different flavor. If you do, be sure not to overfill it with kefir and leave enough room for the flavor component AND the end of the mixer. Also, if you mix in a plastic bowl or container, be careful not to touch or rub the bottom with the end of the mix. You don’t want plastic shavings in your kefir. That is why I prefer to mix it in a glass bowl.

I want to take a little tangent here regarding flavor. Once in an Indian restaurant with an Indian colleague, we had a delicious Mango Lassi, which is an Indian fermented milk drink. It was pale yellow and delicious. It had a mango flavor. One day in the supermarket I found some Goya Mango Nectar. It comes in glass jars and is quite reasonable. It’s of Spanish origin, and unless they don’t make a distinction, the added sweet component is sugar, not the toxic high-fructose corn syrup that affects sweetened beverages made in the United States. The lightbulb came on and I was reminded of the tasty mango lassi from the Indian restaurant. I bought some bottles and took them home and mixed some with the kefir until I found the right concentration for my taste. It also had the amazing side effect of my 9 year old drinking the healthy kefir drink, which he just won’t touch. Chocolate syrup (organic from an organic market) is also a popular children’s flavoring for kefir.

Well, after filling the jars with kefir and the strained container is empty or almost empty, repeat the pouring, straining and mixing process for this batch. Once your jars are full, you can now finish. I have two large gallon jugs, one that is clean from last time and one that I just emptied. If you only use one, now is the time to thoroughly clean the jar and pat it dry with paper towels. Your regular towels may have germs on them and you want to get the chlorinated water out of the tap. Next, you place the wide-mouth funnel over the top and use the ladle to scoop your large bunch of kefir grains out of the strainer and into the pitcher. When you’re done, pour a gallon of fresh milk over them, seal it up, shake it several times to inoculate the milk well, and then place it on the counter to start the new ferment. In about 24 hours, put it back in the back of the refrigerator for a week or several months if necessary.

There you have it, delicious cold fermented kefir. It’s also worth noting that a lot of times when I do it this way it’s loaded with tiny carbon bubbles that really make it the champagne of the milks!

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