Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kefir prep - how to ferment milk. (and why!)

Find a kind soul with extra grains, which look like over-boiled cauliflower chunks. 2 big rules: don't touch them with metal and don't store them in plastic. Also, don't feed them after midnight. Wait, forget that last one; those are gremlins.

-Rinse grains with milk and drain.
-Pour milk over the grains in a glass jar and cover with a lid that will allow for expansion. I use a canning jar with a plastic bag and the ring to hold the plastic in place. I do a quart at a time.
-Leave this on the counter for 24 hours or until the culture mass rises to the top.
-Shake it to loosen grains from cultured milk
-Drain that liquid into a clean jar. That's kefir. It'll smell like yogurt with vinegar and maybe a hint of elmer's glue. Yeah.
-Put the grains back into a clean jar and pour enough milk on them just to cover. Loosely cover the top and refrigerate until next time. If it'll be a while, freeze 'em. They'll be fine.
-When you get big fat grains that ferment your kefir really fast, put an emergency supply in your freezer in case you kill yours, but that's hard to do! Or be an awesome person and pass your extra grains on!

Of course the big question is: why would I want to do this?!? Kefir helps balance out the belly, particularly beneficial bacteria and yeast, so that the gut can do its work absorbing the good stuff and fighting off or eliminating the bad stuff. I drink a few of kefir ounces every day in a smoothie with yogurt and berries.

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