Milk kefir is one of the most nutritious drinks. It is a sour drink that is similar to the yogurt in terms of appearance and taste. The good thing with it is that with the right milk kefir recipes you can prepare it right at your home. In all cases, culture is required in in order to prepare it.
- The Recipes:
The items needed in order to prepare milk kefir include the following –
- Clean jar
- Rubber-band, and
- Cheesecloth or breathable kitchen towel.
- Place tablespoon of the kefir grains in clean jar.
- Pour milk (about one quart) over the milk grains.
- Cover jar with breathable towel or cheesecloth and secure it there with rubberband. A tight fitting lid may suffice if you find jar with one. Label jar with time and date. Place jar on counter and allow it to remain on the counter for 24 hours at room temperature.
- After the 24 hours, gently stir the kefir. It may be thick or there may be some separation and both situations are normal. By use of strainer or sieve, separate the milk kefir from the grains. Use clean jar or bowl for the kefir.
The process of preparing kefir probiotic milk is as simple as above but there is more you need to know.
What is in the kefir grains?
The kefir grains can simply be described as Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY), which simply refers to symbiotic community of bacteria and yeast. The “food’ component of the kefir grains is the lactose and other sugars which occur naturally in milk. The culture process is aimed at transforming the dairy sugars in to carbon dioxide, lactic acid and alcohol in small quantities. The sugars also synthesize various compounds and enzymes during the process of fermentation
- Creating Right Environment:
To prepare kefir probiotic drink, you must provide the following so as to ensure proper fermentation.
- The Temperature:
The room temperature is ideal for the preparation of kefir drink but the optimum range is between 17.7 and 25.5 C (equivalent to 64 to 78 degree F). Although the broad range of what is known as room temperature works fine for kefir, if there is major change in the room temperature then this will definitely have an impact of the speed or degree of fermentation of kefir. If there is change of season, you may have to change the time. This is because warmer temperatures tend to hasten the fermentation process while lower temperatures have the opposite effect.
- Anaerobic or Aerobic?
There are various types of fermentation process, some of which need air while others do not need it. Technically speaking, milk kefir fermentation is an anaerobic process but you do not have to work so as to keep the grains submerged through the process, as it happens when picking vegetables. The Milk, because of its thick density, serves as air barrier and most of the kefir grains remain at the bottom of the jar throughout the process of fermentation.
- The Time of Fermentation:
This depends on personal preference as different people prefer different tastes of the kefir. However, keep in mind that allowing longer time for fermentation makes the drink more acidic and low in lactose. Recommendation for more than 48 hours is not recommended. For those who love lower drinks lower in lactose, the fermenting may be continued (known as secondary fermentation) after the grains have been removed.
- Choice of Milk:
You can use low fat milk, raw milk, unpasteurized milk, or animal (goat) milk but always ensure you use clean jar and observe hygiene to prevent entry of harmful bacteria. Avoid non-dairy milk as it may have very low content or not contain lactose at all.