Saturday, March 15, 2014

Milk Kefir DIY Simple

After running to every health food store within a 50 mile radius, I decided to bite the bullet and order a kefir culture through the mail. Be careful what you buy. The box type doesn't regrow.

I was tired of running 20 miles to the nearest store that sold ready made plain kefir. The crap at the grocery store is flavored with unappetizing additives.

When my kefir arrived in the mailbox, it was in a padded envelope that had been crushed. I opened it and the poor little bacteria looked like mashed cauliflower. It was in a little zippy bag. 

The kids named it Gary Busey. Don't ask, but that's what I'm calling it. 

I had to run to the store to get it pasteurized organic milk because the raw milk we have has a good bacteria in it that would fight with the kefir, which is weak right now from shipping. After a few overnight baths in a pasteurized organic milk, we can go ahead and feed it raw milk. 
Day 1

The directions have me put it in a glass jar ( don't use metal) and cover it with milk. Then I put a coffee filter on it and rubber band it. I don't have any rubber bands, how about a stone stretchy bracelet. 
Now I'm going to strain it (in a plastic strainer or w a wooden slotted spoon or a cheese cloth. (remember no metal). I used cheese cloth. 

I will do this two or three times to get it healthy and growing before I want to drink the milk. 

Then, as my culture grows, I can make big batches or give some of the culture to a friend. That way, should mine ever die, I can get some back from them. 

Day 4

Gary definitely needs more milk. It was thick today. He's getting a 2 cup bath today. 

I stuck my finger in it and it's delicious. I added the, shall we say" thick byproduct to the vitamix w a carrot, a banana, a mandarin orange and some raw milk and made a delicious shake out if it. We loved it. I can't wait to have more. 

Day 6
I let it set two days, in rawmilk. I didn't use a combination of raw organic and pasteurize organic this time. I want to get away from the pasteurized. After reading a few books and watching some YouTube videos I'm seeing that you don't need the pasteurized. 

Living and learning every day. 

I also see people who use their fingers and dump it out to into a baking dish to find the culture. It makes it so easy to find. I washed my hands and it's my kefir, so I not worried about touching it. 
Who knows the lady I bought it from May have touched it. The bacteria will take care of that. 

I drank some plain, bubbled up in the blender this am and them decided to try it blended w a tablespoon of honey (6 oz kefir). It's pretty good. 

Anyway, Gary is about two weeks old now, we are up to making four cups a batch, basically daily, sometimes we let it sit 2 days, and we are drowning in kefir now, which isn't a problem. 
Feel free to run it through the vitamix if you don't like clumps. It gets bubbly and frothy. So delicious.

A great book on fermentation with a informative section on kefir is Wild Fermentation by Sandar Ellix Katz. It discloses the history of kefir and tara (a Tibetan culture). The kefir story is full of intrigue and thanks to a Young Russian woman named Irina Sakharova who freed it to society from a Caucasus prince. It was never shared before that time.  (A good read). It remains a very popular drink in Russia. 

There are numerous videos inline. Here are just a few. 

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