Sunday, March 29, 2009

How to make Kefir

Making your own kefir is a simple and cheap way of getting your daily dose of probiotics.

Many people have been on one or more rounds of antibiotics in their lifetime. Antibiotics, though admittedly beneficial in fighting off infection, have been overused. This overuse has wreaked havoc on many people's immune systems as their natural "good" bacteria have been killed off along with the bad. This would explain why often a yeast infection(whether vaginal, thrush, ringworm, etc.) of some sort is often known to follow a round of antibiotics. For what it's worth, yeast overgrowth usually causes people to crave/consume more carbs and sugars, since this is what the yeast needs to thrive...and this often leads to gaining weight.

Taking some form of probiotics will help to repopulate the good bacteria in one's gut. It will in turn strengthen your immune system and probably improve one's digestion.

I began making and drinking kefir soon after I made my appointment with the AAT doc. Since I was not able to get a Rx from my allergist for a systemic antifungal, I decide I was going to try this route to get rid of the annoying Yeast Beast.

I found Kefir far easier to make than yogurt, and come to find out it offers more diversity of probiotic strains than yogurt, as well as more of them per quantity of milk it takes to make it.

The first thing I had to do was acquire some kefir grains. I was able to get some from an online acquaintance. They came in the midst of a blizzard and our lane was completely snowed in. I didn't get to the mailbox the day they came but they survived the freezing overnight temperatures! (phew!)

Making Kefir

You will need:
A quart(or so) glass jar
Lid or cloth and rubberband to cover the top
2 cups of milk
Bowl and Colander

Be sure your glass jar is clean. If you use conventional cleansers or antibacterial soap, or bleach, be sure to rinse VERY well, as these can kill your kefir grains. Vinegar works well as a cleanser and disinfectant.

Now, you're all set!

1. Pour your milk into your jar.
2. Plop your kefir grains in.
3. Cover with lid(loosely) or cloth/rubberband
4. Let sit approximately 24 hours
5. Pour kefir and grains into colander over bowl. Drain, stirring the kefir to work it through the colander and ending up with the only the kefir grains in the colander.
6. Pour 2 cups milk into your quart jar (no need to clean the jar)

Repeat daily.

That's it!

Kefir will keep in the fridge indefinitely(months). I have read that once you have strained your kefir, you may leave it on the counter at room temperature for one more day in order to let the bacteria eat the lactose, creating a very low-lactose product. I haven't tried this, so don't know whether it tastes any different.

The lower the fat in your milk, the faster the culture will develop and the sooner it will turn into a curd-like texture. The curds are easily broken up though, not as firmly set as cottage cheese. I am needing to separate my kefir grains and pass some on to friends soon, as mine have been multiplying like crazy!

When you first start to make Kefir from dormant kefir grains(like, if you get it in the mail and the poor thing froze), it may take a few days for the balance to get back in sync. I had really bubbly kefir for a day or two, but after that it was just right!

I have been drinking my Kefir every day now and must say the yeast problems I was having are gone! Yeah for probiotics!

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