Fermenting Kefir Grains @ Home

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP–Living in Natures Love Lifestyles insideawareness.com

Another exciting opportunity for exploring fermenting foods came my way when a  neighbour accidentally ordered two Kefir starter kits and passed one on to me instead of returning it.  This was the start of a journey to get acquainted with Kefir by culturing it.    The process of culturing Kefir grains transforms milk sugars similar to the symbiotic fermentation process of Kombucha.  The Kefir grain has live yeast that eats the sugar during fermenting making it 99% lactose free.  This makes it an alternative source of calcium for lactose intolerant people.  It is nutrient-dense, with plenty of protein, B vitamins, potassium, and calcium.

The kit came with dried kefir grains that are activated with fresh milk.  Much like a scobie used to ferment tea into kombucha, the milk kefir grains culture the milk. When  ready the kefir grains are strained out of the kefir and put into fresh milk to start a new ferment.  Once the grains are activated the process becomes easy and it is cheaper than buying Kefir off the grocery shelf.

Save time & money by making yogurt, cream cheese, cottage cheese & kefir & whey on 1-4 litres of milk

The process to activate the Kefir grains was simple.  The grain went into a cup of fresh milk and left to sit in a warm place for up to 24 hour.  This cup of milk was checked regularly to see if the texture changed.  When it became thicker the grains were strained out and placed into fresh milk.  The milk was increased by 1/2 a cup for this second batch.  This process continued until the milk was increased to 4 cups and the grains multiplied.  The grains can take up to 7 days to be fully activated.

Picture by Renee Lindstrom

Kefir Grains

When activated they are fluffy and white, and in florets similar to cottage cheese or cauliflower florets.  Once activated the fermentation period with this culture is usually 24 hours in a temperature of 64 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.  In summers heat it can increase the time to 12 hours or in the cold of winter increase it to 36 hours.

Get traditional Kefir Grains to Culture

 

Kefir is a Yellow Food for balancing Solar Plexus Chakra

What I learned about the benefits of Kefir

I learned that Kefir is a complex milk product that has high levels of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, enzymes and probiotics.  Research suggest It is a power house for probiotics and may be a better choice than yogurt.  The reason is that Kefir contains a higher number of probiotic strains that clean and feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut like yogurt  however it stays and colonizes unlike Yogurt which is transient and flushed out.  Not only does Kefir stay it can go out and attack pathogens and bad bacteria in the gut.

  • Antibacterial & Anti fungal

When tested against a series of pathogens it was found to have similarities to several antibiotics in hindering microbial growth.

  • Reduce Cholesterol Levels

Kefir grains reduce cholesterol levels in milk 41 to 84% during fermentation. 

  • Healthy Gut 

Lactobacillus found in Kefir is used for its ability to regulate the body’s immune system and inhibit the growth of bacteria and parasites pathogenic in nature.

  • Balancing Blood Sugars

My neighbour began using Kefir on a Doctors recommendation to support a diagnosis of  Diabetes

  • Contains Calcium & Vitamin K  

Vitamin K activates proteins that play a role in blood clotting, calcium metabolism and heart health.  Calcium helps to build strong bones, protein builds strong muscles, and potassium is essential for heart health.

  • Allergies & Asthma

Shown to suppress inflammatory responses related to allergies and asthma.

  • Cancer & Tumors

Believed to reduce tumor growth by stimulating your immune system and has been studied for liver and breast cancer.  

  • Healthy Skin & Scalp

Applied topically anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial has calming effect on inflammations such as acne, rosacea.

  • Anti-Aging

Lactic acid reduces appearance of wrinkles, tightens pores and improves dry and dull skin.  Contain nourishing properties that soothe sun-damaged skin.

Try replacing in Yogurt with Kefir in Dandelion Facial Mask recipe 

Get traditional Kefir Grains to Culture

Ways of using Kefir

Once you have begun to ferment Kefir you will have a good supply of it that can be used in smoothies, recipes and apparently in cosmetics!  It can be flavoured with herbs and fruits.  I have begun using it  to replace milk in pancakes and baking recipes and can imagine that it can be added it to eggs, sauces, dressings, soups and stews.

I  make cream cheese from home-made yogurt as well as cottage cheese and the added benefit is whey.  I am looking forward to trying cream cheese and whey from kefir!

When first drinking Kefir I have read there may be an adjustment period for the first couple of days while your colon integrates the healthy bacteria.  Stools may become looser and some gas may be experienced.

Get traditional Kefir Grains to Culture


For those with Auto immune disorders check with you Doctor before integrating Kefir into a regular diet staple.

Children under one should not have Kefir

Breastfed Babies receive pro-biotics through breast milk


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Copyright 2014 – 2019  Living in Nature’s Love by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP,
Feldenkrais® Practitioner since 2007, Communication & Empathy Coach since 2004, Art of Placement  since 2000

Creating Yogurt at Home is amazingly easy and inexpensive!

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP–Living in Natures Love Lifestyles insideawareness.com

I was reminded of home-made yogurt when my neighbour served me with some of his this week.  He has made yogurt for years and he mentioned he adds dry milk  to thicken it into a Greek style.  It had a nicer taste than any commercially sold yogurt and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

It was the inspiration to dust off the thermometer and gather up the milk and yogurt.  Two ingredients!  That all it takes to make yogurt.  Milk and a few tablespoons of yogurt to use as a culture.

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of milk
  • 4 tablespoons of yogurt

Heat four cups of milk slowly to 185 degrees and then cool to 115 degrees.  Once cool whisk in four tablespoons of yogurt evenly into the warm milk.  The yogurt acts as a culture to create a custard like solid.

Once mixed together place somewhere warm to sit for 6 to 8 hours.  This could be in a warm oven that has been turned off and oven light left on.  If left in cooler space it will take longer for the liquid to become custard like.  I have read up to 24 hours.

Kefir is the stage that is pre-custard like when the yogurt culture is active however before  it has begun to  solidify.  This means you can’t spoil a batch.  It simply means you have kefir!

Make Cream Cheese from Home-made Yogurt & end up with whey (a whole protein!)

Yogurt – Yellow Food

Yogurt is one of the milk products I enjoy and have continued with in my diet.  It is a fermented food which means it is a natural probiotic.  A good quality of yogurt can be beneficial for optimal gut health however many commercial yogurts contain sweeteners, artificial flavours and thickeners or pectin.  The ingredients that do not lead to good gut health!

Another consideration is what are the cows are being fed that produce the milk the commercial yogurt is made with?

Curious baby cows check out grass labyrinth

Are they free range cows eating grass in the meadows over the summer and home-grown hay  like the ones grazing at the Farm of our recent August retreat or are they eating a GMO diet (Genetically Modified)?  This a huge consideration in my mind and one I seriously considered when I had my own babies.

 

 

A good quality yogurt is high in protein and has the same nutrients as milk; calcium, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin and vitamin A.  Yogurt also has a cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid.

When making your own yogurt you can choose a variety of milks or mild substitutes to experiment with such as *nut and rice milks.  Being curious about creating your own can be an adventure and bring some fun back into the kitchen.  Seasonal whole foods and  sweeteners can be added to your yogurt like fresh or frozen berries, fruits, nuts, honey or molasses and yes even grains!  I drizzle plant and flower infused honey I have created through Spring and Summer.  Fall into a  loving relationship with your food again or find out where to buy food that has been lovingly made!

In my opinion gut health is the building block to good health and could be one of the first considerations during any illness from colds and flues to more serious diagnosis.

*Nut milks require so many ingredients that I have chosen not to pursue this myself. I like the ease of two ingredients and eating simpler foods.

Create your own Yogurt Face Make with Dandelions Flowers 

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Copyright 2014 – 2019  Living in Nature’s Love by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP,
Feldenkrais® Practitioner since 2007, Communication & Empathy Coach since 2004, Art of Placement  since 2000