Kefir Making

Q. What is kefir?

A. Kefir is a health promoting fermented dairy drink, similar to yoghurt but slightly tangier. While yoghurt usually contains only two or three strains of bacteria, kefir contains a much wider variety of friendly micro organisms, including beneficial yeasts, some of which can break down lactose [milk sugar]. More detail about what kefir is: http://users.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html#what's-kefir

Q. What are kefir grains?

A. Kefir grains are a biological mass synthesized [created] by colonies of micro organisms living together [symbiotically] to form a polysaccharide mass, which form into lumps similar in appearance to cauliflower rosettes. Grain size varies from the size of wheat kernels to that of a golf ball or larger. Once placed in fresh milk, the grains [also referred to as a natural starter-culture or starter-culture], transform the milk into kefir within app. 24 hours. The same grains (or culture) are used for the next batch, to continue the ongoing process.

Q. Why should I drink Kefir? Is it healthy?

Kefir has many health promoting benefits. In a nutshell, these benefits could be divided in two groups: 1. Kefir grains contain a vast amount of micro-organisms from 4 genus groups, including lactic acid bacteria and yeasts. The distinctive microflora of kefir is compatible with the needs of our body. Kefir micro-organisms are able to stabilize or balance the Gastro Intestinal tract, as well as ensuring better digestion and fight off harmful bacteria, yeasts [including those which cause stomach ulcers, diarrhea, and yeast infection] and viruses. The consumption of kefir has proven to stimulate the immune system, which can also assist the cells of the body to increase the production of interferon [virus controlling agent] due to a unique lipid [sphingomyelin] found in kefir. 2. Kefir may provide other benefits: the friendly micro-organisms breakdown substances such as lactose in milk and from, this synthesize favourable substances, including lactic acid and "Kefiran", a health promoting polysaccharide unique to kefir grains and to kefir. Kefiran has proven to reduce the size of certain cancers, including having anti-inflammatory properties. Certain organisms of kefir produce lactase, an enzyme which breaks down lactose [milk sugar], which provides the body the ability to further breakdown any milk-sugar [lactose] in the diet, while taking kefir with that meal.

Q. OK, I have some kefir grains, so how do I prepare kefir?

A. Basically, just put two to three tablespoons of kefir grains in a half litre [1 pint] of fresh milk, and leave at room temperature for 24 hours. For greater or smaller quantities, vary the proportions accordingly. Unlike yoghurt, the milk with the added culture does not need to be heated and kept warm during incubation. Nor does it need to be boiled first [to sterilize or pasteurize]. Actually, brewing at a cooler temperature makes a smoother kefir [but takes a little longer to brew]. Once the kefir is ready, strain through a plastic colander or sieve and plop the grains into more fresh milk to prepare the next batch. This process is simply repeated. For more details, including tips on handling utensils etc. please go to this webpage: http://users.chariot.net.au/~dna/Makekefir.html

this is Dom's site for kefir making: http://users.chariot.net.au/%7Edna/Makekefir.html

this is the yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Kefir_making