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Got Kefir?

post #1 of 582
Thread Starter 
At the Request of several mammas, here is a thread devoted JUST to creative ways to use up that KEFIR which I know some of us are having a 'time of it' drinking it straight up and all by our lonesome...

For those of you yet to get some grains...you might ask:

Just what is Kefir?

Kefir is a cultured, enzyme-rich food (usually dairy milk) filled with friendly micro-organisms that help balance your "inner ecosystem." More nutritious and therapeutic than yogurt, it supplies complete protein, essential minerals, and valuable B vitamins. While yogurt provides your digestive system with friendly bacterium as long as you eat it, Kefir helps to repopulate it for good!

Kefir is simple and inexpensive to make at home.
Kefir is used to restore the inner eco-system after antibiotic therapy.
Kefir can be made into a delicious smoothie that kids love.
Kefir is excellent nourishment for pregnant and nursing women, the elderly, and those with compromised immunity
.


What if I'm lactose intolerant, don't do dairy or don't digest milk products well - is kefir right for me?

The beneficial yeast and friendly bacteria in the kefir culture consume most of the lactose (or milk sugar). Eat kefir on an empty stomach first thing in the morning before (or for) breakfast and you'll be delighted to find it can be easily digested -- as numerous people who have been lactose intolerant for years have discovered.

Kefir's tart and refreshing flavor is similar to a drinking-style yogurt, but it contains beneficial yeast as well as friendly 'probiotic' bacteria found in yogurt. The naturally occurring bacteria and yeast in kefir combine symbiotically to give superior health benefits when consumed regularly.

How is Kefir Made?

Kefir can be made from any type of milk, cow, goat or sheep, coconut, rice or soy. Although it is slightly mucous forming, the mucous has a "clean" quality to it that creates ideal conditions in the digestive tract for the colonization of friendly bacteria.

Kefir is made from gelatinous white or yellow particles called "grains, that look like little pieces of cauliflower."
These grains contain the bacteria/yeast mixture clumped together with casein (milk proteins) and complex sugars.

They look like pieces of coral or small clumps of cauliflower and range from the size of a grain of wheat to that of a hazelnut. The grains ferment the milk, incorporating their friendly organisms to create the cultured product. The grains are then removed with a strainer before consumption of the kefir and added to a new batch of milk.

To culture milk with 'LIVE Kefir Grains',

Add your 'grains' to a clean glass container (mason jars work well) of milk, and cover or lid the jar. You let this sit at room temperatur for 12-24, up to 48 hours. Then you gently strain the resulting Kefir'd milk from the grains, and add the grains to a fresh amount of milk, and repeat brewing cycle. It is suggested to use a non metal strainer, to capture the grains. You may use raw milk, or store bought milk. Organic milk is suggested!

Ratios of grains to milk vary, but for a good TBS size piece or portion of grains, you can usually add 2-4 cups milk. If in 12 hours the milk starts seperating into a clearish layer and a thick, cheesy curdy looking layer, that is fine and perfectly natural. You are either brewing too long or not using enough milk. It is still fine to drink. Use a plastic or silicon spoon/spatula to stir the 'whey' back into the 'curds' and then strain out your grains. The 'kefir' might be a bit on the tart side, but it's fine. Use one of the smoothie recipes to make it sweeter or use the kefir as buttermilk in baking.

Ready-Made Kefir

If you prefer to purchase ready-made kefir at your health food store (in this form it is perishable and would be found in the refrigerated section). Helios is a really good, organic brand.

How to Introduce Kefir into Your Diet

Some people thrive on kefir right from the start and others may need to proceed more slowly. Remember that people with candidiasis usually lack enough 'good' milk-digesting bacteria, so you may have to build up your "tolerance" of kefir. Start with about four ounces in the morning on an empty stomach. Every second day increase the amount until you are able to drink a full eight ounce glass.

Moreover, people with candidiasis have what Chinese medicine calls the condition of dampness. Unfermented and improperly combined dairy products can lead to even more dampness and excess mucus. Here are some suggestions for introducing kefir while conquering dampness:

1. Drink plenty of water and eat grains that have been soaked and then cooked. These add moisture and fiber to the colon.
2. Clean your colon. If a colon is free of blockages, kefir is tolerated more quickly. We have found that people, who report having trouble with kefir, often have not followed advice on colon cleansing.
3. Be sure to get adequate exercise. Exercise stimulates the colon and improves elimination. Even just walking daily will assist in this goal.

The Benefits of Consuming Kefir Regularly in the Diet

Easily digested, it cleanses the intestines, provides beneficial bacteria and yeast, vitamins and minerals, and complete proteins. Because kefir is such a balanced and nourishing food, it contributes to a healthy immune system and has been used to help patients suffering from AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, and cancer.

Its tranquilizing effect on the nervous system has benefited many who suffer from sleep disorders, depression, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

The regular use of kefir can help relieve all intestinal disorders, promote bowel movement, reduce flatulence and create a healthier digestive system. In addition, its cleansing effect on the whole body helps to establish a balanced inner ecosystem for optimum health and longevity.

Kefir can also help eliminate unhealthy food cravings by making the body more nourished and balanced by allowing the body to remove and process MORE of the needed nutrients in your foods . Its excellent nutritional content offers healing and health-maintenance benefits to people in every type of condition.

Why Kefir and not just Yogurt?

Both kefir and yogurt are cultured milk products...but they contain different types of beneficial bacteria. Yogurt contains transient beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive system clean and provide food for the friendly bacteria that reside there. But kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract, a feat that yogurt cannot match.

Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yogurt, Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species. It also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir, which dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do so by penetrating the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, forming a virtual SWAT team that housecleans and strengthens the intestines. Hence, the body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites.

Kefir's active yeast and bacteria provide more nutritive value than yogurt by helping digest the foods that you eat and by keeping the colon environment clean and healthy.

Because the curd size of kefir is smaller than yogurt, it is also easier to digest, which makes it a particularly excellent, nutritious food for babies, invalids and the elderly, as well as a remedy for digestive disorders.

More than just Beneficial Bacteria!

In addition to beneficial bacteria and yeast, kefir contains minerals and essential amino acids that help the body with healing and maintenance functions. The complete proteins in kefir are partially digested and therefore more easily utilized by the body. Tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids abundant in kefir, is well known for its relaxing effect on the nervous system. Because kefir also offers an abundance of calcium and magnesium, which are also important minerals for a healthy nervous system, kefir in the diet can have a particularly profound calming effect on the nerves.

Kefir's ample supply of phosphorus, the second most abundant mineral in our bodies, helps utilize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for cell growth, maintenance and energy.

Kefir is rich in Vitamin B12, B1, and Vitamin K. It is an excellent source of biotin, a B Vitamin, which aids the body's assimilation of other B Vitamins, such as folic acid, pantothenic acid, and B12. The numerous benefits of maintaining adequate B vitamin intake range from regulation of the kidneys, liver and nervous system to helping relieve skin disorders, boost energy and promote longevity.

Ok, so hopefully you are now 'stoked' about Kefir and want to get some of this wonderful stuff! So stay tuned for a VARIETY of ways to get this stuff in your tummy!


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KEFIR BREWING INFO SHEET

Brewing Directions:
In a clean, wide mouth glass container (ie, a mason jar is wonderful), place these grains and 1 cup milk (whole, 2%, skim, pasteurized or not, homogenized or not – organic is preferable, though).

Start with a small amount of milk (like 1 cup), you can increase it over a few days time, as your grains grow (it may take weeks to noticeably grow or a matter of days, depending on the temperature of where you have them ‘brewing’ and how much they need to adjust to your brand of milk).

Place a lid on the jar or a cloth with rubber band to keep it on tight. Leave sitting on your countertop, out of direct sunlight for 12 - 24 hours.

During the brew time, gently swirl the jar to make sure the grains are ‘bathed’ with the milk and this will help feed them and convert the milk to Kefir. You can omit this ‘swirling of the jar’, and it will turn out fine, especially if you are using the smaller amount of milk. Just give it a gently ‘swirl’ in the morning to make sure it looks like all (most) the milk was ‘converted’.

12 - 24 hours later, depending on milk to grain ratio and ambient temperature in your kitchen, you will have ‘real’ Kefir. It will be a bit tart and tangy. You will need to adjust the ‘brew’ time to get it to taste best for you. Less time will be less tart and more ‘yogurty’, longer will be sourer tasting.
Just prior to straining, I stir the contents with a silicon spatula or spoon. Definitely use a plastic utensil and NOT metal. This makes straining a little easier as it breaks up any large ‘curds’ that have formed and makes it a smoother Kefir.

Straining:

Use a non metal strainer (I found a nylon ‘tea strainer’ made by ‘Tea Republic’ that I love, it catches all the grains, and I can gently rub a silicon spatula back and forth, and the Kefir milk strains into a new mason jar and is super creamy and smooth.

After straining off the liquidy ‘Milk Kefir’, the Kefir grains (which might still have some ‘curds’ clinging to them, but this is ok) are placed straight back into a pre-washed and room temp mason jar or fermenting vessel of choice, without rinsing the grains.

Fresh milk is added to the grains to prepare the next batch and a lid/cloth is put on.
The strained kefir is either consumed fresh, immediately, or poured into a sealed container and stored in the refrigerator (will keep up to a few weeks or longer). It can also be stored on your counter top for 1-2 more days at room temp to help reduce lactose content, then refrigerated and used..
Eventually you will notice the grains increasing in mass, and you can add more milk to the jar for brewing or remove some of the grains to give away or make a ‘back up’ copy.

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Short Term Kefir Storage:
Put your grains in a glass jar of milk with a lid on it (~a cup milk per 1-2 TBS grains)
Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Longer Term Kefir Storage:
By straining off the refrigerated, kefir’d milk at least once a week, and replacing with fresh milk, you can usually extend the ‘refrigerator’ storage method indefinitely. I would try to get them reactivated a few times a year, though…just to be sure. The longer you do this, the more chance of the grains dying or becoming inbalanced from loosing too many of their unique cultures.

Freezing Kefir Grains:

Rinse off your grains with clean, filtered water. Pat dry and place on a paper towel or clean tea towel to allow to dry.

Place your grains in a jar or plastic baggie and freeze for up to one year, but you might only want to do it for a few months, as the yeast component can completely die off using this method. The Dom suggests adding powdered milk to coat the grains to help protect them, but I do not use powdered milk and do not have any in the house. It might take up to two weeks to get them active again, once you thaw them.

Drying Kefir Grains:

Kefir grains may be dehydrated to store long term (a year or so).

Prepare the grains, as for freezing, then as they dry on the paper towel, or tea towel, allow them to continue drying in a well ventilated, warm spot (maybe on the top of your refrigerator?) for up to 3 days or longer for large grains. They will become smaller, hard and yellow looking. Store in a plastic baggie, or in a glass jar, in a cool dry spot or in the refrigerator, once you know they are well dried.

Reactivating Frozen and Dried Kefir Grains:
To reactivate frozen and dehydrated kefir grains, place in a glass jar with cool water and soak for a few minutes. Rinse them off in a strainer to get out any powdered milk if you used it. Place them in a small amount of fresh milk, and allow to sit at room temp for 24 hours.

Every day change the milk and toss out the kefir milk (don’t drink it yet). You will want the milk to be coagulating, and have a clean, yeasty smell (or like good buttermilk). Once that happens, you can start consuming your kefir and continue as for normal brewing, and increasing the amount of milk again. This process could take a few weeks to happen, to reactivate. Be patient and use smaller than normal amounts of milk until you are confident you have happy, active kefir cultures again.
post #2 of 582
Thread Starter 

The Kefir Smoothie

A word about using Kefir in beverages: Kefir should be used only in cold or room temperature beverages, as it curdles if added to hot tea or beverages. It adds a delicious richness and a bit of a zing to beverages, as you'll see below. Many of these recipes can be enjoyed by children and adults alike!

Spectacular Kefir Drink
1 cup Kefir (Plain or Vanilla)
1 tsp. of unrefined flax seed oil
Lecithin, which aids fat digestion, to taste
Fiber, such as Nutri-Flax or fresh ground flax seeds
Natural flavorings or herbs such as stevia, nutmeg, cinnamon, non-alcoholic vanilla or natural fruit flavoring
Fresh or frozen organic fruit of choice

Blend together for a delicious, nutritious breakfast, lunch, or snack and enjoy!

Iced Chai
1/4 cup favorite liquid Chai, refrigerated
3/4 cup Plain or Vanilla Kefir, depending on desired sweetness

Stir together, or place together in a shake-cup and shake. Play around with relative amounts of the beverages to get flavor, texture and sweetness to your liking. Enjoy as is, or over ice. 1 serving

Creamsicle Kefir Drink
1/4 cup Orange Juice
3/4 cup Vanilla Kefir

Stir together, or place together in a shake-cup and shake. Play around with relative amounts of the beverages to get flavor, texture and sweetness to your liking. If you lean toward a less sweet/more invigorating taste bud, this recipe is delicious when made with Plain kefir instead of Vanilla. Enjoy as is, or over ice. 1 serving

Sunrise Latte
Here is a creative way to eat your vegetables! You can juice your own, or purchase fresh or frozen carrot juice for the recipe.

1/4 cup Fresh Carrot Juice
3/4 cup Vanilla Kefir

Stir together, or place together in a shake-cup and shake. Play around with relative amounts of the beverages to get flavor, texture and sweetness to your liking. Enjoy as is, with a dash of nutmeg, or over ice. 1 serving

Purple Kefir Cow
Did you know that Concord grape juice has been shown to help lower systolic blood pressure in men with high blood pressure?

If you prefer a drink that's sweeter and more like a milkshake:
1 Tbsp frozen 100% Grape Juice Concentrate
1 cup Vanilla Kefir

OR

If you prefer a drink that's a little bit tart and has a thinner consistency:
1/4 cup 100% Grape Juice (not the concentrate, but the juice)
3/4 cup Plain Kefir

Using the recipe you prefer, stir the two ingredients together or place together in a shake-cup and shake. Enjoy as is, or over ice.

Dreamy Sweet Creamy
If you aren't familiar with Organic Sucanat (Rapadura), you're in for a treat. Organic Sucanat is organic sugar cane that is harvested by squeezing out the juice. The juice is filtered and evaporated to remove excess water, then crystallized. The result is a natural sugar crystal that has a gentle molasses flavor and maintains vitamins and minerals of the original plant.

1 cup Plain Kefir
2 tsp Organic Sucanat (Rapadura)

Stir together, let stand for 5 minutes, and stir again (time can vary depending on whether you enjoy the burst of flavor from sucanat specks or prefer that they dissolve completely before drinking. Enjoy as is!

Maple Cream
Easy to mix and a lovely maple flavor – this is a great way to sweeten Plain kefir!

1 cup Plain Kefir
1 Tbsp Pure Maple syrup

Stir together, or place together in a shake-cup and shake. Play around with relative amounts of the beverages to get flavor, texture and sweetness to your liking. Enjoy as is, or over ice.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Another great way to enjoy your vegetables, pumpkin is rich in Vitamin A! Kids and adults love this one!

1 cup Vanilla Kefir
2 TBSP Organic pureed pumpkin
Pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg

Blend ingredients together and enjoy as is or with a dash of cinnamon-sugar sprinkled on top.

Cranberry Jazz Smoothie
Antioxidants abound in this tangy smoothie! Refreshing, invigorating and darned healthy too!

1 cup frozen cranberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
Juice of one small lemon
1 cup cranberry juice
2 cups Vanilla Kefir

Blend the frozen fruit and juices together until fruit is pureed smooth. Add Vanilla kefir, blending enough to stir in completely. Serve as is and enjoy. Serves 4

Favorite Breakfast Smoothie
1 cup Kefir
1/2 cup frozen fruit (strawberries, peaches, raspberries, cherries or blueberries work well)
1/2 banana
6 ice cubes

Puree ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour and enjoy! Serves 1

Watermelon Smoothie
Particularly great on a warm summer morning or for a summer afternoon cooler.

3 cups watermelon chunks, seedless
2 cups Kefir
3/4 cup Ruby Red Orange Juice

Puree watermelon in blender until smooth. Add juice and Kefir, blending enough to stir in completely. Serve as is or over ice and enjoy! Serves 4

Apple Pie Smoothie
This recipe makes a great after-school treat!

1/4 cup Frozen or chilled Unsweetened Applesauce
3/4 cup Vanilla Kefir

Blend together, and serve with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. If the applesauce is very fine, this recipe can just be stirred. Serves 1

Tropical Smoothie
1/2 cup crushed pineapple with juice, chilled
1 banana, frozen and sliced into chunks
1/2 cup coconut milk, frozen in an ice cube tray
2 cups Vanilla Kefir

Puree fruit and coconut ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Add Vanilla kefir, blending enough to mix in completely. Serve as is and enjoy. Serves 3

Chocolate Kefir
Wonder why you can’t buy chocolate Kefir? The answer is the process would require pasteurization of the chocolate, which affects its flavor. A far better way to enjoy Chocolate kefir is to make it yourself – that way you can find the taste that's just right for you! Good dark chocolate is getting great press these days for its antioxidant content. Not only food for the soul, but nourishment for the body as well! Two chocolate recipes follow, depending on whether you prefer Chocolate Syrup or Hot Chocolate Powder.

1 Tbsp Chocolate Syrup
1 cup Vanilla Kefir

Stir together and enjoy!

Cocoa Kefir
1 Tbsp of your favorite HOT CHOCOLATE POWDER*
1 cup Vanilla Kefir

Whisk ingredients together, or place together in a shake-cup and shake. To develop a richer flavor, let the mixture stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before drinking, then stir and enjoy!

*Ghirardelli Double Chocolate cocoa mix is rich and chocolaty, not very sweet, and made to be mixed into milk (so it don't contain milk powder).

‘Pump You Up’ Protein Smoothie
1 cup Kefir
1/4 cup water, milk or juice
1 scoop favorite protein powder, whey or soy

Place ingredients in a shake-cup and shake vigorously. If you prefer more of a smoothie, go ahead and blend the powder, kefir, liquid and some fresh fruit in the blender. Creativity is the name of the game here!

Kefir ‘n Flax
For the Plain kefir purist, there is possibly nothing more delicious than the combination of Plain Kefir and freshly ground flaxseed! It's not sweet, but it's quite a treat and flax adds insoluble dietary fiber, lignans and vegetable omega-3 essential fatty acids.

1Tbsp finely ground Organic Flaxseed
1 cup Kefir

Stir together, or place together in a shake-cup and shake. Let stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before drinking. The flax absorbs some of the liquid from the kefir, and imparts a wonderful nutty flavor to the drink.

Kefir Banana Smoothie
1 cup Kefir
1 ripe banana
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon honey

If you have blender, combine ingredients in a blender
and process until no further lumps are noticeable.
Serve chilled or at room temperature.
For a real treat, add whipped cream
and nuts for decoration.

Kefir Nog
1 cup Kefir or Vanilla Kefir
1 organic egg
pinch nutmeg
two pinches cinnamon
1 Tbs Rapadura or white sugar (to taste)

Blend and top with more fresh ground nutmeg. Enjoy! Feeling really decadent…top with whipped cream.

Enjoy, and yes, I typed all these up, after searching, experimenting and asking around...Enjoy!
post #3 of 582
Thread Starter 

Kefir Yeast Bread

Here is the softest, yummiest bread. It keeps well on just the countertop wrapped in a plastic bag or tinfoil. It slices great and makes really good sandwiches:

Kefir Yeast Bread (compared to Buttermilk Yeast Bread)

4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 cups Kefir
2 cups whey or warm water
1 packet of quick dissolve yeast (SAF Instant)
1 tsp Rapadura sugar or regular sugar

Mix in large glass or porcelin bowl with wooden spoon. Cover top of bowl with cling wrap or a clean dish towel. Set in your oven and turn on the light. Leave until it bubbles, about 1-3 hours and the yeast and Kefir has a chance to activate.

Melt 1 stick of butter in small saucepan, cool. Remove bowl from oven, and add 1 Tbs sea salt. Stir with wood spoon. Pour almost all the butter into the dough (I pour in a corner, so if the butter is too hot, it won't kill the yeasts, except maybe in the small corner). I stir slowly and gradually then quicker until all is incorporated, the butter.

Start adding, one cup at a time, more unbleached all purpose flour. At 4 cups, it's thick enough to handle. I sprinkle about 1-2 cups more onto a clean counter top, and scrape dough onto top of this 'bench flour'. I gently fold and turn the dough, until the counter top flour coats it...I gently knead this dough to absorb most of the flour, until it's just managable and not too sticky. I shape into a ball, and let it rest while I clean up, 5-10 minutes.

Cut dough in to 4 portions. I lightly oil and sprinkle corn meal on two baking sheets. I shape each portion into a 'log' and place 2 logs side by side on each sheet, with some space in between. I cover them with a clean dish cloth and set in the oven again for about 30-40 minutes. I remove them from oven and preheat to 400 deg F. I brush the remainder of the butter gently over the tops of the loaves. I can fit both sheets into my oven, by placing one low, and the other shelf upper mid way. I rotate them at the half way baking point, and brush more butter if there is any left. Bake for ~28 minutes (adjust for your oven and altitude.)

If you cover the fresh baked loaves with a soft, clean cloth once baked, the crust is softer and more like store bought (good for kids). Use a serrated knife for slicing.
post #4 of 582
Thread Starter 

Irish 'Kefir' Soda Bread

This is the about the quickest bread you can make as it is not leavened. It is traditionally made with buttermilk, however it works just as well with kefir.

Ingredients

2 ½ cups whole grain flour
1 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
½ cup rolled oats
½ stick butter or virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
13 fluid ounces of kefir, buttermilk or yoghurt

Oven at 220ºC or 425º F

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Rub or pinch in the fat with your finger tips until it is broken into small bits and coated with flour. Slowly add the kefir or whatever you are using until a nice kneading consistency is achieved, without actually kneading it. (Just ‘squish’ it with your clean hand) If you over do it, then add more oats or flour. You must not knead this dough. (Think biscuit dough)
Quickly make two round loaves. Put them on an oiled oven tray and with the back of a long knife mark lines across. Traditionally Irish soda bread has four sections. You may wish to sub divide each section again, for easier ‘pull apart’ portions. This way you can just break away the small portions thus avoiding the use of a knife.
Bake in a very hot oven for 20 to 30 min until ready.

Tips: Add fresh herbs such as thyme or sage, grated cheese, onions, etc. And of course the flours can be changed around too; try a bit of barley flour for a nice flavour change.
For a sweet version add dried fruits or nuts, chocolate bits, etc.
post #5 of 582
Thread Starter 

Kefir Cornbread

This is not a yeast bread so it will take at the most about 45 min to make. I use kefir instead of the buttermilk.

Ingredients
2 cups corn meal
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar (or Rapadura)
1 large beaten egg
1 tablespoon oil (Olive, Coconut, etc)
2 cups kefir (or buttermilk or yogurt)

Oven at 220ºC or 425º F

In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients. You can do this in advance to save time. Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and add to the dry ones; if you like, it can even take a bit more beaten egg or oil thus making it more nutritious. In any case it will be fairly runny. Turn into an oiled baking dish put it on the top shelf of the preheated oven. It will take about 20 minutes and will look nicely puffed and golden. If you test it with skewer it will come dry when ready. Serve while hot and traditionally it is cut into squares.

Freshly baked corned bread is very good indeed. It goes very well with baked beans and also some roasted meats like chicken. Any left overs are delicious toasted and buttered.

You can bake this mixture directly on top of baked beans or any juicy casserole.
post #6 of 582
Thread Starter 

Kefir 'Naan' or Flat Bread

This bread was inspired by ‘naan’ bread. This recipe uses Kefir as the only source of leavening.

Ingredients
1 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
about 3/4 cup kefir
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon clarified butter (ghee) or butter or virgin coconut oil

Oven at 220ºC / 425º F

The day before add enough kefir to your flour and salt in order to make a nice kneading bread dough. Do not forget the salt! Knead until the dough is elastic and smooth. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Leave overnight in a warm place.

Next day, when the dough is well risen and before it collapses, knock it down and divide into little lumps. I usually made 16 little ones, but you can make bigger ones if you like. Stretch them out by hand so that the dough is about 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) thick. Place on a well oiled sheet pan dusted with corn meal, cover with oiled plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for about half an hour or until risen. Before baking, gently brush the tops with the melted fat of your choice as this gives the bread an extra nice touch. Bake for about 5 to 8 minutes or until they have coloured a bit. Watch out that they don't get toasted, this bread should be soft. Serve at once or keep wrapped in a cloth until needed.

These little flat buns don't keep that well. However you can revive them, by sprinkling with water and placing them in a hot oven or grill, just for a few minutes. You can, before baking, sprinkle the buttered tops with poppy or ground cumin seeds. Or even with some garlicky herb butter. Delicious!
You can also used this kefir dough as a pizza base. For that just make enough dough the day before for your usual size pizza. As a rough guide for each cup of flour you need a third of a cup of kefir. If you haven't got enough kefir to spare, top it up with water.
post #7 of 582

Kefir Crazy!

My God, Woman! You are a Kefir Guiness! I have always seen this in the natural food section where I shop and wondered what in the world it was - I thought it must be some crazy kind of cow milk that was marketed to make you feel ok about cow milk... I don't know, I ramble... I just wanted to say thanks for such an informative post and I am off to the store to get some Kefir for my son who really could use a nerve calming smoothie.
post #8 of 582
Thread Starter 

Kefir "Fruit Cake" Bread

This recipe is a very nutritious sweet bread and it looks like a rich fruit cake but has a unique taste to it.

Yield - 3 loaves

Ingredients
8oz dried apricots, unsulfured if possible
3 or 4 very ripe bananas
8oz seedless raisins
6oz walnuts, roughly chopped
2.2 lbs whole wheat or spelt bread flour
9oz unbleached all purpose flour
4 tablespoons of melted butter or virgin coconut oil
4 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
20 oz kefir or natural yoghurt
200º C / 400º F

Start by cooking the apricots in as little water as possible. When soft, drain off and save the cooking liquor to mash the bananas in. Add the raisins and walnuts to the cooked apricots and reserve. Grease very well 3 bread loaf tins. In a big bowl mix the flours together with the salt and soda and stir in the honey and butter and then the bananas blended in the cooking liquid; add the apricot/ raisin/ walnut mix and work the dough quickly. Add the kefir slowly so that you end up with a dough ‘just’ moist and homogeneous. Quickly divide the dough in 3 parts and pat it in the prepared tins. Place in the very hot oven and bake at 200º C (400 F) for 30 minutes, then a further 20 minutes or so at 150º C (300 F). Do not let it burn, when it sounds hollow it is ready. Leave to cool outside the pans at room temperature.

It will keep fairly well but if it gets a bit dry then serve toasted with butter or soft cheese.
post #9 of 582
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyleah
My God, Woman! You are a Kefir Guiness! I have always seen this in the natural food section where I shop and wondered what in the world it was - I thought it must be some crazy kind of cow milk that was marketed to make you feel ok about cow milk... I don't know, I ramble... I just wanted to say thanks for such an informative post and I am off to the store to get some Kefir for my son who really could use a nerve calming smoothie.
This is why I give it to my son...hehe...he definitely needs a nerve calming (mine mainly) smoothie.

Thanks...I spent the last three days typing up nothing but Kefir recipes...and I'll be posting almost non-stop, until they are all here and easily accessible for all. I didn't want to risk a crash posting here first, so they are all in Word files!

post #10 of 582
Thread Starter 

MILK FREE!!! Kefir Sourdough Bread

Milk-free Kefir Sourdough Bread
Ok, this will be a long post, but hey, it's for using your grains, sans any milk, to make bread...so it's worth it!

Kefir is usually thought of as a fermented milk drink, however this fascinating culture can ferment other substrates as well. It works amazingly well with flour too! This milk-free sourdough recipe is aimed at people on special milk free diets and vegans. Do not be daunted by the recipe’s length; it takes longer to make than ordinary bread, but the results are very rewarding.

To make life easier, keep the Kefir grains inside a bag. An 8x19 cm (3 x 7.5 inch) bag made out of dress net, which is a synthetic material with a 1 mm mesh, works great! However if you prefer to sieve the grains, out after the flour is fermented, the ‘starter’ should be thin enough to still allow this.

THE STARTER
The host of miicro organisms in the kefir granules can, very reliably, create a good milk-free sourdough starter. Here it is what you will need to have your own in a couple of days or so.

Ingredients
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 cups water
1 lump of kefir grains preferably in a closed, mesh bag
1 large glass jar , at least 3/4 liter/ 25 oz

Mix the flour with the water so that you get a lump free thin batter, this may be done directly in the jar. Pop in the kefir grains, cover and leave at room temperature preferably in a place where you can watch what is going on. You will notice that soon the contents of the jar will settle into two distinct layers: the flour sits at the bottom and the aqueous layer above it has a creamish to grey colour, which is normal. The latter is where the bag prefers to be, and soon you can see bubbles coming up from the flour below. When the flour is studded all over with bubbles the starter is ready. It behaves very much like fermented milk and even has a very similar pleasant smell. Put
it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

THE SPONGE
For those unfamiliar with sourdough bread making this is an intermediate stage necessary to increase the bulk of your fermented flour in order to enable you to make a big batch of bread. The general procedure is:

(1) Bring your starter jar to room temperature to reactivate the culture.
(2a) If the grains are in a bag remove it and tip the jar contents in a medium sized bowl.
(2b) If the grains are loose, stir the starter very well and then sieve it through a colander over a medium sized bowl. If you have trouble recovering the grains then I strongly advise you to try a bag instead.
(3) Put the precious grains back in a clean jar - resist the temptation to wash them as this is known to slow its growth - and proceed like for the starter. If using a bag give it a good shake in the batter to make sure that the mesh is clear. The beauty of this method is that you will always have your starter. The more you use the better it will work.
(4) Now back to the medium sized bowl with the milk-free batter, add to it:

Ingredients
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 dollop malt extract or honey

Mix the whole thing vigorously with a wooden spoon, cover with a damp cloth or plastic, and leave overnight in a very warm place. (Try in your oven with the light on). Next day, if everything goes well, it will indeed look like a sponge and so you will be ready for the last stage.

THE DOUGH
Now you might ask, quite rightly, which flours could be used? The answer to that is any that are used in sourdough bread recipes. Experienced bakers can easily adapt any recipes to this kefir sourdough. It is all a matter of taste or diet. This recipe calls for the unbleached all purpose flour to give you a nice result immediately, and allows for ‘experimenting’ later on. Whatever flours you decide to use, add the water slowly and stop when the dough is dry enough to knead.

Yield - 3 loaves

Ingredients
7 ½ cups whole wheat bread flour
1 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 package SAF Instant yeast
3 slugs of good olive oil
1 cup warm water

Oven at 220º C / 425º F

Tip the sponge in a large bowl and add to it, the flours, salt, yeast and oil. Slowly add enough water to obtain a good kneading dough. Knead vigorously until the dough is soft and elastic. Cover with plastic or damp cloth, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled. Knock down, divide in three equal portions, put them in well oiled bread pans. Cover again, this time with oiled plastic wrap so that when you remove it, the wrap doesn't stick to the dough and deflate it. When well risen, remove the wrap and bake in a very hot oven for about 35 to 40 minutes or until it sounds hollow. Cool on racks.

If you like to make bread entirely without baker's yeast, I suggest doing the recipe with half the listed dough ingredients. It will take longer to rise but it will get there in the end. Good luck with your experiments!
post #11 of 582
xenabyte!

This is wonderful-simply wonderful stuff! Thank you for posting it!

I got into Kefir when my DD was about 7 months old & had to be on antibiotics full-time for months (kidney/urinary defect that was corrected w/surgery). We've just been buying the flavored stuff, but we've all started drinking it. DD LOVES it - DH & I think it's OK. We go through about a 1/2 gallon a week. Since it's store-bought I don't strain out any grains that remain, we just chug 'em down. But, the best news is I took DD off the antibiotics after her surgery & she hasn't been sick since. Yes, the surgery helped "fix" her up, but she hasn't even had a cold in 10 months and neither have we. (She's in daycare!)

I've been tempted to try making my own, but haven't dived into that yet. Now I'm just itchin' to try one of these bread recipes! Never thought about using it in bread! Yippee!!
post #12 of 582
Thread Starter 

"Quick" Kefir Sourdough Bread

Here is another Kefir Sourdough Recipe:

Quick Kefir Sourdough Bread

Fermented Kefir milk works very well for making a sourdough starter. It is also quicker and simpler to make than the special milk-free Kefir sourdough starter. Unlike some touchy starters this one is simple and reliable. All you need to have is a continuous supply of kefir, which is not at all difficult once of have got your own grains.

THE STARTER
Ingredients

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
about 2/3 cup kefir

Add enough kefir to your flour in order to make a nice kneading bread dough. Knead until the dough is elastic and smooth. Place in a bowl, cover with cling plastic wrap and leave overnight in a warm place. Next day, when the dough is well risen and before it collapses, knock it down and go to the next step.

THE DOUGH
Yield – 3 loaves
Ingredients
5 cups spelt flour
3 cups unbleached all purpose or bread flour
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 package Instant SAF yeast
3 slugs of good olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup warm water

Oven at 220º C, 425º F, gas mark 7.

Move your starter to a large bowl and add to it the flours, salt, yeast, honey and oil. Slowly add enough water to obtain a good kneading dough. Knead vigorously until the dough is soft and elastic. Cover with plastic or damp cloth, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled. Knock down, divide in three equal portions, put them in well oiled bread baking pans. Cover again, this time with oiled ‘cling’ plastic wrap so that when you remove it doesn't stick to the dough and deflate it. When well risen, remove the cling wrap and bake in a very hot oven for about 35 to 40 minutes or until it sounds hollow. Cool on racks.
post #13 of 582
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bippity
xenabyte!

This is wonderful-simply wonderful stuff! Thank you for posting it!

I got into Kefir when my DD was about 7 months old & had to be on antibiotics full-time for months (kidney/urinary defect that was corrected w/surgery). We've just been buying the flavored stuff, but we've all started drinking it. DD LOVES it - DH & I think it's OK. We go through about a 1/2 gallon a week. Since it's store-bought I don't strain out any grains that remain, we just chug 'em down. But, the best news is I took DD off the antibiotics after her surgery & she hasn't been sick since. Yes, the surgery helped "fix" her up, but she hasn't even had a cold in 10 months and neither have we. (She's in daycare!)

I've been tempted to try making my own, but haven't dived into that yet. Now I'm just itchin' to try one of these bread recipes! Never thought about using it in bread! Yippee!!
That is WONDERFUL to hear!! My family has not been sick, even with colds, in AGES. I attribute it to eating lots of yogurt and other goodies, and lately, Kefir.

Hey the store bought stuff is still good, just expensive, and a few of the cultures are not in it, that you can get by brewing it yourself from actual grains. If you tried to use it to 'culture' your own, it will eventually not work...that's the really only bad thing (and the cost) about store bought. But then again, you can get it in flavors like, strawberry, raspberry, vanilla, etc, at the store. Makes for fast smoothies!

My neighbors are hooked on 'Kefir Sourdough' now...they smell it cooking and suddenly I have 'visitors'....one of the neighbor boys won't eat 'store bought' now..I feel for his momma, so I now make extra for just her family!
post #14 of 582
Thread Starter 

It's not just for bread and smoothies...

Orange - Cranberry Kefir Cream Pie

Ingredients:

1 (6-ounce) package orange gelatin
3/4 cup boiling water
2 cups Kefir
2 cups cranberry sauce
2 cups whipped topping (cool whip) or whipped cream
2 (9-inch) baked pie shells

Preparation:

In a bowl dissolve orange gelatin with 3/4 cup boiling water by stirring for a minute or two. Stir in kefir and cooled cranberry sauce. Mix well. Cover bowl and chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator, or until thickened; give the mix an occasionally stir to make sure it's well distributed. (I stirred it twice during the hour). Fold in 2 cups whipped topping/cream then pour into the two 9-inch baked pie shells. Chill for 4 hours, or overnight to make sure it's set.

The filling is really tasty, not what you'd expect. It looks like a pale pink, strawberry cream filling and is 'fluffy'. I guess you could use some strawberry pie filing if you hate cranberries, but the tart of the cranberries and the sweet of the cream and orange jello really gives it a nice flavor!


PIE CRUSTS:

2 cups flour (unbleached all purpose)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup room temp or cool (so it's solid) Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil (no smell or flavor); can use lard or Ghee.
6-8 TBS iced water
wax paper
rolling pin
fork
2 (9 inch) pie pans

Preheat oven to 425 deg F.

Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Add coconut oil and 'cut' into the flour to coat the clumps. Mix together until the mixture resembles a rough corn meal. There will be some larger lumps, just try to keep breaking them down until they are all fairly small and even.

I fill a small glass with ice and water, and use my measuring spoon to add water to the dough one TBS at a time. After each additon of water, 'toss' the flour/oil bits around with a fork until the dough is gently moistened. You do not want a wet dough, or big wet clumps. I used 8 TBS of water for mine. The dough bits should start sticking together when you gently squeeze it.

I divide the dough into two portions and make them into slightly 'flattened' balls. I cut off two large pieces of waxed paper (big enough to roll out the pie crusts on) and place one of the balls on each sheet. Cover each ball with another large piece of waxed paper. Press the dough ball to flatten it more, enough to get started, then use a rolling pin to make a flat circle, big enough to cover a pie plate. Make the circle roughly larger than the circumference of the pan, by about 1 inch, so it can 'sink' into the pie pan and you will still have enough dough to come up to the edge of the pan.

Remove the top piece of wax paper carefully. Don't worry if a little sticks, you can repair holes with some of the extra dough you will trim off the pan. Lift the pie crust, waxed paper and all, and flip over the top of the pie plate. Center it evenly on the pan, then gently start removing the wax paper. As you remove the paper, the crust will gently fall into the pie plate. Press the dough to make sure it is touching the bottom and sides of the pie plate and trim off any extra dough from the edge of the pan with the side of the fork.

You can press the tines of the fork on the edge of the crust to give it a decorative edge. Prick the tines of the fork on the bottom of the crust, and around the sides to help any air bubble escape while it bakes.

Repeat for other pie pan.

Bake both pie crusts for 12-16 minutes (depending on how much water you used, it may take more or less time to bake). You are looking for a light golden color to the crust. Do not allow it to burn. After 5 minutes, check for air bubbles, and gently poke any with the fork tines, to release the air. You can also use 'pie beads or old dry beans' for a 'weight' while it bakes, but I never bother with this. Remove cooked pie crusts and allow them to cool before adding any fillings.


Cranberry Sauce:

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 (12 oz) bag fresh (or frozen) whole cranberries (the kind they sell in stores around the holidays). I had mine frozen in the freezer for a year, and they were still great tasting!

Bring water and sugar to boil. Add in cranberries. Bring to boil again. Turn to medium and allow the cranberries to 'boil' gently for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. The cranberries will 'pop' and dissolve into the sauce and form a 'jam' of sorts.
Cool before using for the pie filling. Makes about 2 cups.
post #15 of 582
Thread Starter 
Kefir Pound Cake

Ingredients:

3 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
6 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup Kefir
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup poppy seed – optional

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, soda, and salt. Add alternately with Kefir to creamed mixture, starting and ending with dry ingredients. Stir in vanilla and poppy seed. Pour into pan. Bake about 90 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan, then out of pan for 10 minutes.
post #16 of 582
Thread Starter 
Luscious Kefir Cookies

Ingredients:
½ cup butter or virgin coconut oil
½ cup granulated or Rapadura / sucanat sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup Kefir
½ tsp. baking soda
1¼ cup unbleached flour

Preparation:
In a mixing bowl, beat butter. Add sugar and brown sugar, beat until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat well. Add ½ cup of Kefir. Mix well. Add baking soda and flour, beat well. Drop from teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 - 10 minutes. Let cool, remove from cookie sheet to serve. (Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar before baking or roll the warm cookies in powdered sugar if you use that kind of stuff... )
post #17 of 582
Thread Starter 
Strawberry Banana Kefir Cream Pie

Ingredients:
2 pts. Fresh strawberries
1 cup sugar
2 cups Kefir
6 oz. strawberry jello
2 cups boiling water
1 cup cold water
5 ripe bananas
2 pre-cooked 9-inch pie crusts
1 pt. whipping cream, sweetened to taste for serving

Preparation:

In a large bowl crush strawberries; add sugar and kefir; stir until smooth. In a separate bowl add boiling water to jello and stir for two minutes. Add cold water and stir this concentrated jello slowly into the kefir strawberry mixture, stir until smooth; cool. Cover bottom of pie crusts with sliced bananas. Pour cooled strawberry mixture over bananas. Refrigerate 2 hours. Top with sweetened whipped cream, more sliced bananas, if desired and serve.
post #18 of 582
Thread Starter 

Just in time for Pumpkin Season...

Pumpkin Kefir Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust:
1-1/2 boxes cinnamon graham crackers, crushed
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup apple juice concentrate or use melted butter (1 stick)

Filling:
1-1/2 cups Cream Cheese
1/4 cup Kefir
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons liquid egg substitute or 6 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
¾ teaspoon cinnamon

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 350xF.
Combine the crust ingredients in a food processor. Lightly spray a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Evenly distribute crust batter along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake for 20 minutes and leave the oven on.
Using an electric mixer beat cream cheese, kefir, sugar, and vanilla extract until well blended. Add the egg substitute or eggs, and mix well. To the mixing bowl, add pumpkin and spices. Mix well with an electric mixer until the ingredients form one consistency. Pour mixture onto the crust and shake lightly to even the top.
Bake for 1 hour, until firm. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Run a knife along the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Cool for 30 to 40 minutes in the pan and then remove the sides. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours before serving.
post #19 of 582
Thread Starter 

More Pumpkin stuff..

Pumpkin cookies

Here is an ideal recipe to help dealing with those enormous Halloween pumpkins that unfortunately, in most instances, don't even make it to the compost bin.

Yield - Makes about 4 dozen

Ingredients
1/2 cup well drained cooked pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or virgin coconut oil
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/4 cup raisins
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
a bit of Kefir or water, if needed

Oven at 150º C / 350° F.

Mix all the ingredients and if the dough is too dry (especially if the pumpkin was dry baked), add a bit of Kefir, whey or water. Make little balls, put them on a greased cookie sheet and flatten them just a little. Bake 12 to 15 min.
post #20 of 582
Thread Starter 
Pumpkin Cobbler Topping

Sometimes a casserole or a stew can be finished with a topping and become a much more attractive dish. This goes particularly well on the top of a robust stew or baked beans.

Yield - Serves four people.

Ingredients
7 oz all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 oz butter
2 oz Parmesan cheese
3 oz raw grated pumpkin
1 oz ground almonds
nutmeg, pepper and salt
Kefir or yoghurt

Preheat the oven to 200º C, 400º F.

Put all the dry ingredients and the grated pumpkin in the blender, whiz around and then slowly add the kefir or yoghurt, stop as soon as the dough makes a ball. Place walnut sized lumps on top of your casserole and bake for around 30 minutes. Serve at once.
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