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Got Kefir? - Page 3

post #41 of 582
Thread Starter 
The best answer to that is 'maybe'. If they have a decent amount of milk, they will have 'stuff to eat and convert'. The 'Kefir' will definitely be SOUR and strong. If you left them in the fridge, I would say yes, but at room temp and with only the milk they came in...mmmm....

When you get back home:

1) Tend to them asap.
2) Drain off any liquid (you will probably find it's converted to whey and harder curds, like cottage cheese).
3) Gently rinse them with cool, non chlorinated water to get the curds off.
4) Put them in about 1 cup of milk
5) Next day, drain off milk and toss it, do not drink it. Add another cup of milk.
6) You can probably drink this batch (batch #2), but if it doesn't smell like buttermilk or 'yogurty', toss milk, and repeat step 5.

They should be ok, but you can always get more grains! I'm off to bed, I will post a 'recovery sheet' in detail for long term storage of grains sometime tomorrow.
post #42 of 582
Thread Starter 
Ok here is a slightly edited down version of how to store Kefir Grains for longer periods of time:


If lactose levels are not a problem, and you want a 'sweeter', less sour flavor, then consume kefir as fresh as possible, directly after straining.

Strained Kefir may be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container, where it should keep for weeks or some months. A portion of kefir may be removed for consumption, then replenishing the container with freshly strained batches.
Storing kefir like this on an ongoing basis, will tend to produce a kefir with extra sourness .

This method is the no-fridge method

Store freshly strained kefir in a sealed container and leave at room temperature to ripen for a few days. Note that this method produces kefir with lots of FIZZ! Freshly strained kefir may be placed in a clean glass jar and stored at room temperature for up to one week or longer in cool climates, or for up to 3 to 4 days in warmer climates.

Pour freshly strained 12 to 24 hour brewed kefir into a glass jar, not filling the bottle more than 3/4 full
Place a tight lid on the jar

*Give the bottle a good shake once or twice daily [to prevent spillage, make sure the lid is tightly fitted before shaking]. Release any CO2 gas buildup by opening the lid, and then tighten the lid once again.

One may pour off amounts of kefir from the bottle daily, until all the kefir is consumed. Alternatively, after removing a portion of kefir, the bottle may be replenished with freshly strained kefir; and then repeating the process daily over 1 week. Then the container is washed clean with hot water and detergent and the process is recommenced.

*The kefir must be shaken 1 - 2 times daily. The reason is to prevent Yeasts and Acetobacter colonies from forming on the surface of the kefir. If not agitated, these colonies may be seen as a light-brown wavy film. Although the initial development of such colonies are not harmful, if left unchecked, unwanted molds may possibly propagate on the colonies; agitation prevents this, possibly due to increasing freely available oxygen.

Due to secondary fermentation, the processes explained above may produce a slightly sourer tasting kefir, with a considerable increase in effervescence.

Although this process will produce a kefir with much less sourness, in comparison to a kefir stored in the refrigerator for the same length of time.

Some of the B group vitamins, particularly Folic acid [Folacin], will increase as the kefir is left to ripen for a few days. Within 48 hours, Folic acid may be expected to increase by at least 116 % in comparison to the original fresh milk or freshly stained kefir. Due to the latter fact, ripened kefir is most favorable taken during pregnancy.

Resting Kefir Grains

If you need to take a break from Kefir for a short period, say between 3 days to 1 month, then there are a few options to take advantage of. This also depends on whether someone is available as a baby-sitter for your kefir grains [during the resting period].

If someone is available to baby-sit, then the first option below may be implemented, otherwise the second option may be followed instead.

For a resting period of up to one week:
Place the grains in a jar with the same amount of fresh milk that the grains usually ferment
Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week
Strain the kefir [which is safe to consume]
The grains are now ready to cultured per usual
*[Note that the first few batches prepared after resting the grains, usually take longer to ferment]
This process slows down the metabolism of the micro flora [the organisms go into a semi-dormant state]

Resting kefir grains for longer than one week:
As explained in option 1 above, instead, straining the kefir and adding fresh milk weekly is performed.

This option may be performed for as long as required. When culturing is recommenced at room temperature, the grains will need some days to recover, so the kefir may take a little longer to complete.
Once the grains are removed from the refrigerator, the temperature increase will also increase microbial activity, over a period of time. It may take anywhere between 2 to 7 days for kefir grains to reach optimum activity. The longer the resting period, the longer it will take for the grains to reactivate fully.

Resting kefir gains for longer than one week

As in option 1 above, but increase milk volume by 30-50 % for each additional week of rest [Recommended maximum ratio of no greater than 1:60 grains to milk by volume is preferable].

Resting Kefir grains as above, is safe to do for a periods of up to 2 - 3 months, although you really should use a long term storage method if you go longer than a month and should dehydrated the grains.

NOTES: During the resting process, some species of microbes and yeasts of kefir grains will reduce in numbers. Therefore an adjustment or a recovery period is needed until a balance between the micro floras is once again attained. The longer the grains are kept dormant, the longer the recovery period. In extreme cases, recovery may take up to 2 weeks or longer. During this period, the kefir will produce variations regarding appearance, flavor and texture.

Always create a backup source of kefir grains!

Freezing Kefir Grains
One method for storing kefir grains for periods of up to 2 months is by freezing the grains. To freeze kefir grains effectively, wash the grains with pre-boiled, then COOLED water, pat them dry between pre-ironed cooled white towels to remove excess moisture.

Place the grains in a jar or plastic bag; with the addition of dry milk powder [do not add fresh milk or other water based liquids].
Add enough milk powder to completely cover the grains, and then freeze.
The dry milk powder is added as a protective agent.

Although the kefir grains are viable for up to one year when using this method, this length of time may completely remove the yeast component found in healthy kefir grains [when frozen for longer than 2 months].
Because of this, freezing kefir grains as explained above is best performed for a period of no longer than 2 months. If dry milk powder is omitted with the kefir grains, then a period of no longer than 1 month is recommended. Other wise the yeast component of kefir grains may become damaged.

Drying Kefir Grains
Kefir grains may be dehydrated for long term storage [for up to 12 to 18 months].
To dehydrate fresh kefir grains, wash the grains with pre-boiled, then COOLED water. Pat the grains dry by placing them between a pre-ironed and cooled white towel to remove excess moisture.
Place the grains in either a pre ironed white paper bag, or between two sheets of pre ironed white cotton or linen cloth.
Leave to dry in a well ventilated warm spot, until the grains become quite firm and yellow in color. Depending on temperature, humidity and size of the grains, it may take between two to five days for all the grains to completely dehydrate.
Place the dry grains in an airtight jar and store in a cool place e.g., in the refrigerator [do not freeze]. Add a little dry milk powder with dehydrated kefir grains, adding enough milk powder to cover the grains. Dehydrated kefir grains may be stored for up to 1 1/2 years.

Note: It's best to replenish dehydrated grains with freshly dehydrated grains every 6 months. Old dry grains make great treats for both people and pets alike.
It is not imperative to pre-iron any toweling or paper bags used in the process explained above. This is done to reduce the risk of possible contamination.

Reactivating Frozen kefir grains
To reactivate frozen kefir grains, thaw by placing the grains in a glass with cold water for a few minutes. Place the grains into a strainer and wash off any powdered milk that's adhered to the grains with cold water. Presto! They're ready for action and reaction!

Now, add fresh milk to the grains with a ratio of 1 : 3 of grains to milk by volume [say 1/2 cup of milk to 2 Tablespoons of grains]. Strain off the milk every 24 hours, whether or not the milk has coagulated, then place the grains back in the jar with more fresh milk. When full coagulation occurs within 24 hours of fermentation, your kefir grains have reestablished themselves. At this point in time the milk should smell sour but clean, with a possible aroma of fresh yeast. This could take up to one week and in some cases longer.

The quantity of milk may be increased after every other batch until you're happy with the amount of kefir being produced. After an increase in milk volume, do not increase again until the grains are able to ferment the previous increase within 24 hours. This may take between two to seven batches; depending on many factors e.g. how much you increased by, temperature and the activity of the grains themselves.

Reactivating Dehydrated Kefir Grains
First reconstitute dry kefir grains by placing the dry grains in a jar with the addition of a glass of fresh milk.
Activate by renewing the milk daily after straining that batch, whether the milk has coagulated or not. Do not drink this milk until it produces a clean sour aroma. Reconstituting dry grains may take between four days and in some cases up to one and a half weeks to occur.

When the milk starts to coagulate within 24 hours, producing a clean sour aroma, with a hint of fresh yeast, your grains have reactivated and are rearing to go!

NOTES: When activating dehydrated kefir grains, for the first few days the milk will go through some unusual stages, regarding its appearance and aroma. The milk will initially produce a predominance of friendly yeast activity, evident as "froth" or "foam" forming on the surface of the milk.

Yeast activity may reach a peak after three to 5 days, and then begin to subside as consecutive batches are cultured thereafter. As consecutive batches are cultured, the micro flora should find a balance between the bacteria and yeast components, which kefir grains can achieve quite naturally on their own. This may take between one to two weeks.

Growth rate of kefir grains may not be evident, in some cases, until the third week. The grains should become whiter in color after each consecutive batch. Any yellow or yellow-pink-brown grains that don't have an elastic property, should be removed from the batch after the forth week. These are non propagable grains [do not grow], the portion of which is determined by length and storage conditions of dehydrated grains.

Non propagable grains disintegrate, when squeezed between two clean fingers, having the texture similar to a cheddar cheese. Whereas propagable grains are white and elastic with a slightly slimy feel [Kefiran], felt when gently squeezing a grain between two clean fingers.
post #43 of 582
Heather, i really appreciate all the work that you've done! I am going to print all these recipes out and put them in my "Nourishing Traditions" cookbook.

Here is a question, can you make kerfir using goat milk?
post #44 of 582
Thread Starter 
Yes, goat milk is a great one....it's usually found raw too, so double good stuff.

Basically any milk (cow, goat, mare) and even soy and coconut milk are fine.

post #45 of 582
Thread Starter 
Vanilla Kefir - from 'live' grain Kefir

I did it! I warmed up 1 quart of whole organic milk, dissolved 1/4 cup Rapadura sugar (organic, whole cane juice sugar), added a tsp vanilla extract and then added this to a mason jar with about 2 tsp Kefir Grains. I lidded the jar loosely and left it out on my counter over night.

This morning the Kefir is thick, creamy and smells nicely of vanilla! It's thicker than yogurt drinkables, but thinner still than store bought.

It's GOOD!

I will try making normal Kefir with these grains after a few more days of 'Vanilla Kefir' just to see if it affects the quality of making regular milk with the same grains.
post #46 of 582
Heather, the kefir queen!

:horse1 we're all on the kerfir band wagon!!
post #47 of 582
Thread Starter 
ok, the queen slipped. The Cranberry Kefir pie recipe makes (easily) two 9 inch pies...as I just made it. I don't think my whipped cream was too fluffy, but I filled two pie crust easy! They are 'setting up' in the fridge now so I'll give you all taste test results and some more details in about 4 hours or tomorrow morning. I made cranberry sauce from cranberries, so it took longer than just using some pre made. If it turns out REALLY good, I will include the pie crust recipe I used and the cranberry recipe.

I will edit the recipe directly on the page...
post #48 of 582
Thread Starter 
Ok, the Orange Cranberry, Kefir Cream Pie turned out FABULOUS!

And....for the sake of the experiment....I made myself eat a slice for 'late breakfast, early lunch'...mmmm..mmmmm....good!

It sets up really nice, and is easy to slice, and the taste is just wonderful! I'm NOT a big cranberry fan, but wow, this is good!

I'm going to edit the recipe (on page one) to include the crust recipe and cranberry sauce recipe I used. So look for the edits if you want to try this. Definitely gonna make this one for Thanksgiving! (or two...)
post #49 of 582
Thread Starter 
bumping for the vanilla kefir recipe
post #50 of 582
Can you use honey in the vanilla recipe? Or does its antibacterial properties prevent the kefir from fermenting properly?

GREAT recipes, xenabyte! I can't wait to try some out!
post #51 of 582
Thread Starter 
Aye, I would add honey after you have brewed it, to taste, for just those reasons. It could eventually affect the grains.

I was thinking, honey would probably suppress the bacterial component, and increase the yeast component, as the yeasts would love to eat it!

It would probably produce Kefir still, but the flavor and texture would change. It might be an interesting experiment, if you have grains to spare to dedicate to a 'honeyed milk solution'. They might become (the grains) closer to a 'Kefir d'aqua', as the Dom would say, type grain, with the extra sugars.

Over time, the dom says that if you convert milk based grains to 'sugar water' grains, they will no longer produce Kefir in milk. So that would be my concern. But this is all conjecture, as I've not experimented with honey in the jar, yet....

Thanks about the recipes. Try the Cranberry Kefir pie, it really is good!
post #52 of 582
When you said "warmed up" in the Vanilla Kefir recipe , how warm do you mean? And did you let it cool before putting in the grains. Dom says don't even put the grains in a bottle just washed with hot water, because it could damage them. I am so excited to try it, but I need details.
My son doesn't like the sour taste so I sweeten it (in the glass) with xylitol and carob. It's like pudding. Yumm!
post #53 of 582
Thread Starter 
Hmm, I didn't use a thermometer with this. I just warmed it in a pan on lowest setting to take off the refrigerator chill, and make the rapadura start to dissolve (the milk will start looking kinda caramel colored from the Rapadura). If you are worried, you can let it 'cool back down' to room temp (about70-80 deg F) to be extra safe.

I pour the milk in the jar, then add the extract (which is cooling too) and stick a spoon in it, and drip it on my wrist to make sure it feels 'lukewarm', like they used to do to test baby's milk. You could even refrigerate it for a few minutes, if it gets too hot. Then add the grains.

I'm not sure if it's the warmth or the sugar, but the kefir was much thicker and smoother than just straight up, plain Kefir.

I like the pudding idea, it's funny you should say that, because my dad and me ate the first batch with a spoon from the jar, like 'pudding'! It was so yummy! Probiotic Pudding, who would have thought!

Ok, I have another recipe forming in my head....Chocolate Kefir Pudding or Pie filling...mmmm....runs off to grab a spoon and pencil and paper....
post #54 of 582
Question: when kefir is used in baked goods, the heat kills the beasties, right? In order for it to populate your gut you need to consume it "raw" so the cooked recipes are mainly for using up extra kefir, enjoying the taste and getting the protein from the milk?

post #55 of 582
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by girlndocs
Question: when kefir is used in baked goods, the heat kills the beasties, right? In order for it to populate your gut you need to consume it "raw" so the cooked recipes are mainly for using up extra kefir, enjoying the taste and getting the protein from the milk?

Yes, the Kefir in baked goods is a good way to use up extra Kefir, however there are still nutritional benefits to using it. Even though the bacteria will be dead, they have done their job and have increased the nutritional value of the 'Kefir milk' and the milk proteins have been converted to a more digestable form. It's amazing how soft and tender a dough can be with Kefir added to it. (like buttermilk does).

The whey from making Kefir cheese is also LOADED with minerals. I looked at a website charging for 'mineral whey'....well, that's just the powdered form of the stuff you get from yogurt/Kefir or cream cheese making! Save it, even if you don't drink it straight up, you can put it in recipes as a liquid to shoot the mineral values (bioactive at that!) through the roof! The 'whey' will keep up to 6 months in a glass, covered jar in the fridge. I use it in place of water now when I make up my bread starters (new experiment) and the dough was awesome! Those minerals feed the yeasts and allow it to ferment really nicely!

post #56 of 582
Thread Starter 
Here is something for everyone. Use Kefir Cream cheese, and BAM, what a treat!!

Cream Cheese Waffles

1 (8oz) Package of cream cheese
3 eggs
3 tsp Rapadura sugar, white sugar, brown sugar or Splenda-like substitute if low carbing. If using Stevia, about 1-2 ‘individual size’ packets for a ‘taste’ of sweet
1/4 cup whole wheat flour or Atkins Bake Mix or Faux Mix *see below for making your own
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup Buttermilk or Kefir or Yogurt

Beat the cream cheese with mixer until smooth, add then add the remaining ingredients and let sit a few minutes before using (5-6 minutes is fine).

To make Pancakes:
Preheat a pan to med/high heat. Be sure to spray the pan (cast iron skillet or a stainless steel pan, preferable) with a light coat of butter flavored non stick spray and pour in about 3 tbps of mix (or use real butter to grease the pan, if not worried about calories or carbs. Can use coconut oil too, no carbs). This will be about a 6” pancake. Be sure to let them bubble up all over just like an all flour recipe pancake, before flipping them over.

Only 17 carbs in the entire recipe, if you use sugar substitute and Atkins bake mix or faux mix. This recipe makes about 10 pancakes @ 1.7 carbs per pancake

To make Waffles:
If you make waffles, this recipe make about 18 waffles! Just use the batter per your waffle irons instructions. Depending if you have a sunbeam standard iron, or a Belgium iron, you will get a few more or less. I just add enough batter to make sure it doesn’t ‘spew’ out the sides too much. If you can get at least 18 waffles from it, each one will have less than 2 carbs per waffle!

Faux Atkins Bake Mix
1 cup soy flour or almond flour
2 cups soy protein isolate or wheat protein isolate (hard to find, but worth looking for if you are a low carber and not allergic to wheat) or Whey protein Isolate (whey protein isolate gives an 'eggy' texture to things
2 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Splenda or 4-6 ‘individual size’ Stevia packets.
Sift together then store and use as you would Dr. A's. It's much cheaper and things come out about the same.
3 carbs per 1/2 cup serving

This was a favorite recipe from before I had kids and was low carbing my grains. They freeze amazingly well, and the Dh even liked them! I would not use nutrasweet or splenda if the kids are eating them, but a tiny bit of whole sugar or even no sugar would be nice (or a dab of applesauce) for making them more appealing to the children! The cream cheese adds protein and gives them a wonderful texture! If you totally omit the sugar, and use the low carb flour options, they can be used as hamburger or sandwich bread. It's a nice thing after not having anything to hold all those 'low carb' fillings!

Note: Corrected Whey protein Isolate to say Wheat. You can use either, however, the wheat protein isolate (if you can find it) makes it taste more like regular bread.
post #57 of 582
Xenabyte, I was inspired by your thread to buy some (plain) kefir at the hfs yesterday. It reminded me of a cultured milk product called filmjolk that I used to buy in Sweden when I was studying there, oh, almost 20 years ago. I always thought of filmjolk as "drinkable yogurt." Do you have any idea how filmjolk is made and how it relates to yogurt and kefir?
post #58 of 582
Originally Posted by mogit
Do you have any idea how filmjolk is made and how it relates to yogurt and kefir?
I've never had it, but know you can get starter at
post #59 of 582
My MIL grew up on Fil Mjolk (in Sweden). I was telling her about my kefir grains, and we got to talking about cultured milk. It's a little like clotted cream.
MIL said her father used to eat fil mjolk every morning with hard bread.
She said she preferred it with fruit.
post #60 of 582
Thread Starter 
hehe, I was just gonna post that Parthenia sent me a link about the Fil Milk and it is similar, but sounds 'creamier'. There are some links to where to buy the starter for it. I might try to get some just to try and compare it. I am also placing an order for Piima milk.
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