homemade kefir vs. store bought - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 08-13-2006, 01:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay bear with me if this is stupid. I'm a newbie to the world of probiotics info, even though I've been drinking Lifeway kefir and eating plain, organic yogurt for some time. I decided that I should really make my own, as I'm sure it's healthier, cheaper, and easy to do. These days though, i can barely squeeze in time to even quickly research which yogurt maker to buy. So I'm wondering if homemade is really that much more benficial or different. The ingredients list on the plain is pretty simple. Am I getting at least close to the same benefits by shelling out for the bottled kefir?
tia.
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#2 of 20 Old 08-13-2006, 03:16 PM
 
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I am wondering the same thing. But, can I add an addendum to your question? I also drink Lifeway kefir, but then I started making my own kefir by adding a few tablespoons of the plain Lifeway kefir to organic milk, leave it on the counter for a few days. It comes out well.

But I always read on here and am intrigued by kefir grains for making kefir. Sooo my question is: why and how are kefir grains better than just using a little left over kefir from the previous batch? (starting out with using a little plain store-bought kefir)
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#3 of 20 Old 08-13-2006, 03:44 PM
 
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The main reasons that we use homemade kefir (from grains):

1) it's cheaper (just the cost of the milk... never need to buy starter again)
2) we can use any milk we want (we like to get grass fed milk)
3) it's really really easy... just strain out the grains from the old batch, put them in a clean jar, give them fresh milk, and let them sit 24 hrs at room temperature.

Maybe there's also a difference in the probiotic bacteria, but the reasons above are enough for me
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#4 of 20 Old 08-13-2006, 08:17 PM
 
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yes, all of the above

Homeade kefir also has more beneficial bacteria. You can make it with or without sugars as well. Some also have corn syrups!

So I like to make my own as I always have just enough and can flavor it any way I like.

Due with number 5 in August. We do all that crunchy stuff.
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#5 of 20 Old 08-13-2006, 08:21 PM
 
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I make my own to save $$ and because I can pick and choose the milk I use. and flavor it without adding sugar.
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#6 of 20 Old 08-13-2006, 08:32 PM
 
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What is difference between kefir made with grains and that made with powdered starter?
Also, how do you say the word kefir? I've heard a couple of different pronunciations.

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#7 of 20 Old 08-13-2006, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been saying KEY-fer, although I've read that it's really ka-FEER (?) which actually makes more sense to me now. I also wondered if the grains were necessary, and also what kind of yogurt maker people prefer, if they use one.
I was thinking there might be more active cultures in the homemade. I know there is cane sugar in the flavored lifeway kefir. I hadn't even thought about the milk choice. I buy organic, but I don't think it's grass fed.

Is there a 1-2-3 yogurt making for dummies out there? There's so much info here and on the net, but sometimes the complexities of the 12-page probiotics threads are just way more than I feel I can get into right now.
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#8 of 20 Old 08-14-2006, 01:40 AM
 
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i make my own matsoni and piima, using cultures i got from fermented treasures.

http://www.fermentedtreasures.com/index.html

no need for a yogurt maker, they are traditional yogurts and they do fine with room temperature fermentation.

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#9 of 20 Old 08-14-2006, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks. I don't think I am going to buy one.
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#10 of 20 Old 08-14-2006, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Where do you get the grains? Is there a reason that the earlier mentioned way of using Lifeway kefir as a starter isn't as good? I guess it's easier than I thought. I got put off slightly buy all the complex questions I've seen wrt kefir making around here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tamagotchi
The main reasons that we use homemade kefir (from grains):

1) it's cheaper (just the cost of the milk... never need to buy starter again)
2) we can use any milk we want (we like to get grass fed milk)
3) it's really really easy... just strain out the grains from the old batch, put them in a clean jar, give them fresh milk, and let them sit 24 hrs at room temperature.

Maybe there's also a difference in the probiotic bacteria, but the reasons above are enough for me
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#11 of 20 Old 08-14-2006, 06:28 PM
 
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The grains reproduce, so anyone who has grains will periodically have some to give away... Many mamas here on MDC will send them to you for the cost of shipping (when they have them), or you might even find someone local so you can just pick them up... where are you located?
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#12 of 20 Old 08-14-2006, 10:49 PM
 
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I've always felt too dumb to ask, but I'm going to now What is Kefir anyway? I've seen it at the store, but had no idea what it is!

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#13 of 20 Old 08-14-2006, 11:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm in Chicago. Is this the right forum to ask for kefir grains?
Here's a nice short definition as to what it is. http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html
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#14 of 20 Old 08-15-2006, 02:16 AM
 
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Hazelnut to make it with the Lifeway starter, all I do is put 2-3 tablespoons of the plain kefir into milk in a glass container (I use a pitcher with a little saucer balanced on top to cover it). Then I let it sit out on my counter for 48 hours. It turns into a substance that is exactly like the original kefir. Then I put it in the fridge to store it. Oh, I do let the milk come to room temperature before I add and stir in the kefir though.

I too have been put off skimming the complicated-seeming kefir/yogurt threads. I think that people were heating the milk first, to some very exact temperature? or maybe that's just for yogurt. But try it, my way definitely works with LIfeway as the starter.

Here it is very temperate all the time (northern California) so it's probably high sixties - mid seventies out.. I think in cold winter weather, you might have to find a warmer place or let it culture in a warm oven (already heated oven, then turned off).
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#15 of 20 Old 08-15-2006, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. Now I"m confused as to why one needs grains. ?
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#16 of 20 Old 08-15-2006, 01:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazelnut
Thanks. Now I"m confused as to why one needs grains. ?
From the site you referenced above:

Kefir grains are not to be mistaken for cereal grains this is to say that the grain part of the name is a misnomer. Kefir grains, or kefir granulesif you wish, are in fact a natural-starter or natural mother-culture. The grain's bio-structure [which I refer to as a bio-matrix], is created through the efforts of a symbiotic relationship, shared between a vast mixture of specific friendly Lactic acid bacteria [LAB] and yeasts. A batch of kefir grains are made up of many individual bodies with a soft, gelatinous white biological mass [biomass], comprised of protein, lipids [fats] and a soluble-polysaccharide Kefiran complex. The microbes and yeasts not only create the bio-matrix structure, they are harboured by the very structure that they create; abiding either on the surface [interior and exterior], or encapsulated within the bio-matrix itself.

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#17 of 20 Old 08-15-2006, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah I haven't made it through all the links on that page yet. I was trying to last night but I was exhausted and my eyes were glazing over. I didn't yet see why the "grains" are better or necessary.
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#18 of 20 Old 08-15-2006, 02:10 PM
 
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I'm still trying to figure that part out myself. I want to make it to be the healthiest and most beneficial kefir I can. That said, if using Lifeway is just as good, I don't want extra work for no extra reward.

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#19 of 20 Old 08-15-2006, 02:22 PM
 
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Also, after I made it with the few tablespoons of Lifeway, I save a bit of that batch for the next batch etc.

I do that 3-4 batches and I think after the 3rd batch or so it started to taste less vibrant, tangy, fresh. So I buy another container of Lifeway and start again. At least it cuts down on the cost, even if it doesn't eliminate buying it completely

(and actually organic milk is not that much cheaper than organic kefir, so ..
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#20 of 20 Old 08-15-2006, 04:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traceface
I too have been put off skimming the complicated-seeming kefir/yogurt threads. I think that people were heating the milk first, to some very exact temperature? or maybe that's just for yogurt.
Oh heavens no, you don't have to heat the milk first to make kefir... just put the grains in a clean jar, add milk (cold from the fridge is fine), and let it sit out for 24 hrs. Kefir is very forgiving, warm or cool temperatures are fine, just don't leave it out in direct sun (I put mine in the kitchen cupboard).
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