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#1 of 22 Old 07-30-2004, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Does this work as a good replacement for cultured buttermilk? I'm getting some kefir grains today but I have lots of questions! Like do you *really* need to sterilize the equipment? How long does the kefir last? Is it okay to use a metal strainer? What do you do with the grains when you aren't using them? Do they multiply? I don't understand how people have extras to give unless the grains grow. I'm hoping to make the kefir and then soak some flour into the NT pancakes. I hope this works out! I'd love to hear your experiences!
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#2 of 22 Old 07-30-2004, 12:11 PM
 
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The grains get fatter and fatter as you use them. That's the only answer I have to any of your questions.

You can put keifer grains in juice or water and make some good drinks that way, too. Once you do those grains can't go back into milk.
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#3 of 22 Old 07-30-2004, 12:16 PM
 
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I need to read up on the Kefir making process myself. I'm hoping to get some grains myself soon

/holds checkbook in hand.....crosses fingers

I just LOVE LOVE LOVE Kefir. Even the toddler will drink it!

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#4 of 22 Old 07-30-2004, 12:47 PM
 
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Here is a huge site all about kefir:
http://users.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html

from personal experience, it is REALLY easy to make. Dump the grains into milk, let sit. I've used a metal strainer, a plastic strainer, a wooden spoon, etc to strain the finished kefir away from the grains. They get bigger with each milk change. I rinse mine with water between changes, some people don't. I have occasionally "fasted" my grains on water to get rid of off flavors. Finished kefir lasts a very long time, it will just get more tart. Hope some of that was helpful, I'm very tired this morning (stayed up way too late!)
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#5 of 22 Old 07-30-2004, 02:59 PM
 
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Very helpful! UGH, I hate when I stay up too late (tried to teach myself knitting last night while BFing baby...haha, won't do that again soon.)



Hope you get some sleep (nap?) or can hit the hay early!

I think I found a local lady wanting to share grains too, thanks to Lindsey
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#6 of 22 Old 07-31-2004, 05:57 PM
 
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xenabyte, thanks! I went to bed at a reasonable time last night and am feeling better today.

Oh, and I don't bother sterilizing my equipment, I just use clean jars and utensils.
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#7 of 22 Old 07-31-2004, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the info (and the link!). It's fermenting right now. It's so simple!!! I can't wait to try it!!!! Gonna do the NT pancakes!
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#8 of 22 Old 08-01-2004, 12:29 PM
 
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yikes, xena, does that mean you don't want some anymore? i mentioned it would be a few till i could mail it, but i hadn't forgotten... anyway, you can put it in water, coconut milk, whatever & still use it in dairy; i don't remember reading that on dom's site, where is that myth (which it is, because i disprove it constantly, lol) coming from? (sandor katz did say it will take on the color of grape juice or mountain dew etc if you use it in that, which is where, my guess is, it started.)

suse
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#9 of 22 Old 08-01-2004, 02:18 PM
 
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Susey I STILL need some

I was gonna 'try' to get some from her AND hope you could still get me some. She's not a for sure deal, she's just in same state, would still be a two-three hour drive for me, if I did go to her place...ugh..with two kids in tow....

I have LOTS of extended family nearby and I'm sure it would never go to waste...I told the MIL I would give her some once my grains got big enough to share Plus we have 3 adults here and toddler that would be drinking it, so I figure the more grains the merrier. I also have most of my neighbors wanting to 'try' it now...haha...they got the 'Kefir fever' now too....

So please mail them if you can still I wanted to do one 'set' with milk' and one set with water or some other liquid...kinda to experiment with I figure two sets gives me a cushion if I screw them up??? **Edit** Ok, just read what you said about using different liquids and no problems. COOL, then I could always combine them (If I actually get two sets) into one big batch and still experiment? WHOO HOO **
I was hoping you still had extras, but I didn't want to presume anything! I am just 'jonsing' for some KEFIR...mmm....tasty.

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#10 of 22 Old 08-01-2004, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, so it fermented at room temperature for about 36 hours (because they didn't have a full set to give me so they said to let it soak longer) and I put it in the fridge but it smelled like finger nail polish remover!!! It still doesn't smell so pleasant. I'm afraid to drink it! LOL Is this smell normal?
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#11 of 22 Old 08-01-2004, 06:28 PM
 
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Goatlady, I'm no 'grain' expert yet, but it sounds like it developed or picked up an 'off flavor' (maybe in shipping?) or some unwanted strains of bacteria got in it?

The store bought stuff smells 'yogurty' and yummy, not anything like 'acetone'. Did you do the soak in a 'plastic' container? Plastics are notorious for 'giving off' stuff you don't want!

Maybe pour off that batch of liquid (down the drain) resoak them in some fresh milk, water, something 'approved' and PRAY that it doesn't happen again?

Again, no expert here, but that does not sound right to me!

I'm just learning about making Kefir (in preparation for my own grain shipment)...if I find anything that says an 'acetone' smell is caused by something in particular, I'll post here.

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#12 of 22 Old 08-01-2004, 06:42 PM
 
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The first time I got my grains, the kefir smelled kind of musty. I fasted the grains on water (put them in a jar in the fridge on filtered water, leave for 24 hours) and it got better. It's still got a hint of that mustiness, but I think I may have gotten used to it. I've fasted them a couple of times since then which cleaned up the flavor. I think I got a bad batch of grains but haven't bothered trying to track down a new source.

I still prefer the taste of my homemade probiotic yogurt, though the kefir is easier to make.
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#13 of 22 Old 08-01-2004, 06:52 PM
 
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ok, so let me try to understand. you can kefir grain, soak with milk, strain, and repeat. that's it? holy moly! i've been spending between $3 to $4 for a quart of kefir from my health food store.

it sounds pretty easy to have a ready ongoing supply of kefir. so where do i get kefir grains?
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#14 of 22 Old 08-01-2004, 07:24 PM
 
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There is a Yahoo group for kefir and I think a man named Dom who is most knowledgeable is on that group.

Store kefir and homemade is 2 differant things.

My Moms kefir to me tatses just like buttermilk.
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#15 of 22 Old 08-01-2004, 08:45 PM
 
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ok, after reading Dom's site...he says:

*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. This phenomenon is similar to The Flowers of Wine [Mycodermia] in wine-making. In this case, I refer to this film as Flowers of Kefir [please see this picture]. 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, which I find is most favourable.

Funny, I said it shouldn't smell like acetone, and he says acetobacter colonies can form and 36 hours was a long ferment, especially if left 'alone' and not agitated.

I would just discard that batch, since you are not gonna drink it, no matter if it IS ok. I would fast them with filtered water, and since you say you have a 'small batch' of grains, use less milk (so more of the good stuff can colonize FASTER) until they 'grow up' and can turn a normal 'portion' of milk into Kefir.

He also says it should smell more like 'yeast bread' or beer, NOT like what you said. I have noticed if I leave my sourdough starter too long, it gets a REALLY strong, acrid smell to it, probably more 'acetobacter colonies', harmless but makes your eyes water a bit...hahah

SO, without being there, and having the extensive experience of the 'Dom'....I would say you have active fellas, just need to let them water fast and then give them a bit less milk to 'turn' at first.

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#16 of 22 Old 08-01-2004, 08:55 PM
 
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I was wondering if you could use the Kefir to ferment and make sourdough, and Dom has a recipe for doing just that....so that makes me really , since I want to do a 'more natural' sourdough starter, not using prepackaged stuff...

Then I had ANOTHER (Hopefully Great) idea.

For those of us that are 'raw milk' challenged and can't get the stuff....anybody with Kefir grains...ok, no grossing out here....try Breastmilk for your soak liquid?

Might be a GREAT way to make some Kefir baby 'soft fermented' foods, especially for the little ones transitioning to solids.

I was gonna try making Breastmilk yogurt for the 5 month old, as it's got all the right nutrients, and a healty bacterial colony for his 'clean slate' intestines. Probably easy to digest and better than starting him on the normal 'recommened' solids, and would help when he started eating all the other stuff we eat.

If you happen to try this, before I can, let me know! Don't think I can get the DH to try it, but it'd be great for the baby/toddler, I'm thinking.

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#17 of 22 Old 08-01-2004, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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INteresting ideas. This was worded somewhere else much better but I was wondering if the BM thing would be okay because I've read that starting kefir can cause vomitting, etc. because we're not used to the bacteria? Something like that.. so I don't know how a baby would do. I LOVE the idea of using it for sourdough bread. I need to go find Dom's reicpe for that. Man, this guy is like the self-proclaimed kefir king, eh? (I'm not Canadian but I just like to speak like one!) I don't wanna start all over though.. maybe I'll just use my acetone.. I mean kefir to soak the pancakes since they get cooked anyhow.. do you think that's okay? Darn! My milk is so expensive to waste. I wish I had known about shaking. THANK YOU once again for your knowledge and sharing!
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#18 of 22 Old 08-02-2004, 12:27 PM
 
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I'm just glad you found out the hard way, before I DID...hahah...

I'm should be getting some grains soonish and I might have just let it 'sit' there and produce those 'strong' flavors as well!

Hey, if you didn't see moldy looking patches, I think you are fine. I would DEFINITELY cook with it, so as to not waste it. It should be safe to eat, according to the 'King of Kefir'...

There is only ONE source of 'Raw (Biodynamic) milk' here in Colorado. They would be an 2-3 hour drive, each way! Plus I would need to buy a 'share' of the cow, and they are not taking new customers anyway.... THAT would be expensive, I'm thinking. If I didn't have little ones I'd have to drive there and back (gee 6 hour trip), I might consider doing it occasionally! So I'm guessing no Raw milk for me...at least the Kefir/Yogurt cultures re-establish SOME of the natural goodness...

Ok, so maybe not Breastmilk Kefir for baby (Don't want him vomiting), BUT I know my other DH loved yogurt and ate that early. So maybe some Breastmilk Yogurt for DS #2 (and #1)...

and let me know how your stuff turns out with your 'smelly' Kefir heheh
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#19 of 22 Old 08-02-2004, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The pancakes are a-soakin'!!! I can't wait to see if they taste light like white flour! Yeah! I love NTish things! I feel like such a homemaker!

It shouldn't be this hard but I'm making my second batch and I want to confirm.. to make kefir:

-Pour milk and grains in jar and loosely cover; keep away from sunlight.
-shake a few times during these period of 12-24 hours
-strain strains and refrigerate milk
-enjoy!

Is that right? I reread Dom's instructions and he doesn't mention some of those things there but in other places!
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#20 of 22 Old 08-02-2004, 01:37 PM
 
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Yes, sounds right. Here is the method, for those interested in how simple it is (yes, you just need a set of 'grains' to make this, no more expensive health food store stuff...)

THE COMMON METHOD FOR CULTURING MILK-KEFIR

1) Pour fresh kefir grains in [3 cup] glass jar and fill the jar with fresh milk [best not to fill jar more than 2/3 - 3/4 full]

2) Place a loose fitting lid on the jar and let sit at room temperature for approx. 24 hours, or until the milk has coagulated or has become sour to your liking.

[Designate a spot for kefir fermentation e.g., in a cupboard away from direct sunlight]

3) Pour the contents into a non-metal strainer and strain the kefir into a container to separate the grains from the liquid kefir. What you've strained is kefir ready for consumption

4) Wash the jar then place the kefir grains from the strainer back into the washed jar.

[Do not add kefir grains to a jar which is hot from washing!]
The whole process is simply repeated for the next batch

TIPS:
Just prior to straining, the jar is gently shaken or the contents are stired to redistribute the curds back into the whey.

During fermentation gently agitate the jar by rocking for about 5 seconds at intervals for the first 12 hours.

This feeds the microflora by bringing fresh milk to the grains, while at the same time inoculating portions of milk with microbes which leave the grains.

Mmmm, enjoy!
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#21 of 22 Old 08-02-2004, 05:19 PM
 
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(it's getting pkg'd up right now, xena, but i just sprained my foot & need to get someone to take it to the p.o.!)

store kefir & homemade kefir are two different animals (literally.) don't go into your first homemade batch craving the store kefir (which is thick & yogurty) or you will have a rude shock! it takes a little practice leaving it out just *so*, to where it tastes the way you want it. just be ballsy; no kefir is going to 'go bad', even if it tastes funky. no one dies from strong kefir. all acetobacters are is vinegar bacteria (and i have never seen that develop in my strongest batch.)

have fun, suse
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#22 of 22 Old 08-02-2004, 05:52 PM
 
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eek! Rubs your ankle for you and gives you a big

Take it easy! Put an ice pack on that! and soak it in a bit of epsom salt water...it'll help any swelling!

I hope it's not a bad sprain, I know you are making apple butter by the bucket full, it sounds like! (Wish I had some apple butter...no, not a hint, hehe..I just love apple butter)!

And whoo hooo! on the Kefir grains. I been reading about it, so I'll be a good 'Kefir mommy' to the little ones when they get here.
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