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#121 of 582 Old 11-16-2004, 05:09 PM
 
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I just came across this...

"Made my first kefired meat dish today. On 8 boneless and skinless chicken (I had them in the freezer and they needed used from now on I will be buying the bone in kind only for the added nutrients of the gelatin, etc.):

2 cups strong kefir
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. rosemary
2 tsp. ground cumin (we love cumin)

I popped it in a crockpot and cooked it all day long. Served over warm wild rice. with whole wheat bread and real butter on the side. Delicious!"
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#122 of 582 Old 11-16-2004, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Lindsey that sounds wonderful! Thank you for the recipe!
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#123 of 582 Old 11-16-2004, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, I"m so stoked....my REAL 'WATER KEFIR GRAINS' finally got here from the Nederlands!

I made a batch of real 'Kefir D' Aqua' with sugar water and unsulfered figs...and let it brew for three days (an extra day to reactivate the grains) and OMG wow, it tasted kinda like a mild 'fruited honey wine'......!!!

I have another batch brewing with some unsulfered dried ginger slices in a sugar water solution....it smells divine and I can't wait to try it!!

If they start reproducing and growing...I'll have REAL WATER KEFIR GRAINS for shipping! These guys are rare and do impart a different taste to your 'Kefir d' Aqua' brews. (Can you tell I'm excited)

The Water Kefir Grains produce a product with a bit more alcohol in it, so it's definitely an adult drink.

I'll keep you posted on my progress with different brews.

I've been away from the computer for a week trying to get my son's bedroom painted and decorated for him, so I'll be checking in when I can.
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#124 of 582 Old 11-16-2004, 08:25 PM
 
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Sounds great! I stupidly made all my grains water grans and can't do milk now.
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#125 of 582 Old 11-16-2004, 11:11 PM
 
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Heather (and other mamas who have made kefir cream cheese):

What is the ratio of kefir you start out with to cheese you end up with? In other words, if I want a cup of cheese, about how much kefir should I start with? I like the idea of kefir cheesecake for Thanksgiving.
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#126 of 582 Old 11-17-2004, 03:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I use a 'quart' (liter) of Kefir, and usually end up with just over a cup of cream cheese and the rest is whey or milky Kefir that 'sneaks' through the filter....
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#127 of 582 Old 11-19-2004, 02:24 AM
 
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What kinds of milk does kefir do best with? I started mine with whole milk when I got it and now I have it in skim because that is what I drink the most of. Does it matter fat content wise?
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#128 of 582 Old 11-19-2004, 04:22 AM
 
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THanks Gale Force - I got the grains.

So I put my grains in the milk - how long before I can drink it?

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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#129 of 582 Old 11-19-2004, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Cathe,

Depending on the warmth of your kitchen, the amount of milk and the amount of grains, it can be ready to 'drink' in anywhere from 12 to 24 hours.

It won't hurt you to drink it sooner (but there is more lactose in it) or later (it'll just be more sour, but the lactose content is gone or almost gone).

Here is the first page of the info sheet (so you have one to send with any grains you might pass on) that I send put with my grains; I'd posted it here, but it was way back..:

Here is an exact copy of the first page I send. I send some detail info sheets also regarding stuff like the dehydrating of grains for back up, etc:

KEFIR INFO SHEET

Here are your LIVE Kefir Grains. They have been shipped in a bit of whole, organic milk. The milk will be ‘Kefir’ by the time you get it. It might be on the ‘strong’ side, so I suggest gently straining off the Kefir milk, discarding it and placing your grains in a fresh jar of milk, following the below instructions.

Brewing Directions:
In a clean, wide mouth glass jar (ie, a mason jar is wonderful), place these grains and 1-2 cups milk (whole, 2%, skim, pasteurized or not, homogenized or not – organic is preferable, though). Start with the smaller amount of milk, you can increase it over a few days time, as your grains grow.

Place a lid on the jar or a layer or two of paper towel or a piece of cloth over top (secured by a rubber band). Leave sitting on your countertop, out of direct sunlight for 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.

12 - 24 - 48 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, the jar is gently shaken (swirled) or the contents are stirred to redistribute the curds back with the layers and pockets of clear-whey. This makes straining a little easier. You may not have curd/whey separation, if you brew for a shorter time period; no worries, it’ll just be more like yogurt.

Straining: Use a non metal strainer (I took a piece of the plastic mesh bag my garlic comes in, and cut it to fit over the lid of my mason jar, then secured it with a rubber band. This works well for keeping the grains from slipping through and it’s easy to clean. If you must use a metal strainer, try to avoid as much contact with the grains as possible. The acid content of the grains/Kefir can cause minute electrical currents that can harm the grains.
After straining, the grains are placed straight back into a pre washed fermenting vessel, without rinsing the grains. Fresh milk is added to the grains to prepare the next batch. As a buffer, a portion of fresh kefir from the previous batch, may be left [or added] in the fermenting vessel with the fresh milk plus kefir grains. This is how kefir was prepared traditionally in the Caucasus region. [I now use a nylon mesh strainer that was a kid's bath toy...hehe...it works great!]

The strained kefir is either consumed fresh, or poured into a sealed container and stored either in the refrigerator or stored at room temperature to ripen for a few days.

Every few days I usually place the grains in a little cup with some Kefir and give the ‘brew jar’ a thorough cleaning with mild dish soap and hot water (and rinse VERY WELL in fresh water). Do not add your grains back into a hot jar, it will kill them. The ‘Dom’ says this isn’t necessary, but it makes me feel better to give the brew jar a good wash occasionally.

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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#130 of 582 Old 11-19-2004, 02:42 PM
 
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I got my grains yesterday, thank you Gale Force! Drank my first batch this morning, with a bit of maple syrup in it. I think it turned out pretty good! I can't wait to collect enough to make some of that "cream cheese."

Thank you!!!
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#131 of 582 Old 11-19-2004, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ILOVELIFE,

Isn't maple syrup in it the yummiest! I was doing that, as it mixes so easily, then I discovered how good chocolate syrup is in it too...

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#132 of 582 Old 11-19-2004, 04:08 PM
 
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I need some help with my kefir! I got my grains yesterday (thanks Xenabyte!) and let them sit in milk for 24 hours, then strained them.
What I have looks like regular milk. It's not any thicker, though it smells and tastes different. Did I not leave it long enough? I used all the grains with 2 cups of milk.
How do I know the milk is not just going sour?
I started another batch right away. What should I do?
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#133 of 582 Old 11-19-2004, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They came a long way so they might need a bit more time to get up to speed again. I'm glad you started a fresh batch! What kind of milk are you using? Try using a smaller amount of milk and change the milk one more time. It should thicken up some (or alot if you brew for longer).

You could also gently warm the milk, make sure it's not warmer than your body temp, then add the grains. I did that once and MAN, it took off nicely and I had Kefir by that night (from a morning brew time)!

I hope they didn't get damaged in shipping (Or x-rayed) or something! Did the package look ok?

I've read after a 'trip' or cold storage (like in the pit of an airplane) they might take up to 48 hours to get 'going' again.

Please keep me informed as to how it's going. If you do start to get 'curdy' clumps, I gently stir mine back into the whey and it's very smooth for drinking.
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#134 of 582 Old 11-19-2004, 05:00 PM
 
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They were a bit cold when they got here, but otherwise the package looked fine. Maybe they froze on the airplane?

Last night I put them in raw whole milk, still warm from the cow.
Tonight I put them in just 1 cup (instead of 2) and I'll leave them there until something happens. I was just afraid that other things might grow in there instead, especially if the grains aren't active.

I'll let you know if a few days. Thanks for the help!!!
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#135 of 582 Old 11-19-2004, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ahh, well the good news is, cold won't kill them, unless they are left frozen long term. So they should warm up and start producing just fine, especially if you are using fresh, warm cow milk! WOW

It sounds like they will be fine. They might also be adjusting to a different type 'cow' milk. That's wonderful you have a fresh milk source!

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#136 of 582 Old 11-19-2004, 10:44 PM
 
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Just wanted to chime in that after I got my grains, they took a while to get "up to speed". I got them ... umm, when did I get them, Heather? End of Oct.?)

Anyway, I started out with 1c milk at a time & that would take 48 hours to get really thick. After a while they did 1c in 24 hours, so I started brewing a pint at a time (going back to a 48 hour brew). Just before I split my grains to freeze backups, they were up to a quart every 48 hours.

Now I'm brewing with a small amount of grains again & back to 1c every 48 hours ... just when I need to get lots of kefir for thanksgiving cheesecake I'm going to start warming it first, thanks Heather!

Also, for those who want more grains faster, I found that my grains reproduced fastest when I put them in more milk than they could thoroughly culture (like to the point where it started to look seperated) in 24 hours.
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#137 of 582 Old 11-20-2004, 01:04 AM
 
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I've got KEFIR! I'm so excited - my first batch! So I just strained it thru cheesecloth - thanks for the instructions Heather, I was going to strain it thru metal. Straight it tastes sort of like sourdough starter - is that right! Also, are the curds and the grains? I strained out a bunch of solids and that is what I used to start another batch.

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#138 of 582 Old 11-20-2004, 01:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Kristin,

I think it was Oct...but I'd have to look it up, I've sent out so many it's hard to remember eeps...

Cathe,

It should be like strong yogurt, with a 'tinge' of that sourdough 'smell' if it's been brewing a long time. Since you do sourdough in your home, be aware that 'happy wild yeasts' will be in your home floating around, looking to jump in a nice swimming pool of yummy 'culture'...so that might be affecting it.

It's no biggie, once the grains get going strong, they will 'out compete' the others..and if you 'air' out the Kefir a few, it smells much milder.

I just make Kefir Garlic Bread...MMMMmmmmm and Cinnamon rolls with the same dough...OMG good....

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#139 of 582 Old 11-23-2004, 08:15 PM
 
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Yum - we're drinking frozen strawberry/kefir/agave nectar/vanilla extract smoothies - tastes like strawberry milk shakes!

Also made dosas with the kefir. This is so great.

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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#140 of 582 Old 11-23-2004, 08:22 PM
 
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I have a question!

So, I have been seperating my youghurt to make cream cheese and whey and then using the whey to make sourdough starter, soak my grains and fermented ginger ale amoung other things.

If I was to make kefir using rice milk or coconut milk and then seperate the kefir into the cream cheese and whey, would this whey be considered vegan? I have a very strict vegan buddy whom I would love to make coconut cream pie for with kefir cream cheese. Plus I have been soaking my flour with a bit of whey to make banana bread and muffins and such and if I use youghurt whey she won't let her kids have any but if I use the whey from my coconut or rice milk kefir....


What do you all think?
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#141 of 582 Old 11-23-2004, 11:50 PM
 
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xenabyte: Ah yes! I could consume anything if it's flavored with yummy maple syrup! We're "kefiring" away here. I'm going to need to rest my grains for a week while we go on vacation, so hopefully all will be well!
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#142 of 582 Old 11-28-2004, 12:03 AM
 
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I'm glad you gals got your grains and you're culturing away. I'm mailing out Tuesday if anyone else is interested.

Amanda Rose, author, Rebuild From Depression: A Nutrient Guide. Don't miss this opportunity to build a business telling friends about probiotic foods and grass fed meats: Beyond Organic Review.

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#143 of 582 Old 11-28-2004, 12:15 AM
 
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Hmmmmm.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mountain mom
I have a question!

So, I have been seperating my youghurt to make cream cheese and whey and then using the whey to make sourdough starter, soak my grains and fermented ginger ale amoung other things.

If I was to make kefir using rice milk or coconut milk and then seperate the kefir into the cream cheese and whey, would this whey be considered vegan? I have a very strict vegan buddy whom I would love to make coconut cream pie for with kefir cream cheese. Plus I have been soaking my flour with a bit of whey to make banana bread and muffins and such and if I use youghurt whey she won't let her kids have any but if I use the whey from my coconut or rice milk kefir....


What do you all think?
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#144 of 582 Old 11-28-2004, 12:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry Mountain Mom, I guess I missed this question with all the down board times and Thanksgiving preparations and such...so here goes:

Quote:
Originally Posted by mountain mom
If I was to make kefir using rice milk or coconut milk and then seperate the kefir into the cream cheese and whey, would this whey be considered vegan?
Yes, coconut milk or rice milk is vegan, and the only other stuff in it, would be the 'ferment' from the Kefir Grains. As long as she eats cultured products or yeasted breads or the like, I don't see a problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mountain mom
I have a very strict vegan buddy whom I would love to make coconut cream pie for with kefir cream cheese. Plus I have been soaking my flour with a bit of whey to make banana bread and muffins and such and if I use youghurt whey she won't let her kids have any but if I use the whey from my coconut or rice milk kefir....
I would definitely buy some canned coconut milk (it's thicker and seems to ferment closer to regular milk). Now, I drank my coconut Kefir Milk in a smoothie, so I've never gotten to the point of letting it seperate out to see if it makes curds and whey, like milk does.

Basically it was, Kefiran innoculated, coconut cream milk. I'm not sure if only true milk will give you the 'curds' to make a cream cheese like substance.

You will have to just try it and see if it will substitute for your pie, but if it works, it IS Vegan. You could soak the grains in it and see if the flavor and texture is ok also; I would think a coconut flavored bread would be lovely! I've not experimented with coconut 'whey' or tried to make that specifically, so if it works, let us know!

I did make up some coconut cream concentrate into a 'liquid' and it didn't form a smooth drink...so that didn't work too well....

Rice milk might not have the right components to seperate out into 'curds', but you could filter out any solids and use that for a grain soak for baking, as it would be 'fermented' with Kefiran and other goodies...

Hope this helps. I say just try it!
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#145 of 582 Old 11-28-2004, 01:05 AM
 
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well kefir is going good here. I have found my favorite is a smoothy made with kefir, frozen blueberries, banana, and ground flax seed. YUMMY!
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#146 of 582 Old 11-28-2004, 01:06 AM
 
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Thanks Xenabyte for your reply, I will try it! I actually am waiting on a batch on grains from Andrea and then I am back on the Kefir wagon!

What about this idea....using homemade Eggnog to make Kefir then making the cheese and making eggnog kefir cheesecake!
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#147 of 582 Old 11-28-2004, 01:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The homemade eggnog would have raw egg and sugar in it, and possibly vanilla extract. I would worry about affecting the grains during the ferment and the raw egg sitting around while it fermented....

I would just make milk Kefir, THEN make eggnog with it to drink. using whatever usual recipe you use...just substitute Kefir milk for normal milk.

If you want to do Kefir Eggnog Cheesecake: Make normal milk Kefir, then make your cream cheese. THEN just add in vanilla extract, a bit of ground nutmeg, and make the cheese cake per whatever recipe you like. Just omit any lemon juice or other strong flavors. I would not want to have Kefir cream cheese sitting around with raw egg in it. So I would just make a vanilla flavored cheesecake and add in some nutmeg to give it the 'eggnog' flavor.

But it does sound super yummy. I LOVE eggnog.
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#148 of 582 Old 11-30-2004, 01:29 AM
 
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I think I'm doing my kefir wrong - am I supposed to just strain out the grains or do I strain out the curds too (I was straining out the curds and the kefir seems really thin - so today I put them back in.) Do I strain the whole batch or should I just fish out the kefir grains?

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#149 of 582 Old 11-30-2004, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Personal preference...however I usually let a few curds cling to the grains to give it a good start on the next batch, but definitely 'rinse' them off at least once a week, to make sure the grains are getting full access to all the milk.

I found a little nylon strainer at a health food store designed to actually hold loose tea leaves. It has a super fine mesh.

I pour my kefir through this now, and it captures all the grains (and alot of the curds). Then once the liquidy kefir milk is in my new jar, I take the round, smooth handle of a wooden spoon (or a plastic one) and gently 'stir' the curds/grains in the little cup shaped strainer. This makes the curds break up and pass through into the more liquidy stuff (and thickens it, but it's super smooth).

I don't stir and stir, until it's all passed through, but it will become 'liquidy'. I pour this residue with the grains into my brew jar and add fresh milk. It has made the Kefir really smooth and easy to drink (no curdy clumps in your mouth). It stays smooth like this too in the refrigerator, so it's nice to drink even days beyond it's 'brewing'.

WATER KEFIR:

Update. Ok, I'm loving this stuff, using real water kefir grains. I think they are growing (seem to have more than I started with), but they are growing slower than milk Kefir. I hope when it's warm again, in the spring, maybe they will 'take off' and I'll have lots of extras! The flavor of the 'water kefir brew' is actually extremely nice. I just use unsulfured ginger slices, some sugar, and one organic, unsulfured fig per batch. I bottle it after three days in ceramic stoppered 'beer' bottles and refrigerate. It's like a really mellow ginger ale! I have even bought some plain sparkling water and pour it half and half with the brew, and it's like high end 'health food store' gingerale!

Happy Holidays!
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#150 of 582 Old 11-30-2004, 05:08 PM
 
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Another question (sorry) - is the kefir supposed to have a sour fermented taste - rather undrinkable unless you add stuff to it? I expected it to taste more yogurty which I enjoy plain.

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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