How do I know if my kefir turned out? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 03-21-2006, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That must sound like a ridiculous question, but I bought some kefir grains at the farm on Saturday and hauled out my NT cookbook and went about making my kefir. Now, I realize that I don't really even know if it worked or not. I have never had kefir before, so I don't have anything to compare it to.

Can anyone tell me what it should be like and what it would be like if it didn't actually work??
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#2 of 18 Old 03-21-2006, 11:47 PM
 
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i'm curious too. i've had store kefir tho, which is like a thick sour yogurt. definitely thick and sour, but i think i've read that homemade is thinner?

............
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#3 of 18 Old 03-21-2006, 11:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#4 of 18 Old 03-22-2006, 12:48 AM
 
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i can probably answer some questions for you. i have been culturing kefir a long time.
kefir culture preferences vary from one person to another. i personally culture mine in goats milk for 2-3 days. it makes it more sour, but i found that it works better for my health that way. when i am ready to separate the grains from the culture, i use my hand to get the grains (my grains have grown large and are easy to feel) out of the milk, and set them into a new container.

when you reach into the container and pull your fingers back out there should be 'slime trails'. hard to describe, but you would know it when you saw it. if you have slime, then your kefir is happy.
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#5 of 18 Old 03-22-2006, 12:53 AM
 
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Homemade kefir, made with grains(not powdered starter) varies in texture. Mine has a consistency of buttermilk, and the same kinda tart sourness. (Personally, I feel it's a fine line between kefir, and "OMG, I can't drink this")

If you let it culture too long it will look like ricotta cheese, & whey. When this happens you can either put it all in a blender and blend it smooth, or you can strain the kefir to get more whey out, making kefir cheese(to be used like cream cheese), and use the whey to make cultured veggies, soak grains, make sourdough starter, etc.

So how did yours turn out? What does it smell like? Is it thick or thin? Chunky or smooth?
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#6 of 18 Old 03-23-2006, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ugh, the computer ate my reply...

okay, what I made with the grains got this cheesey top and I think whey on the bottom. After mixing it and taking the grains out and putting it in the fridge, it gets whey on the top, but not the cheesey stuff.

I currently have a gallon of milk with kefir starter powder on the counter and it has two hours to go before the 12 hours is up. It's not getting any cheesey stuff and it smells much weaker than the other stuff with the grains did/does. The stuff with the grains is pretty darn sour/tart too.

Does any of this sound right??? Does kefir from grains culture differently than powder??

If one or both of these isn't actually kefir can I still drink/use this??
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#7 of 18 Old 03-23-2006, 11:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, I forgot to mention that it's relatively thin, but certainly not smooth. I don't know if I would call it chunky though. I guess I would if it were compared to milk, but probably not like yogurt though. Does that make sense?? It (the grain stuff) smelled tart as well.
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#8 of 18 Old 03-25-2006, 08:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Does kefir from grains culture differently than powder??
Yes. Kefir from powdered starter really isn't kefir (research it and you'll see).

Kefir from grains gets curdy & very tart the longer it ferments. If you don't want it to be too tart, or curdy, stir it every so often so the curd gets mixed back in and distributed evenly, and try culturing it in a cooler place, or culture it for a shorter period of time. Also, the more grains you have in the milk the quicker it will culture. If the grains are small to medium, I only use 2 grains, and if the grains are large I only use 1.

If this is the first batch of kefir since you got the grains, you could toss it, and start with the second batch. Give the bacteria a chance to acclimate to the change, and you may find that the longer you use the grains, the more mellow the flavor may get. However, if you want to use the first batch, it shouldn't be harmful in anyway.

HTH.
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#9 of 18 Old 03-25-2006, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Mountain Chick
If this is the first batch of kefir since you got the grains, you could toss it, and start with the second batch. Give the bacteria a chance to acclimate to the change, and you may find that the longer you use the grains, the more mellow the flavor may get. However, if you want to use the first batch, it shouldn't be harmful in anyway.

HTH.
So, why would you toss the first batch?? I haven't heard of that before, but I am pretty new to this though. I drank it. :
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#10 of 18 Old 03-25-2006, 11:46 PM
 
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It won't harm you.

Usually you toss the first batch because it's the transitional batch while the grains adjust to the medium you are going to use (i.e. if they were used to culturing cow's milk, but now you will be using goat's milk...understand?).
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#11 of 18 Old 03-25-2006, 11:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I see. I think I am okay then. I got the grains from the farm that I get our milk from and they are from the same cows/milk. That should be fine, right?
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#12 of 18 Old 03-25-2006, 11:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, can I just say that I am really beginning to LOVE kefir?
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#13 of 18 Old 03-26-2006, 04:00 PM
 
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Yeah, that should be fine. I really like kefir, too.

So how did the kefir with the powdered starter turn out?
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#14 of 18 Old 03-27-2006, 12:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It didn't. I just used the milk with the grains and it's fine that way. I couldn't toss it 'cause the original batch with the powder called for a GALLON of milk and heck if I was gonna dump that!!

OOOOOHHHHHH, yeah, guess what!! I started out with two tablespoon of grains and now I already have three!! So, how fast do they grow and/or multiply?
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#15 of 18 Old 03-27-2006, 03:01 PM
 
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They multiply pretty quickly. I started with 2 grains about the size of a nickel just a week ago and now have 4, although the new ones are small (dime size). It's funny to me how they just pop up. There I am straining out my kefir as usual and all of a sudden there's an extra grain floating around .

Each grain is going to grow bigger, plus new ones will develop, so you need to come up with a game plan for what to do with them. For myself, I like my kefir's texture and taste when only 2 grains have cultured it, so I may either start culturing a second batch with my new little friends so they grow a little larger, then freeze them for back ups, or just offer them to someone on the board here. You can eat them too, and they are supposed to be great for getting the flora into the intestines, because they survive stomach acid.
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#16 of 18 Old 03-28-2006, 12:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you know anything about splitting kefir grains?? gardenmommy asked on the NT thread, but that thread moves so fast that things get lost and never answered.
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#17 of 18 Old 03-28-2006, 03:00 PM
 
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Only that it isn't recommended because you risk permanent damage to your grain. If the grain was pulled apart the "open" area is vunerable to pathogens which could invade the grain and kill it. The grain is a symbotic community, and we aren't supposed to mess with it.

But I have heard of grains separating themselves when they've reached a certain size.

The grains grow so fast, and take care of themselves so well, that I just don't see our interference as necessary.
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#18 of 18 Old 03-28-2006, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the info.
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