Kefir grains are used to culture milk into a beverage that has similar probiotic benefits as yogurt. It was traditionally used as a way of preserving milk in the Caucasus Mountains. Fermenting with kefir grains is beneficial because the grains can be used indefinitely as long as you continue to put them in fresh milk. Your kefir grains will also multiply, and you may be wondering how to use your excess grains. Here’s a list of the different foods you can create with your kefir.
Fermented Milk Beverage
Kefir is typically used to create a fermented milk beverage. You can use about 2 Tbs of kefir grains to make 2 ½ cups of fermented milk. The grains are mixed into fresh milk and placed in a location at room temperature for 24 hours. The sourness and texture of kefir beverages can be altered by changing the fermentation time. Less fermentation time will create a thinner and less acidic drink, while longer time will cause it to be thicker and more acidic. The resulting beverage can be blended with fruits to make a probiotic smoothie.
Coconut milk kefir
If you’re not a fan of traditional milk beverages, you can substitute coconut milk. Kefir grains will ferment coconut milk. Your kefir grains will cease to multiply; however, you will be able to use the grains over and over just as you do with traditional milk. You can make coconut milk kefir by putting 2 Tbs of kefir grains into 2 ½ cups of coconut milk. The process is the same as it is with dairy milk in that you need to put it in a location at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. You can also ferment a mixture that is half dairy milk and half coconut milk for a creamier consistency.
A soft cheese similar to cream cheese can be made from kefir by adding a few more steps to the fermenting process. The yogurt cheese made from kefir is also known as lebnah or kefir-leban. Kefir cheese is made by allowing your milk beverage to ferment at room temperature for 48 hours. After fermentation, the kefir is put in a strainer over a bowl in the refrigerator for 24 hours so that the whey can drain off the curds. Once the whey drains off the cheese is left. The more whey you are able to drain from your kefir cheese, the harder the cheese will be. The resulting cheese can also be rolled into balls and placed in front of a fan until they form a dry rind. Herbs, spices and nuts can also be added to your cheese to add extra flavor.
A kefir butter can be made from kefir soft cheese. The butter is produced by blending your cheese in a blender on high speed. The blending will cause the cheese to split into a butter fat and buttermilk. Once that happens, drain the buttermilk away, and save it for use in cooking and baking. The rest of the buttermilk is strained from the butter by adding ice water to the blender. Ice water is blended and strained from the butter several times until the water comes out clear when strained. All the water is then pressed out of the butter with a spoon, and can then be stored in the refrigerator for a week.
When you ferment milk, you can see the whey and the curds separate within the drink. Both the curds and the whey have beneficial use. Once you’ve drained the whey from the curds to make cheese, you can use the whey to ferment vegetables. There are a variety of different vegetables that can be fermented using the whey. You can also use surplus kefir grains for making kefir sauerkraut. Kefir kraut is made by layering a cut cabbage head in a jar with 1 Tbs of kefir grains. The mixture is then covered with a mixture of water and 1 Tbs of sea salt. The sauerkraut is stored at room temperature for 3 days, and then is ready to eat. Once opened, the kraut must be store in the refrigerator and is good for up to 1 month.
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