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FROM:  Beatrice Trum Hunter's FACT/BOOK on Yogurt, Kefir & Other Milk Cultures [1973] Library of Congress Card Number: 72-87858

Kefir has a uniform creamy consistency, a slightly sour refreshing taste, with a mild aroma resembling fresh yeast. Kefir also has a slight naturally carbonated effervescent zest or tang. There are an assortmant of approx. 40 aromatic compounds, which contribute to the unique flavour and distinctive pleasant aroma of kefir. To round this off, kefir may contain between 0.08 to 2 % alcohol.

Traditional authentic kefir can only be prepared by culturing fresh milk with Kefir grains. Kefir grains are not to be mistaken for cereal grains i.e. the "grains" part of the name is a misnomer. Kefir grains or "granules" are in fact a natural mother-culture. The grain's 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 bacterium [LAB] and yeasts. The grains are 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 this bio-matrix structure, they are harboured by the very structure they create; either on the surface [interior and exterior], or encapsulated within the bio-matrix itself.

Today, real authentic kefir is easily prepared at home. To culture real kefir, the addition of raw or pasteurized, full-cream or nonfat fresh milk is placed in a clean suitable container with the addition of kefir grains. The contents are left to ferment for approx. 24 hours at room temperature [between 18 - 30 C (65- 86 F) but not specifically]. After the fermentation period, the cultured-milk is strained to separate the kefir grains from the liquid-kefir. The grains are added to fresh milk, and the process is simply repeated, to produce the next ongoing batches. This simple process is performed on an indefinite basis... for real-kefir is forever!   The liquid-kefir may either be freshly consumed, refrigerated for later use, or further brewed at room temperature, forcing a secondary fermentation [but omitting the kefir grains].

After a period of time culturing daily kefir, the living kefir grains increase in size, quantity or overall volume and weight. A point is then reached, where one has the option to either remove a portion of grains, or add a larger volume of fresh milk with the culture. The latter is in order to maintain a constant grain to milk ratio. Traditionally, excess kefir grains were either eaten, dried as a back-up source, or shared among family or tribal members.

The actual size of kefir grains can vary from the size of this 0, to the size of a walnut or larger. The size of each individual kefir grain doesn't seem to effect the quality of the finished kefir. Usually, kefir grains used with large milk ratios, preferably with fresh raw milk, which are not traumatized by any harsh means [squeezing or pressing on the grains with a spoon e.g.], and with regular milk changes, grow larger in actual size and faster in quantity or volume [biomass increase].

MORE USES for KEFIR and KEFIR GRAINS

I have expanded the use for kefir grains and in fact kefir, to produce several new products. These are easily prepared at home. Just follow the links below for each product's details and enjoy the journey to this newly found land of... probiotic wonders!

Congetella : A fresh cheese and a variant to fresh Mozzarella which is stored under Kefir-brine. There are 2 versions of this cheese. One is fluffy with a textures that resembles bread, while the other version is much like fresh Mozzarella.

Kefir Cottage cheese : Much like traditional cottage cheese but using kefir as the coagulant. This is a rennet free cheese.

Kefir Mascarpone : This is a rich creamy fresh cheese, which has a taste and texture much like Italian Mascarpone. This could be substituted in recipes that call for the [original] Italian variety.

Kefir-Leban : A drained fresh Kefir-cheese much like "Labneh" or concentrated yogurt. Kefir-Leban is a rennet free probiotic cheese!

Kefir-Straightjacket : A kefir-cheese dip or spread made from draining kefir [as in Kefir-Leban above] then adding other ingredients for a taste sensation that many people have gone crazy #@|@# for. The selected ingredients also help to keep the microbes in this fresh "live" cheese, viable, even during storage... it only gets better! A probiotic fresh cheese-dip, come spread, come pizza topping... come on down and make these for yourself!

Kefir pizza : A wholemeal pizza made from a kefir sourdough starter [used for making the dough rise], topped with generous dollops of Kefir-Straightjacket cheese and other ingredients... get into that kitchen and rattle those pizza pans!

Kefirkraut : Pickled cabbage /or other vegetables similar to traditional sauerkraut [but without the use of salt!].

Kefirlac : A fermented grain drink using kefir grains and sprouted grains. This is an extension of Rejuvelac.

Kefir d'acqua : Or water-kefir prepared with either milk-based kefir grains or the common method using traditional translucent water kefir grains.

The sugar-water-media more commonly used is explained with my own rendition to the recipe.

Kefir d' erba medica : Probiotic herbal teas. This is an extension to kefir d'acqua

Kefir d'uva : This is another extension to kefir d'acqua cultured with grape juice instead of lemon juice, water and sugar.

Kefir d'pollin : This is a water-kefir with the addition of bee pollen included. This recipe may help to unlock many nutrients, which through normal digestion are mostly unavailable from bee pollen. This limitation is due to the indigestible cell-wall of each pollen cell. When including bee pollen in a water-kefir, the enzyme-rich medium may help to at least partially break down the cell walls of pollen cells, so our own digestion may then be able to further breakdown and absorb the nutrients found within pollen-cells.

Kefir recipes : A few recipes to try, including The Butterfly [Fruit juice + kefir beverage], the Water Butterfly [water-kefir + kefir beverage] and the Kefir Charmer [kefir-smoothie]. Great for introducing kefir to children or to fussier taste buds... shneeky-he-he-heee!

Kefir Preserving Brine [KPB] : I also discovered that kefir can be made into a brine, which may then be used as a natural preservative to prolong the shelf life of certain perishable foods [stored under low temperatures]. Fresh cheeses such as Bocconcini. Tofu, cooked or raw legumes and other perishables enjoy a longer shelf life due to controlled fermentation.

 

     

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Disclaimer: Throughout this website, statements are made pertaining to the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Copyright 2007 Edgar Cayce Australia, PO Box 114, Pomona, Qld.,   4568   Australia.