Sunday, March 15, 2009


Kefir is a cultured milk product created when Kefir grains are added to un-homogenized milk and allowed to sit at room temperature for a couple of days.

Kefir provides countless health benefits from the beneficial bacteria that it encourages to grow in the intestinal tract. It is better for children than plain milk or even yogurt because it does not promote mucus. Today I read an article that promoted Kefir's ability to improve bone health due to the body's increased absorption of Vitamin D from Kefir. 

Unfortunately, Kefir has a strong flavor that might be less than palatable at first. But James and I both find it delicious by blending it with frozen fruit and a splash of vanilla extract. I also use it to "soak" grain flours for making muffins and pancakes. It turns out some of the lightest and tastiest whole-grain baked goods.

You can find grains at this site: Or you can try to find someone to share them with you. They multiply and grow each time they culture fresh milk, so although I started with a tablespoon or two from a farmer last year, I still have approx. 1 1/2 cups, even though I've passed along grains to others.

Here are instructions on how to culture milk with Kefir grains:

* The grains should not come in contact with chlorinated water or stainless steel.
* You will need a plastic colander with small holes for draining and rinsing the grains.
* I use glass jars or bottles for culturing the milk and plastic spoons for transferring the grains to the milk.
* To begin, start with fresh unhomogenized milk.
* Start by rinsing the grains with filtered water.
* Drain well then add the grains to the milk (start with 1 Tbls grains to 1 qt of milk)
* Tightly cap the bottle/jar and shake well.
* Set the jar/bottle on the counter for 1-3 days.
* Periodically shake the milk throughout the next day or so until you see the milk start to look a bit like the Kefir grains.
* Drain into a large glass measuring/mixing bowl with pour spout.
* Pour the Kefir back into the jar or bottle and refrigerate.
* Either begin the process again with fresh milk - OR -
* Rinse the grains well and place in a small glass jar. 
* Cover with filtered water.
* Refrigerate the grains for up to a week, and then begin a new batch.

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