What Is Kefir?
Kefir is a refreshing cultured-milk beverage, which originated many centuries ago, in the Northern Caucasus Mountains. The word kefir is derived from the Turkish word keif, which loosely translates to good feeling or feeling good. This is for the sense of well-being one enjoys by drinking the culture-product.
Kefir has a uniform creamy consistency, a slightly sour refreshing taste, with a mild aroma resembling fresh yeast [or beer like]. Kefir also has a slightest hint of natural effervescent zesty tang. There are an assortment of approx. 40 aromatic compounds, which contribute to the unique flavour and distinctive pleasant aroma of kefir. To round this all off, kefir may contain between 0.08% to 2% alcohol. However, between .08 to .5% alcohol are realistic figures for 24 hour brewed kefir-- [yep!... wow!].
Traditional authentic kefir can only be prepared by culturing fresh milk with Kefir grains. Kefir grains are not to be mistaken for cereal grains this is to say that the grain part of the name is a misnomer. Kefir grains, or kefir granules if you wish, are in fact a natural-starter or natural-mother-culture. The grain's bio-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 bacteria [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 the bio-matrix structure, they are harboured by the very structure that they create; abiding either on the surface [interior and exterior], or encapsulated within the bio-matrix itself [-The abode of the friendly microbe-].
Today, traditional authentic kefir [real kefir] is easily prepared at home. Raw unpasteurised or pasteurised, full-cream, low fat or non-fat fresh milk is poured into a clean suitable container with the addition of kefir grains. The content is left to stand at room temperature for approx. 24 hours. The cultured-milk is strained in order to separate and retrieve the kefir grains from the liquid-kefir. The grains are added to more fresh milk, and the process is simply repeated. This simple process can be performed on an indefinite basis... for kefir grains are forever. The strained liquid-kefir may either be consumed fresh, refrigerated for later use, or ripened at room temperature over a period of days before consuming. The ripening process is useful for individuals who wish to reduce lactose in their kefir.
As active kefir grains are continually cultured in fresh milk to prepare kefir, the grains increase in volume [biomass increase]. To prevent overcrowding, and to maintain a reasonable constant grain-to-milk ratio it becomes essential to remove a portion of kefir grains. Apart from the more obvious advantage in preventing overcrowded, the other advantage is to produce a kefir with a reasonable constant character and consistency on an ongoing basis. Traditionally, excess kefir grains were either eaten [which I highly recommend], dehydrated and stored as a back-up source, shared among family members or traded among the tribes-people of Caucasus, in exchange for basic essentials.
Except for refrigeration, the culture-art of kefir has been practiced as explained above, over many centuries by the people of the Northern Caucasus Mountains.
Dom's Kefir In Site
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