Saturday, March 5, 2011
The many faces of kefir
When many think of milk kefir, they think of it as a probiotic beverage. It is something you drink and that is about as far as they get. In our household, drinking milk kefir is about the only way we don't use it. We are not a fluid dairy consuming household; to hard on our little tummies. But, my milk kefir is used in about every other way. It is my sour cream, my buttermilk, my dairy in my cooking. Today, it is my herbed kefir butter for some hot french bread later on or a spread for crackers. Can you even think of a healthier butter than raw Jersey milk kefir butter? It is a butter with probiotics and cultured for easy digestion. It also happens to taste rather nice. It has a little tang to it which makes it taste light. Super yummy.
The process is very easy. After you make your milk kefir; letting it get thick like buttermilk, stir in a little sea salt and herbs of choice. Then, pour it into a cheese cloth or thin cotton dish towel. Twist it up so that the whey starts to drain. Put on a rubber band to secure the twisted towel. Stick a wooden spoon or other dowel type gadget through the rubber band and hang the cheesecloth over a pot/jar. The spoon/dowel will rest on the pot to keep the cheesecloth suspended. Put it in the fridge overnight to let the whey drain. In the morning, untwist the cloth and the butter should be ready. It will last at least a couple weeks in the fridge. The whey can also be used in recipes.
Milk kefir is generally cured at room temperature. However, I am finding that since I like my kefir to get real thick, I am favoring a fridge method. I leave it out on the counter for about 5-7 hours then with the kefir grains still in the milk, I put it in the fridge. I then let it sit in the fridge for a day or so. This allows the kefir to continue to get real thick without it getting too sour. There is still the same amount of probiotics in kefir cultured at room temp or in the cooler fridge. I checked. Sometimes I like my kefir to get fizzy as this makes it a natural leavening agent to cook with. It makes the fluffiest waffles in town! I let some get quite sour as it makes a sourdough effect on baked goods.
Oh so many ways to kefir! It is so easy. I love not having to buy buttermilk or sour cream. It is always ready for me as one batch is always ready and one in the culturing process.
Start culturing. It is easy and so beneficial to your body. Don't be afraid. I promise you can do it.