Milk kefir is a fantastic fermented drink made by fermenting animal milk. You can make other plant based kefir drinks also. There are also water kefir grains that can be used to make flavoured fizzy drinks that can be flavoured with fruit and herbs. For this you use sugar water or coconut water.
Milk kefir is made using a symbiotic culture that includes bacteria and yeasts. Or more scientifically
"Kefir is a homemade viscous and slightly effervescent beverage obtained by milk fermentation with kefir grains, which are built up by a complex community of lactic acid and acetic acid bacteria and yeasts confined in a matrix of proteins and polysaccharides." Ref:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30218595/
They live together as a community and like to feed on milk! In return they produce a delicious ferment called kefir. We all know yoghurt is very beneficial to gut health however it is produced with only a few strains of health giving bacteria but kefir contains many more strains of beneficial probiotics and can be regarded as a double whammy when it comes to probiotic content.
There are health benefits associated with regular consumption of milk kefir. These benefits are mainly from the beneficial bacteria's action on the gut and how this is reflected on overall health.
The first benefit you may notice is an improvement to your digestion. This maybe in the form of:
Improved bowel function
Improved tolerance to dairy
in addition to this some of the less known benefits are:
Healthy cholesterol metabolism
Anti Diabetic effects
It is a very straight forward process. Once you get the hang of it you will become more confident and start handing out excess kefir grains to your neighbours!
1 litre full fat organic cows milk raw or pasteurised ( preferably not homogenised)
2-3 tablespoon live kefir grains
Glass jar or container
Muslin cloth or tea cotton tea towel
Put kefir grains into sterile clean glass jar top with little milk at room temperature and mash them up with wooden spoon if they have large clumps. Than pour over the rest of the milk. Cover with cloth and let ferment on the kitchen counter for 24 hours.
After 24 hours check if the kefir is done. Do this by tasting the milk kefir it should be slightly sour in flavour. It should not be as thick as yoghurt. If it is not sour enough you can leave it for a further 24 hours.
When you are happy with your kefir strain through a plastic mesh sieve and put in to a glass bottle with a lid and save in the fridge.
The sieved grains can be used for a new batch of Kefir. If you don't want to make more kefir drink than put the grains in to some fresh milk, cover and leave in the fridge up to 6 weeks. If you are around you may wish to give the grains fresh milk occasionally to keep them fresh and active.