Kefir

Antje77

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All this talking of kefir on the What have you eaten today thread made me want to give it a try myself.
I did some googling on it, which likely made it sound more complicated than it is, so now I'm asking here for real life experiences. :)
If anyone would share what they do, preferably without the need to buy all kinds of special stuff, it would be much appreciated!

I also thought having a thread on kefir wouldn't be a bad idea in case someone searches on it in the future.
Shamelessly tagging @aylalake , @DJC3 , @shelley262 , @jpscloud , @AndBreathe , and @MrsA2 , who've all mentioned kefir recently.

Is it even possible to make kefir in my cold house (8 - 14 °C) or do I need to wait for warmer weather?
 

jpscloud

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Great idea for a thread :) I bought Biotiful original from the supermarket - it's very nice but comes in plastic bottles and is a bit expensive so I thought I'd have a go at culturing some.

I bought 5g of active grains from the river-themed selling platform, They survived the journey and although they took a few days to wake up, they're now going bananas, I have to throw some away each morning as I start the new flask off. The first batch I let overferment, it was very thick and bubbly... some like it like that but not me!

I leave a dessertspoon full in a glass fermenting flask, pour about half a pint of whole milk in and by next morning or the morning after it's thickening and ready. I don't wash the flask every day, maybe every few days.

I sieve it by pouring it over a clean glass jug, with a metal sieve. I don't push it around with a spoon or anything, just shake the sieve until it's strained. That then goes into a glass jar in the fridge. I mix it half and half with the shop bought or have it with greek yogurt, because it's a little on the sour side for me. I'm working on getting used to it so I don't have to buy shop bought any more.

@shelley262 recommended Tom Parker's Vitamin enhanced whole milk, it comes in glass bottles so you can use the milk to culture the kefir and the bottles for storing it in the fridge. I've ordered some on my next shop!

Equipment:

I bought a couple of glass fermenting flasks but I've seen plenty of you tube videos that have people making kefir in a mason jar with a clean tea towel on top, or a loose lid.

Warm spot for it to grow

Sieve

Glass jars for storing kefir in the fridge

My house is cold too, but my cranky elderly fridge has a warm side and I have the kefir on a shelf there. Works a treat!
 

MrsA2

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I'm all for the easy route :p
First I bought some Biotiful from Waitrose at £2.75 for 500ml. Drank it, didn't notice much difference
Second week I bought some Goody from Lidl at £1.25 for 500ml. According to the label it has a wider variety of culutes/bacteria in it.
Both tasted the same
Didn't notice any difference in my gut (but what am I looking for?)

Like yoghurt, which take a litre to produce about 750ml and time to make over 2 days, to make kefir I would make more than I can consume.
I did go through a phase of making my own yoghurt, but saw no difference in my gut.

So I buy kefir occasionally. I don't see the need for it every day for the rest of my life. I just use the bought, plain, unflavoured, versions to sometimes add a bit of variety to my life and my gut

Although I read a lot about this in Lustigs Metabolical, imho once your gut is working well, I don't see the need to keep replenishing bacteria every day as it should be a self sustaining environment.
So, therefore, I am happy to consume it every so often but not to go to the lengths of making it.

Just my personal way, no need to do the same :)
 

shelley262

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Hi @Antje77 your house will be fine it just takes longer if cool but issue is more when it gets too hot and they starve if neglected as they eat all the lactose more quickly!
You just need a couple of jars for fermenting in ideally half a litre size so headroom you don't need lids as you can cover with Muslin cloth and rubber band or if have lid leave it loosely on. You clean one ready for next batch when first lot done. You ideally need something like a milk bottle with a top as when fermented you need to keep kefir in fridge to stop it going thin and sour if it overferments.
You put your grains in fermenting jar with half a pint of whole milk stir and cover. Leave it until thicker and grains rise to top. When ready (usually 12 to 24 hours depending on temps and maturity of your grains.)You need to put a sieve over a jug and pour into jug so grains in sieve. Add grains to clean jar and half a pint of milk and start again. Store made kefir in fridge in jug or ideally in a bottle you can put lid on and pour your delicious kefir from.
So 're equipment I feel you need
2 jars to ferment in
A jug and sieve
A container for fermented kefir to keep in fridge.
Some people say don't use any metal spoons or metal sieve so I've avoided and use wooden spoon and plastic seive
You'll soon have excess grains which dogs love or friends who want to try kefir!
Plus imho hm kefir tastes better, is lots cheaper if drink regularly and avoids all that plastic. I feel same way about hm yoghurt.
Edit to add if going away you can feed your grains with fresh milk and pop in fridge and grains can also be frozen and then woken up
 
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Antje77

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So 're equipment I feel you need
2 jars to ferment in
A jug and sieve
A container for fermented kefir to keep in fridge.
I guess I'll need to buy a sieve. I just had a look, and the one I have (and haven't used in years) is very rusty and full of spider webs, no saving that one.
As for jars, I'm sure my neighbour-in-the-garden has a couple laying about in the garden, currently filled with veggies he dried at least 6 years ago, I'm sure I can use a couple. They're mason jars with a lid, I guess I could just keep the lid open a crack?
Although I read a lot about this in Lustigs Metabolical, imho once your gut is working well, I don't see the need to keep replenishing bacteria every day as it should be a self sustaining environment.
So, therefore, I am happy to consume it every so often but not to go to the lengths of making it.
Haha, I'm not particularly interested in gut health, more in doing something new and having a tasty drink! :hilarious:
It's like this open water swimming in winter. I found it makes me happy so that's why I do it. There's lots of talk about health benefits but I don't really care: If it's beneficial, cool, but if it's not, all fine. :joyful:
 
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shelley262

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I guess I'll need to buy a sieve. I just had a look, and the one I have (and haven't used in years) is very rusty and full of spider webs, no saving that one.
As for jars, I'm sure my neighbour-in-the-garden has a couple laying about in the garden, currently filled with veggies he dried at least 6 years ago, I'm sure I can use a couple. They're mason jars with a lid, I guess I could just keep the lid open a crack?

Haha, I'm not particularly interested in gut health, more in doing something new and having a tasty drink! :hilarious:
It's like this open water swimming in winter. I found it makes me happy so that's why I do it. There's lots of talk about health benefits but I don't really care: If it's beneficial, cool, but if it's not, all fine. :joyful:
Lids fine just make sure lots of headspace for grains to grow and keep lids loose.
Brilliant thing about the kefir ( and yoghurt) is that the friendly bugs eat up the lactose so that us diabetics don't react as we would same volume of milk. I like that taste is complex and not sweet.
 
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Antje77

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Brilliant thing about the kefir ( and yoghurt) is that the friendly bugs eat up the lactose so that us diabetics don't react as we would same volume of milk.
That's what I was hoping for. I love milk, but it's hard to dose for so I'd like an alternative. :)
 

Melgar

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I tried Kefir as my daughter had left a bottle of it in the fridge. I thought I would give it a try. Within about 2-3 hours my mouth felt as if I had eaten chilli peppers. I didn't connect the Kefir with the burning mouth. The following day I had another glass. Same thing happened, burning mouth. Suffice to say I have not touched it since.
 

Antje77

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I tried Kefir as my daughter had left a bottle of it in the fridge. I thought I would give it a try. Within about 2-3 hours my mouth felt as if I had eaten chilli peppers. I didn't connect the Kefir with the burning mouth. The following day I had another glass. Same thing happened, burning mouth. Suffice to say I have not touched it since.
Wow, that's an extreme reaction!
No I wouldn't eat again either it this happened.
 

AndBreathe

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I am ultra lazy, it seems.

I bought live grains on eBay, from someone with a decent reputation at the time.
When they arrived, I put them in a screw top jar, with the top on loosely and gave them a decent ignoring for a good 24 hours, on the countertop in a warmish (for you, likely would feel hot! kitchen), then changed the milk (discarding the first lot), then repeated the ignoring, only this time, taking off about 50% of the liquid (now a runnier kefir) and topping up again. Repeat ignoring, although from about this point, swapping out all the liquid.
If/when you want or need to slow things up a bit, just put the jar in the fridge.

When you end up with more grains than you can credibly use, take some out - just with a spoon - and freeze it. The bugs will wake up again when you defrost and start feeding them again. This last step is how we cope with longer trips away from hone.
 

Zhnyaka

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my grandmother made it from milk, sugar and sour cream...

For 4 cups of milk, you need a tablespoon of sour cream and a teaspoon of sugar

Heat the milk to 40 degrees. Prepare a glass jar of suitable volume with a lid.
Prepare the kefir for fermentation. Mix warm milk, sugar and sour cream in a glass jar. Wait until the sugar has completely dissolved. Cover loosely with a lid.
Wrap the jar with a blanket and place it in a warm place for 6-8 hours. After the time has elapsed, when the mass becomes viscous and thick, you can drink it
 

ianpspurs

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@jjraak linked to this thread in the chatty one. I buy kefir, kraut and kimchi but here's a link extolling the virtues of home made and (optimistically imho) saying it is all so easy. What, easier than asking your wife to add to the Ocado order? - do give your head a wobble people. Other suppliers are available obviously.
 
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Antje77

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Now we'll wait and see! :)

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MommaE

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I’m signed up for a local fermenting class next week. I make sourdough and sometimes yogurt but am particularly looking forward to learning sauerkraut and kefir. If I learn a pearl of kefir wisdom I will share.