Milk Kefir FAQ
Welcome to the Kombucha Kamp Milk Kefir FAQ, a great place to find answers to all your kefir questions. Can’t find your answer in our milk kefir faq? Try our Milk Kefir Recipe page or drop us a line via the Contact Page.
Basic Milk Kefir FAQ
What is milk kefir?
Milk kefir is the ORIGINAL kefir! It is a fermented drink made by adding milk kefir grains to dairy milk and allowing it to ferment for a couple of days depending on brewing temperature and taste preference. The resulting drink is a tangy, drinkable “yogurt” that makes a terrific base for smoothies or to enjoy on it’s own. You can also ferment a wide range of dairy and non-dairy milks with the grains.
How do you pronounce the word kefir?
The traditional way to pronounce “kefir” is “kuh-FEAR” with the emphasis on the second syllable. There are two other common pronunciations we hear in the United States. We say KEE-fur because words in English don’t typically stress the last syllable for nouns. KEFF-er is an alternate pronunciation because it is common for short vowel sounds to be represented by a single vowel. “Tomato” -“tomahto” as we say!
What does milk kefir taste like?
Milk kefir is essentially sour milk so it has a tangy flavor. Some describe it as cheesy, yogurty or similar to creme fraiche – all of those are fermented dairy products so it would be appropriate to say that it tastes like fermented dairy! You can also flavor milk kefir, which opens up a wide range of options.
What is the difference between water kefir and milk kefir?
Milk kefir is the “original kefir”. Made from milk, the fermentation process enhances the nutrient profile. Water kefir is a polysaccharide that thrives on sucrose. The process of making water and milk kefir is similar and both of the cultures are known as “grains”. However, that is where their similarity ends. Each comprise a unique and different groups of bacteria and yeast.
Why is milk kefir good for health?
All fermented foods provide nutrients in a living form. At Kombucha Kamp, we recommend consuming a variety of fermented foods and drinks to provide a wide range of real nutrition for a good gut. If the body has what it needs to thrive, as a result it can keep you healthy!
Milk Kefir Grains FAQ
Where do milk kefir grains come from?
Milk kefir grains originate in the Caucasus Mountain which are located on the isthmus between the Black and Caspian Seas and co-located in the countries of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Russia. They are purported to have been a gift from the Prophet Mohammed to the Orthodox believers and the culturing methods were kept a secret for hundreds of years. Originally fermented in bags made from animal stomachs, they hung near the door and were handed down as part of a woman dowry.
What are some other names for milk kefir?
Fermentation cultures have nearly as many different names as they have strains of organisms! Here are some of milk kefir’s other names:
The Grains of The Prophet Muhammad, The Drink of the Prophet, Snow Lotus, Keefir, Kephir, Kefyras, Knapon, Kepi, Kippe, Mudu Kekiya, Búlgaros, Tara, Yogurt Plant, Yogurt Mushroom, Tibetanischer Pilz (German), Alga Galodium and Yoghurt de Pajaritos.
How much milk kefir grains do you need?
You will need 1 tablespoon of milk kefir grains to ferment 1 pint of milk kefir. You may scale the ratio depending on what size batch of milk kefir you want to make.
Do milk kefir grains multiply?
Yes! Milk kefir grains are very prolific provided they have the right environment to thrive. They prefer 68-78°F (20-26°C) (on the warmer side for reproducing usually), and to be fed every 24 hours. A pinch of white sugar can help speed the process along especially at cooler temps.
How to Make Milk Kefir FAQ
How do you make milk kefir?
Milk kefir is very easy to make. Simply add 1 tablespoon of living milk kefir grains to 2 cups of whole milk. Cover with a cloth or lid and store at room temperature. After 24-48 hours, harvest the drink and then put into bottles with flavoring (if desired), pop into smoothies or use in place of buttermilk!
How long can you let milk kefir ferment?
The grains need to be fed frequently because if not they will disintegrate. We recommend 24-48 hours for the first fermentation. The kefir will separate into curds and whey. We have found the best flavor is right before the separation occurs. The time needed will vary based on your environment.
What temperature does milk kefir prefer?
Milk kefir prefers temperatures of 68-78°F (20-26°C). Using a thermometer strip will help keep track of the temperature and sometimes they will need a heat source especially in colder months to help them ferment and proliferate.
Should I use a lid or cloth cover with milk kefir?
You can use either a lid or cloth cover to ferment the milk kefir. We’ve done it both ways and don’t detect a noticeable difference between the two. Most important is to just keep bugs out.
What kind of milk can I use for milk kefir?
Organic whole, pasteurized milk is our recommendation as it is affordable and easy to source. Whole milk is important because fat is a vital nutrient. Raw milk and other types of dairy milks may also be used to achieve different flavors and health benefits. Non-dairy milks such as soy, almond or coconut can also be cultured using milk kefir grains but will need to be rested in dairy milk as the organisms primary fuel source is lactose (milk sugar).
What’s in Milk Kefir FAQ
Is there lactose left in milk kefir?
Milk kefir grains feed on lactose also known as milk sugar. Many people believe they are lactose intolerant because they can have an allergic reaction to consuming pasteurized milk. Often they are actually pasteurization intolerant because when the organisms in raw milk are permitted to proliferate, they break down the lactose which reduces the impact on the body.
Is there gluten in milk kefir?
No! “Grain” is a term of convenience for the milk kefir polysaccharide rather than a literal description. Therefore it is naturally gluten free!
How do you use milk kefir as buttermilk?
Milk kefir is delicious to drink but if you have extra or are looking for a buttermilk substitute that isn’t simply acidulated milk, then you can use your milk kefir in place of buttermilk in any recipe. Check out our recipe for Milk Kefir Pancakes. The natural souring that occurs adds lift and a tangy irresistible flavor!
Storage and Care Milk Kefir FAQ
How do you store milk kefir grains?
Milk kefir grains are like people in that they do not like it if you ignore them! They thrive when they are fed consistently. However, if you need to take a break, then store them in the fridge in some milk and change it out every 7 days to keep them fresh.