Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Kefir, Episode Two: My First Batch

Quick Kefir Recap
To quote kefir.net, "Kefir’s tart and refreshing flavor is similar to a drinking-style yogurt, but it contains beneficial yeast as well as friendly ‘probiotic’ bacteria found in yogurt. The naturally occurring bacteria and yeast in kefir combine symbiotically to give superior health benefits when consumed regularly. It is loaded with valuable vitamins and minerals and contains easily digestible complete proteins."

Kefir is a fermented milk product. It's a strong natural remedy against any allergy, it helps control acid reflex and heartburn, reduces sugar cravings, can correct high blood pressure, promote faster wound healing, help sleep disorders, depression, and ADHD, it's easily digestible, rich in B12, B1, vitamin K, and biotin. (Source: Milk Kefir Unleashed | Fusion Teas).

It's good stuff. It's also not Paleo as dairy isn't Paleo. I do eat mostly a Paleo diet (95% or so..). Recently I have been experimenting with reintroducing some dairy into my diet. I haven't had any dairy in my diet for a couple months. I felt fine. I also feel no need to deny myself something that my body can handle well and that has major health benefits. Kefir seems up there on the list of great-for-you dairy. The kefir grains also eat the vast majority of the milk-sugars and lactose during the fermentation process.

Paleo is different for everyone; For me it mostly means just eating "healthy" whole foods. There is a lot of conflicting opinions out there on eating dairy, not eating dairy, etc. while on a Paleo diet. I'm seeing what works with my body and my health. Thus far I feel great.

My Journey Thus Far Into Kefir Land
-I received my first kefir grains about a week ago. I ordered 2 tablespoons of kefir grains from Fusion Teas on Amazon.
-For my first batch I used 1 cup of store bought, homogenized, pasteurized (NOT ultra pasteurized) whole milk.
-I simply put the kefir grains in a quart sized, wide-mouthed ball jar, added the cup of whole milk, and placed (without tightening at all) a plastic lid on top of the jar.
Quart-sized ball jar w/ 2 tbsp of kefir grains, a plastic lid, and some whole milk.
-I left the jar out on my kitchen countertop out of direct sunlight for about 12 hours. I stirred it up once during the 12 hours by swirling the contents of the jar around.
-After 12 hours, I poured out the contents of the jar through a clean, nylon-mesh strainer. I discarded the first batch as per instructions (the kefir is still rebuilding strength from shipment, thus the first batch probably wouldn't be the best).
-I broke out a clean quart ball jar, a clean lid, and repeated the process. I poured the grains from the strainer into the new jar. This time I used 1 and 1/2 cups of whole milk. Again, I put a plastic lid on top, without tightening it at all.
-I let this jar ferment for about 18-19 hours or so. I then strained it into a large, pourable, glass-container w/ a lid. I ate half mixed with a tbsp of organic raw honey =). Yum! Welcome bacteria...
Basic kefir setup.
Running the jar through the strainer.
My first batch of kefir, ready to consume =). Oh yeah!
-I poured the kefir grains into another clean quart ball jar, and this time added two cups of store-bought whole milk. I placed a plastic lid on top, again not tightening it.
-I put the remaining kefir in my fridge with a lid on the glass container. I ate the rest this morning with a tbsp of maple syrup. Mmmm...probiotic bacteria round two. I feel great thus far. At 10pm tonight I will restart the process once again.

Thanks for reading =). Comments? Questions? Suggestions? I want to hear from you!
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Questions? Suggestions? Comments? I want to hear from you!