Listen to or read the transcription of the Wise Traditions podcast “Kefir: A Unique Probiotic Drink with Victor Cozzetto” to learn more about the benefits of this recipe!
All of the rest of the content that follows is from Nourishing Traditions page 86:
Kefir is a cultured and microbial-rich food that helps restore the inner ecology. It contains strains of beneficial yeast and beneficial bacteria (in a symbiotic relationship) that give kefir antibiotic properties. A natural antibiotic—and it is made from milk! The finished product is not unlike that of a drink-style yogurt, but kefir has a more tart, refreshing taste and contains completely different microorganisms. . . kefir does not feed yeast, and it usually doesn’t even bother people who are lactose intolerant. That’s because the friendly bacteria and the beneficial yeast growing in the kefir consume most of the lactose and provide very efficient enzymes (lactase) for consuming whatever lactose is still left after the culturing process. . . kefir is mucous-forming, but. . . the slightly mucus-forming quality is exactly what makes kefir work for us. The mucus has a “clean” quality to it that coats the lining of the digestive tract, creating a sort of nest where beneficial bacteria can settle and colonize. . . .
Kefir is made from gelatinous white or yellow particles called “grains.” The grains contain the bacteria/yeast mixture clumped together with casein (milk proteins) and polysaccharides (complex sugars). They look like pieces of coral or small clumps of cauliflower and range from the size of a grain of wheat to that of a hazelnut. Some grains have been known to grow in large flat sheets that can be big enough to cover your hand. No other milk culture forms grains. . . making kefir truly unique. Once the grains ferment the milk by incorporating their friendly organisms into the final product, you remove these grains with a strainer before drinking the kefir. The grains are then added to a new batch of milk, and the process continues indefinitely. — Donna Gates, The Body Ecology Diet
Recipe makes 2 cups.
- 2 cups fresh whole milk, nonhomogenized and preferably raw
- ½ cup good quality cream (optional)
- 1 tablespoon kefir grains or 1 package kefir powder. [Dehydrated grains would also work. Contact your local chapter leader to see if kefir grains are available by you. Locals may have some to share!]
- Kefir is thicker than piima milk or buttermilk and has a wonderful tart flavor. If using kefir grains, place them in a fine strainer and rinse with filtered water. Place milk and optional cream in a clean wide-mouth, quart-size mason jar. If milk is cold, place jar in a pan of simmering water until milk reaches room temperature.
- Add kefir grains or powder to milk, stir well and cover loosely with a cloth. Place in a warm place (65 to 76 degrees) for 12 hours to 2 days.
- If using the powder, kefir is ready when it thickens, usually within 24 hours.
- If using grains, stir vigorously occasionally to redistribute the grains. Every time you stir, taste the kefir. When it achieves a tartness to your liking, the kefir is ready. The kefir may also become thick and effervescent, depending on the temperature, incubation time and the amount of curds you use.
- Pour the kefir through a strainer into another jar to remove the grains. Store in refrigerator.
- Use the grains to make another batch of kefir, or prepare them for storage by rinsing them well with water and placing in a small jar with about ½ cup filtered water. They may be stored in the refrigerator several weeks or in the freezer for several months. If they are left too long in storage, they will lose their culturing power.