Kefir is a multi-benefit beverage whose origins can be traced back to Tibet and the Caucasus. It is made from a special starter that includes a kefir (Tibetan) mushroom, which is a collection of small grains (yeast) and resembles the structure of a cauliflower. In this article, we tell you how to make kefir at home to enjoy its health benefits from the outside and inside.
Kefir is obtained from the Tibetan mushroom, which we tell you a little more about below. This drink has medicinal and taste qualities that have been known for hundreds of years in the Orient. The drink is obtained as a result of fermentation. This process allows lactic acid bacteria to multiply there. During the process, a small amount of alcohol is formed and gas is evolved. This drink is ideal for the summer season, you can explore other summer drinks in this collection.
Types of drinks by age
One can distinguish between several types of kefir.
- Weak (one day old), with an alcohol content of 0.9%;
- Medium (two days old), is characterized by its acidity of 90-110ºT and 2% alcohol;
- Strong (three days old), has an acidity of 120ºT, 2.5% alcohol.
Some of the beneficial bacteria found in kefir include Lactobacillus caucasus, Leuconostoc, species of Acetobacter and some species of Streptococcus. For this reason, this drink is beneficial for the skin, has antibacterial and probiotic properties and is valued for its ability to strengthen bones.
What mushroom is used to make this drink?
The Tibetan mushroom used to make kefir at home includes Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir species. Kefir grains can be the size of a walnut or a grain of rice. They grow considerably during fermentation. This is how they reproduce and form colonies. At first glance, they have a white or cream color and can give the appearance of cottage cheese.
You can find kefir on the supermarket shelves. This product, offered in stores, often has a taste close to cottage cheese. In addition, it generally does not have the alcohol content and does not have the typical carbonation characteristic of homemade kefir. If you want to test the authentic product, try making homemade kefir by following the steps below.
Recipe for making homemade kefir from milk
In general, the procedure for making homemade kefir is easy. It is similar to the fermentation of fresh milk, which makes it possible to obtain e.g. homemade yogurt. Here are the steps to try it.
Put 1 to 2 tablespoons of kefir grains in a large pot or jug. Add 4 cups fresh whole milk (cow, goat, sheep), preferably organic. In any case, the milk must not be hot, because the high temperature kills the Tibetan fungus.
Leave about 2-3 cm of free space above the milk level, because after fermentation, the kefir grains swell, multiply, and the volume of the drink increases visibly. You can add a little cream if you want the kefir thicker.
Cover the container with several layers of kitchen paper or paper coffee filters. Secure it with a rubber band to protect the mixture from dust.
Let the mixture sit for 12 to 36 hours at room temperature. To know if the drink is ready, observe its consistency. When it thickens, the drink is ready.
The resulting mixture is slightly acidic, carbonated and low in alcohol. At this point you can strain it and let it develop in the fridge for about 1-2 days. You can recognize successful fermentation by the thick layer that forms on the surface of the mixture.
The drained kefir grains can be reused to prepare the drink again. See below, in the tips section, for mushroom maintenance.
How to eat kefir?
Combined with fresh fruit, it makes for an extremely tasty and healthy dessert. And if you want to discover other healthy dessert ideas, take a look at our ideas here.
Tips for a successful homemade recipe
To be successful with the homemade kefir recipe and taste a better product, try to follow the following tips:
To prepare the drink, prefer wooden or plastic containers and avoid metal. Also sieve with a strainer made of plastic or at least of materials other than metal.
After each fermentation, the mushroom is washed in warm water. Otherwise, the taste of the product obtained from this mushroom will be unpleasant. In addition, the fungus will eventually stop multiplying.
Let the sponge rest after the 20th day of active use. This one needs a few days of rest in a container containing only water. Close the container with a slightly open lid.