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Milk suitable for Kefir

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  • Milk suitable for Kefir

    Hi. I've made Kefir so far using raw, unpasteurised milk. But to get this means a biggish drive - an hour round trip. Can ordinary, pasteurised supermarket milk be used?

    I have used raw milk as I believe that the natural enzymes and bacteria etc help to break down the various things in milk which a lot of people are allergic to / intolerant of. Does the kefir culture re-introduce these enzymes and bacteria, meaning that the pasteurised milk can be made "safer" - or is it best to stick to raw milk and put up with the drive when I want milk?

    Also - if I were to buy several litres of the raw milk at a time, can it be frozen successfully? Then I might at least get away with one trip a fortnight!!!

  • #2
    Kefir does break down a lot of what is in milk, and if your kefir has been in raw milk it has picked up some of that bacteria and will also transfer it to the pasteurized milk.

    I have had some issues with conventional milk, it does not taste quite right after culturing, but full fat organic has worked well. Except for the time I used full fat organic that was not homogenized and I did not shake it up well before I started, the grains and the fat formed a very hard to strain (and very yummy) lump.

    I have heard that the grains can work with coconut milk. I think I will try and train some in that direction.

    Have you tried to make kefir cheese? You can strain the kefir through a fine cheese cloth, I just use a loose weave cloth napkin in a strainer, and what is left is kind of like greek yogurt.

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    • #3
      I love the idea of kefir cheese! The liquid that is left over - would that be whey, like Sally Fallon keeps recommending in her fermented veg section in Nourishing Traditions? If so - double reason for straining the kefir! Or is whey subtly different?!

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      • #4
        The leftover liquid is very much like whey. It does have a little bit of alcohol in it, and a bit less sugar then cheese whey.

        And interesting factoid, the Mongols drank fermented milk, called kumiss. There is a variety of kumiss that was reserved for the upper class, black kumiss. This was the whey from the straining of the whole kumiss. The curds were given to the slaves to help them sleep. Most of the alcohol would end up in the whey, but there was obviously enough in the curds to effect them. I don't think that kefir whey has as much alcohol as kumiss, but it does have some. When I have left it for a week I have noticed some alcohol flavor.

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        • #5
          Here are directions for Coconut Kefir:

          Drain the Coconut water and save ( 1- 1.5 cups per coconut) You will need 3-4.5 cups for a packet of Kefir starter. Warm the water to 90 degrees and add starter. Let stand for 36 hours.

          It’s done when it turns milky white with a little bubbling or foam at the top. It should taste tart and tangy.

          Save cup for your next starter. You should get 7 batches before you might need new starter. Using the fresh starter your water will be ready in 24 hours instead of 36.

          To make coconut cheese add enough of the fermented water to fresh Coconut meat in a blender to make a pudding consistency. Let sit out for 8 hours. This is a great substitute for yogurt.

          Try it with Ginger, Stevia, Lemon, Lime,

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          • #6
            As long as you don't use Ultrapasteurized milk, regular pasteurized milk is ok. You may have to buy a full gallon in a plastic jug rather than a cardboard carton, the cartons are almost always ultrapasteurized.

            As to your raw milk question, I am pretty sure it's just fine to freeze raw milk.

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            • #7
              I have grains, not packets. I got them from a co-worker, they have a very nice lineage, all the way from Siberia.

              I have heard that they can be used for coconut but that the first few rounds are not as good, it takes a bit for them to grow more of the stuff that likes coconut and cut back on the stuff that doesn't. I plan on throwing them in a jar with coconut water and switching it out every day for a few days until it smells good, then drinking. I might also try it with coconut milk, I think it will make a richer drink and increase my intake of coconut oil.

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              • #8
                We alternate two batches with coconut milk and then go back to raw milk for a batch to give them a rest. My milk grains are two years old now and doing well. The beverage that is created is creamy and thick. Only had luck with the rich canned coconut milk, not the stuff in the carton. Also have water grains but make them with water, lemon, figs, sugar, not coconut water, not a big fan of the taste once kefir has been created.
                You'll never see the light if you're in someone else's shadow, or said another way, life is like a dog sled team, if you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes

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                • #9
                  Has anyone been able to successfully make kefir with Silk Almond Milk? I can't tolerate dairy at all. I just received a package of the Body Ecology Diet kefir starter from Amazon today and started a batch with the VitaCoco coconut water. I'm hoping it turns out OK. Would love to try it with the Silk Almond Milk too, but want to wait until I'll be in town long enough to not let it go to waste.

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                  • #10
                    Homemade Coconut Milk Kefir | Mark's Daily Apple

                    Make special note of tips (at the bottom).
                    "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by karstyl View Post
                      I have grains, not packets. I got them from a co-worker, they have a very nice lineage, all the way from Siberia.
                      What a coincidence, I was given some kefir grains from Russia this morning! My first batch is working it's magic on my kitchen counter.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by OperaDivaMom View Post
                        As to your raw milk question, I am pretty sure it's just fine to freeze raw milk.
                        I freeze mine every week as I'm the only one drinking it. I bought glass quart sized old fashioned milk jars at the Container Store, freeze 3 and keep one in the fridge for the occasional latte and kefir. It looks weird when frozen but the color gets normal once it thaws.

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                        • #13
                          I've just bought some frozen whole,raw sheeps milk. The kefir from that is awesome!

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                          • #14
                            I have kefired my grains in everything from raw cow to conventional cow to organic cow to raw goat milk. They are very adaptable, and the only time I've ever killed my grains was when we lost a child & I just didn't have the mental energy to think about it.

                            That being said, if you use dairy grains in non-dairy milk, they won't grow and may degrade over time. For those who can't tolerate dairy, have you considered water kefir grains? Those make a very yummy product, too, and it is completely dairy-free.
                            Amy
                            ~wife and mother

                            Started primal a month before the end of my pregnancy with P who is now 1. Went from a size 14 down to a size 4 in less than a year. Now sitting at 20-21% body fat, a solid 130 pounds, and 5'9". Feeling better than ever before, and able to run around and chase my 5 little boys who range in age from 14 months up to 11.5 years old.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mamagault View Post
                              I have kefired my grains in everything from raw cow to conventional cow to organic cow to raw goat milk. They are very adaptable, and the only time I've ever killed my grains was when we lost a child & I just didn't have the mental energy to think about it.

                              That being said, if you use dairy grains in non-dairy milk, they won't grow and may degrade over time. For those who can't tolerate dairy, have you considered water kefir grains? Those make a very yummy product, too, and it is completely dairy-free.
                              My water kefir grains have been reproducing amazingly - yesterday, I had to throw hals of them onto the compost! And they have gone from the size of rice grains to the size of big peas!

                              Does water kefir have many of the same probiotics as milk kefir, or are they a different collection of bacteria /yeast? Which would make drinking both sorts of kefir a good plan....

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