2014-11-19 / Farm & Ranch

Grace Heritage Ranch - Milk Kefir

Milk Kefir

Part of homesteading is providing your own food. To that end, one of the foods we produce here at GHR is a cultured drink referred to as milk kefir. It is similar to yogurt in terms of the tangy flavor and that it is made from cultured milk, but its consistency is thinner earning it the nickname “drinkable yogurt.” Unlike most yogurt cultures which are thermophilic (needing consistently warm temperatures to incubate), kefir is a mesophilic culture, and can incubate at room temperature on your countertop. The kefir grains themselves are actually a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast).

Having our own kefir grains comes in handy to keep making our own batches of fresh kefir. It can replace buttermilk in recipes, and with a little practice you can use it to make cheeses and cultured butter. There’s also the health aspect of milk kefir. Kefir not only contains probiotics which keep our immune systems healthy but also beneficial yeasts that work with the bacteria to produce enzymes which aid digestion. The term Kefir is believed come from the Turkish word “kief” which translates to “good feeling”, meaning that the drink could make one feel good.

Making milk kefir is pretty simple. You add kefir grains to fresh milk and let the cultures do the work. The bacteria (kefir grains) start feeding on the lactose in the milk producing lactic acid, carbon dioxide, and small amounts of alcohol. The bacteria and yeasts reproduce culturing the milk into kefir. The grains, like any other living thing, need to be fed or they will start to stress and then starve. So once the milk is cultured (12 to 24 hours) the grains will have used the available food and must be strained out and put in fresh milk. After removing the grains, the drink can be consumed. With care, you can keep culturing milk kefir indefinitely.

To learn even more about homesteading, join us at Grace Heritage Ranch for our Saturday morning tours. We are located just 30 minutes northeast of Harlingen,TX near Santa Monica. Please visit us at www.GraceHeritageRanch.com or www.Facebook.com/VisitGHR. For a recorded message, please call 1- 855-447-8687. We offer both public and private tours.

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