Saturday, June 10, 2017

Kefir Grains, part 2

So now that you have made your first batch of milk kefir following my instructions, what do you do with it? I have personally found a few simple ways to enjoy it. If drinking the kefir, you can try it straight up or add a bit of honey (not too much though because honey has antibiotic properties that will kill the good bacteria). You could also add some chocolate or caramel syrup.

Wanna try something a little more impressive? Make kefir shakes or smoothies. I blend some bananas, blueberries and strawberries into a quart of kefir, adding a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar for extra sweetness. You can also blend any combination of fruit but, stay away from citrus as it will curdle the kefir. 

Ok, so those were fairly easy. Now let's add it to our cooking repertoire. I have substituted plain milk kefir in recipes like pancakes and waffles quite successfully. It can be widely used in baking in place of milk or buttermilk.

One of my family's new favorites is kefir cheese. This is a soft cheese like cream cheese. Eaten plain it is not very tasty, but add in some seasoning and it's outstanding on a cracker or bagel for. I usually add garlic and onion powders, dill weed, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. You can add any combination of these or other spices to really jazz it up. Curry cheese? Chili cheese? The only limit is your imagination.

 Kefir Cream Cheese
1quart (drained) kefir
1/2t salt
1/4t pepper
1/4t garlic
1/4t onion powder
1/4t dill weed or chives

Strain the newly finished kefir, separating the liquid from the solids (save the liquid whey for other purposes). Add the seasoning and mix together. Refrigerate.

I have used these starter grains from Cultures for Health and I can tell you that they work and they are a good alternative if you cannot find fresh grains locally. They will take a little longer to get up to full hydration and a couple weeks before they are making full strength batches.

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