Kefir or Kephir is a fermented milk drink similar to thin yoghurt made from kefir grains, a specific type of mesophilic symbiotic culture. The drink is prepared by inoculating cow, goat or sheep milk with kefir grains. Kefir is traditionally fermented at ambient temperatures, generally overnight. Fermentation of the lactose yields a sour, carbonated, slightly alcoholic beverage,
with a consistency of drinkable yoghurt.
The kefir grains initiating the fermentation consist of a symbiotic culture of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts embedded in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and polysaccharides. The matrix is formed by microbial activity and resembles small cauliflower grains, with color ranging from white to creamy yellow. A complex and highly variable community can be found in these grains, which can include lactic acid bacteria, acetic acid bacteria, and yeasts. While some microbes predominate, Lactobacillus species are always present. The microbe flora can vary between batches of kefir due to factors such as the kefir grains rise out of the milk while fermenting or curds forming around the grains, as well as temperature.
As a result of the fermentation, very little lactose remains in kefir. People with lactose intolerance are able to tolerate kefir, provided the number of live bacteria present in this beverage consumed is high enough (i.e., fermentation has proceeded for adequate time). It has also been shown that fermented milk products have a slower transit time than milk, which may further improve lactose digestion.
Kefir products contain nutrients in varying amounts from negligible to significant, including dietary minerals, vitamins, essential amino acids, and conjugated linoleic acid, in amounts similar to unfermented cow, goat, or sheep milk. At a pH of 4.2 – 4.6, kefir is composed mainly of water and by-products of the fermentation process, including carbon dioxide and ethanol. Typical of milk, several dietary minerals are found in kefir, such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, copper, molybdenum, manganese, and zinc in amounts that have not been standardized to a reputable nutrient database. Also similar to milk, kefir contains vitamins in variable amounts, including vitamin A, vitamin B 1 (thiamine), vitamin B 2 (riboflavin), vitamin B 3 (niacin), vitamin B 6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B 9 (folic acid), vitamin B 12 (cyanocobalamin), vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Essential amino acids found in kefir include methionine, cysteine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, tyrosine, leucine, isoleucine, threonine, lysine, and valine, as for any milk product.
Kefir grains are beneficial for indigestion, constipation, diarrhea and any stomach related problems. They help with fighting against disease causing bacteria and provide a soothing effect when there is any inflammation.
The taste of the kefir is usually sour in nature and usually taken with sugar or a little bit of spice. Another addition to it is flax seeds. While being an alternative to the traditional curd it is also used in other places where curd is used like making vegetable or to be eaten as a side dish. If eaten regularly for a couple of months, kefir is set to show increasing health benefits.
Take a container to make the mix. Take one spoon kefir seeds in the container and add room temperature milk
to the container. Add about half a liter of milk. Cover the container. Leave the mix away for about a day. During the winter it may take about a day to turn to kefir while in the summer months the kefir process may take 7-8 hours to make. To know if the process is done you need to check the jar. Where the kefir is made every few hours. Once the process is done you should find residue water at the bottom of the container. Strain the contents of the container and your kefir is ready to consume. The kefir grains would be held back in the strain while the kefir would flow from the strain. The grains can be used again and again.
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